The U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections report Releasing Inmates from Prison: Profiles of State Practices (2004) provides useful information on the procedures and policies employed by the State of Texas, as well as the other states, pertaining to the planned and actual release of prisoners from incarceration.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which oversees all Texas state prisons and jails, has a series of standard procedures it uses for processing inmates through its prison system all the way to release. There are two general categories of prisoners, those who serve out their sentences, and those who are granted parole and are conditionally released. For those prisoners in both categories, the TDCJ will usually move prisoners to lower-security facilities as part of the process for preparing the inmates to reenter society. These transfers can begin as much as two years prior to a prisoner’s release date. An exception is made for exceptionally violent offenders who must be released upon completion of their sentences. For those determined to be parole-eligible, parole boards begin to review the records of those prisoners whose cases they will hear six months into the future. Some prisoners, of course, are denied parole and are returned to prison to await their next scheduled hearing at some point in the future. For those prisoners granted parole, there are two main categories: direct parole, in which the inmate is released into society under the condition of mandatory regular sessions with a parole officer and possible assignment to a halfway house; and parole with the proviso that the inmate participate in a state-run program designed to address the reasons for which the inmate was incarcerated.
To assist prisoners in preparing to reenter society, “employment readiness programs” are available to help the prisoner develop the skills expected to be required in a chosen profession. For prisoners with records of good behavior while incarcerated, and who are not considered a risk to commit a crime, especially a violent crime, while out of prison, work-release programs are available. Drug and sex offenders are processed through treatment programs, and those with mental health issues are provided the requisite assistance in preparing the transition to the civilian world.
Once released, prisoners are provided an initial sum of $50 for transportation, with another $50 provided by the parole officer upon initial meeting. For indigent inmates released from prison, assistance is provided in attaining clothing, and all released inmates are eligible for job training and placement assistance at state-operated resource centers. All relevant parties, including sentencing judges, victims, and law enforcement are notified when an inmate is scheduled to be released.