H.B. No. 865
  relating to establishing a veterans services coordinator for the
  Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a veterans reentry dorm
  program for certain state jail defendants confined by the
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 501, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 501.025 to read as follows:
         Sec. 501.025.  VETERANS SERVICES COORDINATOR. (a)  The
  department shall establish a veterans services coordinator to
  coordinate responses to the needs of veterans under the supervision
  of the department, including veterans who are released on parole or
  mandatory supervision.  The veterans services coordinator, with the
  cooperation of the community justice assistance division, shall
  provide information to community supervision and corrections
  departments to help those departments coordinate responses to the
  needs of veterans placed on community supervision.  The veterans
  services coordinator shall coordinate veterans' services for all of
  the department's divisions.
         (b)  The veterans services coordinator, in collaboration
  with the attorney general's office, shall provide each incarcerated
  veteran a child support modification application.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter B, Chapter 507, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 507.034 to read as follows:
         Sec. 507.034.  VETERANS REENTRY DORM PROGRAM. (a) The
  department, in coordination with the Texas Veterans Commission,
  shall establish and administer a voluntary rehabilitation and
  transition program for defendants confined in state jail felony
               (1)  who are veterans of the United States armed
  forces, including veterans of the reserves, national guard, or
  state guard; and
               (2)  who suffer from a brain injury, a mental illness, a
  mental disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder, or
  substance abuse, or were victims of military sexual trauma, as
  defined by Section 124.002, that:
                     (A)  occurred during or resulted from their
  military service; and
                     (B)  may have contributed to their criminal
         (b)  The program established under this section must:
               (1)  provide for investigating and verifying the
  veteran status of each defendant confined in a state jail felony
  facility by using data made available from the Veterans Reentry
  Search Service (VRSS) operated by the United States Department of
  Veterans Affairs or a similar service;
               (2)  be available to male defendants and, if resources
  are available, female defendants;
               (3)  include provisions regarding interviewing and
  selecting defendants for participation in the program;
               (4)  allow a defendant to decline participation in the
  program or to withdraw from the program at any time;
               (5)  house defendants participating in the program in
  housing that is designed to mimic the squadron structure familiar
  to veterans;
               (6)  coordinate and provide available services and
  programming approved by the department, including:
                     (A)  individual and group peer support
  programing, as appropriate;
                     (B)  access to military trauma-informed licensed
  mental health professional counseling, as appropriate;
                     (C)  evidence-based rehabilitation programming;
                     (D)  reemployment services; and
               (7)  to the extent feasible, not later than the 60th day
  before the date a defendant participating in the program is
  scheduled for release or discharge from the department:
                     (A)  match the defendant with community-based
  veteran peer support services to assist the defendant in
  transitioning into the community; and
                     (B)  transfer the defendant to a state jail felony
  facility located near the defendant's home community, or the
  community in which the defendant intends to reside after the
  defendant's release or discharge, to begin establishing transition
  relationships with community-based veteran peer support service
  providers and family members.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I certify that H.B. No. 865 was passed by the House on April
  25, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 113, Nays 30, 2 present, not
  Chief Clerk of the House   
         I certify that H.B. No. 865 was passed by the Senate on May
  24, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 29, Nays 2.
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________