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The Other 84 Percent (1960)


Sound | 1960

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  •  The parole board receives the case file and requests further information from prison officials 
  •  Institutional parole officer Ben Small evaluates the inmate 
  •  Reviewing the inmate’s the prison record 
  •  Prison farm and meatpacking plant in Sugar Land 
  •  The prison administration creates its own report 
  •  O. B. Ellis, director of the Texas Department of Corrections, on the value of the parole system 
  •  Copies of Small’s report are mailed to the parole board in Austin as well as the parole supervision office where the inmate intends to settle 
  •  Arranging employment for the prospective parolee 
  •  The parole board explains the function of the system 
  •  The board decides in the inmate’s favor 
  •  Governor Price Daniel makes the final approval 
  •  Parole prospects are summoned to the prison administration building 
  •  Small explains the terms and conditions of parole 
  •  Upon release, the parolee receives $5 and a bus ticket to Houston 
  •  Vincent O’Leary, state director of parole supervision, describes the parolee’s chances of remaining out of prison 
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Produced by Houston’s KPRC-TV, this 1960 television news documentary takes a closer look at the Texas parole system. Written and narrated by KPRC News Director Ray Miller, the program follows the case of one prospective parolee from initial appeal to release. The subject, inmate 111241 at the Texas State Penitentiary, is referred to by the pseudonym Blake Randwick. After the parole board decides to consider Randwick’s request for parole, they send for his prison record as well as a report from the prison’s institutional parole officer. A second copy of the report is sent to the parole supervision office where Randwick intends to live. Upon deciding in Randwick’s favor, the parole board sends their recommendation to Governor Price Daniel for final approval. Randwick leaves prison with a set of clothes, $5, and a bus ticket to Houston. Miller concludes by evaluating Randwick’s chances of being among the “other 84 percent,” which represents the percentage of parolees who do not reoffend.
Newsman Ray Miller (1919 - 2008) began his broadcasting career in 1938 in his home town of Fort Worth. He relocated to Houston soon thereafter, where he joined KPRC Radio. When KPRC purchased Houston’s first television station in 1951, Miller adopted the burgeoning medium, eventually winning a Peabody Award. In 1969, Miller created The Eyes of Texas, a regional television series examining all things Texas. On the air for 30 years, the series became Houston’s longest-running local television program. Miller retired in 1979, serving as news director at both KPRC Radio and KPRC-TV for over 40 years. During his decades-long tenure at KPRC, Miller mentored a number of journalists, including Dan Rather and former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. 
After retiring from television production, Miller became a local historian, writing several books and travel guides about historic attractions in Houston and Galveston. He also worked with the Harris County Historical Commission to secure markers for numerous sites.