A review finds Texas could face a shortage of as many as 12,000 inmate beds within two years if budget problems force prison system cuts and closures.

The report, presented Tuesday to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, is led by consultant Tony Fabelo. His report comes from the Justice Center, a research affiliate of the Council of State Governments.

Texas lawmakers face a projected budget shortfall of at least $15 billion in the next two-year spending period.

The Austin American-Statesman reports the review found that possible cuts of up to $600 million would hobble rehabilitation, probation and treatment, which help offenders stay out of trouble.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says he's alarmed by the projections.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is in charge of the system's nearly 156,000 inmates.

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

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