Monday, January 03, 2005

Incarceration maximus: A "losing, expensive proposition"

Ann points to an Austin Statesman editorial predicting Texas' prison system will get more attention in 2005, and calling for incarcerating fewer nonviolent offenders.

"At issue are the thousands of prisoners incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, such as parole violations, drug offenses and the like. Even the strongest law-and-order legislators are learning that imprisoning people with substance abuse problems, giving them no help in prison and turning them loose in the communities they came from is a losing, and expensive, proposition."

The Statesman called for expanding the use of probation and restoring state funds for drug treatment services. That would help, but it won't resolve the demand for 7,000 new prison beds projected to be needed over the next two years. Additional aspects of and possible solutions to Texas' prison overcrowding conundrum
were discussed in previous Grits coverage here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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