Sunday, September 17, 2006

Texas incarceration rates by county

Following up on the last post, go here to see Texas jail incarceration rates by county (pdf). The statistics below represent the number of people per 1,000 population incarcerated in the county jail, not including state or federal prisons, juvenile systems or mental health facilities. All counties are listed in the linked document, but here's a sampling:

Incarceration Rates: Selected Texas Counties

County (County seat)

Incarceration rate per 1,000 residents

Smith (Tyler)(*)

4.71

McLennan (Waco)

3.54

Galveston (Galveston)

3.34

Dallas (Dallas)

3.11

Bexar (San Antonio)

2.74

Harris (Houston)

2.50

El Paso (El Paso)

2.15

Tarrant (Fort Worth)

2.12

Hidalgo (Edinburg)

1.81

Denton (Denton)

1.81

Coryell (Gatesville)

1.05


Source: Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Incarceration Rate Report, 8-1-06. The statewide incarceration rate for all counties combined is 2.65 per 1,000 Texas residents.
(*) This TCJS figure fluctuates over time. The incarceration rate for Smith County given in the Tyler Morning Telegraph last week was slightly higher than shown in this chart - 5.04 people per 1,000 residents.

This would be a good story for Texas reporters to localize for their own county jail - perhaps comparing local incarceration rates and crime rates to neighboring counties and the statewide average. In the past, I've recommended numerous ways for counties to reduce their incarceration rate without harming public safety.