I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and am pleased to update you on recent developments at the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Center for Effective Justice.TPPF is best known as a conservative think tank advocating for lower taxes and school vouchers, but I find myself in agreement with about 97% of what their Center for Effective Justice puts out on criminal justice topics. My theory on why: Things have gotten so screwed up that the critical issues aren't really ideological anymore, they're urgently pragmatic. And viewed from that perspective, the solutions come into much sharper focus.
First, we have released a new policy perspective entitled "The Role of Parole in Solving the Texas Prison Crowding Crisis." It is available online here.
Additionally, if you have not already seen it, the criminal justice portion of our 2007-08 Legislative Guide to the Issues is available online here. It contains sections on overcriminalization; drug policy; victims' rights and victim-offender mediation; prison operations and programming; probation, parole, and reentry; and school discipline and juvenile justice.
Also, I testified at the November 14 Sunset Commission hearing on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I discussed parole reform, victim-offender mediation, and harnessing the benefits of competition in corrections. The audio of this hearing is available here. It was gratifying that Senator John Whitmire, the Chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said after my testimony regarding the work of the Center: "You have done wonders in a short period of time."
I also invite you to check out my commentary "Give taxpayers a break on prison costs," which appeared in the Houston Chronicle on November 5, 2006 and is available online here.
Additionally, I am quoted in this week's San Antonio Express-News story on the bipartisan legislative momentum in Texas for alternatives to new prisons. It is available online here.
Today, EducationNews.org published an interview with me concerning juvenile justice and zero tolerance policies, which is available online here.
Finally, I want to thank you for your ongoing interest in the work of the Center. Your active engagement is vital to our continued efforts to reform the Texas criminal justice system so that we can better protect public safety, restore victims, and reform offenders while minimizing the costs to the taxpayer. As always, I would welcome your comments and suggestions regarding our work.
I wish you and your family the best this holiday season.
Good job, Marc. Keep up the good work.