have a formidable – and bipartisan – opposition. Rep. Jerry Madden, the Plano Republican who serves as Mr. Whitmire's counterpart on the House Committee on Corrections, jokes that the two unlikely bedfellows are an "allied front – the compassionate Republican and the fiscally responsible Democrat."That's a pretty accurate description of Madden and Whitmire's unlikely alliance - part of what makes the current political dynamic on Texas criminal justice reform so fascinating and compelling. At this point, many people want to change the system for many different reasons from across the political spectrum. Said state Sen. John Carona:
Both say they fear pouring money into new prisons just to watch them fill – what Mr. Madden calls the "build it and they will come" phenomenon.
"The tragedy, during the buildup, was that we did not provide more funds for rehabilitation," said Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas. "Now we end up with prisoners who, upon their release, are no more skilled, but meaner and tougher than when they entered.""Tragedy" is the word for it. Here's hoping that once we're past this cursed Speaker's race, the Lege will focus this year on reversing the criminal justice system's current, tragic course, starting with fixing the broken probation system.