Said Fabelo, in 2005 4.6% of Texas adults were in prison, on probation or on parole. The comparable number in California was just 2.8%, in Florida, 3.2%, and in New York, 1.8%.
Now compare those to the same states' relative crime reductions over the period 2000-2005: Texas -19%, California -40%, Florida -31%, New York -54%.
So Texas crime declined, but not nearly as much as states with far fewer people under control of the criminal justice system.
Indeed, to hear Fabelo tell it, Texas prosecutions far outstrip both population increases and the statewide crime rate. In last five years, he said (2000-2005),Texas' population increased 9.6%, the crime rate declined 1.9%, adult arrests increased 5.8%, while felony convictions increased a whopping 29%.
Why would arrests and convictions outstrip crime so dramatically? I don't know the answer, but these data sure raise a lot of interesting questions.