Friday, September 14, 2007

Alternative Incarceration Center saves $2+ million per year in San Angelo

Reacting to this Grits post about savings attributed to Tyler's new alternative to incarceration program, webmaster Jim Turner forwarded the idea to the Tom Green County Judge, who gave some backstory on Tyler's program and some data I hadn't seen on a similar program in San Angelo that predates it. Writes Turner:
I sent this to a few people I thought would be interested. Got this feedback from Mike Brown, County Judge of Tom Green County.

"Jim, Tom Green County created the Alternative Incarceration Program 10 years ago. The Smith County (Tyler) Probation (CSCD) dept. officials came here for 3 days and learned all about our program. They returned to Tyler armed with their new found knowledge and our documentation and created their program. Undisputedly, our program was the first in the state. AIC program savings to Tom Green County for FY2007 (9-1-06 thru 8-31-07) $2.284 million."

Posted with his permission. There are counties out here that get it.
Thanks, Jim! Two thoughts come to mind: First, it's great news that there's a well-established AIC in addition to Tyler's program, since that tells us up front the idea works and likely has staying power as a long-term solution.

Second, Mr. Turner's reader-reaction deserves grateful approbation. That's exactly what I hope folks do with Grits posts - put the information in front of decision makers who can use it and then communicate back to tell the rest of us their reaction. When that happens, this blog's influence can and occasionally has become greater than the sum or its parts. But it can only do so when readers participate, not just in the comments, but also in their local political process using the information published here.

Consider that model reader behavior, people, then go forth and do likewise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Alternatives to incarceration's rules are sometimes more difficult to comply with than the sentence to jail.

I know of someone that prefered to go to jail and get it over with in a short amount of time rather than cope with the "alternative" that lasted a long time.

Care must be taken that the alternative offered meet the need to protect public safety while providing an acceptable way for an individual to "pay their debt to society". Only then will the savings for the government be effecively realized.

I'm for alternatives. They can work and should be designed wisely.