Thursday, June 19, 2008

Preparing for the price tag of Texas prisons

As Congress focuses on costs of the drug war, I was interested to receive notice of this brief and informative Texas Public Policy Foundation podcast titled "Preparing for the price tag of Texas prisons," featuring an interview with TPPF criminal justice policy analyst Marc Levin. Give it a listen.

The only effective way to control costs in Texas prisons, said Levin, is to control the population numbers. The state already skimps as much on minimizing conditions, cutting calories in meals, etc., he said, as the federal courts will allow. Levin praised incentive funding to local probation departments passed by the Legislature in 2007 aimed at providing more funds to departments that help probationers succeed.

The success of the new reforms, he said will depend on judges and prosecutors using the new tools. Harris County, in particular, "has 16% of the state's population but they account for 50% of the state jail inmates who are incarcerated for less than a gram of drugs." There's a "perverse incentive" for local officials to "over-utilize prisons just because they'll be sending the bill to the state."

5 comments:

Families & Friends of Texas Inmates said...

The State Of Texas may finally be seeing what the rest of us have been saying for quite some time.

Truth of the matter is, if it were not for the Money factor, the TDCJ could care less.

I personally welcome any change for improving the system and reducing the Tax payer's burden.

Anonymous said...

There is one cost saving measure that Texas has not yet included in the TDCJ Budget.

If the State would install energy efficient air conditioners, they would quickly save more than the cost in medical bills.

It is 2008 and life without air conditioning is cruel and unusual punishment. There will be a Supreme Court test before long and Texas will loose. TDCJ might as well start now to remedy this problem.

There is no money to be saved by waiting for a Federal requirement and a lot of money to be saved in medical costs. The State should strike a deal with T. Boone Pickens for wind energy.

How about a little more smart and a little less "tough on crime".

Anonymous said...

There is one cost saving measure that Texas has not yet included in the TDCJ Budget.

If the State would install energy efficient air conditioners, they would quickly save more than the cost in medical bills.

It is 2008 and life without air conditioning is cruel and unusual punishment. There will be a Supreme Court test before long and Texas will loose. TDCJ might as well start now to remedy this problem.

There is no money to be saved by waiting for a Federal requirement and a lot of money to be saved in medical costs. The State should strike a deal with T. Boone Pickens for wind energy.

How about a little more smart and a little less "tough on crime".

I could not have said this better and I applaude "anonymous" who wrote this.

Being in the heat constantly no matter where Inmates work is cruel and unjust punishment. I have long begged legislators to change this, but have been told this is part of the punishment. How would they feel should they be ordered to spend six months locked in a cell with no air and not much circulation and the circulation consists of hot air being blown in from the outside.
This is cruel and no person, a child of God should have to suffer from this abuse and this is exactly what no air conditioning constitutes, abuse and inhumane treatment by our Legislators.

I would like for everyone who thinks anyone deserves this to try it for six months and not during the winter months, from April through October, then make a decision.

If enough of us complain, maybe some of those Legislators who want this just to save money should do the right thing and tell TDCJ to release those who have been pardoned but remain for whatever the reason locked up, to look at the money they could really save to stop moving Inmates from one unit to another to avoid being overcroweded when count time for them comes.

Our Texas Legislators better pay attention to the people who pay their salaries and give them the benefits they dearly love, that those salaries and benefits can be as quickly taken away from them with the push of a button on the voting maching.

Stop the inhumane treatment and put air conditioning in the prison units and Mr. Perry can stay in Texas and not travel to all the foreign countries to sight see at our expense!!!

Anonymous said...

WAAAAAAAWAAAAAAWAAAAAA!!!!
If prison is so DAMN bad why do people keeping breaking the laws to get themselves sent there? I've been a probation officer for over 20 years and I've done just about everything possible to help my probationers stay free in society. So many just didn't want to follow the rules and told me "prison is easier and shorter than having to follow the rules of probation," So unless youv'e actually worked the system, don't try and whitewash what is actually happening. "We are a society of rule breakers and everyone wants an excuse for their criminal behaviors." I say grow a set of GONADS, be a man and be responsible for your behavior."

Anonymous said...

The war on drugs was initiated for the profit of the private prison system. They have lobbyists to lobby for stricter sentences so their profits are higher. They have no desire to let anyone out. Considering that a part of the CIA to which Oliver North is attached are importing drugs and facilitating the import of drugs to this country, they have a good thing going. They profit from the drugs to make private wars the Americans know nothing about. The allies in Haliburton make profits locking up the people the CIA provides with drugs. Anytime you have a war on something other than y country, it is a fake war. The "war on terror" has focused on making the American people the suspects and Haliburton has been building FEMA camps designed, according to released files on Rex -84, camps which they would sell as being for illegal immigrants but which would really be used to lock up Americans during martial law and in case of a suspension of the Constitution under a totalitarian regime. These camps in turn will be paid by the tax payers and the inmates (us) will be hired out for profit, just like concentration camps in germany. Vary long term planning. Tip toe totalitarianism which is what you are seeing in Texas and elsewhere. Did you know that Oklahoma declared sovereignty against the federal government?