- Houston Chronicle: "Unlikely role model: Tough on crime Texas leads the way in prison reforms"
- Austin Statesman: "Tough on crime? Check. Smart on crime? Not so much"
As of December, Texas prisons had 1,050 fewer inmates than in 2008.Among the many programs contributing to these positive results, Whitmire cited one that has seen an impressive 25 percent decrease in parole violators being sent back to jail. It's a new Houston facility with 400 beds, housing parolees who have not committed new crimes but have violated conditions of parole.“We used to just send them back to prison,” he told the Chronicle. “This allows them to get out of prison, get back on track. It's a win-win situation. We're lowering the recidivism rate and making productive citizens, which also allows us to focus time and resources on our hard-core inmates.”
Numbers from recent years show Texas near the top in adults on probation or parole, prisoners in state correctional institutions, inmates under 18 in state prisons and (here's the punch line) crimes per capita.Somehow, somewhere, we have been doing something wrong. And that adds up to an unsatisfactory return on what will be a $10.8 billion investment in public safety and criminal justice in the state's 2010-2011 budget.That's almost 10 percent of state tax dollars. By comparison, 6.7 percent goes to business and economic development and 1.2 percent goes to natural resources.The reality is that crime stats, more than being a measure of our success in fighting crime, are a measure of our failure in so many other areas.