The history of state-local corrections partnerships is often dated to California’s 1965 enactment of the Probation Subsidy Act, which provided counties up to $4,000 for each prison-eligible adult or juvenile offender who was supervised, sanctioned and serviced in the community. In combination with other reforms, the act led to several successes achieved under Governor Ronald Reagan.The is an issue that distinguishes between latter-day Big Government Conservatives and conservatives in the tradition of Reagan and Goldwater who actually believed in less government as opposed to merely giving the idea lip service. If Ronald Reagan, the archetypal modern conservative, could close 8 prisons in California 40 years ago when their system was much smaller, Texas should be able to close 8 of its 112 prison units in the current environment without harming public safety.
Between 1969 and 1972, the state placed nearly all nonviolent property offenders under local supervision, cut its inmate population by 30 percent, closed eight prison facilities and drove recidivism (within two years of release) down from 40 percent to 25 percent. In his Second Inaugural Address, in 1971, Governor Reagan stated: “Our rehabilitation policies and improved parole system are attracting nationwide attention. Fewer parolees are being returned to prison than at any time in our history, and our prison population is lower than at any time since 1963.”
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