Monday, November 29, 2010

Texas Public Policy Foundation: Close prisons, expand diversion programs, no new enhancements

The Texas Tribune has posted an interview with Marc Levin from the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation think tank suggesting ways to improve safety and save money in the criminal justice system, including closing prisons, expanding diversion programs, and resisting the urge to pile on new "enhancements."

I asked after the election if the conservative mandate on criminal justice was to "git tuff" or to save money? Clearly TPPF thinks the mandate falls in the latter camp. I hope the Legislature agrees.


A Texas PO said...

The TPPF makes some great recommendations, but often their opinions are ignored but politicians seeking to appease the current trend. The current conservative Republican outcry is to cut everything (except prison spending) and luck up everyone who is residing in Texas illegally. Maybe we'll see some real progress this time, but I fear we might have a repeat of 2007 session where bipartisan bickering killed a lot of good bills.

Don said...

Scott, Levin mentions that we have over 1700 criminal acts. You often use a figure of over 2300. Either figure is too high, but I was wondering where the difference lies.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Good question, Don, I'll ask him. Levin is also the original source for the higher figure, which he took from a biennial count by the parole board.

As I understand it, the 1,700 figure appears to be TPPF's own count from several years ago (see here and here). But the parole board count is the only one I'm aware of that's systematically updated based on standardized criteria after each session. Counts which aren't updated become outdated two years hence.

A lot of it depends on how you classify a different law: Are there 3 dozen or 5 dozen different ways to commit murder? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? When you get to the 1,700-2,300 range, these become distinctions without a difference. No average person could be expected to understand the byzantine array of criminal statutes confronting them and how they relate to one another. But they lard more on every two years.

Don said...

Yes, 1700 or 2300, those are just numbers and both are sufficiently ridiculous. I just wondered because I quote that 23oo+ sometimes and God forbid some statist accuse me of exaggerating. :) By the way, when you say no average person could be expected to understand the byzantine array of criminal statutes, it reminds me. I called our local police chief one time and asked if they were enforcing a certain law. He stated: "we enforce each and every law equally". Really? Golly! Those guys are GOOD!

Hook Em Horns said...

We'll see Grits. I am not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

The Texas Pubic Policy Foundation is npothing more than a bunch of republicon CREEPS who want to own and run everything, with a public-be-damned stance and attitude.

These creeps must be stopped now!