In addition to seeking to close facilities where they can be closed and investing more heavily in substance abuse programs and other community-based programs, mental health programs and such, there should be policy changes put in place to ensure that fewer inmates are going to prison and fewer offenders are staying there as long as they’re staying. The reality is that the research shows that those long prison sentences are actually counterproductive. There’s research all over the country showing that shorter sentences can actually be more effective. If we’re actually going to be increasing criminal behavior in the long run by the longer we’re keeping someone in prison, that’s actually counterproductive. So I think legislators need to look to solutions that divert more people from prison and only keep people in prison if they are currently presenting a serious risk to public safety.
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Deitch on Texas corrections
The Texas Tribune has published an interview with prison expert Michele Deitch from UT's LBJ School on subjects ranging from TYC to closing adult prisons, diversion programming and county jail oversight. Go here for both video and transcript. In addition to advocating to preserve diversion programming, I was particularly pleased to see Deitch's answer to the Trib's final question about challenges facing lawmakers in 2011; I hope legislators are reading it too:
Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 8:15 AM