Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Committees to address jail overcrowding, border security

The House County Affairs Committee will meet Thursday in El Paso, and one of items addressed will be their interim charge to "Conduct a general study of issues facing county jails. The study should include innovative ways to address overcrowding, the impact homelessness has on the county jail population, and recommendations for handling inmates undergoing detoxification and withdrawal from drugs and alcohol."

Grits can't attend, but I'm curious: What recommendations would readers offer to address crowded jails, homelessness, and "inmates undergoing detoxification"?

In another away-from-the-capitol hearing, the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee meets this morning in Copperas Cove to:
Examine the extent of interstate coordination concerning border security and intelligence sharing and determine whether any changes to state law are needed to enhance that coordination and cooperation.

Examine state and federal law to determine whether existing provisions adequately address security and efficiency concerns for steamship agencies and land ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border.  Evaluate whether the state and the federal government have provided sufficient manpower, infrastructure, and technology to personnel in the border region.
Regrettably, neither of these events will be broadcast live.


Anonymous said...

Simple solution to over-charging and over-sentencing: Make the district from which a person is sentenced pay the cost of incarceration in the state jail or prison. Abotu $50,000 a year. Put the state money in public education and in probation, parole, re-entry, and diversion programs.

Anonymous said...

The state should really examine the impact that the loss of bed-space and state hospitals has had on jail populations. The literature is full of research that indicates the mentally ill are disproportionately represented in jail populations.

I've already heard that some hospitals will be closing more regular beds in order to comply eith the ruling over comptency restoration. If this occurs, more of the mentally ill will find their way into the criminal justice system.

Perhaps if 12:10PM poster gets their way they can divert some funding to DSHS as well.

Anonymous said...

You have a great suggestion, extend it a little further to say, each county/district has to pay the full cost of incarcerating someone.

Prosecutors who are overzealous to mass produce "dumb on crime" pleas should feel the financial burden as well.

Anonymous said...

How about caning or public flogging as a punishment for some offenses? Seriously. It would be quick, cheap, and probably fairly effective in deterring the commission of some offenses.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

If it weren't for the 8th Amendment and the US Supreme Court, which long ago declared flogging "cruel and unusual," you might have a point. As posited in a recent provocative book on the subject, it may be less "cruel," e.g., than punishments with collateral consequences that dog people for yeas. But it's hard to see how that precedent ever gets overturned, because somebody would have to do it to bring a case on the subject. So it's an interesting intellectual diversion, but likely not a practical suggestion.

Anonymous said...

face facts - the system is broken. the prosecutor is supposed to be a check and balance on the police. the defense is supposed to be a check and balance on the prosecutor. and the judge is supposed to be a check and balance on everyone. its broke, and all the lawyers/judges involved do not understand what check and balance is. they are supposed to be adversary's - yet in reality, they operate like a club, and on behalf of the overall club's interest. bottom line - judges control and hold the key to who stays in jail, and for how long. nobody else decides this. yet all focus to remedy jail overcrowding is pointed everywhere but at the party who controls - the judges. pointing fingers everywhere but at the judges is the problem. judges are masters at deflecting problems elsewhere. the simple fix - lower bail amounts, shorten jail sentences by just 5%/10%, and most importantly - speed up case resolution - and poof - the jail overcrowding problem magically is resolved. poor case management is the number one reason for jail overcrowding - nationwide. its the judges stupid.

Anonymous said...

The system is so broken, no checks and balance, no "rhyme or reason" to sentencing and "severity" of crime.
Does anyone in system even consider the public safety? I think not, just look in local paper, for repeat offenders with DWI, DUI charges.