Two categories of criminal cases increased more than 100 percent over the past 20 years. Felony assault or attempted\murder cases increased 138 percent (from 12,452 to 29,669 cases). Felony and misdemeanor drug offense cases increased 116 percent (from 62,872 to 135,787 cases); however, the number of cases filed each year generally declined from 2007 to 2011.It's hard to say whether the increase in "felony assault or attempted murder" charges stemmed from greater violence - which runs against other reported trends including DPS data and crime victim surveys - or harsher charging decisions by Texas prosecutors than in years past, which could also explain the data. But the 116% increase in drug cases speaks for itself, as does the 85% increase in "other" crimes, which is code for the hundreds of specialty "enhancements" that have been added to the criminal code over the years, but don't really seem to fit into traditional crime categories. In any event, I thought I'd share those interesting snippets.
“Other felonies” increased by 85 percent over the same period (from 26,472 to 48,849 cases).
Friday, October 26, 2012
Texas drug prosecutions increased 116% over past 20 years
In an era of generally declining crime, this data-driven perspective on the sources of increasing incarceration was offered in the Office of Court Administration's latest annual statistical report for FY 2011 (pdf, p. 37):