Sunday, September 20, 2015

The arithmetic of de-incarceration: TDCJ edition

For long-term de-incarceration strategies to work, in the near term, while crime is low, prisons must release more inmates than they receive. Here are the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's aggregate receive/release figures from FY 2007-2014, the most recent full year available from the TDCJ Annual Statistical Reports.

Since Texas' much-ballyhooed 2007 probation reforms (which arguably impacted parole revocation rates more than probation's), Texas has only released more prisoners than it received two years - 2012 and 2013.

Over this period, the total number of inmates on hand declined from 152,661 to 150,361, but not until after briefly bulging past 156,000 in 2008.

In a nutshell, the push for de-incarceration is about driving that red curve upward on the Y axis and driving the blue curve down, focusing in particular on situations where that can be accomplished without compromising public safety. Simple, right?


Wolf said...

If the popular conservative mantra that "prisons are for people we're afraid of, not the ones we're mad at" were actually implemented, fewer would be sent to prison and many more would be released. It seems that catchy sound bites are much easier to talk about than put into place. As a fiscally conservative Texas taxpayer, I would really appreciate those with the power to actively push for the reforms implied in that mantra.

Anonymous said...

I am presuming that this chart includes all the illegal criminals that were turned loose on the American public?

When do innocent Americans get released?

sunray's wench said...

The BPP doesn't spend enough time on each case to know whether someone is a danger to the public or not. TDCj only think about parole for inmates when the inmate gets to within 2 years of the application date - most other successful criminal justice systems start that process the day the inmate enters the system. Texas is not interested in being either at the cutting edge of crimial justice, or in significantly reducing its prison population based on factual evidence relating to each inmate.

Anonymous said...

If 2000 inmates/parolees were released in a given year I wonder how many returned to prison that same year for committing a new offense as soon as they were released?
Are the "receives" actually first timers/new receives or returning customers?
Doesn't appear the red or the blue line could tell you anything about probation or probation outcomes??