Sunday, September 04, 2016

The Playbook: Under budget pressure, TDCJ prophesies doom, ignores solutions

Nota bene, Robert T. Garrett and other journalists covering the state budget process: When the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) claims, as they did in this Sept. 1 Dallas News story and their legislative appropriation request (see a summary here and the full LAR here), that reducing their budget would result in massive layoffs and increased costs from overtime, there is an unstated "unless" which precedes their litany. Unless the Legislature reduces the number of prisoners incarcerated to relieve pressure on the system, the bad things they outline could happen. But if the Lege acts to reduce incarceration levels and adjusts prison spending accordingly, everything would work out fine.

As has been their wont during past budget crises (Brian Collier is following Brad Livingston's 2010 playbook to a "T"), TDCJ's appropriations request declined to inform the Legislature of policy changes which would be needed to sustainably cut costs in the long term. Instead, assuming current incarceration policies as a given, they prophesy terrible outcomes from budget cuts without recommending the best, easiest fix to prevent them.

Texas already has seen prison populations decline significantly, in part due to declining crime and more recently thanks to increased property-theft thresholds, which particularly are lowering the number of people incarcerated in state jails on theft offenses. If Texas ratcheted down drug penalties by one offense category, perhaps shifting a few other over-penalized offenses downward along with it, the state could save enough to close several more prisons, perhaps starting with seven private prisons and state jails whose contracts expire August 31, 2017.*

In 2011, during the last budget crunch, the Lege made cuts to healthcare, maintenance, and other line items at TDCJ which turned out to be phantoms. Taxpayers had to pony up for them later in supplemental appropriations or future budgets. The savings weren't real, sustainable, nor at a fundamental level, prudent.

Now, legislators once again face the prospect of budget cuts at TDCJ and recent experience should make the path clear: Incarcerate fewer people if you want to cut TDCJ's budget. Lower the prison-and-state-jail population by 10,000, for example, and all of a sudden saving an additional $200 million doesn't seem so far-fetched. Heck, it'd probably be more, since for every dollar spent on TDCJ Texas spends another 30+ cents in other areas of the budget.

In reality, Collier and TDCJ's budget folks understand that reduced incarceration and prison closure is a more rational approach than "reductions in convict health care, meals, as well as prison and parole operations," as Collier suggested to the Houston Chronicle. Those discussions are occurring behind the scenes. "Yes, there are discussions going on about closing more units. I've been in on them," state Sen. John Whitmire declared in that same Chron story. "The state has a number of old, inefficient and remote units that we should consider merging or closing to spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently."

Bottom line: People who demand budget cuts at TDCJ but won't contemplate reduced incarceration levels aren't really serious about governing. And incarceration can be reduced with little harm to public safety, as the state's experience in the juvenile realm proved. In fact, reducing inmate numbers would improve safety inside Texas prisons. While Garrett gave voice to layoff fears, ironically the union representing TDCJ correctional officers supports prison closures because of understaffing and high turnover. (And certainly they're not going to complain if the state lets private contracts expire.) Even if closures came at public units, attrition would cover them fairly quickly and, if the closures targeted chronically understaffed units, it would actually solve some problems for TDCJ.

The agency running Texas' prisons isn't going to suggest reducing its empire, even if that's a fundamental part of the debate surrounding budget requests in a time of austerity. So journalists covering the issue, like legislative decision makers, must seek out alternative information sources or risk conveying a myopic and slanted portrayal of TDCJ's budget situation. TDCJ officials won't tell you what needs to be done to cut their budget safely, but that doesn't mean it isn't obvious what the real story is.

* Private prisons and state jails with TDCJ contracts up Aug. 31, 2017 are the Bartlett State Jail, Bradshaw State Jail, Lindsey State Jail, Willacy State Jail, Bridgeport Correctional Center, Kyle Correctional Center, and the Bridgeport pre-Parole Transfer Facility. Between them, those seven units hold 6,300+ inmates. There are also two intermediate sanctions facilities with contracts up next year, but those reduce incarceration at TDCJ and shouldn't be targeted for budget cuts.


Anonymous said...

So where is the line in our incarceration level below which public safety becomes endangered? How close should the legislature get to it? Is paroling a few potentially violent offenders who reoffend and harm some innocent victims just part of the economic calculation here? Just the necessary societal cost of saving a few tax dollars? Surely there's a tipping point somewhere. 100,000? 50,000? Or is there any number of incarcerated felons that liberals would not still want to be set free to prey again? All I see on this blog is continued arguments in favor of closing more prisons, reducing more incarceration costs; but I never see the magic number where there might become a danger to public safety. Bearing in mind that the state population continues to grow and common sense would seem to dictate that there would be a corresponding growth in the number of criminals (not crime rates) who need to be incarcerated. Some of us have seen this moving before, Grits. Those of us who were around in the 70's, 80's and early 90's remember what happened when parole rates were ramped up and the proverbial "revolving door" was the order of the day. You can live in the delusional thought that no thieves or drug addicts will ever become violent offenders but sooner or later someone is going to get killed or seriously injured and then all eyes will be on those legislators who voted to cut prison spending--not to mention that those politicians will still have to sleep at night.

George said...

@ Anonymous 11:13

What I believe the gist of this article points to is the attempt to try and identify who needs to be sent to prison and who needs to remain there the longest. Most who are sent to prison do get out at some point. I personally feel like there are further adjustment that can be made to the penal code that would rein in sentencing lengths and yet offer the public the same amount of protection.

Who's being delusional here really? Just exactly what did the reforms aimed at "fixing" the revolving doors of the "70',80's, and early 90's accomplish? It is what led to the massive prison building and increased incarceration levels required to fill the new beds along with the humongous budget crisis that TDCJ finds itself in.

As far as trying to determine who is potentially dangerous is a gamble and always has been. There are way too many factors that could lead a thief or drug addict to act out in a violent way. The newer risk assessment tools available to the parole division is a starting point to helping assign risks.

It appears that what you are advocating is the same old technique of fear mongering that has been used ever since the dawn of mankind. "What if this or that happens?" We mustn't live in a fantasy world of "what ifs" and still survive as a democracy. For all I know you may very well be a member of the same group of people who either believe, or promote the belief, that convicted sex offenders have the highest rate of recidivism of any felon ,(In fact they have the lowest rate other than murderers). It's simply not based on any sane substantiated empirical evidence of any sort yet there are individuals such as yourself that continue to crow about it from the rooftops.

It is delusional for you to believe that there aren't going to be people convicted of minor crimes and released and then go on to commit much more serious crimes. This is nothing new it's been happening as long as there has been such a thing as parole. So for you to comment on this as if it would be the result of prison spending cuts is ludicrous. It's tragic for this to happen but it does happen, no matter how many people are incarcerated or for how long.

It's the cherry-picking of these crimes by the media and people such as yourself that places these selected "atrocities" as needing to be magnified to the public via the various media means. This has produced the various forms of behavior from society that borders on hysteria and banishment of certain felons.

Having said that, do you have any evidence supporting what you are claiming will be the result of reducing prison spending or closing existing prisons? Are you genuinely concerned with finding the best solution to any of this? Or are you of the type who has their minds made up and simply won't listen openly to other views on the matter and, in the process, perhaps learn something from being open-minded and open-considerate?

As far as politicians sleeping well as a result of their votes/decisions, well, I don't see how any of them get much sleep if you use that as a gauge.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Actually, 11:13, those questions have demonstrable answers, but we're SO far from the point where reduced incarceration would risk safety, it's not worth discussing yet. The folks who estimated the MOST benefit from incarceration in crime reduction also think we way overshot the mark, possibly by as much as the double of optimal incarceration levels. When the prison pop is 30-40% lower than now, let's revisit the topic. It may (or may not) start to become relevant then.

J Hall said...

If our loved ones have truly demonstrated change and worked hard to show it, let them come home. IF ITS SO, LET THEM GO! Support TIFA at Texas Inmate Families Association

Let the Time fit the Crime and let them come home to be productive members of society. In an aggravated case, a person must serve at least 50% of their time before they are eligible for parole. If they served the larger portion of the sentence, have taken classes to improve themselves, they should have a chance to prove that they can do it.

One example is my son. He has served almost 21 years of a 25 year sentence for going somewhere with his boss. He has the same charge as his boss and will always be labeled as a murderer for being at the wrong place at the wrong time WITH his employer of about 3 months. Was he innocent? No. Did he kill anyone? No. Did he deserve imprisonment? Possibly. Has he changed? Yes. Is he a better person today? Yes. Did he get an education? Yes. Can he use it? No because he's still incarcerated. Let him come home, put his education to use so he can pay taxes instead of tax dollars supporting him another 4 years.

PS for Anonymous 11:13
I pray that you or your Loved One as well as your future generation never make a mistake and get caught or be at the wrong place at the wrong time. You have to choose your friends carefully because you could be convicted for what they do, even if it's your boss.

Anonymous said...

Having inmates who have been an inmate for 20 years or more and have not committed another crime in 10 years, should be paroled, especially if they have been before the parole board at least three times, they should be paroled!!!! Using common sense, this is the correct thing to do, it would cut cost and save money. When inmates try to better them selves by taking classes and staying out of trouble, they are showing they have changed for the better and need to be paroled. The parole board has a lot of responsibility 8in helping the state save money. The politicians should be ashamed of of themselves , they are not working on behalf of the people of Texas, and should be replaced. Texas is a disgrace!!!!!

Unknown said...

Wake up TEXAS!! Open your eyes, don't turn the other way.... how many families loose loved one's due to lack of represetation. How many inmates have worked hard to show they are ready to come home. Its a shame that lives are destroyed in the court room, in the unjust prisons and parole boards. Prisons are unjust the dumbest rules and Texas allows it. I understand there is a balance, crimes are to be punished but the system is set up to keep them in. TIFA cares about families and we want CHANGE!!

Anonymous said...

Prisons are full of people that do not really need to be there and are there only for vengeance. If someone has served at least 15years and has proved beyond a doubt that they would be able to become a productive member of society, have remained major case free for over five years, have improved them selves while in prison, either through education or some form of training; no matter what their crime they should be given a chance of parole. They could even be given some form of community work to do, give their time to help young people who are heading for trouble, help clean up communities, do any form of work to benefit their community. There is so much that could be done in stead of leaving them sitting in prison while we as tax payers pay for it, for people like that it's just a total waste. Also their families would benefit greatly, children would get a parent back, there would hopefully be extra money coming in to the household, so many benefits for the whole of society by allowing those who have a proven track record of change go home. Wake up people you are paying for it, your hard earned cash is keeping men and women in prison for pure vengeance no other reason. LET THEM HAVE A CHANCE, LET THEM GO HOME.

Anonymous said...

America need rehabilitation not over-incarceration!!! More than 10 years on any nonviolent crime is ludicrous in most countries! More than 5 years on a drug offense is too much if one is not solely heavily responsible for major distribution. If one is eligible for parole and is not deemed a danger to society/ has not shown a pattern of antisocial behavior throughout their incarceration then they should be paroled out at their first hearing. Our system in the U.S. is OUT OF CONTROL with what we deem as criminal behavior. Legislation needs to change because it has created a vicious cycle of generations that can never break out of poverty, drug abuse, etc. It is wrecking our communities and our economy. A sentence of more than 10 years is almost impossible to recover from when you think about the children of those parents not being supported, also having to struggle without the parent in their lives sometimes through their ENTIRE childhood. Sentenced to poverty, lack of supervision and missing the relationship with their parent for many of them a whole decade or two decades of life, practically rids them of most opportunity to meet their potential otherwise and become productive member of society. It almost always ensures adding more lives onto government welfare that is never really enough and often supplemented by the temptation to engage in illegal ways to make some extra money because they were denied most everything in life to better themselves to honestly earn a living. When you add up the cost of warehousing people for decades upon decades who could potentially be supporting themselves, and the gross cost of the projected welfare it takes to support the families of these long term incarcerated individuals, the investment that's been spent on too many facilities, the cost of employment, training, for all the staff it takes to monitor someone's every move (in which most of the people locked up are not even violent but just got mixed up in drugs), the costly legal battles brought on by inadequate care that has led to unnecessary deaths that may sometimes cost more than it would have to address shortcomings to begin with, it only makes better financial sense to reform our CJ system, reform our legislation, reform the Parole process system, create an aging out system for those no longer a likely risk, provide a road to shorten sentences, create alternative mandates such as work programs and more drug rehab programs. Please take some less costly but more successful systems in other countries into consideration. The immediate answer is clearly to decrease the population. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

11:13 asks the wrong question about the "incarceration level below which public safety becomes endangered." Not a static thing. TDCJ released 70,000 inmates last year and will do the same this year. It's not like you're holding people forever and as long as you do everyone's safe. The low-level felons who'd be diverted from prison already aren't there for long.

The whole state jail thing has kind of run its course. It never really worked like Ann promised it would and today they're just more warehouse space.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that there are a great many elderly and infirm that pose no threat to anyone, many having served more than 20 years. They don't need to be in TDCJ for end of life care.

Anonymous said...

This does address the not-insignificant number of individuals who should not be in TDC [no Justice there] in the first place.

These are individuals who plea guilty to a crime they may have not even committed rather than face the DA in a jury trial. If they are found guilty in a trial, they may face a sentence 2-3 times the length of the sentence offered by the DA. Most Public Defenders encourage their clients to plea rather than to have to prepare for a jury trial.

The number of jury trials has been decreasing for years now because of this trend.

My son had a choice: plea to 9 or face 20 in a jury trial. Maybe a jury would have acquitted; we'll never know.

Anonymous said...

I was incarcerated in TDCJ from 1991 through 2011. When I went in, they had, in 1986 (?), just revamped the system. Did away with building tenders, etc., but many of the better things about the system still pervaded, i.e., drug rehabilitation, sex offender treatment, which was expanded, counseling services through the psych department, religious services which can contribute to rehabilitation, tremendously better food services (that can be a relative term to some). There was more, but still not enough, emphasis on a restorative attitude amongst the wardens, in general, and the higher ups. That was all thanks to then-governor Ann Richards. As soon as she left office, around 1992-93, things changed. She, as a recovered alcoholic, had seen to it that the state provide all these rehabilitation services. After she left office, they did away with drugs and sex offender counseling on each unit. What restorative attitude TDCJ possessed was abandoned. As it stands today, psych services like individual counseling no longer exist: "Budget cuts". Medical care, when I left, was substandard, food was horrible and not nearly enough of it. Funds were cut for chaplaincy services in general, and the morale among both guards and inmates was at an all-time low. My point is, the United states, especially Texas, needs to follow Canada's example of restorative justice rather than the current retributive justice. People go into prison already beaten down by life because of poor upbringing, poor examples to follow during their younger years, etc. Many different reasons. Then here comes TDCJ to beat them down even further. I am not advocating being soft on sex offenders, but the recidivism rate among SOs is around 5%, the second lowest rate of any major criminal category. Yet, the state is spending untold millions by incarcerating them for longer and longer sentences, yet spending little on other programs. Yes, I knew some SOs that I truly believed were incorrigible, but those were few and usually were civilly committed. By comparison, the recidivism rate for drug and alcohol-related offenses is 60% to 80%, but yet there is little counseling for those and little emphasis on releasing them clean and sober. Sex offenders, for the vast majority, would benefit from shorter sentences and couseling before, during and after incarceration.Many could be rehabiltated through probation, counseling and assessment.That alone would save million. But, that is not a "popular" idea. Throw them in there forever and punish them for the rest of their lives.What about drug dealers who use 10 year olds as mules to sell to other 10,11 and 12 year olds There many SOs who really should not even be in prison, but yet are due to the ridiculous laws that put them there. But, to the point, there are thousands in all categories who would benefit from rehabilitation programs that could shorten sentences, and serve to build up, rather than further tear down the individual. These people first, though, have to bee seen as humans, rather the dregs of society. Until a restorative approach is taken, it will only get worse.

Bill Habern said...

So what's new here? The way Government agencies grow is by enhanced budgets. I know of few if any heads of agencies who wish to find their organizational size reduced. The arguments don't change much from these bureaucrats. As a lawyer engaged in post conviction practice I have dealt the parole board and prison for over 45 yrs. Last night at my lake house near Huntsville we had dinner with two enlightened recently departed TDCJ correction officers who are neighbors. There stories were the same as I heard 40 years ago before the Ruiz case was resolved. For Collins to claim a reduction of 4% (or whatever the amount of reduction the legislature wants this time) will cause them to have an even greater loss of guard to inmate ratio is absurd. They already have such a dangerously low ratio too many units are already way too short of staff support.

it is not just the drug cases that are overserved in this state. It is these young kids barely adult age that discover computer porn and click on some kiddy channel. No probation for them, and off to prison they go. The media and politicians have way overstepped the line to redefined sex identified crime. The really bad one do not get out anyway most of the time, and the one's getting out seldom become sex recidivists.
There are plenty of ways to cut back within the criminal justice arena and reduce costs. A great start would be to get rid of private prisons.

Bill Habern
Houston, Texas

George said...

Amen Bill, amen,

To all of you bible-thumping, ultra-conservative, so called right-wingers out there perhaps you go back to your bible studies and read what the good book says about forgiveness and redemption. Most of you only want to select certain words and phrases that fit your narrowly defined beliefs and how you view your unique world as it relates to the administration of criminal justice.

For the record, I'm a Christian and I'm also a sinner and I can empathize and identify with the citizens of this state that are caught up in the criminal justice system. I believe that most of the people charged with crimes are indeed guilty in one fashion or another. I equally believe that some are innocent as well.

I believe in punishing those who are truly guilty but to punish them in a humane manner and to begin immediate rehabilitative efforts so to prepare them for their release back into society. Are there truly evil people that are beyond hope? Quite possibly but I personally feel that this label is used much too often and the number of these individuals are very low.

I believe that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice could do a much better job of housing, educating, feeding and providing health care the citizens in their care. Treating these people as animals doesn't prepare them for their release. Treating some of those released as much more dangerous than they really are is even worse and borders on criminal malfeasance. I'm outing them on how they treat the releasees convicted of sex offenses. It's been proving beyond a doubt that those convicted of sex offenses have the lowest rate of recidivism other than murderers yet these parolees have a vast amount of restrictions and conditions placed on them that the average uninformed citizen actually believes that they are extremely dangerous and highly likely to reoffend --- exactly the opposite is actually true!

A recent ruling by the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a unanimous one, found that the SORA, Sex Offender Registration Act, of Michigan is subject the US Constitution's Ex Post Facto clause because the effects of the act is indeed punitive as opposed to what the lower courts as well as the US Supreme Court has ruled. This ruling affects those whose crimes were committed before most of the registration laws went into effect. This unanimous ruling's decision was written by a George H.W. Bush appointee by the way. This is a tremendous victory in the fight against public mob mentality and how it permeates into the lawmaking wing of our governments.

Our state prison system is broken and in need of repair. We need to overhaul the entire system and streamlined so that certain well-thought out objectives are identified and achieved. The wasteful money spent on the present system could, and should, be spent on other areas of our society such as education, job growth, healthcare, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and the list goes on.

Stop declaring war on our very citizens! Stop the state-mandated mistreatment of citizens caught up in the web of our criminal justice system. A web that includes not only the convicted but also their family members and loved ones. Stop the promotion of mistrust and hatred directed towards those less fortunate than you.

Search your hearts fellow citizens, search deeply and try and find bit of empathy towards your fellow sinners -- we each are sinners in our own unique ways. Try and find an ounce of humanity within you and administer the justice towards others that you would wish to have meted out to yourself.

sunray's wench said...

It is possible to look at a person, their behaviour up to the point of criminality, during and after, and during and after incarceration, and make a sensible decision on whether they can best serve society by being removed from it, or released back into it. But it takes longer than 45 seconds, and should start the moment incarceration happens, not (in some cases) 20 or 30 years after the act was committed.

Why would someone be suitable for parole only after serving 50% of their sentence? What is that rule based on? Why 50% and not 49%? What is incarceration for? It's not for restitution, rehabilitation (not in Texas anyway) and not for 'justice' (which is the process of trial and sentencing, not the incarceration itself). It's for vengeance and profit.

Hopefully the 14 respondents above me have, and will continue to vote for politicians who show they are serious about tackling the over-incarceration machine in TX. That's the only way things will change.

Steve said...

Intermediate Sanctions Facilities reduce incarcerations at TDCJ? I continue to be disappointed in your blindness about this, Scott. ISFs are miserable hell holes that are a part of TDCJ and they produce BAD results. One of these days, perhaps you'll read the Legislative Budget Board's report on recidivism and rearrest rates ( You'll see that within three years of release, over HALF of the offenders released from ISFs commit new offenses (57.5%). The only worse rearrest rates are seen from people released from state jails (62.0%). People released from prison almost look good in comparison (46.5%). However, parolees can be sent back to ISFs time and time again until they've served their sentence, and they're not considered as revocations, so the parole revocation rates look good. Essential reform of those institutions (which does cost money) is necessary if you really want to help offenders get prepared for release and protect society. When you do nothing for programming to help offenders change, you get that revolving door of rearrests.

Anonymous said...

@J Hall Where exactly does TIFA spend the money from those that "support " TIFA ? I have contacted the "treasurer" Robert and requested a copy of financial records that should be kept by ALL "non profit " 501c entities and he gave a lame excuse about it all being volunteers, so no records are kept!! How much is Jennifer Erschabek paid? Who else of TIFA is paid, and how much?? And for what??
TIFA should be just as accountable as TDCJ. How much is brought in by membership dues, donations, TSHIRT SALES (eye roll!) and all other sources of revenue to TIFA?!?
I believe TIFA is yet another hypocrital predator on inmates and their loved ones.
TIFA ...where's the money?

Anonymous said...

The last Form 990 filed with the IRS, that I could find record of, was 2009 ! WHAT DOES TIFA DO WITH THE MONEY?
Their meetings are typically held in locations that allow so-called nonprofits to use their facilities for little or, often, no charge.
The current Tshirt sale advertised is a TIFA "anniversary" shirt for $20 or more. Needing to come up with Jennifer Erschabekand other's paychecks?

wolf sittler said...

If a private business had a product failure rate (recidivism) like TDCJ and its State Jails, owners/investors would demand changes. Unlike a private business, however, TDCJ is publicly funded and funding is not dependent on success or failure. This lack of accountability is both unfair and expensive. It impacts the victims, the offenders, the families of each, and all the taxpayers who subsidize this system that needs a major overhaul.
Right on Crime staffers point to Texas as a leader in criminal justice reform. They advise other states how to examine their systems to make for greater public safety and less cost. They urged Louisiana to create the Justice Re-Investment Task force; Oklahoma to create the Justice Reform Task Force; Utah to create the Justice Re-Investment Initiative. Yet, when it comes to Texas there has been no similar proposal in spite of their well known talking point that "prisons are for people we're afraid of, not the ones we're mad at."
Texas has made some advancements in criminal justice reform. But to expect significant reforms from those who created the problem is wishful thinking. The laws, rules and procedures that direct the system were made by politicians, not people who are educated in the dynamics about how people change. Until human service professionals have at least an equal voice in how to improve the system we'll be stuck with a punishment based system that ignores individual differences and prevents people from transforming their lives in a positive direction.

Anonymous said...

Our Judicial System has become motivated by unlawful benefits. It is the old story of the pot calling the kettle black! Law is ignored and rules, codes, and regulations are applied like a blanket to everyone (except politicians). Judicial rulings & opinions are sometimes incompetent and unjust for the normal American people.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Steve, limiting revocations to prison was the point of ISFs, so if they're doing that, that's what they're supposed to do.

I only wish probation were as successful at reducing revocations. You're complaining about parole but probation's technical revocation numbers are awful. I've heard these complaints before but they come off to outsiders as sour grapes because parole could make ISFs work and probation cannot.

Your comments about recidivism are beside the point but I don't have time to delve into that piece of it now. I'm with you that they need to invest more for programming at ISFs, but I don't think your hostility toward them (compared to the rest of the dysfunctional system, including the part of it you work on) is particularly warranted.

Anonymous said...

TDCJ uses thinly disguised nursing homes like Hodge-Skyview as a pillar of the wasteful jobs program that depends on helpless over 60 types. End the waste, fraud and abuse---the recidivism rates, or should I say the lack of them, are such that even the densest citizen should one day realize his taxes are wasted and he is being had royally by the system.

Anonymous said...

The explanation in the first comment was clearly on target. "Those of us who were around in the 70's, 80's and early 90's remember what happened when parole rates were ramped up and the proverbial "revolving door" was the order of the day". Here is one explanation of the the "turn them loose" strategy.

The State of Texas learned that the failure to plan to build more prisons inflates crime disastrously. Because of a burgeoning inmate population in Texas prisons, the 1983 Texas legis-lature adopted a turn-me-loose-faster approach. The offender population grew, and the average term served dropped from 55 percent of the sentence to less that 15 percent. The expected pun-ishment for a serious crime in Texas dropped 43 percent from 1980 to 1989, but the nation as a whole rose by about 35 percent. The result was a crime rate that soared 29 percent in Texas from 1980-1989, while nationally it dropped 4 percent, making Texas the second most crime-prone state. “In short, locked up and slow ‘me down. Turned loose and you pay an awful price.” Eugene H. Methvin, “Doubling the Prison Population will Break America’s Crime Wave” Corrections Today, February 1992: 29-40.

Anonymous said...

J. Hall, I guess your son should never come home then? I mean, he's the same guy who likes to climb up the pipe chase and then refuses to come down so officers have to retrieve him (using valuable officer time)...the same inmate who falls out in the middle of the hallway and then refuses to get up and officers have to come get him (again wasting officer time!). If he can't behave in prison, he will never adhere to the parole division guidelines. And TIFA is joke!

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Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9/6/2016 02:24pm Ahhh! So you know Joann Hall's son? Do you think he believes that her "supporting TIFA" entitles him to get away with such petulant, childish behavior? I would suspect so.
TIFA is not only a joke, it's a scam! Non profit,my ass. Robert Elzner "the treasurer " admitting that there is no accounting of the money that is received. I think that TDCJ would be correct to refuse to meet with them, until they can , and willingly DO provide financial records.
Cmon Jennifer Erschabek.
Full disclosure, transparency, the Open Records act...
501c non profit staus CAN be revoked!
J Hall and her band of mercenaries prey on inmates and their loved ones, charging OUTRAGEOUS fees for performing inmate marriages! Ceremonies that are not allowed to last more than 30 -45 minutes in entirety! J Hall and her gang, and TIFA ...pffft. Worse than a joke, they are scammers.

Lindsey said...

While some of these comments are gross, a surprising amount of them are not. I'm so glad to see so many people willing and capable of dismantling outdated tough on crime fodder. In the words of Katniss Everdeen, "fire is catching."

Anonymous said...

To Cut Budget is as Bill Habern said "Get rid of private prisons" like Civil Commitment and their secret prison which they want to call a Treatment facility,run by Senator Whitmire and Marsha McClain.What happen to Justice and Trust at the Court House? Civil Commitment is Unconstitutional and after they have served their Sentence,these men were taken to court and put in a mental institute called Civil Commitment and us Tax payers are paying those Treatment providers Salaries,For the next 7 years. These Judge need to go back and Rule this Mess Unconstitutional!!!