Monday, November 15, 2004

New Web Site Offers Solutions for Texas' Prison Crisis

Ann del Llano, one of my closest friends, has just launched an important new website for the criminal justice reform movement called Solutions for Texas, created to track and report on efforts to expand alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders.

The site's opening salvo points out the dilemma facing the Texas Legislature if they don't enact less punitive policies: "1 in 20 Texans is currently in prison, on probation or parole. The prison population is exploding beyond capacity & TDCJ (the TX Department of Criminal Justice) is $60 million over budget with no sustainable plan."

Many legislators in the Republican majority ran for office pledging no new taxes, and repairing the school finance system already threatens the state budget with gallons of red ink. Del Llano is providing legislators an out -- a way to maintain public safety while avoiding expensive prison expansion that would require new taxes. Let's hope they take it.

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