Thursday, December 02, 2004

No New Prison in TX Senate Committee Plan

An email from Solutions for Texas brings this news:

"The Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee released its Interim Report (pdf) yesterday, signed unanimously by all members of the committee, recommending that the Texas Legislature enact policies that reduce recidivism:
  • strengthen probation programs
  • address growing probation revocations
  • reduce inmates who are non-citizen, geriatric or medically incapacitated
  • expand drug courts
  • use parole guidelines
"The Committee did NOT recommend new prison beds, even though they point out clearly that the prison system is overflowing! ('Current resources will not support the prison population.')"

That's good news. Texas prosecutors are already gearing up to ask the Texas Legislature to build a new $350 million prison so that they can keep locking folks up. Non-violent offenders make up around 70% of everyone admitted to Texas prisons each year. The five bulleted policies are all designed to lessen prison overcrowding without resorting to building new prisons. That means incarcerating Texans at a lower rate, and starting pretty soon, or else farming them out to expensive, scandal-ridden private prisons.

Grits will examine the 93-page Senate Criminal Justice Committee report in greater detail in the next few days to get an idea where the Texas Senate will be steering the criminal justice system this year. And be sure to regularly check Solutions for Texas, which is becoming an invaluable resource on these subjects.

Thanks to Ann for the information.

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