Thursday, December 09, 2004

Prosecutors see writing on wall

Ann from Solutions for Texas attended the Texas elected prosecutors' conference in Austin yesterday, and put her notes online from a presentation by Texas County and District Attorneys Association lobbyist Shannon Edmonds regarding sentencing issues in the 79th Texas Legislature, which begins in January.

Edmonds' Power Point presentation sounds like it could have come from a Grits analysis of Texas' precarious budget situation (which is probably because we all work off of the same handful of information sources for public safety data). They want Texas to build a new prison, but recognize that in the current budget climate that may not be an option. So,

  • If the Legislature will not increase prison beds there are only three options:
    1. Send fewer people to prison,
    2. Release more people from prison, or
    3. Both.

Yup, that's pretty much the deal. Whatever the outcome of this legislative session regarding sentencing reform, the terms of debate are clear: Raise taxes to build or rent more prison space, or incarcerate fewer people.

Go to Solutions for Texas to check out the rest. For more
Grits coverage of non-capital Texas sentencing issues in the coming 79th session, see Houston driving incarceration train, Lege addicted to enhancements, Pay as you go prisons, and Prisons or Healthcare for Kids?.

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