Saturday, January 22, 2005

What deterrent?

In light of Texas' two executions scheduled next week, here' s an interesting fact-bite: even though Texas executes more murderers than the next half dozen states combined, Texas' murder rate went up 8.6 % statewide from 2002 to 2003 alone. Overall, violent crime declined slightly over that period, according to the new Texas correctional population projections (pdf) by the Legislative Budget Board that I'm just starting to go through, but not much.

That's consistent with other information I've seen. Ann cites stats from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the agency that operates Texas prisons:
"Texas' incarceration rate has been 51% higher than the national average, but in spite of that the crime rate has been 24% higher than the national average." Meanwhile, the prisons are bursting at the seams, and will be officially overcrowded after March. Texas is on a path to incarcerate nearly 15,000 more people each year by 2010, if current trends continue, said LBB. About 77,000 new inmates entered Texas prisons last year alone, most for non-violent offenses.

All this supposedly in an effort to keep us safe. But given the evidence one must ask, where's the deterrent?

1 comment:

r. merial martin said...
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