Friday, May 05, 2006

Better make room: Without stronger probation, Texas needs 14,000+ new prison beds by 2010

Texas must immediately build thousands of new prison beds or else change its probation policies, so says Tony Fabelo writing in a front-page article (pdf) in The Texas Prosecutor (newsletter of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association). The former Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council chief said Texas will need 13,700 beds by 2008, according to CJPC's last estimate, and 14,490 by 2010 according to the Legislative Budget Board.

Today Texas prisons are
full to the brim. Texas' failed probation system is a huge cost driver, Fabelo reports: "25,639 probation revocations in 2005 cost the state an estimated $1.124 billion in incarceration costs."

I was glad to see him complimenting Travis County's probation operation. He described their approach in some detail as an example of a department strengthening community supervision, revamping the bureaucracy with an eye both toward reducing unncessary incarceration and improving outcomes for offenders.

See Grits' past discussion of Travis' probation reforms here, here, here, and here. See also Fabelo's comments on probation in this
Texas Observer interview.

Thanks to Shannon for the heads up.

No comments: