Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lack of transitional housing contributes to Texas prison overcrowding

The Back Gate has posted a video that TCJC did on YouTube a few months ago about alternative solutions to Texas' prison overincarceration crisis. (I'd posted it here in October, but it's certainly timely to resurrect it.) In the meantime, just today the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition released another short video on YouTube, this time focusing on the need for more transitional housing for felons leaving the Texas prison system:

Think how discouraging it must feel to have been approved for parole but remain in prison because you have no address to be released to? More than 1,000 Texas prisoners find themselves in that circumstance today, says the video, at a time when Texas is renting 1,900 beds.

Thankfully some at the capitol are heeding these concerns. House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden and Senate Criminal Justice Chairman John Whitmire have recently proposed increasing the number of halfway houses in Texas from 600 to 1,500 as part of a package of incarceration alternatives they're jointly developing.

For the activist-minded Texans among you, it's not too early to make sure your own Texas state representative and senator have seen copies of both these short videos. Let them know you support the coming Madden-Whitmire reform package and oppose new prison building.

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