Monday, May 17, 2010

'Criminal Justice Policy: An Unlikely Bipartisan Consensus'

The title of this post is the headline to an article by former House Corrections Chairman Ray Allen featuring interviews with current Chair Jim McReynolds and immediate past Chair Jerry Madden.

Both McReynolds and Madden said it was too early to say if prison units might be closed, declaring they could not identify possible cuts without more information. Two key landmarks were identified on the horizon that will frame that debate: The LBB inmate population projections are due in June, and TDCJ submits its Legislative Appropriations Request in August.

In addition, McReynolds suggested the Legislature wastes money in the long haul by ignoring children of incarcerated parents:
Children whose mother is incarcerated face unbelievable hardships which put them at severe risk of future criminal behavior. Our policies ought to reflect our best efforts to positively change the lives of incarcerated women and those whose lives are so dependent upon them. To do less than our best means unnecessary fiscal costs down the road, and a terrible cost in human lives, both for future crime victims and the dependents of offenders.
The chairman also expressed concern about warehousing mentally ill youth for whom the Texas Youth Commission has exhausted its treatment options. Read the whole thing.


ckikerintulia said...

Hurray for McReynolds. However, he needs to work on his grammar and make the numbers agree. "A child whose mother is . . ." or "children whose mothers are . . ."

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Picky, picky! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that McReynolds and Madden get it when it comes to spending money on probation to reduce the costs of incarceration. They seem to understand that spending money now will save money later. I just hope the governor's office and the legislature see this also, otherwise we are just going to continue a trend of cutting probation programs and increasing incarceration, spazzing out over this, then reestablishing diversion funds in a couple of years to reduce the prison population. Criminal justice should not be cyclical in this regard.

Angee said...

Children with a parent in prison are 80% more likely to end up in the system according to the DOJ. It seems that Dads also play an important role and that should be a consideration as well.

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