Friday, September 30, 2011

Conservatives praise 'Texas model' on criminal justice reform

Just received this press release from the Right on Crime initiative announcing two new public policy reports from the Texas Public Policy Foundation:
September 30, 2011

Right on Crime and TPPF Release Reports on Texas Corrections Reform

Texas achieves dramatic results in criminal justice reform

AUSTIN, TX - Right on Crime and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) today released two policy briefs regarding Texas' extensive criminal justice reforms in juvenile and adult corrections. Over the last decade, the groups' policy advisors have been instrumental in working with the Texas legislature and Governor Rick Perry to overhaul the state's corrections system.

"For the first time in state history, Texas closed a prison because we don't need it anymore," said Marc Levin, Senior Policy Advisor to Right on Crime, who also serves as the Director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  "The reforms that were first adopted in Texas have stimulated similar initiatives across the nation in South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Ohio, Arkansas, and other states.  Crime has dropped in Texas since the changes and taxpayers have saved more than a billion dollars from not building new prisons.  We believe these commonsense policies, which were supported by 'tough and smart on crime' conservatives and are outlined in these reports, can serve as an effective model for other states."

According to the report Adult Corrections Reform:  Lower Crime, Lower Costs, policies initiated since 2005 have expanded capacity to alternatives to incarceration that hold nonviolent offenders accountable and provide effective supervision. This has helped Texas reduce its crime rate by 12.8 percent since 2005 while also reducing its incarceration rate by 9 percent. Additionally, the number of new crimes committed by parolees fell 8.5 percent from 2007 to 2010.

The second report, Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Reform:  Cutting Costs, Saving Lives, revealed that through key reforms, Texas was able to reduce the number of juvenile crime cases by 9.1 percent from 2007 to 2011.  Among the reforms, Texas moved away from an overemphasis on incarcerating less serious youth offenders in remotely located state lockups and towards evidence-based community corrections programs that produce a greater reduction in re-offending for every dollar spent.

"While we have more work to do, the Texas model of reform has proven to be extremely effective in both increasing public safety and saving taxpayers' money," said Brooke Rollins, president of TPPF and a Right on Crime signatory. "In criminal justice, it is vital to align policies with the current research indicating what works to protect communities and reform offenders, rather than simply maintain the status quo. The commonsense approach outlined in these new reports provides a roadmap for other states to follow Texas' model in modernizing the corrections system in a way that reduces crime and cuts costs."

To view the reports, click here.
While the state deserves credit for various reforms passed in the last few years, this last session Texas legislators backed away from a more aggressive reform agenda, much to this writer's dismay, de-emphasizing the strategies embraced over previous sessions instead of doubling down. As regular readers, know, I'm willing to give credit where credit's due, but I was disappointed Texas legislators didn't seize the opportunity presented to them by the budget crisis to more radically reform the corrections system, particularly on the adult side. Indeed, in many ways I fear this failure to act in 2011 may, in the medium to long run, set the agency up to fail.


rodmsith said...

rofl! Must be another texas out there i don't know about. It's certainly not this one they are talking about!

Anonymous said...

rodmsith, I agree! Where do I start with the overwhelming absence of rehabilitation and supposed re-entry assistance at TDCJ? We can close prisons and create supposed “alternatives” for non-violent offenders but what then? On the inside there are too many guards and officers on a power trip and they have no clue about sociology, psychology or human behavior. Then these “alternatives” to incarceration like halfway houses, well the one they sent my husband to had the same dictator like attitude and refused to provide him with the basic needs the first night he was there. Oh, I could go on! These men and women have been convicted of crimes and are doing their time. Is it necessary to treat them like non-humans? There are probably some offenders who make it difficult to treat them as human but basic communication skills would probably still be a good thing. We have a criminal justice system and a society that is creating a sub-class of people among those who have been convicted and have served their time. We frown on countries with a cast system yet we have our own cast system right here in America. I believe that we should be accountable for our actions but, as the above article says, TDCJ has a long way to go in it's own rehabilitation!

Anonymous said...

As long as there are TYC left-overs spread out in the justice system, the state will continue to suffer. All of these tainted juvenile justice failures should be fired and removed from the justice field.

Anonymous said...

I applaud any effort from the state to offer alternatives to incarceration. But as daughter3 said, there is an overwhelming absence of rehabiliation and reentry programs. But what about men and women who have been incarcerated for long lengths of time and have, while in prison, PROVED they are rehabilitated. The Parole Board says they look for that. Nonsense. These people will rot in prison because of "nature of the crime", the catch phrase for non parole. Soon, TDCJ will be running geriatric prisons keeping people inside no matter that their prison record has shown rehab and reentry skills and attitudes.

rodsmith said...

well 11:57 look at it this way. Those prisons will be nice and cheap!

won't need fences. 90 year old wheelchari bound peole can't get far.

No need for guards1 angain 90 year olds in wheelchairs can't attack and beat up either other or escape!

hmm the crooks might want to rethink that program.....they will all be out of jobs!

Lawyer said...

Focus on the solution, not TDCJ wrongs. I was in, now out, opening 1 faith-based home, working on hot-shot delivery service. Took me 6months. Come be a part of solution, TDCJ is not the source of the answer, it is small groups of dedicated people changing the way we reintegrate offenders.

Anonymous said...

Let me see we have a parole board that will not release people the first time up because of something no one can change "nature of the offense" and thumbs their noses at Federal Judges. Amazing! On the good ole Crain unit in Gatesville home of international torture they put max effort into kicking everyone out of school classes or anything else. There is a male guard on Terrace that is now going around stealing the inmate’s property under the guise of improperly stored or contraband. Some rehabilitation there watching a guard steal personal property or the male guard who has to watch the women shower. But the real kicker is the group of lesbian black female guards who use gang tactics to harass Latino and white inmates like pat searches that are nothing more than feel ups, fondling and molestation. Strip searches with agendas to humiliate and degrade the inmates who are not lesbians. A Lt on Sycamore that turns a blind eye to the same things also. I would say that is a lot of rehabilitation there. Sounds like the taxpayers in Texas got talked into buying a bargain but were tricked into leaving it behind.

rodsmith said...

well 7:47 i'd think that would be what god made dark corners and towels's for! give the little crooks the same treatment that cops give to citizens!

my brother in law told me about one of his new guards. idiot started going around in the dorms at night with a tape measure and measuring how far the shoe's were from the end of the bed and then writeing up the ones in so-called violation. They put up with it about 2 weeks from what he said. then about 15 of them caught him in the laundry and about beat him to death! on his return...the tape measure stayed home!

Anonymous said...

rodmsith said:

I agree but here is what is happening.

That would be my first thoughts on the matter too because that’s how men handle these matters but in a women’s prison like Crain supposedly a minimum custody the guards play these silly little mind games. Most of the women guards are lazy, vindictive and are lesbians who enjoy torture. The men guards feel short changed since they wanted the violence and action of the men’s prisons and did not get it so they go around looking for anything that may cause trouble. They will use 3 cans of tear gas and hit the women in the face with the stuff when none is needed at all. On Lane Murray and Crain after they hand cuff a victim (inmate) they will pick them up a 200 pound male officer and slam them face first into the ground a 100 pound female inmate and then cover up the injuries and fail to file a Use of Force Report. There is a male Lieutenant on Lane Murray they call Tom Cruise that will always call them a “HO” right before he slams them into the ground. He is always the one that just happens to be there when it happens and you can count on him to always use helpful rehabilitation technics such as referring to all the women there as HO’S unless they are providing him with sex. The women guards on the Crain unit will stand around and cheer a male officer before they do the same thing to a woman who is already hand cuff and shackled. The over use of tear gas in those dorms that have little to no ventilation effects everyone in them and they are laughed at them as they are left to suffer breathing the gas and not able to go outside or open windows. Of course all of this is white washed by the Warden too. The guy stealing from the inmates does this for sport so he has the enjoyment of taking something away from an inmate that their family cannot replace again. He is no better than a common street gutter criminal but he wears a gray uniform and the rank especially on the Terrace, Riverside and Sycamore Units see these as fun and games and even encourages this like the female Sergeant with the drinking problem that brings in alcohol to drink on duty. The female guards who write the women up for sex cases do this to retaliate against these women for not having a relationship or sex with them. This is purely vindictive to the women there and then to top it all off they will also steal all of the woman's personal items and say "contraband or improperly stored" and the rank on these three units always agree and laugh right along with the guards.

Anonymous said...

I saw at guard at the Crain Unit at visitation take a pen away from a visitor and say “I can use this to write up more cases so it can be used to stop offenders from making parole”. What would you expect when the rank goes right along with this conduct and you have a parole board where no one makes parole anyway especially the first time up and thumbs their noses at Federal Judges.

rodsmith said...

well 11:04 i'm an old crazy vengeful west virginia hillbilly. if any was dumb enough to take ANYTHING from me. I will get the. In the case if this guard i'll probably be nice to start and tell him he had 10 sec's to return my property....after that i wouldnt' have a problem in the world taking the pen back and then since he wanted it so bad....shoving it right up his nose into that spot where in a real person a brain should be!

sorry in my book he'd be a CROOK in the comission of a crimnal act who got caught and hurt or killed in being stopped...oh well!

like the cops say...shit happens!

rodsmith said...

10:43 you would be amazed what kind of attatude adjustment 5-10 women with a sock filled with a combination lock can accomplish when they catch a crooked twit like these you describe in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Once again rodmsith I agree
But on 24 September 2011 at the Terrace unit that guard put the pen in his pocket and laughed and said he would use it to write cases to stop paroles. There was a pregnant guard who conducted the strip searches after visitation with the door half opened and you could hear it all be done as she stood in the door way watching. How can this humiliation and degrading of a woman be even considered rehabilitation? If these women could defend themselves they would be overwhelmed with tear gas and after they are slammed to the ground they are kicked and punched then taking to segregation where they are isolated and all alone with what few possessions that they have are stolen from them.

rodsmith said...

now me i'm a little mean an a lot crazy. I would't have a problem in the world if i was there vistiign someone and saw the guard you are talking about leaving a door open while doing strip walk up to her and ask if she was either too stupid to know how to close a door or just plain retarded. But either way SHE WAS DONE. She could carry her ass and go find a supervisor!

Anonymous said...

Well it was kind of sad to sit there for two hours during visitation and witness so many women degraded and humiliated in this manner and from the angle the visitors could hear it all and the ladies on the other side of the door could do nothing but obey Master's orders and strip and cough twice. The people in the room could hear it all even behind the glass and wire mess barrier but the women being striped probably had no idea unless their visitors or family members told them after the fact. The guard stood in the doorway half opened so I guess she could watch and make sure none of the visitors magically passed something through the glass wall instead of closing the door and doing the search in private. You wonder why so many women leave there broken when they are treated in such a callous manner and degraded and humiliated like this in front of their love ones and friends. This is a supposedly minimum security facility which operators like a third world country prison but the only difference is in a third world prison they allow contact visits and then they would be a reason for the search before and after the visit. They do this on the Crain unit to ruin the visits for the families and friends. How could anyone pass something through those maximum security barriers they have in place there? I heard a guard say two things that day, one: I will write case to stop parole and two: I think there should be no visitation for anyone in prison anyway. So you see there is no rehabilitation on this unit nothing but callous punitive measure with the intent to degrade and humiliate not just the inmates but the family members and friend that go there to visit also. It is insulting for a family member to witness these cruel and sadistic measures being used against the people they care about at visitation. They guards talk down to you and they all think they are comedians telling bad jokes just to ruin the visits. One would have to believe that this callous, degrading and humiliating attitude starts at the very top with the Warden and goes all the way down to the guards at visitation. When the Federal authorities takes over this unit again then family members will be treated with a little respect and all the visits will be contact and then there will be a reason to do these searches instead of just to degrade and humiliate the inmates in front of their visitors.

Crain Watcher said...

I doubt a supervisor would have done anything at the Crain Unit because the Majors, Captains, Lieutenants and Sergeants encourage this behavior and they walk all through the visitation area eating and interrupting people’s visitations. I have seen this done on three of the Crain units of Riverside, Terrace and Sycamore units for the past ten years but it was different when the federal authorities took over, visitation was conducted in a humane, respectable manner and the sadistic guards had to stop locking the women up in the cages mounted on trailers when they were on work details because a guard was having a bad day.

Anonymous said...

I once saw a guard come into the visitation area on the Terrace Unit and was inside the area where the inmates sit and she stood there and stared the inmate down with a sick, sadistic grin on her face for a few minutes to intimidate the inmate and me then leave smirking. I asked my friend what was that all about and she said the guard had been harassing, cussing , yelling at her at work and had just wrote her up for nothing but “it’s your word against mine” a couple of days earlier. This seems to me to be a case of I will not only show you who has power but intimidate both you and your visitor during your visitation. If someone told a supervisor nothing would happen she seemed to have free reign behind the glass and might have even physically attacked my friend from the way the guard was acting.

Anonymous said...

This is worse than I've heard before and I've been in many of the men's prisons. This may really be dumb questions but has anyone ever gone over the Warden? What about Huntsville? What about the local newspapers? A large light shed on these situations might put an end to it. Sounds as if there have been several incidents and reports to visitors and their accounts should count for something, I would hope.


I have personally talked to two of the last three Wardens and it is the same excuse "inmates lie because they are there and guards are always right. The guards are criminal plain and simple at this unit. The new Warden is no better. This is a minimum security unit for the most part but is run like a concentration camp. They had a evil woman Captain there for years that physically torture women there and stories were posted my inmates family members to no avail because inmates and their families lie. One Asst Warden who is now a Warden right down the road got so defensive I thought she was going to fight me for asking simple questions. I would think you would be only wasteing your time talking to the Warden on this Unit because you have to look at the history and all the dirty secrets they are hiding. I do not think they planted any crops on the Crain Unit this year because in the past seven years the guards took the fresh veggies home and NONE made it to the inmates tables. This is the only minimum securtity unit in Texas that I know of that will not allow the inmates who behave themselves have contact visits with all their visitors. Most Wardens at the men's prisons allow all minimum security prisoners who behave themselves to have contact visits but on the Crain unit this is POWER and they enjoy the power to deprive, degrade and humiliate the women there. When a Warden abuses power just at visitation where it can be seen by all, you have to wonder what happens to the women there when visitation is done. The Crain Unit will always be an evil place run by evil people. The last Warden there broke the laws pass by state lawmakers concerning the telephones for the first year and everyone turned a blind eye.

rodsmith said...

see that's where being a mean vindictive west virginia hillbilly comes in. i'd just inform the warden that guess what as of NOW you are responsible for my friend. If ANYTHING happens to them. If they so much as stub a toe i will HOLD THEM PERSONALLY responsible and guess what once out of your little kigdom your nothing but a awhole with a costume and i would have no problem finding you and returning the favor!

then i would invite him to look up my family. Last feud my family was in lasted 78 YEARS we won! nobody left on the other side!

Crain Watcher said...

No local Newspaper in Gatesville or probably even in Waco would post any negative article about the women's prisons in Gatesville, simply because this is this evil town's entire economy. Remember the inmates and their family members are all liars because they are there. The guards can get away with anything until it gets too big to hide and even then they hide it. A little known secret is all the women who have been locked away for years become pregnant and then the inmates are punished with hard time while the guards are allowed to walk away. The Crain Unit is like a B Rated cable movie where the inmates are always lying but being abused. No
rehabilitation at all is being offered down there. At all!!! And parole is only a dream and the numbers prove this by all the women who max out their sentences with non-violent crimes. Empty beds down there means less jobs and this is why they still have the "ho" squads just to disable and destroy women. Punishment not rehabilitation is what this unit is famous for. They plant no crops down there; they just cut grass with aggies and shovel manure.

Crain Watcher said...

There is a correctional officer board called Texas Justice Dot Org where some of the correctional officers are complaining and talking of lawsuits from the sexual harassment they receive from the gay officers down there too. They refer to the place as GAYSVILLE!!!! That town of Gatesville is like Sodom and Gomorra. This town and the people are pure evil. Even the Wardens on those Units will do nothing but Plane State is the worst of the worst and this is where at intake if a citizen did to a woman what these guards do they would be in prison for sexual assault.

Anonymous said...

The point I want to make is when one of this lesbian officers writes an inmate of a sex case it is not because they are having sex with another inmate or if they are it all comes back to retaliation because the guard cannot have their way with the inmate. The guard gets jealous because they fear they are losing their manipulation, fear, control and power over the inmate so in return they write a major case and this prevents parole. I do not know who is the dumbest her the prison trying to stop something between inmates but the guards turn around and lead by example (inappropriate relationships) when it comes to breaking the rules or the parole board for not being able to see this and denying someone parole over sex in a prison. How could the system be any more broken than this? This starts at the very top with the Wardens and Parole board members.

Anonymous said...

Found this to be interesting-

And this is only the tip of the ice berg that is TYC "What really needs a hard look is the current way TYC is sending youth from high restriction facilities into medium restriction facilities, half-way houses.
The agency closed a total of 5 high restriction facilities but kept all of their half-way houses open, 9 of them to be exact.
The issue at hand has become, keep the half-way houses full, but all you have to do is look at the type of youths we are recieving at these half-way houses.
Over the past 2 years we have more escapes, assaults on staff and youth, than we have ever had. But this is nothing compared to the level hearings being conducted on these youth for these infractions. What the agency is doing is keeping youth in this vicious cycle of sending them from high restriction facilities to half-way houses and then back to high restriction facilities by way of level hearings.
They are playing a shell game with these youth by attempting to keep their popualtions up, knowing full well that the youth they are sending to half-way houses are not prepared for this move, but when you have beds to fill and money to make, the agency leadership turns a blind eye to safety and the best interests for the youth and staff.
I am sure our elected officials will never take a hard look at this issue but they should, maybe before a serious incident occurs where a youth kills a store owner after they escape from a half-way house they never should have been at in the first place. All you have to do is look, the eveidence is right in front of your eyes."