Thursday, June 14, 2012

With California de-incarcerating, Texas leads states with most prisoners

Texas now has the largest prison population of any state after California reduced its prison population by tens of thousands, as directed by a federal court order. Reported the Sacramento Bee:
California used to have the nation's largest state prison system, topping 173,000 inmates at its peak in 2006. But since a law took effect last year that shifts responsibility for less serious criminals to county jails, the state has reduced its prison population and is no longer the largest in the nation.

California now has fewer than 136,000 state inmates, eclipsed by about 154,000 in Texas. Florida previously was third, according to 2010 figures from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, and currently has about 100,000 inmates.

The reduction in California was ordered by federal judges in a decision backed last year by the U.S. Supreme Court. The courts ruled crowded prisons were causing poor care of sick and mentally ill inmates.
For the record, California's population is nearly half-again as big as Texas' (49% larger, according to the 2010 census), so for our prison population to outstrip their's speaks volumes about overincarceration here.

Comparing inmate population estimates in the story for the four largest states in the 2010 census makes the case even more starkly: Texas imprisons our citizenry 69% more frequently than in California, and at more than twice the rate as New York state. This table compares 2010 census population and crime rates to the approximate number of people in prison for the four largest US states (prisoner totals rounded to match rounded totals from the SacBee article; crime rate source here).

Notice that New York's violent and property crime rates per 100,000 people are substantially lower than here in Texas despite us locking up twice as many people per capita. Indeed, all these states see less property crime per capita than does Texas, and only Florida (another high-incarceration rate state) has a higher violent crime rate among Texas' big-state peers.

The other day Grits ran through a series of hypotheses regarding why crime has continued to decline nationwide despite what appear to be countervailing economic and sociological trends. For those who believe that crime has declined mainly because of "tuff on crime" strategies by the government locking up large numbers of criminals, how do you reconcile New York's success at crime reduction with that state's relatively low incarceration levels? If locking up more people improves safety, why aren't Texas' crime rates lower than in California, or in the Empire State?


BarkGrowlBite said...

I'll tell you why NY's crime rate is down. It's because NYPD and other law enforcement agencies have been manipulating crime stats by reporting felonies as misdemeanors to make themselves and their entities look good.n

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Even murder rates have declined in NY, BGB, do you fantasize NYPD cops are hiding the bodies somewhere to improve their stats?

rodsmith said...

horse hockey! They still have the same amount of prisoners...just using creative bookkeeping to keep them OFF the prison list!

Now they are blackmailing the country jails to house most of the extra! BUT they are still serving a prison sentence!

and this captha crap is getting silly now it's using photo's

Anonymous said...

BGB that is funny the point you are making.
Coincidentally Texas is reporting significant drops in Felonies but what isn't being pointed out is that there is also a significant spike in Misdemeanor Offenses. Don't know why and not saying that it is manipulation by law enforcement but an interesting data point to ponder.

Lee said...

Other European nations like France for example have a per capita incarceration rate of 77 prisoners of every 100,000population. In Great Britain it is 124/100,000 and Germany has a rate of 79/100,000. Russia rate of incarceration is 98/100,000 and China has 97/100,000. The land of the free incarcerates a per capita rate of almost 700 of every 100,000. The United States is about 5% of the world's population but has 25% of the world's prisoners. Are Americans evil people?
Why must the land of the free lock up so many?

The ACLU maintains the statisitc that almost halp of those incarcerated are being held on nonviolent offences. Estimating from this the statistic is still not much better. With having 5% of the world population and 12.5% of its violent prisoners, I have to wonder if Americans are more prone to evil? Having 300violent offenders to every 100,000 population while other industrialized nations average 100 incarcerated (violent and nonviolent) to every 100,000 population makes one wonder about the moral character of America in comparison to the rest of the world.

Grits, Are Americans evil people to have several times more violent prisoners than our other forigen collegues?

Lee said...

I was also thinking about the Stanford case. Now this con artist will be spending the rest of his life on the taypayer tab. Hasnt he already costed the taxpayers and victims enough? Now we have to pay for his roof and three meals a day for the rest of his life? How is this justice? He should be thrown out on the street homeless or pusished in a way that does not require the taxpayer. I wonder what a school district or hospital district could do with a fraction of that money now being spent on incarcerating him. While it may be punishment for him and his crimes, it is not justice for all of us.

Texasred said...

Manipulating stats is a well-known parlor trick, but once again Texas is the best. I was granted parole in August of one year, and released 13 months later.This when the pressure was on to reduce prison populations.On paper, I was released twice...Aug. 08{granted parole}and Aug.09{actual release}. Ain't it wonderful what a man can do with numbers?

Anonymous said...

Manipulating stats? Yes. DPD and many others doing it for a while now.

Anonymous said...

ME said...

I think it is amusingly pathetic that Texans like BarkGrowlBite would rather put down NY that stick to the subject raised by Grits. Look at the numbers fool and get a life. Time for Texas to look itself in the mirror. Rigid righteousness is getting you nowhere.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:29, what is your source to say misdemeanor rates are increasing? I don't necessarily know that that's true: I've not seen that claim made nor data to back it up.

Rod, pooh pooh it if you want, but the number of people MOVED OUT of state prisons in CA is greater than the total prison population of 37 states. That's a pretty big deal.

On manipulating stats, it's true Dallas got caught doing that but the commenters don't mention that in response they changed their metrics to stop it. All of you who claim crime is massively underreported, please explain why crime victimization surveys demonstrate similar declines to reported crime? If reported crime went down and the victim surveys showed crime still high, that'd be one thing. With victimization surveys corroborating declines in reported crime, your point becomes incredibly weak to the point of just being unsubstantiated BS.

Lee, I would disagree that "Americans [are] evil people to have several times more violent prisoners than our other forigen collegues," just as I don't believe the Soviet gulags meant Russians were more prone to crime durihng the Cold War. IMO the American people are no more or less evil than Europeans, and our high incarceration rate speaks more to an "evil" emanating from the government (or a "cancer," perhaps more aptly) than the relative danger from different nationalities.

sunray's wench said...

And yet Grits, if many Americans are to be believed, European governments are all socialist and/or liberal and in theory we should all be murdered in our beds because we don't lock enough people up (we are too soft on crime/criminals). You can put all the spin on that you want, but fact is, our crime rates are falling too.

I too have often wondered if Texas has a higher percentage of bad people than other states if they feel the need to lock so many up. But I actually suspect that Texas just has a higher percentage of people who don't think politics is important, or think voting wont get them anywhere, or that it will just never happen to them. Until it does, and then they yell about it for 5 minutes until they are released, and then behave as if it never happened. Kinda selfish attitude really.

Bottom line is, if you want to lock people up, then you have to pay more in taxes to do it. And Texans don't like paying taxes, do they, so something's gotta give.

Susan said...

I would be interested in a comparison with other states and foreign countries as to the length of sentencing in Texas and how that plays into the number of incarcerated. In the political arena in Texas, IMO, sentencing has becoming longer and harsher and parole rates can't match it or change those being released.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Susan, there was a recent report comparing changing length of stay in various state prison systems, see this writeup.

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder what Texas' incarceration rate would be if the clearance rate for crimes increased. We're in the bubble for determinate sentences having an effect on our incarceration rate. Convicts are serving more time.

Anonymous said...

No doubt in my mind that prison privatization in Texas drives the numbers somewhat.


Anonymous said...

Grits said........All of you who claim crime is massively underreported, please explain why crime victimization surveys demonstrate similar declines to reported crime?

Two police departments in my county no longer report to UCR. You dig?

Anonymous said...

At least three police departments located in counties contiguous with mine, did not report UCR stats in 2010.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

5:28/5:56, you don't seem to understand the question. Failing to report tells us nothing. If they don't report, you have no reason to suggest crime is going up OR down in those jurisdictions. You just don't know. It still doesn't explain away crime victimization surveys showing reduced crime. As a matter of logic, a lack of data does not counter data that simply contradicts with your thesis, which is how you'd apparently like to interpret it..

Anonymous said...

If there are fewer agencies who previously reported to UCR that are not reporting now, wouldn't crime numbers be down?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

A few tiny ones in BFE? No, it wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Let's extend your logic, Grits:

Beverly Hills has fewer people receiving welfare than Beverly Hills does. But Detroit has more poor people than Beverly Hills. Therefore, welfare is not an appropriate response to poverty.

rodsmith said...

lol i agree about this!

"Rod, pooh pooh it if you want, but the number of people MOVED OUT of state prisons in CA is greater than the total prison population of 37 states. That's a pretty big deal."

IF they were actualy being moved OUT of prison. Sorry but they are still serving a prison sentence but now are doing it in a COUNTY jail wich if setup like florida means they have it worse then those im prison. I know here in florida those serving an actual prison sentence in a county jail wich here is done for those with under 1 year. Get NO regular gain time. Can not be part of any training programs or school or drug programs. Visitation and phone privilages are pretty much non-existant since they get what everyone else there get's in my county that's like 4hrs a week and maybe 20min of phone time.

Sorry this is just more illegal creative bookkeeping that if done by anyother company would bring CRIMINAL CHARGES on those in charge!

Anonymous said...

Less agencies reporting to UCR
Some agencies reclassifying offenses(they have to do that to show a positive program performance for continued grant funding
Fewer victims reporting actual crimes
Broken Windows enforcement
Career criminals locked up
Deportations up under Obama
Use of security video cameras capturing criminals
More private security for proactive patrol

Probably all BS though.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to see some comparison numbers that will shock - check out other countries, their crime rates, and their incarceration rates.
We are doing something wrong, folks! - and locking people up apparently makes things worse.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

12:43, you think comparing New York state en toto to Texas' totals is like comparing Beverly Hills stats to Detroit? I can see the wheels turning there inside your noggin, but they could use a little grease. 10-15 years ago NYC's crime was worse than any Texas city, and they changed that WITHOUT the massive incarceration spike we had here.

7:38, thanks for the list. I'm glad somebody among the naysayers actually took a stab at the question in the post. You're correct some in NY think "broken windows" enforcement was a factor in NYC's crime drop, but not other jurisdictions. I also agree the Obama deportation policies may play a role, but the crime-reduction trend far predates it.

That said, just to mention it, nobody yet has actually named a single agency not reporting UCR. That's a fact-free meme at this point. If it's true at all, I'll bet dollars to donuts we're talking about small podunk agencies with barely anything to report. It's silly to claim that's a factor in the overall stats.

On "fewer victims reporting crimes," the crime victimization surveys say that's because there are fewer crimes and fewer victims. I'd have thought that's a good thing but a lot of folks here seem to want either to a) ignore the good news or b) pretend the stats don't exist and just claim the opposite, always anonymously one notices.

There's no evidence that surveillance cameras in public spaces reduced crime and in fact substantive reason to believe they do not.

Finally, this is my favorite on your list: "Career criminals locked up." Now please think for a moment before answering ... then think a little longer ... then tell us why New York incarcerating criminals at HALF the rate Texas does has lower crime rates if that's the pivotal factor? If that tactic is what's causing crime reductions, then why don't high incarceration-rate states have less crime?

Of course, such distinctions only matter if your goal is to reduce crime instead of demagogue about it. If the naysayers prefer not to confront the question, change the subject, etc., I can certainly understand why.

Anonymous said...

In 2010 the New York Post reported that NYPD supervisors were under increased pressure to "fudge" crime stats by downgrading major crimes to minor offenses.

During the 1990s the New York City Police Department (NYPD) adopted CompStat, broken windows policing and other strategies in a major effort to reduce crime. The city's dramatic drop in crime has been attributed by criminologists to these policing tactics, the end of the crack epidemic and demographic changes.

Has this been adopted in Texas?

New York installed an extensive web of cameras and roadblocks designed to detect, track and deter. Course you don't like that either saying it's obtrusive into your freedom.

In 2006, the city approved new legislation regulating handgun possession and sales. The new laws established a gun offender registry, required city gun dealers to inspect their inventories and file reports to the police twice a year, and limited individual handgun purchases to once every 90 days. The regulations also banned the use and sale of kits used to paint guns in bright or fluorescent colors, on the grounds that such kits could be used to disguise real guns as toys.

Try that one in Texas. Are you for it?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

11:06, even adjusting NY's numbers upward to accommodate their most vociferous critics, their crime rate has declined to an incredible degree, far more than any TX city, while the state avoided the incarceration boom witnessed in TX, CA, FL, etc.. Fudged number simply aren't the only factor: The biggest factor is simply less crime.

FWIW, some Texas jurisdictions have adopted versions of the Compstat model, if not that precise program. Just to say it, though, there's a relationship between Compstat at NYPD and the fudged numbers, as the Post stories showed. The latter encourages the former.

Finally, my complaint about cameras is not that they're "obtrusive into your freedom" [sic], but that all cost-benefit analyses of public surveillance cameras say they're not worth the bang for the buck. Try arguing against what's actually written instead of the caricature you carry around in your head of people you disagree with.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Oh, and on your suggestion about new gun restrictions, the answer is "No," Texas is not "up for it."

Anonymous said...

How does a young girl join a gang? She is raped by 10-20 of the thugs in that gang. Is this a crime or just an acceptable, routine occurrence? This violence is never reported. It is considered normal behavior by these people. Just listen to the words to the music--rape celebrating lyrics.

Anonymous said...

Portland police plead with gang members to give up 'code of silence' and help solve killings
By Maxine Bernstein
The Oregonian
Sunday, April 15, 2012, 9:05 p.m.; updated: 10:20 p.m.

Portland police investigators are frustrated by a "code of silence" among gang members that has kept officers from solving two gang-related homicides from last year and one this year where a host of witnesses likely saw something, Assistant Chief Eric Hendricks says.

He cited the killings of Shalamar Edmond, 18, in New Columbia's McCoy Park last May 16; Leonard Irving Jr., 34, across the street from a nightclub on Northeast 82nd Avenue last June 26; and the fatal shooting of bouncer Robert Greene, 30, on Feb. 19 outside the Grand Central Restaurant and Bowling Lounge.

"All three of these are examples of cases where there's folks in the community who could help us get these killers off the street," Hendricks said Friday at a meeting of the city's Gang Violence Task Force, made up of police, city and county leaders, outreach workers and community members.

"My plea is to the community: If you know – even if you think you may know what happened -- please call homicide detectives," Hendricks said.

So far this year, Portland's Gang Violence Response Team has fielded 37 call-outs for shootings, fights or stabbings compared with 26 by the end of April last year. The team was called out 103 times to gang-related violence in 2011, the most in 10 years.

"We are on pace to exceed that easily," Chief Mike Reese told city commissioners last week. "They're shooting up our community."

Irving's mother, Lucy Mashia, was among community members who attended the gang task force meeting. Directing his remarks to her, Hendricks said detectives believe Irving was the "unintended victim" of a gang shooting. Irving had been celebrating his nephew's 21st birthday the night he was killed, shot four times in the back. His nephew was wounded.

"We believe there are folks out there who saw who shot Mr. Irving," Hendricks said. "Without the community coming together and providing the information we need, these won't be solved."

Hendricks added: "Mrs. Macia, we're not going to forget the death of your son."

Deputy District Attorney Pat Callahan, who prosecutes offenders tied to gang violence in Multnomah County, said the so-called "G-code" or code of silence extends beyond gang members.

"There's a glorification of the thug lifestyle, which includes 'don't be a snitch,' " Callahan said. "It's far-reaching beyond gangs. It's a huge problem. I have no idea how to address it. I always think it starts at home."

City leaders are working with relatives of victims of gang violence to draw attention to the problem, and encourage them to speak out against the "silence" of witnesses.

-- Maxine Bernstein

Gritsforbreakfast said...

5:57, you're funny! You realize all those murders were REPORTED, so the example makes my point, not yours. You really don't have a clue, do you?

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to get some input on what I should do. I received 5 years probation for 2 grams. I'm at the halfway mark and i've been thinking about getting revoked and getting it over with. Here are some of my reasons. I am a 54 year old female and only going to receive 162.00 for social security and don't have anything put back for retirement. I live in a rural area have 10 acres, I'm not working & don't have a car yet and don't have to worry about utilities. I need to get a business started but if I was to apply for some type of business license I would have to wait like 2 years after getting off probation so I would be almost 60 years old then. Or if I try to open an RV park, I wouldn't be able to get a bank loan cause of probation. i don't think you have to have a license to rent out spots. i am getting 2500.00 in a month for a car but I don't want to buy a 2500.00 car. I want to quit smoking. I also want to get a passport to go to Central America because a relative has a business proposition for me and my mother died a couple years ago and I know she had her secret bank account and need to check on that too. I even talked to my PO about it and I told him I had a job available at a bar and he said make your money, just go to your 8 AA meetings a month. I thought he was going to say no. i just have to move 25 miles away and stay with my friend until I get a car. I would try to get revoked by stopping making payments and not showing up but I would call him and let him know cause he;s been a good professional PO and I respect him for that. I'm guessing on my 2 1/2 years left that I would do maybe 6 months at the most??? My reason to get revoked list looks better than not to get revoked. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Grits, Misdemeanor Offenses are up but you will have to get that straight from DPS/Huntsville as the system is secure. But yes, there are many jurisdictions, and different agencies reporting surges in Misdeeanor Offenses...
Law Enforcement agencies, Misdemeanor Courts, Probation Departments, DPS...
It is to early for a published report but apparently this is a new 12-24 month trend.
RUMOR is that Prosecutors are reducing down "bad" felony cases to a misdemeanor charge in order to get a conviction. This is in response to bring down costs to local jail.

Anonymous said...

6:42...many felonies are being reported as misdemeanors on UCR. Agg assaults filed as simple assault, burglary where nothing taken or where there is no forcible entry being classified as criminal trespass. Cooking the #'s.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Keep repeating that sans sourcing, 7:16, maybe eventually you'll convince yourself. I don't think most readers here will believe you, though, without at least a smidgen of evidence or at least a credible person willing to put their name behind the claims. In this string, you'll notice, nobody willing to put their own credibility on the line has endorsed such views.

6:42, I don't have time to dig into it, but I've seen bits and pieces of evidence that appear to contradict what you're saying on misdemeanors rising (certainly convictions). If it's too "early for a published report" then I suppose we'll have to wait for the data to be released.

Anonymous said...

You may not think I'm credible but for some reason you can't control your urge to respond to what I post. Hmmmm?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Sorry to confuse you, 6:52, I was just curious if you'd even bother to try to back up your claims or if you're truly, only FOS. Now I know.

Anonymous said...

Your eagerness to pound on anyone who disagrees with you shows your devotion to your point of view--invariably a completely one-sided view, I may add. Your name calling shows your hair-trigger malice towards opposing opinions. All of this is quite revealing, is it not?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

So remind me, 11:03, if that's true, why do you come here every day, again?