Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Texas county jail population reports now online from 1992 to present

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards has finally put their historical monthly county jail population reports online going back to 1992. Previously they only put the previous month's report online and took it down when the next one came in so you couldn't compare current and historic data without filing an open records request.

This will be a big help to anyone researching county jail issues. Grits last summer suggested in a blog post that TCJS put these old reports online and their executive director Brandon Wood said via email that request "provided the motivation" to create the archive, though the idea had been kicked around previously.

Moreover, Wood added, "Additional historical data will be posted to include paper ready, immigration, and eventually all of the annual reports from years past." Very cool. (Okay, or maybe I'm just very uncool for thinking that's cool; either way, I like it! Data geekery acknowledged.)

Thank you to everybody at TCJS who helped put this together and to Brandon for making it happen. I really appreciate this sort of transparency and I know other researchers will, too.


Frank AuBuchon said...

This is really cool. I used these reports when working for TDCJ and still use them in my consulting work. They have always been a good tool for spotting trends ath the local level that can have state-wide implications.

Joorie Doodie said...

Helped me, too, Grits. It is now apparent to me that politcians your old stomping ground, Smith County, have manipulated jail population numbers to support the building of $34 million jail expansion project, diverting precious resources away from other local needs.

I would have never spotted the trend withoug this tip!

Somebody ought to look at other counties who seem to incarcerate their residents at rates that are much higher than the average, and figure out what is going on.