Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Prison closures = Good (regardless of immigration policy)

Both the Texas House and Senate budget plans would close four additional prison units. Remarkably, the idea is hardly controversial, anymore. The only negging Grits has seen on the units' deletion from the budget comes from liberals fearful that they may be transformed into immigration detention facilities.

To be clear, these are separate questions and conflating them risks allowing the perfect to become the enemy of the good. Texas should continue down the path of decarceration and prison closures - these will bring the total to eight closed units in the past few years - and battles over federal immigration policy mustn't be allowed to interfere with that project.

There will be a LOT of competition for immigration detention beds. It's possible shuttered TDCJ units could end up doing federal immigrant detention, but many other empty jail facilities owned by counties will be competing for those beds, too. They can't all get contracts.


Anonymous said...

"Texas should continue down the path of decarceration and prison closures" - Only good until Texas has a few sensational murders and the public wants criminals locked up again. The cycle continues.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

As though there have been no sensational murders since they started closing prisons in 2013!

They're doing this in spite of the media sensationalizing murders. Overall, murders are actually dramatically down over the last 20 years, but the nature of 21st century media hypes the ones there are more, and hypes them across jurisdictional boundaries that in the old days weren't often breached.

How many times have you seen a headline in a Texas paper about a sensational murder and click on it only to learn that it happened in Nebraska, or Illinois, or to a "Florida man"?

The internet and Donald Trump are teaching 21st century pols that hype /= truth in ways that IMO are altering that old Willie Horton equation. There have been several grisly incidents - not the least of which were the assassination of police officers and the Waco biker shootout - that I feared could stop momentum. But in this era, pols have to learn to govern in an environment dominated by shrill, over-the-top, evidence-free demagoguery, and so are learning to ignore some of that and just try to do the right thing. Maybe that sounds optimistic, but the Texas House and Senate just agreed to close four more prisons, and it's considered non-controversial, so the proof is in the pudding.

Anonymous said...

But the counties are building those same facilities with huge price tags with little regard to that burden passed on to their citizens not to mention choosing to use CO instead of the referendum method that would require it to be voted on by those forced to pay A start for sure but still a long way to go

The Comedian said...


How many times have you heard a hyperbolic TV "news" promo/teaser about a sensational murder or other crime only to find out that the crime they're hyping occurred years, sometimes decades, ago?

Promo: "Coming up - Baytown woman found murdered!"

Actual story: "It's been 10 years since the body of a Baytown woman was found stabbed to death in her apartment. Police still have no clues as to who might have been responsible for her death. Anyone with any information should call 1-900-MAY-SWEEPS. More crime porn at 10 o'clock".

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