Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Poll: GOP primary voters support #cjreform

The Texas Smart on Crime Coalition released a new poll today, let's review the highlights.

The most impressive finding in their survey of GOP primary voters? A whopping 76 percent supported reducing small-time drug possession penalties to a misdemeanor, following the lead of Oklahoma voters in 2016.

Legislation to that effect has been filed each of the last two sessions, but probation directors killed the plan. With polling numbers like these filling out it sails, however, some version of the Phil King/Senfronia Thompson legislation will certainly be back. Such a bill is also the shortest distance to closing more prison units and reducing long-term costs at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

In a related finding, 72 percent of Republican primary voters agreed that, "Changing certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors will make our communities safer by allowing law enforcement to spend less time arresting people due to drug addiction and more time fighting more serious and violent crime."

The people remain way ahead of the politicians on these topics.

Finally, apropos of Grits' last post, "71% of GOP primary voters favor changing the way technical probation violations (such as missing a meeting with a probation officer, not committing a new crime) are handled, so those who have a minor infraction are not incarcerated but instead held accountable through enhanced curfews, electronic monitoring, or increased check-ins."

See the memo from Baselice and Associates for more details from the poll. MORE: see coverage from USA Today's John Moritz..

Related: See coverage of a national, Vera Institute poll on related topics.

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