Saturday, February 01, 2020

Drug War propping up Texas criminal caseloads in a time of declining crime

The new 2019 annual statistical report for the Texas Office of Court Administration provides these broad datapoints about the Texas criminal-justice system:

The number of new misdemeanor cases continued to decline last year in Texas, but felony cases continued to rise slightly.

Drug cases contributed to a huge amount of this volume, both for misdemeanors (mostly pot) and especially new felony filings:

FY 2019 data already showed a slight drop in marijuana caseloads, even though the Legislature didn't change the hemp law until the fiscal year was nearly over. But felony drug cases continued to rise, helping generate overall felony caseload increases even though reported crime rates have hovered around generational lows in recent years.

3 comments: said...

That is pretty much what I expected to be the case.

gravyrug said...

But if they stop charging all those drug cases, the percentages of the more violent crimes will go up (even though there won't actually be any more committed) and that will look bad in the news.

Anonymous said...

Felony drug arrests perpetuate many other felony crimes. I've represented dozens of individuals from good families whose downfall can be traced to a single felony drug arrest. With many of these it wasn't the drugs that caused their lives to spiral out-of-control as much as it was the felony record and subsequent loss of career and, oftentimes, their spouses and children. Since felons are prevented from living in most apartment complexes the alternative is decrepit housing in high crime areas where drug use is rampant and exposure is constant, add to that the poor self esteem caused by the loss of everything good in their lives, and they continue the drug use which first brought them into the system. It's a vicious cycle which destroys entire families for generations to come.