Friday, October 16, 2020

Texas prison pop reaches 21st-century lows, but jail populations rising again

Keri Blakinger brings word that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice a) has shuttered three additional prison units and b) has witnessed the prison population dip to 120,709, which is the lowest it's been since before the turn of the century. That's mainly because county jails for several months stopped sending new inmates to TDCJ, says Blakinger, but they started taking them again in June. I'm a bit surprised that they wouldn't have caught up four months hence.

Perhaps also contributing: a substantial, reported crime decline this spring and court slowdowns, including most not setting felony trials, thus possibly delaying plea bargains.

By contrast, Texas county jails statewide had reduced populations by about 15% this spring, but as of October 1st are back to pre-COVID levels.

Both juvenile commitments to youth prisons and certifications of youth as adults also declined in 2020, reported the Legislative Budget board.

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