Texas Takes Lead In Prison Reform
Texas has long had a reputation for imprisoning, even executing, convicts at a much higher rate than other states. But long prison sentences don’t come cheap to the tax payer, as a result, the state has scaled back on sentencing convicts to prison time and instead has been increasingly reliant on alternative programs to help with the offender’s mental, drug and alcohol problems.
The incarceration rates have become stagnant and the plans for two new prisons that were to be built in recent years have been scrapped all together. “Texas is showing the rest of the country that if you look at research you can find ways to cut costs and crime at the same time,” said Adam Gelb , director of the Pew Center’s public safety performance project, a nonprofit think tank. Houston criminal lawyer‘s are happy to see the change, as it means fewer of their clients will spend time in prison.
The crime rates have been reflecting positively on the changes as well. There has been a 25% reduction of parole violations since the programs have started. Last year, major crimes dropped 3%.