My Right On Crime colleague Jeanette Moll has been receiving considerable attention throughout Texas for her recent publication, Putting “Corrections” Back in State Jails. The state jails were first conceived as a place to treat low-level offenders that would be more effective—and less expensive—than prison. Moll argues, however, that the state jails have drifted away from their original mission and are now indistinguishable from prisons in many respects. In fact, in terms of recidivism, the state jails may actually be less effective than prisons. Criminal justice policy in Texas has been one of the nation’s great public policy success stories over the past decade, but there is more work to be done—and Texans may want to start by improving the state jails.
Moll’s paper, published by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, can be read by clicking on the link above. You can also listen to this podcast about the paper, or watch this television news feature from KEYE TV in Austin.