In Texas, inmates sent to solitary spend an average of four years there, reported Marc Levin of the conservative criminal justice reform group Right on Crime. Texas, though, is at least reviewing its practices. That might be because isolating prisoners is expensive — costing something like twice as much as keeping them in the general prison population. Or it might be because releasing psychologically damaged people from prison can produce disastrous results.
From Right on Crime signatory David Keene:
Like most conservatives, I believe government’s top priority should be keeping its citizens safe. I also believe we can be smarter about how we control crime and punish criminals, using proven approaches that make better use of taxpayer dollars.
“Jerry Madden of Right on Crime, a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, says people are sent to prison because society is afraid of or mad at them. The end result is prison overcrowding, as states do not want to take on the cost of building new facilities.”
Bob McClure, ROC signatory and president of the James Madison Institute, “applauds the effort” of Florida’s bill to reform juvenile justice, but believes that more can be done.
“We feel it important to codify the principles and practices borne out by research in Florida’s juvenile justice program that saves money and ensures positive outcomes for children.”
In this article, Shane Bauer tells the story of how Marc Levin and Right on Crime have changed, and continue to change, the way America thinks about criminal justice.
“How is it ‘conservative’ to spend vast amounts of taxpayer money on a strategy without asking whether it is providing taxpayers with the best public safety return on their investment?” Levin asks. Rather than spend a fortune keeping low-risk offenders in prison, Levin proposed that the same money could be used for cheaper programs that would still keep violent criminals locked away and the public safe.
Democratic California Senator Loni Hancock praises Texas for its conservative criminal justice reforms.
“Texas is investing in alternatives to incarceration that are proving to be cheaper and more effective at keeping people out of prison. It is also doing a better job of rehabilitating people to keep them from reoffending and ending up back in prison.
Texas and California are two great states that often see the world differently. In this case, perhaps we have something to learn from Texas.”
In this clip from MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co.,” Right On Crime is recognized for its efforts to reduce overcriminalization and effectively reform the criminal justice system.
Shannon Edmonds, Director of Governmental Relations at TDCAA, Paul Larkin, Senior Legal Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and Representatives Bryan Hughes and Jeff Leach of the Texas House of Representatives discuss the burden of overcriminalization during the panel “Getting Rid of Unnecessary Laws” at TPPF’s Policy Orientation 2014.
Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa of the Texas Senate, The Honorable Steve Teske, Chief Judge of Juvenile Court of Clayton County, Ryan Turner, General Counsel and Director of Education at the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center, and Representative James White of the Texas House of Representatives serve as panelists for “Addressing Truancy: Keeping Kids In School and Off the Streets” at TPPF’s 2014 Policy Orientation.
Adam Gelb, Director of Public Safety Performance Project at Pew Charitable Trusts, The Honorable Bill Hammond, President and CEO of Texas Association of Business, and Representatives Abel Hererro and Tan Parker of the Texas House of Representatives discuss adult corrections in the Lone Star State.