Texas’ juvie decarceration provides example for adult side (From Grits for Breakfast)

This graphic from a

recent Dallas News story

(4/6) says nearly all you need to know about juvenile corrections in Texas over the last four decades:

The main thing to add is that juvenile crime increased during most of the period the curve went up and was (and is) decreasing on the downward side of the slope. For the most part, high incarceration levels have demonstrated little correlation with crime, with juvenile crime reducing drastically during the period the state decarcerated its youth prisons.

Juvie decarceration in Texas is arguably the most important accomplishment of the “Right on Crime” era among Lone-Star Republicans, even if the job

remains unfinished

. Texas launched its juvenile decarceration scheme just four years after the GOP took over the Texas Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, and has now been sustained through successive governors, with reductions now accelerating again under Gov. Abbott.

Texas has proven the concept on the juvie side. Now the task is to convince those same leaders to apply the same lessons to the adult system, where our prison population remains the highest in the nation and the prison system releases some 70,000 people per year. Many of those people would be

less likely to recidivate

if they’d never been sent to prison at all!

Some days, your correspondent despairs that Texas’ behemoth of a prison system can ever be successfully dismantled. This example provides hope. If juvie prisons can reduce their populations by three quarters and the public barely noticed, maybe state leaders will see that there’s little political risk and a lot to gain by reining in a sprawling and outdated adult system. Indeed, as on the juvie side, adult decarceration should seen as something for which politicians can take credit, with failure to embrace it garnering blame.


via Grits for Breakfast http://bit.ly/2lPFl28

April 11, 2018 at 07:04AM