With crime, incarceration rates falling, Texas closes record number of lock-ups

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With crime, incarceration rates falling, Texas closes record number of lock-ups

Post by silvermani on Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:56 pm

A state known for its lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approach to crime began to shift its approach. Instead of erecting more massive prisons, lawmakers invested in diversion programs to help troubled Texans get back on track and avoid incarceration. They spent more on initiatives to provide services to people whose mental illnesses landed them crosswise with the law. 

Lawmakers in 2015 updated a decades-old property crime punishment scheme that had resulted in felony punishments for thieves who had stolen penny-ante items. "What we saw was almost within 18 months, just an immediate decrease in the number of people sent to state jail on property offenses," said Doug Smith, a policy analyst with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.
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