Texas’ prison population is shrinking. The state has made great strides in recent years to offer community alternatives to long sentences. But with a budget crisis looming, state prison officials are saying they won’t consider closing a single prison. Laying off staff and cutting prison programs while keeping 112 costly prisons running is a mistake, and will lead Texas back to the cycle of crime and punishment that build those prisons.
Sign the petition and edit the letter below to urge Texas Department of Criminal Justice Director Brad Livingston to consider prison closings to save taxpayer dollars and protect public safety.
Closing prisons, and shifting resources from incarceration to things like mental health services, drug rehab, and other less-expensive, more-effective programs was a good idea even before the current budget crisis, and it’s an absolute imperative now. Unfortunately, as was the case in 2003, it’s those alternative programs that are more likely to get the ax, which will of course cost us a bunch more money in the long run. The idea that teachers could get laid off and other vital services get cut while prisons remain off limits is repugnant and extremely short-sighted. Go sign the petition and let Brad Livingston know it. Link via Grits.