Over-incarceration nation, and Texas is leading the pack.

June 4th, 2012 Posted in Criminal Law Reform, Prison Reform, Prisoners' Rights
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Find out how much more Texas spends on incarceration than on education, the disproportionate impact on African Americans, and how many prisoners in Texas jails have never even been convicted of the crime they are held for!

Summer Dispatch

Read the Summer 2012 ACLU of Texas Newsletter ⇑

Take the quiz to test your knowledge. Then, as you go through the answers, find out what the ACLU of Texas is doing to lower incarceration rates in our great state.

1. The United States has about 5% of the world’s population and holds what percentage of the world’s prisoners?

    a. 10%

    b. 15%

    c. 25%-That’s right. The “land of the free” has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

2. Texas has 94 university campuses. How many state prisons are there in Texas (not counting jails, federal lockups, and juvenile facilities)?

    a. 70

    b. 94

    c. 114-With more buildings to lock people up than to educate people, Texas must change its priorities. Ensuring that our children have a good education is one of the best ways to keep them out of the criminal justice system. Between 1980 and 2000 the ratio of growth in Texas corrections to higher education spending was 7:1.

3. True or False: Texas’ incarceration rate is more than 2.5 times higher than the rate of Iran’s.

    a. True -In this country, we value human rights and we have fought wars over freedom. Unfortunately we still put more people behind bars than any other country in the world. In Texas alone, more than 700,000 people are under criminal justice supervision.

    b. False

4. Did you know that more than half of the people in Texas prisons are parents? Studies have shown that children who have a parent in jail are ___ times more likely to commit a crime themselves.

    a. 2
    b. 4
    c. 5-
    Children who have a parent in jail are negatively affected both emotionally and economically. These children are 5 times more likely to end up committing a crime later in life. Also, when a parent is in jail, they are unable to pay child support. Parents who are currently in Texas prisons owe a whopping $2.5 billion in unpaid child support to children who live in Texas. Probation programs for non-violent offenders would allow parents to continue to work and to care for their families.

5. Texas’ annual corrections budget is roughly $3 billion and it costs $40-50 dollars to keep somebody behind bars per day. What does it cost to keep somebody on probation for a day?

    a. $2

Smart-on-crime approaches, like probation, make more fiscal sense, better protect our communities, and allow non-violent offenders to continue working, supporting their families, and contributing to their communities.

    b. $5

    c. $10

6. On average, what is the percentage of prisoners in Texas who are awaiting trial (i.e., have not been convicted of the crime for which they are being held)?

    a. 10%

    b. 37%

    c. 62% – Yes, you read that correctly. Most of the prisoners in Texas are sitting behind bars having never been convicted of the crime they are held for. Many of these prisoners simply cannot afford bail before a trial. As they await trial, they lose their jobs, are separated from their families, and suffer the stigma of having been sent to jail. All this – before being found guilty or innocent.

7. True or False: Eight out of nine regional narcotic task forces in Texas search African Americans for drugs more often than they search whites, while seven out of nine task forces search Latinos more often than they search whites.

    a. True-Our criminal justice system is not color blind. It disproportionally targets people of color. Texas can do better, and it’s time we demand change.

    b. False

8. African Americans make up 12% of Texas’ population. Approximately what percentage of Texas prisoners are African American?

    a. 15%

    b. 31%

    c. 44%-Although crime rates among different races are not that different, people of color are targeted, arrested, and convicted at higher rates.

9. Since 1980, the rate of drug offenders in prison and jails has in the US has…

    a. Been fairly constant

    b. Doubled

    c. Tripled-The cost to Texas for imprisoning drug possessors is more than $300 million a year. Throwing people behind bars is a huge money maker for the for-profit prison industry, and the private prison industry has lobbied hard to pass harsher laws that increase incarceration rates for non-violent drug offenses.

10. True or False: Without providing treatment programs, imprisoning a drug user does not decrease drug use.

    a. True-People addicted to drugs need treatment, not imprisonment. Drug abuse is a public health problem, and can’t be solved by the criminal justice system.

    b. False

Interested in reforming Texas’ criminal law system? Sign up for the ACLU of Texas Community Action Network to make a difference!

11 Responses to “Over-incarceration nation, and Texas is leading the pack.”

  1. Jayni Mosher Says:

    I agree with your outrage, but what concerns me even MORE is that many of the MOST dangerous criminals are released on ridiculously low bail bond amounts.

    It seems like Texas is often locking up the wrong people, and letting the violent offenders roam free.



  2. Sean Parrott Says:

    Thanks for this artical! It’s fiscally retarded and a typicaly Republican approach to “kick ‘em when their down” to everything important in social justice. We need a more constructive Democratic approach with our own citizens when they go awry and not put people in jail before they’ve been tried unless they prove to be a flight or serious danger to others risk and even then there are establiched cost effective means as house arrest, or temporary probation… (cheaper than incarceration), where a job can be saved and costs be kept more minimal. I believe this would be a huge cost savings to the tax payer and could send these funds to seriously help public education systems.



  3. Bill Carter Says:

    It should be noted that our for-profit prison system gives an added incentive to keep those prisons full. At the expense of shattered lives and families and the taxpayers wallet. Another big big reason to legalize drugs…



  4. Tim Glover Says:

    There are lots of places that need law reform. Innocent families are scammed. Hard working families just trying to get by daily cost of living with constant rise. Here is a small sample. SCAMMED and RESCAMMED and then SCAMMED SOME MORE. The POOREST PEOPLE of Texas DESERVE A “BREAK FROM SCAMMERS” that CREATE
    GUARANTEED HEALTH HAZARDS in our homes. The EPA has itself covered good with: “we don’t do inside air”.
    All other parts of government contacted say “It’s not my job”. NO ONE CARES BECAUSE It’s only mobile homes anyway. That’s what TDLR A/C division DOES and BRAGS ABOUT it with ease.

    The FACT that the Texas Department of License and Regulation abuses it’s power and safty concerns for consumers TO MAKE SURE SABOTAGE CAN AND DOES HAPPEN IN TEXAS ONLY. That alone shows wrongs being covered that are EASY TO PROVE and evil to be commiting against Texas families.

    No other states commit the wrongs like Texas because their code laws and SAFETY laws apply to ALL RESIDENCES. There is a list of codes overlooked
    in all the things TDLR says is OK and legal for use in mobile homes “only”. No other residence or family has to even worry about this illegal A/C work being done in their home. It was only “made legal” to SABOTAGE families health while in the process of destroying the A/C systems in MOBILE HOME RESIDENCES.

    There is also a Modular Building Division at TDLR. That is a building that is mobile more than once. Almost always used as temporary offices or classes. It is used in places that home building or mobile home use would do no good. Some are used as residences I’m sure also.They are designed and look just like mobile homes.
    This is just one example of the places that TDLR CAN INSTALL THE EXACT SAME EQUIPMENT, But if done the way TDLR teaches is LEGAL for mobile home only residences. IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL and NOT PASS CODES with a long list of REASONS and HEALTH FACTORS
    to show and prove why it is ILLEGAL and DOES NOT PASS CODES. The long list could come from TDLR very easy to prove why to never do it.
    THAT IS JUST ONE OF THE LIST THAT IS COMPLETELY OMMITED by the TDLR when saying things like “we do it because it is LEGAL” in mobile homes “only”.

    Controlled Sabotage on a segregated group of citizens just because TDLR says it is “OK” and “LEGAL”.

    Laws created for nothing but to cover the sabotage up and KEEP IT WORKING

    DID YOU KNOW correctly installed “INDOOR COOLING COILS” DO NOT “NEED CLEANING” for up to TWENTY YEARS? If installed correctly.
    DO YOUR INSIDE A/C PARTS AND COILS NEED “REGULAR CLEANING”? Once a year? TWICE A YEAR? MORE?
    DO YOU LIVE IN A MOBILE HOME?
    DOES YOUR A/C RUN OVER 30 plus MINUTES to just COOL YOUR MOBILE HOME to 78 degrees?
    Do your children have “UNEXPLAINED BREATHING PROBLEMS”? IS IT CALLED ASTHMA? OR ALLERGIES?
    TRY A “NEW” MEDICINE AND COME BACK NEXT WEEK ever been heard for it??
    YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED if you live in Texas?.

    The SCAM that TDLR covers and hides to “create income” is also a guaranteed cause of contamination and creates harm to families health. BUT WHO CARES?
    It’s “only” a mobile home of Texas. They are built to fall apart anyway is TDLR’s opinion of it all. Just happens to be the state with the MOST MOBILE HOMES I bet?
    How many proud changes has the mobile home division of TDLR made since it’s existance? I bet it is a short list if looked at.
    The TDLR would never approve of this for it’s own offices. It would never be approved of in any of their homes.

    TRUE FACTS were not used when deciding to DESTROY “only” a certain group of residences in Texas.

    The only place the TDLR can approve of this sabotage air contamination by incorrect installation of A/C equipment is “IN” the mobile home
    residences of Texas families.
    The TDLR would never approve of this for any office, ANYWHERE. The TDLR would never approve of this for any of
    THEIR HOMES, your home, or ANY OTHER RESIDENCE in this big state. Every other state already calls it illegal too.

    The TDLR’s mobile home “only” method for HVAC installation could not pass codes at the zoo in Texas
    with environments for the animals. A mobile home is a residence with a controlled environment.
    The ZOO could not pass with the sabotage set-up that is used “legally” on mobile homes “only”.
    This seems to occur ONLY IN TEXAS. Other states abide by their own regulations instead of SCAM CREATE, SCAM TEACH, and PROTECT SCAM with
    BOGUS LAWS that can be PROVEN BOGUS VERY EASILY..

    The FTC can not evplain why it is “legal in Texas” to incorrectly install equipment with the FULL KNOWLEDGE that the
    results of that installation will be costly for the consumer for never ending work and parts that would NOT BE NEEDED at all with a correct installation.
    The mobile home only method of TDLR is guaranteed to create negatives to occur. Which equals lots of extra
    work for who ever installed it. INCORRECTLY. The way TDLR A/C division teaches them is “ok” for mobile homes “only”. And
    ONLY in TEXAS. Other states consider the air in their elders mobile homes should pass EPA and clean air etc..
    It is contaminated air the way TDLR A/C insist be called legal for mobile homes only. The list of health hazards created by this could be
    completely eliminated by simply using the same mode of HVAC codes that every citizen in this ENTIRE COUNTRY is entitled to and CAN “RELY” ON as
    “done correctly”. America has 50 states. Texas is the only state that “MAKES IT LEGAL” to sabotage families homes as long as they purchase a mobile home
    in TEXAS.

    It is GUARANTEED to CAUSE and CREATE HEALTH HAZARDS that would never occur when filters are installed correctly.
    Correctly just like every “other” home in Texas. It causes 100% humidity in the entire air system if not. That is just one of the minor created problems.

    It could not pass TDLR codes anywhere in Texas with a long list of good reasons and facts to PROVE why it
    will never pass codes or ever be legal. TDLR has IGNORED FACTS like those to make the statement of “It’s legal” but only
    in mobile homes.
    The EPA, FTC, SENATE, GOVERNOR ,ATTY GENERAL ,ACLU ,ALL STATE REPS, and EVERYONE else
    who was even asked about this checked with the TDLR to see if it was “OK”. Check with the scam engineer to see if it is OK?
    The TDLR the office that can omit themselves from their own laws. The TDLR who ignore years of study and FACTS can “only come up”
    with “it’s legal”, as a reason to COMMIT SABOTAGE on us. “It’s Legal” to destroy your health and environment is the explanation of it all.
    It is a scam and scams are hard to cover when questions start. Lame answers of “it’s legal” for questions of over 40 proven negatives presented to them.

    Out of the 23 million or so in Texas, how many Texans live in mobile homes? Millions? Being scammed by TDLR experts ignoring the FACTS
    they ENDORSE for all others. Scammed for health. Scammed for at least 5 times maintenance cost. Scammed for 5 times as much electrical waste.
    Scammed for parts and service calls. A total SCAM from the time it is allowed to be installed incorrectly by the TDLR A/C division saying it is “OK”
    to intentionally sabotage mobile home HVAC systems and “that is the way we do it in Texas”.

    All Other states license and regulations definately say a FILTER RACK of some type must be installed correctly and
    “SEALED CORRECTLY” to use IN ANY RESIDENCE of any type. This FACT alone is why TDLR A/C division and ALL their experts at TDLR
    CAN NOT FIND one reason to endorse or TEACH others such “STUPIDITY”?
    Every A/C manufacturer says if done to their A/C equipment, the way TDLR says is legal mobile homes only, It totally VOIDS THEIR WARRENTY.
    FACTS like these pointed out in this short letter are only part of the proof that TDLR answers with That’s the way we do it in Texas.

    Would anyone like to see the long list of reasons and FACTS used to MAKE SURE it is ILLEGAL to NOT HAVE ONE installed and sealed correctly?

    The TDLR A/C division uses the EXACT SAME LIST OF CODES to make sure it is “ILLEGAL”, EVERYWHERE, except the mobile home “residences of Texas”.

    I have a lot more information and facts. I can prove them all and there are very many. In any court, to anyone, anytime.
    What is listed here is very short and leaves out very much detail.

    Please contact me for more information or questions.

    Sincerely,
    Tim Glover
    5290 Goforth Road
    Kyle, Texas 78640

    TGlover@austin.rr.com
    512-312-4763



  5. atx-advocate Says:

    The war on fathers continues– assuming that most of the parents who are locked up here are men. Good job, Texas in your steadfast mission of eviscerating traditional families and parental involvement. Taking away one half of the family unit helps you take over, and there’s no doubt that it’s been working. Thanks so much for being “pro-family”. You’ve done a bang-up job.



  6. Miranda Says:

    I agree that Texas disproportionately locks up minority’s. I myself am black American and I have two male children and I fear for them to even go out with friends because I constantly see police harassing minority youth. I have family members who were incarcerated and later it was found that they were innocent, but the damage was done because he cannot find employment nor means to provide for his family which is really sad. I say all this to say we live in a racist society no one can deny that it’s plain to see, they say this is the land of the free but I don’t truly feel free.



  7. Cathy Says:

    Same is true for Federal Prison – and it is either drugs or sex offenses (porn) that put people behind bars – murderers normally get probation – :)



  8. mohammad awad Says:

    I was charged with ridiculous counts and imprisoned for 20 days before i was out on a bail. Then in a trial, I was found unanimously by the jury to be innocent of the crimes they charged me with. Reason for finding me innocent was simple, they the federal government over reached and abused its power to slam and charge people with counts without looking to the real facts because I am sure have they done the right thing they would have never charged me in the first place. I truly feel as 100% that the case was racially motivated case by sick individual work as ICE agents. I am an Arab American and Muslim with name Mohammad Abuawad. Imagine that.
    Cordially,
    Mohammad Abuawad,
    Thank you.



  9. joseph hugh o'brien Says:

    i am not surprised that texas has very little in the way of a fair legal system … i answered every one of the questions correctly because it’s easy to see how badly we need to fix our corrupt system … let’s hope that someday soon we will wake up and get back to the business of doing the best we can for as many as we can …



  10. Dolores Lucero Says:

    6-7-12

    Is it the chicken first or the egg first?

    Poverty, ignorance, unplanned/unwanted children contribute to the high rate of drugs, gangs, and ultimately incareration. Fighting legalization of certain drugs (marijuana), sex education, contraception (Planned Parenthood), and poor parenting will only lead to more crime to build more prisons; to support more jailers; to support more attorneys and judges.

    Privatizing prisons is merely taking my tax money and giving it to someone else while not solving the chicken furst or the egg first problem.



  11. Rhonda Warmack Houston Says:

    I’d be very interested in communicating, learning more about this terribly unending condition, that has been perpetuated since the 1890 Jim Crow laws existed. I presently reside in Texas, but worked my way through graduate school(social-pychology MA)within a locked facility in California, for juvenile offenders for 6 yrs. Learned a great about that population, and agree with you that all of what has been found to be the same, that keeps happening in the Texas’ prison system. It seems too, that culturally after the civil war of the 1860s, the views/’attitudes’ of the 1890 Jim Crow laws, were created as daily pratices of race profiling (preferring to pick-out colored over the white) into what today is a belief system today, from which those attitudes became “beliefs’. At the time that I was working within this job, the book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander was being written, that has just come out to the public to be read. Thus, what I was seeing at that time, within a California facility, was exactly what was taking place nationwide, and today, had been establishing proceedures that would have to be dealt with, which is NOW. What I’d like to know, is what can be done to CHANGE these so well established ‘views on the world’, which have to be performed BEFORE any real CHANGE CAN BEGIN that you are goinog to see that you are speaking about at this moment. What I’ve learned is that ‘what one learns through the system (any system), is only what one can give back, and that is all, that they can give back, to the next generation’. Thus, what can anyone expect to learn from the previous generation, if this type of thinking/action continues. At the beginning of the established system, the one that needs to ‘step in’ to make or create a different end product would be those at both ends; the profilers as well as those on the bench who weighs in on the sentence. ‘CHANGE’ HAS TO BEGIN FROM THOSE WHO COMMUNICATE AND DEAL WITH THOSE WHO ARE DEFINED AS THE OFFENDERS. Tell me what I can do to assist you. Rhonda Warmack Houston (rfhouston@mindspring.com)



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