Criminal Law Reform Campaign
The ACLU of Texas Criminal Law Reform Campaign seeks to end excessively harsh criminal justice policies that result in mass incarceration and stand in the way of a just and equal society.
What We’re Going To Do
- End Over-Incarceration in Texas, with Emphasis on Eliminating Racial Disproportionality
Mass incarceration is not necessary to protect public safety and costs the state billions of dollars annually. Texas has stabilized its prison population growth since 2007 and is presently experiencing the lowest state crime rates in decades. Furthermore, the majority of people in prison are convicted of non-violent drug or property offenses, and people of color are arrested, convicted, and imprisoned at disproportionately high rates. We’ll promote policies that are smart on crime, fiscally wise, and fair to everyone.
- End the Privatization of Prisons and Jails in Texas
Privately run for-profit prisons are a billion-dollar industry, with the same bottom-line interest as other corporations – maximizing shareholder value. The industry has every incentive to keep prisons full, with more inmates and longer sentences, regardless of the impact on Texas’ budget and public safety. Compared to state-run prisons, private prisons are less safe for inmates and guards, have a higher staff turnover rate, have higher recidivism rates, offer fewer rehabilitation and training courses, and are less transparent. We’ll promote policies to guarantee that public safety and transparency, not profit, guide Texas’s prison and jail systems.
- End the Death Penalty in Texas
The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment and violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process of law. The ACLU of Texas looks forward to the day when the United States joins the majority of nations as an abolitionist state, and we will fight against the use of capital punishment in Texas, the state with the highest number of executions. The imposition of the death penalty results in discrimination against the poor, the uneducated, and people of color. The use of the death penalty does not make our state any safer, and drains our public funds. Through public education, advocacy, and strategic litigation, we will work to change the minds of Texans who believe the death penalty is necessary and advocate for the end of this inhumane practice in Texas.
Click to read the campaign summary (PDF) »