HOUSTON — The ACLU of Texas released a report that outlines how Texas can cut incarceration by 71,722 people and save over $3 billion by pursuing reforms to its drug sentencing, parole reform, and mandatory minimum laws. The report is a part of the ACLU’s Smart Justice 50-State Blueprints project, a comprehensive, state-by-state analysis of how states can transform their criminal justice system and cut incarceration in half.
“The fight to end mass incarceration is a national effort that requires local solutions,” said Brad Pritchett, deputy political director for the ACLU of Texas. “The Texas Blueprint offers a realistic path forward with evidence-based alternatives to imprisonment. The ACLU of Texas is already working with community partners, elected officials and candidates on how they can adopt policies from the blueprint that will reduce mass incarceration in Texas.”
The Smart Justice 50-State Blueprints is the first-ever analysis of its kind and will serve as a tool for activists, advocates and policymakers to push for transformational change to the criminal justice system. The blueprint includes an overview of Texas’ incarcerated populations, including analysis on who is being sent to jail and prison and the racial disparities that are present, what drives people into the system, how long people spend behind bars, and why people are imprisoned for so long.
“Mass incarceration is a nationwide problem, but one that is rooted in the states and must be fixed by the states,” said Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice. “We hope that the Smart Justice 50-State Blueprints provide necessary guideposts for activists and policymakers as they pursue local solutions that will address the stark racial disparities in our criminal justice system and dramatically reduce their jail and prison populations. Some of the reforms contained in the blueprints are readily achievable, while others are going to require audacious change. But all are needed to prioritize people over prisons.”
The reports are all viewable on an interactive website that allows users to visualize the reductions in jail and prison population that would result from the policy decisions that states pursue. Read the Texas report.
The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50 percent and to combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system. We are working in all 50 states for reforms to usher in a new era of justice in America. The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is fighting in the legislatures, the courts, and in the streets to end mass incarceration.