Rik Schneider Online

Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Monday, February 18, 2013

Washington Times: Opinion: Texas State Representative: Jerry Madden: Texas Criminal Justice Reform a Model For America

MADDEN: Texas criminal justice reform a model for U.S. - Washington Times

Even Texas I guess when they became the leader in America when it comes to incarcerating people at least on a per capita basis. Or decided that can no longer afford to incarcerate so many people in this country. Has decided that enough is enough and that they have to reform their criminal justice system. That being tough on crime is not necessarily smart or effective on crime that you have to be tough on criminals who. Represent a threat to society but you also have to be smart and effective otherwise you are going to continue to lockup people. To the point that your prison budget is going to drown out other resources that could go to other areas like infrastructure, education including higher education. And that you are going to have to keep taxes up to the point that they don't need to be otherwise to have the funds. To pay for your prisons that eat up so much of your overall budget. So you have to lockup people who hurt innocent people especially if they have a history of doing that. But that no all inmates and crimes are the same and should be treated the same way. ,

So a smart but effective true criminal justice system would have a corrections component to that. And would be based on the realities that not all criminals and crimes are the same thing. That offenders that represent a true threat to society need to be locked up in prison but that while they are in prison. They would be expected and given the opportunity to make productive use of that time no matter how long. They are sentenced to be in prison that would not only be productive for themselves but their families and society as a whole. While they are in prison but also so when they get out of prison which a majority of inmates do, they have a real shot at making a productive life for themselves legally and not have to go. Back to prison because they now have the skills to succeed at life.

And that when it comes to non violent offenders who don't represent a real threat to society as far as the economy to use as an example. That perhaps society and themselves would be better off serving their time in county jail or in a. Halfway house where they can work, pay for their cost of living and successfully transition back into society. Thats what a smart and effective criminal justice system looks like and Texas has already started to put some of these reforms through.