Grits for Breakfast by Scott Henson has always been one of my fave political blogs. I really should read it more often. He focuses on the overincarceration problem we are experiencing in Texas, the self-licking ice cream cone phenomena occuring in my own state.
Here’s his guide about how to reform the penal system. Among his suggestions: better pretrial screening to increase bond use, progressive sanctions instead of locking people up for technical violations and better use of lab services. This is a great summary of practical suggestions to improve things, including lots of links.
Here he quantifies the benefits of increasing the number of probation officers in exchange for counties agreeing to reduce their revocation rates by 10% (which would shave off 2000 people)
The average revoked probationer in Texas spends 4.3 years in prison. Thus, estimating incarceration costs at $16K per person per year, keeping 2,084 people on probation each year who would otherwise be revoked would avert upwards of $143 million in incarceration costs, or more than $286 million total.
Here’s some mythbusting about the alleged link between immigrants and crime rates. Apparently they commit fewer crimes, even for the uneducated.