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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 89907 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Legislative Options in Response to Crowding in Texas Prisons
Corporate Author: Texas Legislature
Senate Cmtte on State Affairs
United States of America
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 72
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Texas Legislature
Austin, TX 78711
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report discusses five options to the overcrowding problem in Texas prisons as raised in Ruiz v. Estelle: in Texas prisons as raised in Ruiz v. Estelle: building more prisons, diverting offenders into alternatives to incarceration, avoiding confinement whenever possible, decreasing the time spent in prison for those inmates sent there, and emergency measures to reduce the population.
Abstract: After citing the enormous expense of constructing prisons to keep up with predicted increases in inmate populations, the report addresses lower cost options that could control the rise in prison populations and reintegrate the offender into the community. The first approach reviewed under alternatives to incarceration is probation, followed by diversion for drug, mentally retarded, nonviolent sex, and driving while intoxicated offenders. Also examined are punishing minor parole violations by placements in community facilities, subsidies for communities to develop local alternatives, funneling funds for such programs through State agencies, restitution and community service, and nonresidential State-run work facilities. Suggested strategies for avoiding confinement include reclassifying crimes such as bigamy and credit card abuse, community arbitration and mediation centers, pretrial diversion, and revising laws that mandate extremely long sentences. Ways to shorten the term of confinement include parole, parole for persons over 65, shock probation in which an offender is given a brief taste of prison and then placed on probation, prerelease programs, work release, and measures to cope with overcrowding on a one-time basis (such as increasing good time formulas and commuting sentences). The report suggests a coordinated use of all options to relieve the current crisis, but emphasizes that the legislature must develop a diversified diversified criminal justice approach to give the State more alternatives than are currently available. Tables summarize the potential numbers of prisoners diverted and the costs of each option. A review of community corrections programs in several States, footnotes, and over l00 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Correctional reform; Prison overcrowding; State laws; Texas
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