Pubdate: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 1998 The Dallas Morning News


I am pleased to see that you will be doing a series of editorials on
the Texas criminal justice system.  Texans especially need to be aware
of the costs of incarceration to the prisoner, to families and to taxpayers.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Higher
Education Coordinating Board furnished the following information. In
approximately the last ten years the State of Texas has built 77 new
prisons at a cost of $2.3 billion.  In the same period, it has built 1
new university, Texas A&M International at Loredo, at a cost of $66

During that time, the prison inmate population has increased from
39,000 to 143,000, an increase of 104,000.  The university student
population has increased from 377,000 to 412,000, an increase of
35,000.  Prison inmates are overwhelmingly young.  Approximately 25%
of them are imprisoned for non-violent drug offenses.

The effects of having the highest incarceration rate in the nation
will be felt in Texas for many years to come especially by our young

Suzanne Wills Drug Policy Forum of Texas

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Checked-by: Patrick Henry