"The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) confines 4.4 percent of its prison population in solitary confinement. Texas locks more people in solitary-confinement cells than twelve states house in their entire prison system. On average, prisoners remain in solitary confinement for almost four years; over one hundred Texas prisoners have spent more than twenty years in solitary confinement. The conditions in which these people live impose such severe deprivations that they leave prison mentally damaged; as a group, people released from solitary are more likely to commit more new crimes than people released from the rest of the prison system. Yet in 2013, TDCJ released 1,243 people directly from solitary-confinement cells into Texas communities. These prisoners return to society after living for years or decades in a tiny cell for twenty-two hours a day, with no contact with other human beings or access to educational or rehabilitative programs. As documented in this report, this dangerous and expensive practice is making our state less safe" (p. 2). Section of this report following an executive summary discussing findings and recommendations: background—the early failure of solitary confinement, the misguided return to solitary confinement in the late Twentieth-Century, and the renewed consensus that solitary is a dangerous and expensive correctional practice; solitary confinement increases crime—solitary permanently damages people who will one day return to Texas communities, and the consequences of overusing solitary is more crime in Texas communities; Texas overuses solitary confinement at tremendous cost to taxpayers—costs are at least $46 million a year; TDCJ increases prison violence by overusing solitary confinement—solitary makes Texas prisons less safe, solitary deprives officers of the option to incentivize good behavior, violence escalates when officers deny people in solitary basic necessities, and other states improved prison safety by reducing solitary; mentally ill people deteriorate in solitary confinement-the universal consensus is that you should never place the seriously mentally ill in solitary, Texas sends thousands of people with mental illness to solitary, and TDCJ inadequately monitors and treats people with mental illness in solitary; and conclusion—values and commitments as Texans.
Projections for the changes in Texas’ adult and juvenile correctional populations are presented. Sections contained in this report are: introduction and report highlights; arrest rates in Texas; adult correctional population projections; juvenile correctional population projections; qualitative review summary; and glossary. Appendixes explain what the methodology and assumptions for each correctional population projection.
This is a great example of a report that informs the state legislature about population growth in both the adult and juvenile system. "Correctional population projections are produced to serve as a basis for biennial funding determinations … Both adult incarceration and juvenile state residential facility populations are expected to remain at or below [current] capacity" (p. 1). Sections following an executive summary include: Adult Arrests and Arrest Rates; Adult Correctional Population Projections; Juvenile Arrests and Arrest Rates; Juvenile Correctional Population Projections; and Glossary.
In March, The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition released a report, A Growing Population: The Surge of Women into Texas’ Criminal Justice System, which examines the growing number of women entering Texas’ criminal justice system and offers recommendations for safely reducing this population and helping women thrive in the community.
This report, the second in our two-part series, takes a closer look at the issues facing women who are currently incarcerated. The centerpiece of this report is a survey of women we conducted to learn more about their experiences prior to and during incarceration. As the survey results reveal, it is vitally important for agency staff, corrections system practitioners, and policy-makers to acknowledge and address women’s unique needs, to implement policies and practices that treat these women with dignity, to ensure they remain in their children’s lives, and to prepare them for a successful return to their families and our communities.
You can request the first part of the series at: https://www.texascjc.org/growing-population-surge-women-texas%E2%80%99-criminal-justice-system
Cost per day information for various adult and juvenile correctional populations is determined. Sections of this report include: introduction—reporting guidelines and highlights; Texas Department of Criminal Justice—overview, Correctional Institutions Division (state-operated facilities), Parole Division, and Community Justice Assistance Division; and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department—state services and facilities, and community juvenile justice. Appendixes provide: uniform cost project methods; program descriptions; and comparisons to other cost per day figures—national comparison.
“It is time to broaden the reentry discussion and take a comprehensive look at how criminal records are accessed, disseminated, and utilized in this digital age and to find ways to make the criminal justice system more effective at providing meaningful opportunities for successful and lasting reintegration into our communities” (p. 2). This report explains how access to criminal records can damage efforts for successful reentry and provides suggestions on how to solve this challenge. Eight sections follow an executive summary: introduction; the problem—criminal records and collateral consequences; an outdated system—open access to criminal records; why people care—public safety and liability reconsidered; how criminal records are accessed and used in Texas; examples of other states’ efforts to limit access to and use of criminal records; ten recommendations; and conclusion.
The need to replace the incarceration of those arrested for non-violent drug possession in Texas with community-based drug treatment is examined. The strategies described in this publication can be effectively used in other agencies. Sections of this report include: background of substance abuse and drug offenses in Texas—costly incarceration, incarceration vs. treatment costs, community supervision as an alternative to incarceration, and recidivism and revocation among individuals with drug offenses; understanding the cycle of drug addiction—related crimes and special considerations; treatment options and information; legislative efforts to improve responses to low-level drug offenses; solutions; and conclusion. “For those with addiction, drug treatment is a more effective strategy to treat the individual, reduce recidivism, and lower costs to the state. Texas should take steps to aggressively and proactively address drug addiction, and thereby decrease associated crime, by promoting medical and public health responses to this issue” (p. 1).
"In this paper, we [the authors] explore the use of mental health peer support services as one way to support recovery, improve continuity of care, and reduce recidivism for inmates with mental illness during the re-entry process. We present a successful peer support re-entry program model, established in Pennsylvania, and offer preliminary suggestions for a Texas pilot project. We also offer policy recommendations that, if implemented, would broadly improve access to mental health services, ease re-entry transitions for inmates with mental illness, and enhance the viability of peer support re-entry programming" (p. 1). Sections of this report include: key concepts; peer support works—recovery is process of change, benefits of peer support, and peer support in Texas; Texas inmates with mental health needs—high cost of incarceration, community re-entry and the revolving door, and barriers to successful community re-entry; forensic peer support is a growing field—forensic peer specialists, peer support throughout the criminal justice system, peer support and criminal justice in Pennsylvania, hat Peerstar, LLC is, program model, client criteria, peer criteria, forensic pee specialist training curriculum, funding and cost, human stores and success, and tracking Peerstar's success from high risk to high reward; the Texas re-entry landscape for inmates with mental illness—continuity of care in Texas, mental health screening in local jails, program eligibility and service limitations, the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI), TCOOMMI re-entry programs for inmates with mental illness, and barriers to TCOOMMI service eligibility; leading the way by designing a Texas pilot program—six recommendations, concepts and considerations, and developing a forensic peer support curriculum; clearing the way by supporting inmate re-entry and forensic peer support through five policies; and next steps—engage, establish, and explore. Appendixes include: "The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Peer Inmate Training Program"; and "Re-entry Programs and Policies for Inmates with Mental Illness in Texas".
“Violence, vandalism, and other unwanted inmate behaviors prevail in many jails nationwide, and they frustrate jail practitioners who must ensure the safety and security of inmates, staff and the public … Effectively managing inmate behavior creates a safer environment for the inmates and staff and allows the jail to provide a valuable service to the public. Community safety is enhanced by strong jail management and facilities should aspire to create environments where compliance, respect, and cooperation are fostered. In an attempt to create a system of strong management, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) introduced an initiative that was designed to teach administrators, managers, and corrections officers the most effective methods to control inmate behavior and optimize operational efficiency. NIC calls the initiative Inmate Behavior Management or IBM. The comprehensive management system has six identifiable elements that work together to control inmate behavior and create an efficient and effective organization” (p. 1). These are: assessing risks and needs; assigning inmates to housing; meeting inmates’ basic needs; defining and conveying expectations for inmates; supervising inmates; and keeping inmates productively occupied. This report explains how the Brazos County Jail implemented IBC. While the post-implementation study period was not very long, it appears that there is a positive trend in behavior change.
This report is the first thing you should read if you are looking for information about juvenile status offenders. It "was developed in order to produce an up-to-date understanding of the nation’s progress in reducing confinement of status offenders, utilizing newly available data on youth confined in the U.S., in combination with previously available data on juvenile court statistics" (p. 1). Sections of this report cover: key points; purpose and objectives; scope; the uniqueness of status offenses; the push to decriminalize status offenses—the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JDDP) and its early impact, and the valid court order (VCO) exception; status offenses assessment for the nation— nationwide levels and trends regarding the confinement of status offenders during 2001 through 2011; the flow of status offenders into the juvenile court pipeline; and the progress in reducing confinement of status offenders.