Corrections: Our Challenge & Opportunity!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
July 13, 2006

A recent article in the University of Texas website called "Utopia", had some sobering information that is reminiscent of the Bexar County Jail challenge. I thought I would share this with you in my ongoing dialogue with you about how we handle not just one of the most intractable problems, but one of the most expensive ones. (emphasis below is mine)

"Texas today incarcerates more Texans than at any time in the state's history. As of April 2006, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), the state's prison agency, houses in 115 state prison facilities about 151,741 adult inmates occupying most of the system's 154,702 bed capacity (the Texas Youth Commission houses another 5,000 or so juvenile inmates). Private for-profit companies run nineteen of those prisons under contract to the state.

"Texas county jails with a combined capacity of 80,642 beds house another 70,505 inmates. In addition to the incarcerated population, the TDCJ also tends another 344,560 under some type of direct community supervision or parole. All told in fiscal year 2006 the TDCJ will spend about $2.5 billion housing or actively supervising a half-million people, the vast majority of them African American or Hispanic men. Adding county jail inmates to this number, the Texas prison system will actively control the lives of at least 1 of every 29 adult Texans this year, not counting affected families, relatives, and friends.

Not surprisingly, annual Texas spending on criminal justice constitutes one of the larger chunks of the state budget. Only spending on public education, health and human services, and transportation exceeds state spending on corrections. But despite massive spending, a prison crisis is brewing. In what seems a replay of the 1980s, the prison system today is plagued with problems. A short list includes a limited budget, overcrowding, understaffing and poor staff training, gang problems, prison violence, high rates of disease and illness including AIDS, hepatitis, and psychiatric disorders, high recidivism rates, and the persistent rumblings surrounding capital punishment.

Compounding current problems, Legislative Budget Board projections released in June 2006 show that in five years the TDCJ will exceed its capacity by over 11,000 inmates unless the state builds more than $1 billion in new prisons or makes substantial changes to the criminal law, sentencing guidelines, and the supervision and parole system." Just so you know, here is a list of at least most of our State prison units.

  • Allred Prison
  • Hightower Prison
  • Rudd Transfer Facility
  • Bartlett State Jail
  • Hilltop Prison
  • Sanchez State Jail
  • Baten Parole Confinement Facility
  • Hobby Prison
  • Sayle SAFPF
  • Beto Prison
  • Hodge MROP
  • Scott Prison
  • Boyd Prison
  • Holliday Transfer Facility
  • Segovia Transfer Facility
  • Bradshaw State Jail
  • Hughes Prison
  • Skyview Psychiatric
  • Bridgeport Parole Confinement Facility
  • Huntsville Prison
  • Smith Prison
  • Bridgeport Prison
  • Hutchins State Jail
  • South Texas Parole Confinement Facility
  • Briscoe Prison
  • Jester I SAFPF
  • Stiles Prison
  • Byrd Prison
  • Jester III Prison
  • Telford Prison
  • Central Prison
  • Jester IV Psychiatric
  • Terrell Prison
  • Central Texas Parole Confinement Facility
  • Johnston SAFPF
  • Torres Prison
  • Clemens Prison
  • Jordan Prison
  • Travis County State Jail
  • Clements Prison
  • Kegans State Jail
  • Tulia Transfer Facility
  • Cleveland Prison
  • Kyle Prison
  • Vance Prison
  • Coffield Prison
  • Leblanc Prison
  • Wallace Prison
  • Cole State Jail
  • Lewis Prison
  • Ware Transfer Facility
  • Connally Prison
  • Lindsey State Jail
  • West Texas Parole Confinement Facility
  • Cotulla Transfer Facility
  • Lockhart Parole Confinement Facility
  • Wheeler State Jail
  • Dalhart Prison
  • Lockhart Prison
  • Willacy County State Jail
  • Daniel Prison
  • Lopez State Jail
  • Woodman State Jail
  • Darrington Prison
  • Luther Prison
  • Wynne Prison
  • Dawson State Jail
  • Lychner State Jail
  • Young Medical Facility Complex
  • Diboll Prison
  • Lynaugh Prison
  • Dominguez State Jail
  • Mcconnell Prison
  • Duncan Transfer Facility
  • Michael Prison
  • Eastham Prison
  • Middleton Transfer Facility
  • El Paso Parole Confinement Facility
  • Mineral Wells Parole Confinement Facility
  • Ellis Prison
  • Montford Psychiatric
  • Estelle Prison
  • Moore Prison
  • Estes Prison
  • Moore Transfer Facility
  • Formby State Jail
  • Mt. View Prison
  • Ft. Stockton Transfer Facility
  • Murray Prison
  • Galveston Medical
  • Neal Prison
  • Garza East Transfer Facility
  • Ney SAFPF
  • Garza West Transfer Facility
  • North Texas Parole Confinement Facility
  • Gatesville Prison
  • Pack Prison
  • Gist State Jail
  • Plane State Jail
  • Glossbrenner SAFPF
  • Polunsky Prison
  • Goodman Transfer Facility
  • Powledge Prison
  • Goree Prison
  • Ramsey I Prison
  • Gurney Transfer Facility
  • Ramsey II Prison
  • Halbert SAFPF
  • Ramsey III Prison
  • Havins State Jail
  • Roach Prison
  • Henley State Jail
  • Robertson Prison

We can easily see the magnitude of the challenge our State faces. We do not want this same kind of problem at the County level. I am working daily to construct a roadmap to sanity about how we incarcerate our population and at the same time, build a community on the foundation of decency and respect.

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