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Facing Budget Crisis, Texas Legislators Propose Rolling Back Reforms

| March 17, 2011

With Texas legislators looking to plug a significant budget shortfall, rehabilitation and treatment programs could be cut by as much as $162 million according to the Texas Tribune. Such programs are aimed at helping released prisoners avoid going back, and they have been especially effective in reducing recidivism rates and prison populations.

Last year, due in large part to the $241 million in community treatment and diversion programs invested by Texas lawmakers since 2007, Texas had its lowest parole revocation rate of the decade (8.3%).  And, even as Texas’s population increased, its crime rate dropped to its lowest level since 1973. Yet, budget shortfalls have lawmakers considering cuts that may serve to roll back some of the reforms that led to the state’s progress.

However, State Representative Jerry Madden (R-Plano), chairman of the House Corrections Committee, plans to resist cuts to programs he believes are clearly working. According to Madden, “The statistics clearly indicate we’re doing a better job.”

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RIGHT ON CRIME is a national campaign to promote successful, conservative solutions on American criminal justice policy—reforming the system to ensure public safety, shrink government, and save taxpayers money. By sharing research and policy ideas and mobilizing strong conservative voices, we work to raise awareness of the growing support for effective reforms within the conservative movement. We are transforming the debate on criminal justice in America.

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