AUSTIN, Tx.—March 9, 2015—A new poll released today by Right on Crime, the nation’s leading conservative public policy campaign for criminal justice reform, shows voters strongly support criminal justice reforms in Texas. The poll conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research for the Texas Public Policy Foundation found that the vast majority of likely Texas voters want to hold more nonviolent offenders accountable in communities, make penalties proportionate to the crime, and ensure those leaving prison spend part of their sentence-under community supervision.
This session the Texas legislature has filed several bills addressing issues from the poll, which included questions on substance abuse education and treatment, felony thresholds, drug sentencing policy, and the criminalization of truancy.
Of the poll’s results, Chris Perkins of Wilson Perkins Allen notes that, “Texas voters strongly support the reforms the Legislature successfully implemented in 2007, and a strong majority of voters would like to see more reforms to our criminal justice system.”
“The results of the poll indicate Texas voters’ appetite for common-sense, conservative reform,” said Chuck DeVore, Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and former California lawmaker. “It’s been nearly a decade since Texas showed America that criminal justice reform could be more effective than locking people up and throwing away the key. Texas’ reforms have led to the lowest crime rate in decades. Voters now see a track record and are ready to build on it.”
The poll was conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research from February 24-26, 2015. The study has a sample size of 1000 likely voters, with a margin of error of ±3.1%. Some significant findings from the survey, include:
- 73% of voters in Texas strongly support reforms that would allow non-violent drug offenders found guilty of possession to be sent to a drug treatment program instead of jail.
- Voters agree that we should spend more money on effective treatment programs (61%) rather than spending more money on our prison system (26%).
- 71% of Texans overwhelmingly believe when it comes to truancy, that the criminal justice system should only be involved in severe cases of chronic truancy.
- A majority of voters (57%) support legislation that would update the felony threshold to $1500 and adjust annually based on the rate of inflation.
- A majority (57%) support legislation that would reduce time served, so that they could spend part of their sentence being monitored under community supervision.
“Texans are clearly demanding a different solution to the state’s criminal justice problems, especially when it comes to nonviolent offenders,” said Right on Crime Policy Director Marc Levin. “The primary reason to adopt these policies is that they are the most cost-effective way to fight crime, but it is reassuring to see that average Texans recognize this as well.”
Full survey results: TPPF_CriminalJusticeReformBenchmarkMemo_v1
For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact:
David Reaboi, Right on Crime Communications Director, at [email protected]