Texas Prison Cutbacks

Texas – Some officials say a reduction in the number of state prison beds is on the table as a possible measure in the struggle to balance the state budget.

The Austin American-Statesman reports the step is one possibility after state leaders directed agencies, including the prison system, to proposed another 10 percent in spending cuts.

The state tripled the size of the prison system during the 1990s under a decades-old criminal justice doctrine centered on building more prisons. Now, state officials are finding that expanded treatment and rehabilitation programs can shrink the inmate population, leading to about 2,000 empty prison beds. They say greater use of in-prison treatment programs and community-based probation and rehabilitation efforts are reducing the number of imprisoned nonviolent offenders.


Information from: Austin American-Statesman,

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.