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Even in Texas, Mass Imprisonment Is Going Out of Style
by Tina Rosenberg

The New York Times    Translate This Article
26 February 2017

On 26 February 2017 The New York Times reported: On one serious problem [mass incarceration] in the US, continued progress is not only possible, it's probable [and] has bipartisan support. . . . After quintupling between 1974 and 2007, the imprisonment rate is now dropping in a majority of states. Overall, it fell by 8.4% from 2010 to 2015, while crime dropped by 14.6%, according to research by the Pew Charitable Trusts. California slashed its incarceration rate by 27% between 2006 and 2014 after a court order. New York cut its rate by 18%. . . . More remarkable - is the shift in red states, where incarceration rates have been the highest. In the last decade, they have dropped substantially in South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and, notably, in lock-'em-up Texas. The rate of incarceration in Texas state prisons fell by 17% from 2007 to 2015, according to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, and the juvenile incarceration rate fell by nearly three-quarters. Recidivism is dropping steadily. At the same time, the crime rate has dropped by 27%. Global Good News service views this news as a sign of rising positivity in the field of government, documenting the growth of life-supporting, evolutionary trends.

Several factors contributed to change. Starting in 2003, the Coalition held town hall meetings on prison reform throughout Texas. The group had refined its message through polling: don't talk about race, do emphasize that reform would save taxpayers money, increase public safety and strengthen communities. Ana YaƱez-Correa, [former coalition director,] said the events drew a surprising amount of support, even in conservative strongholds.

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