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Saturday, May 29

Criminal Justice: Texas Style

For a blues musician and singer, I'm such a geek. But blues people sing about jails, bad men, the south, injustice and stuff... so today let's look at the Texas Crime Rate (Mr Bush was governator of Texas from 1994 until he became President)

~ In the 1990's, 1 out of 5 new prisoners added to US prisons was in Texas.

~ Prison growth in Texas was almost twice (11.8%) the average annual growth (6.1%) of the other states in the 1990's

~ 1 out of every 20 adults in Texas are either in prison, jail, on probation or on parole.

~ The Lone Star State now has more than 700,000 of its citizens under criminal justice control .

~ Although Texas had the most inmates incarcerated from 1999-2001, California edged ahead of the Lone Star State in June 2002. By 2003, Texas beat California and ran a close second with Mississippi.

~ The incarceration rate in California is far lower than Texas though: 455 per 100,000 residents. The National Average is 480 per 100,000 residents and Texas rates 692 per 100,000 residents.

~ If Texas were a country, it would have the highest incarceration rate in the world easily surpassing the US, Russia and China.

~ Blacks are 7 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites in Texas. Whites are more likely to be executed though.

~ Despite adding more than 100,000 prisoners, Texas crime rate declined (-5.1%) at half the national average (-10%) in the 1990's and the least of any of the nation's five largest states [California (-23%), Florida (-5.9%), Illinois (-9.0%), or New York (-21.1%).

~ 89,400 people are incarcerated in Texas for non violent crimes. Texas has more people in jail than Great Britain.

Texas has about the same population as my home state, New York. Downstate NY, where I live is sort of liberal because we are very integrated and ethnically mixed, upstate NY is rather conservative and mostly white except for the cities.

Comparing Texas to NY:

~ Texas added more prisoners (+98,081) than NY's entire prison population (73,233) in the 1990's.

~ Yet since 1995 Texas had the fastest growing prison population and NY had the 3rd slowest growing crime rate.

~ Texas' current crime rate is 5,111 per 100,000

~ Texas' crime rate is 30% higher than NY's 3,588 per 100,000.(In 1998, Texas' murder rate was 25% higher than New York State's rate.)

NY State has not executed anyone for murder since capital punishment was brought back in 1976. Since 1990, Texas has executed 283 inmates and is scheduled to execute 6 more by September of this year.

One more tidbit: the bible belt has the highest crime rate in the country and conducts more executions than any other part of the country.

I believe that the prison system needs a good overhaul nationwide. It's obviously not working nor is it a deterrent to a life of crime. There are many more statistics I did not include. I have more stuff I want to look up.

Houston Chronical: Texas again leads U.S. in prisoners leads US in incarceration growth
Bureau of Justice Statistics Home Page: poke around here for tons of statistics on who gets executed and incarcerated by demographics, race, religion, age, etc.
Texas Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Texas Death Row Home Page: charming
What to wear to a Texas execution: Not kidding.

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