Please do not be insulted but you and I have some interests in common: We both want less crime, more voluntary respect to law and thereon safer streets; we both want to lock up and throw away the key with no "perks" provided to those "real bad guys" who will not be rehabilited no matter what; we want T.D.C.J. to in good faith implement Texas law [Govt. Code §§ 493 and 494] of endeavoring to rehabilitate and reintegrate to society those convicted felons who are willing to work hard towards their rehabilitation and become, maybe for the first time in their lives, fully productive, law abiding taxpayers and voters, a credit to their families and community, rather than a fearsome public nuisance.
We at P.U.R. are committed to these goals, but we alone cannot advance them and, unfortunately, T.D.C.J. has not succeeded in attaining them. We P.U.R. are convinced that these goals are attainable, but only if YOU , the sovereign in this Republic demand that they be met: as the best and the most convenient to YOUR interests.
In 1992 Texas had a population of 14.7 million and T.D.C.J. prisoners (about 16,000) could be released on parole at once with no danger whatsoever to society; that left some 10,000 "real bad guys" in T.D.C. who could not be released without danger to society.
In 2001 Texas population was 21.1 million (1.44 times more than 1982) and T.D.C.J. had 164,000 prisoners (6.3 times more than 1982); counting in city and county jails, Texas has 210,000 prisoners (1000 per 100,000 population) and another million or so out on probation and parole. Texas had not only the hightest incarceration rate in the world--exceeding the U.S. overall (720), the second largest prison system of California (460), Russia (670), England (125), China (112), Latin America (115), Turkey (110), France, Belgium or the Netherlands (each 85), Sweden (40)-- but the largest ever in history...except for Germany after November 1938 (Kristallnach). Texas had 40% of the cumulative total prisoners in all of the 20 Latin American republics (540,000 pending verification) although Latin American (pop. 500 million) has 24 times more population than Texas.
The revelant question should be: is all of this really necessary, or, with Your safty as primary concern, are these patently ridiculous imprisoment rates in YOUR best inrerest? After all YOU . not the state bureaucrats or even elected officals, are the SOVEREIGN in our democratic Republic!
ASSUME that we Texans are such "bad seed" that we cannot help it but to produce "real bad guys" at a much faster rate than "regular nice guys", so while the 1982-2001 population only rose by 1.44, the number of "real bad guys" rose by the SQUARE of 1.44, by (1.44x 1.44) or (2.1 times the 10,000) "real bad guys" that Director Estelle said we had in 1982; so now we have (2.1x10,000) or about 20,000 "real bad guys" in T.D.C.J. who cannot be released without serious danger to the public. Subtracting from 164,000 that leaves about 143,000 "not so bad guys" who could be released without endangering society. But, after all this is Texas and we don't want to appear "soft on crime", so leave (16,000 in 1982 times 1.44) 23,000 of them in T.D.C.J., for a total 44,000 in T.D.C.J. Still a worldwide-respectable ratio of 210 locked up per 100,000 population!
At TDCJ's reported annual maintenance fee per prisoner of $14,000, this represents savings of U.S. $680 MILLION each and every year. Small wonder this sorry and crazy state of ours is utterly BANKRUPT.
While most TDCJ guards and staff are "regular nice guys", often grumpy and gruffy yet basically decent folks just doing their jobs, NOT ALL in TDCJ are "honest public servants": The wardens of this Gatesville Unit, the largest TDCJ women's unit, is now a convicted felon: what a difference a few months make!; the former top boss in TDCJ James Anthum "Andy" Collins has just been convicted of money laundering, bribery and conspiracy to defraud the state of $33+ millions in the Vitapro scandal. And there and how many more like them! Based on abundant evidence PUR-Texas charges before YOU, the Sovereign of this Republic, that the high levels in TDCJ and the Texas Correctional Board there exists a CONSPIRACY to artificially inflate the TDCJ prison population, with the object of BILKING YOU, the over-abused and most-patient taxpayers of Texas, of more billions upon billions of our hard work; so as to futher their careerist goals.
Part and parcel of this conspiracy is preferentially releasing on parole the "real bad guys" who in or out of prison are most anti-social vicious predators, who already have been through the parole or probation "revolving door" four, five, six or more times; the "Willie Nortons" who, as expected of them, will commit some grisly atrocity that TDCJ will show with much alacrity "SEE.. They can't be released!" While routinely denying parole year after year to first time offenders and others who have worked hard at their own rehabilitation. The ones who are sure to come back are let go while the ones unlikely to return to prison are kept : a fact of life known to anyone who is familiar with TDCJ. Result Well, TDCJ's population having risen 6.3 times in 19 years, whereas the Texas population only grew by 144%.
Figures here are purposely conservative: check the facts and figures yourself e.r. by using the Texas Open Records Act or demanding them from your state legislators. The annual maintenance fee of 14,000 per prisoner, one of the lowest in the U.S.A. or about $38 per day per prisoner expenditures, goes almost exclusively on salaries and to pay for obligations; per prisoner expenditure is LESS that $4 daily: that included food, the lodging (cost of construction of cells and buildings) medicines, clothes and laundry, electricity, water and gas, all that combined is LESS that 4 daily; while 90% goes mostly for saleries and benifits of guards and staff. Releasing 120,000 prisoners means reducing staff. Simple artihmetic tells that reducing the prison population by 120,000 will save yearly $1689 million!; which could be used as follows:
$340 million (20%) a TAX CUT;
$200 million for agriculture
$240 million for roads and highways
#360 million for higher education
$320 million to junior and community colleges and vocational and technical schools
$60 million to courts and law enforcement
$160 million to various other state dependencies. Keep in mind: these are EXTRA besides monies currently allocated to these dependencies.
Not so long ago Texas use to pride itself in providing A-1 university education at $120 per semester; nowadays it costs $756 per 18-hr semester, which by 2005-2006 will be $900 per semester, those figures for tuition alone! I propose to YOU, my sovereign, that it is high time once more to devote the bulk of YOUR tax dollars to universities rather than prisons.
The320 million for junior and community colleges and vocational schools, would supplement the budget of Texas State Technical College and other 52 or so junior colleges and vocational schools to provide basically Free Tuition ($10 dollars max per semester plus fees) to 360,000 part-time students, and work-study scholarships to 140,000 full-time students; these figures represent a 40% increase in today's student populations in those institutions; perhaps including most of the 120,000 TDCJ releases and as many of the TDCJ staff needing re-training in other jobs. Providing not only A-1 quality education but active job placement as well.
On the $60 million for courts and law enforcement, well, that represents $500 a piece for Texas 120,000 lawyers: after prisoners, Texas most abundant crop today. While state bureaucrats will find no trouble disposing of the remaining $160 million; if not apply it to a supplemental TAX CUT, cutting sales taxes from 7.6% to 7.3%.
But you might wonder: "Is all this really possible!?" I reply: "Of Course!" And these represent monies besides current expenditures on those services. Do not trust me: check it all out by yourself!
Well, you are "shocked"? Then, please, brace yourselves, because there is much more, of common knowledge to "those in the know" but conveniently hidden from you, the sovereign of this democratic Republic, by the self-seeking "public servants" ostensibly working for YOU. And again I mean no disrespect for the average TDCJ staff, who by and large, and I really mean this, are basically honest folk doing a job.
Reconizing the connection between effective rehabilition and acquiring healthy work habits and a work ethic, the Texas Government Code[§§ 493 thru 497] ORDERS the creation of Texas Correctional Industries Enhancement Program, and sets of a Private Sector Prison Industry Overview Authority (PSPIOA) to overview the implementation of TCI/PIE. Enabling entrepreneurs to hire convict labor, which by federal law [18 U.S.C. §1761] would have to be paid the prevalent free-workers wage in the area; producing for private capitalists products that, by and large, nowadays are made in third world low-wage nations. Entrepreneurs are most eager to enter this labor pool, which beats even the "maquiladora" option. While it is no panacea to the convict workers--they have to pay TDCJ for room and board, pay restitution, support dependents, pay taxes...if lucky prisoners retain 20% to 40% of their wadges--the prisoners are egar too, because it enables to save for release date, and a few hundres or maybe over a thousand dollars, perhaps even a job, sure beat $100 cash and the clothes on one's back with no job prospects for the time being! The U.S. economy adds a few lost products and services. Because mostly those jobs are now done over-seas, the unions do not oppose the program either, on the contrary. For more details read: "Repatiating Low Wage Work", by Dr. Robert P. Weiss, of SUNY-Plattsburgh, in Criminology Vol. 39 No 2. May 2001. For example, and there are several others, the Escod Industries experience in Southern Carolina has been excellent and led to the opening of several more shops in that state. It means more money to the entrepreneurs, more to dependents, crime victims, courts, to the IRS and state tax collector and it indeed helps to effectively rehabilitate ex-offenders.
Then how come the Texas-mandated TCI/PIE program has not been aggressively implemented in the almost ten years from its inception!? While in all this time TDCJ does nothing but to scream "More Money!" and the state prosecutors do nothing but complain about increased crime? Why reject this TCI/PIE gold mine which not only would fill TDCJ coffers to the rim, but besides rehabilitate convicts?
In 1993, Ann Richards the governor and TDCJ population only 70,000, loads of prisoners were bused to the TDCJ Lockhart facility: portrayed as the showcase for the TCI program ( I believe that the PIE Program came later) At any rate: in the 1993-2000 period. a period of "unprededented prosperity", booming economy and record low employment, the number of prisoners employed at the Lockhart facility actually WENT DOWN! Only about 300 prisoner workers, or about one in 547 TDCJ convicts now employed are in these programs. And estimates v.g. by the State Comptroller Carole Rylander, a strong advocate of TCI/PIE who has put out many studies showing the clear adavantages of the program--have by a very modest estimate of increased jobs in the next few years, to perhaps about two or three thousand: still a dismally small fraction of total convicts in TDCJ today. But, is during times of economic boon the TCI/PIE program stagnated, what can reasonably be expected in the next few years, of which most economists must predict a deep recession and a protracted recession?
Bases on the aboveFACTS we PUR-Texas charge YOU our Soverign in this Republic, the one who foots the bill, that the reason why the TCI/PIE Program ORDERED by Texas law, has failed so dismally in 1994-2000, despite optimal economic conditions and eagerness from both employers and convicts, was that officials in the high places of TDCJ and the Texas Corrections Board SABOTAGED that program, indeed to actively prevent prisoner rehabilitation; which hurts their careerist interests in TDCJ: "Texas fastest growing industry" these days; in fact the only growing industry in Texas these days. While in the 1994-200 period, TCI/PIE stalled, but TDCJ population more than doubled: from 70,000 to 164,000 The highest per capita incarceration rate in the world today and in all history...except for Germany following the infamous "Kristallnacht" in 1938.