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“Costly Confinement” Report Looks at County Jails

Nov 3rd, 2010 | Category: Reports

Costly Confinement & Sensible Solutions: Jail Overcrowding in Texas is an important report on county jails in our state, put together by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. This report offers more than 60 front-end and corrections-level solutions to help system stakeholders identify smart-on-crime strategies that will reduce jail populations among Texas’ 235 jails. Specifically, the report serves as a go-to guide for county officials, policy-makers, law enforcement executives, attorneys and judges, pre-trial services staff, probation and parole heads, treatment providers, corrections personnel, re-entry specialists, and other agencies and organizations interested in creating more efficient and cost-effective corrections and diversion models throughout Texas.

With approximately 70,000 individuals incarcerated in Texas county jails – almost 11,000 of which are misdemeanants – Texas has six of the 50 largest national jail populations. At an average per-inmate cost of $45 per day, counties are spending drastic portions of their budgets on the confinement of oftentimes low-risk, nonviolent individuals. Alarmingly, more than half of all inmates have not yet been convicted of a crime. In the absence of jail population management strategies, further jail construction will become a reality, and it will necessitate significant, additional resources at both the county and state levels.

Especially in light of an ongoing statewide budget shortfall, it is crucial that state and local leadership implement public safety-driven, cost-effective policies that tackle the root causes of crime and deliver taxpayers a return on their investment.

Ana Yáñez-Correa
Executive Director
Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

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