Public Safety in Texas
- Issue Brief (April 2009): Assessing the Impact of the 2007 Justice Reinvestment Initiative
- Report (January 2008): Changing Direction: A Bipartisan Team Paves a New Path for Sentencing and Corrections in Texas
- Issue Brief (January 2008): Work in the States: Sentencing and Corrections in Texas
- Issue Brief (October 2007): Justice Reinvestment State Brief: Texas
- Report (August 2007): Presentation: Justice Reinvestment: The Challenges Ahead
- Issue Brief (May 2007): Comparison of Texas Budget Proposals to Manage the Growth of the Prison Population and Increase Public Safety
- REport (May 2007): Funding Correctional Treatment and Diversion Initiatives in Texas
- Issue Brief (February 2007): Sentencing and Corrections Profile: Texas
- Presentation (January 2007): Presentation: A Framework to Improve the Effectiveness of Justice Policies in Texas
- Issue Brief (January 2007): Texas Justice Reinvestment Scenarios
In 2007, the Texas Department of Corrections projected a shortfall of 17,000 prison beds over the next five years and recommended the construction of 4,000 new beds at a cost of more than $900 million. Texas legislators requested assistance from the Public Safety Performance Project and its partner, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, to identify cost-effective options to avert prison growth while protecting public safety.
The 2007 legislature approved a data-driven plan that invested over $241 million in evidence-based strategies to reduce recidivism. The reform package included swift and graduated sanctions, incentives to promote compliance with the terms of probation, and drug courts. It also cut the maximum probation terms of some property and drug offenders from 10 to five years to help agencies tighten their supervision during the earlier years when offenders are mostly likely to commit new crimes.
Since enactment, the recidivism rate has dropped 25 percent, crime rates are at their lowest level since 1968, and the state has avoided nearly $3 billion in prison costs.