Sunday, December 4, 2011

Texas Reviews Criminal Justice Policy, Part II

This is the second blog in a series on the Texas legislature's review of the Department of Criminal Justice and the Board of Pardons and Paroles.  An earlier blog looked at the Conservative position on criminal justice this blog looks at the Liberal position.

"As a human rights organization, our perspective is that these conditions are cruel and unusual, they violate the Constitution, and that it's illegal to house prisoners in these conditions," Scott Medlock of the Texas Civil Rights Project told the Texas Tribune.

The group has already sent a letter to the a Texas legislative committee noting what it considers inadequate health care for prisoners.

But Medlock knows arguing for prisoners' rights doesn't always get far in tough-on-crime Texas. So he's also proposing measures he says could improve prisoner conditions while cutting costs for the state, like reviewing sentencing policies that keep geriatric inmates behind bars, where they disproportionately use up the prison system’s limited health care dollars.

"So that results in old and frail prisoners who have already served an extremely long time in prison that then become very expensive to care for as they reach their later years," Medlock said.

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