Need to Know, Friday, March 30, 2012: Texas justice

This week's host Jeff Greenfield

While it’s known for its high number of executions, Texas is taking the lead on an innovative treatment plan to keep former prisoners from committing new crimes. The goal is to build fewer prisons and, by some accounts, has already saved the state billions. Anchor Jeff Greenfield interviews Adam Gelb of the Pew Center on the States about how lawmakers in other states are embracing prison reform to reduce costs.

What’s on this week:

Texas justice

While it’s known for its high number of executions, Texas is taking the lead on an innovative treatment plan to keep former prisoners from committing new crimes.

American Voices: Thomas Giovanni

Essayist Thomas Giovanni of the Brennan Center for Justice talks about the need for better legal representation for poor defendants.

Adam Gelb on Texas prison reform

Adam Gelb of the Pew Center on the States talks with Jeff Greenfield about how lawmakers in other states are embracing prison reform to reduce costs.

Jeff Greenfield on crime and politics

Greenfield comments on how crime has disappeared as an issue in the presidential campaign.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.

 

Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_N6EX32VXZRLU6UWZYVXQYI2MYI Marilyn

    Imagine! Texas, that kills so many prisoners, is using common sense that results in both saving salvageable lives and tax dollars to lesson their incarceration crisis.

  • Marie Callahan

    Thank you for this program.  The prison crisis negatively affects every American’s way of life even though those of us with good jobs and secure places to live are often unaware of that.
    Prisons are the new plantations.  

  • Frank Manning

    Your program about “prison reform” in Texas had a lot of good points, except for the fact that it was about judicial reform and budget priorities, not prison reform – which refers to what goes on inside Texas prisons.  As a long time TDCJ volunteer chaplain, I can tell you that while there are some excellent volunteer programs (Kairos, Horizon, Dismas, Bridges to Life), there is a lamentable lack of accountability on the part of Wardens, Rank and Correctional Officers.  There are a few programs for anger management, self-awareness, and drug addiction, but the fundamental TDCJ orientation is toward punishment, not rehabilitation.  You “Need to Know” how this system works ON THE INSIDE, especiallly with regard to inmate Health Care.  Please have one of your staff contact me, if you would like to know more.  Frank Manning

  • Private Private

    A a Dallas Texan I understan what your talking about. However, I do think the change in the wind that is on the horizon is incouraging. Texas is not as majority fire and brimestone as it use to be. Neither is the US. Evolution in thought is changing the perspectives. Soon enough citizens will reject the Democrat/Republican false duality/dichotomy and even more sociological progress will be made.

  • Private Private

    I am skeptical about statistics, but regardless of the reasons receeding crime rates is a good thing. The spike in law enforcement highering though could be viewed as a negative. Our country seems to be becoming closer and closer to a police state. Crime rate reduction as a result of citizen oppression and repression seems like the wrong means to the right end.

    But on a superficial level, its good to see Texas, as well as our country, are evolving in thought. Fun factoid, 49% of Texas voted Democrat in the 2008 election. We are not all cow tipping idiots with a poor sense of fashion and the inability to keep track of what generation/era we are living in.