Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Jan 25, 2022
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Crime

Texas Prisons: The Flip Side of “Tough on Crime”

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Marie Gottschalk at The New Republic reviews Robert Perkinson’s Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire. And an empire it seems to be:

Perkinson draws much needed attention to Texas, which operates the country’s largest state prison system, and holds more people today than the prison systems of Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands combined. If you add in parolees and probationers, over 700,000 people are under the control of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a population approximately equivalent to the size of Austin, the state’s booming capital.

We operate under the “let-em-rot” theory of crime control. I wonder if there is a correlation between our theory of punishment and the fact that until only three years ago, Dallas had the highest murder rate among major cities in America. There is a evidence, after all,  that prisons are the breeding grounds of the very thing they are designed to control.