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TexasTowelie's Journal
TexasTowelie's Journal
February 12, 2013

Money misspent on prisons is money better spent elsewhere

There was a time not all that long ago when Texas prisons were jam-packed. Now, because of falling crime rates and a move away from trying to incarcerate as many convicts as possible, about 10,000 bunks might be going unused in Texas’ 111-prison system. There are hundreds of additional empty bunks in the state’s six prisons for juvenile inmates.

Even with all this empty state-run space available, Texas pays $123 million a year to lease beds from private prison companies, as the American-Statesman’s Mike Ward reported last week.

This is money poorly spent that could be redirected elsewhere. The number of unused beds in state prisons gives legislators the opportunity to consolidate Texas’ prison system and close more prisons beyond the one they agreed to close in 2011. Additional money can be saved by ending contracts with private prison companies.

The number of people sent to prison has been declining for years. The state’s prison population is about 150,000, down some 7,000 convicts from three years ago. The incarceration decline is expected to continue as crime rates keep slowly falling and the state refocuses corrections on rehabilitation and treatment in community-based programs.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/money-misspent-on-prisons-is-money-better-spent-el/nWLyK/ .

[font color=green]Comments by Senator John Whitmire are included in the article. Like with other fiascoes experienced by the state, Texas is learning that privatization isn't as economical as their initial cost/benefit analysis suggests.[/font]

February 11, 2013

Aggies swept up in the game of quidditch

While many are drawn to the game of quidditch because of their fondness for Harry Potter, players of the game say it is more than a group of fans trying to bring the books to life.

Rosemary Ross, a sophomore psychology major at Texas A&M, said when she checked out quidditch her freshman year, it wasn't what she was expecting.


Though the game of quidditch was invented by J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter series, it has taken on a life of its own and is now a full-contact sport played by thousands internationally.

Students at Texas A&M University have had so much interest in the sport that the university has two teams. The Texas A&M Quidditch team, which was established in 2008, is ranked No. 1 in the world.

More at http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_c972a485-3e80-5bb8-b7c1-689f5c367b20.html .

[font color=maroon]Ahh, to be that young again. During my college days hacky-sack and frisbee golf were the rage.[/font]

February 11, 2013

Tab for wrongful convictions in Texas: $65 million and counting

For a state perhaps best known as the leader in executing murderers, Texas now has another distinction: It is the most generous in compensating those who were wrongly locked up.

In all, the state has paid more than $65 million to 89 wrongfully convicted people since 1992, according to updated state figures.


For a hint of how off-track Texas’ justice system once was, and how expensive those mistakes have become for taxpayers, consider the case of Michael Morton, the exonerated former Austin-area resident who served 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. A Williamson County court convicted him in 1987 of killing his wife Christine.

Morton, who was 57 when he was freed from prison in 2011, so far has received $1.96 million for his mistaken imprisonment, state records show.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/tab-for-wrongful-convictions-in-texas-65-million-a/nWLQM/ .

[font color=green]The article states that some exonerated prisoners can receive up to $80,000 a year and they also are eligible for the same health insurance program as state employees.

I'm truly sorry for those that suffered through injustices. However, these payments seem to be more than compensation--it's comparable to winning the lottery. Where is the justice for taxpayers and why aren't we demanding that prosecutors pay part of the compensation to exonerated prisoners if it is clear that they abused the power we entrusted with them?[/font]

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 113,624

About TexasTowelie

Retired/disabled middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!
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