Saturday, April 30, 2011

Prison Budget Cuts Raise Concerns

Trimming the TDCJ, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, budget is raising concerns over the prison condition, going from good to bad. According a Dallas Morning News article, Texas prisons have been relatively calm in recent years, but riots or brawls have occurred in federal and local facilities over seemingly mundane items such as food, health care or television access.

“Criminal justice experts, inmate advocates and correctional officer representatives say good prison conditions help keep order in the system, and programs that may seem wasteful to some are helpful in inmate rehabilitation.” (Dallas Morning News)

In the long run there will be collateral consequences. The small changes in the meal plans are money savers for the state of Texas according to the Senate, however these changes could be dangerous to correctional officers. Not only is there concern over the conditions of the prison, but also the turnover rate. Some believe the turnover rate for these positions will increase while others see the weak economy making the turnover rate nonexistent.

Education programs are also being slashed in the TDCJ budget. There are concerns over the well being of the inmates diminishing after taking away something that keeps their insanity while in prison. Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said she understands the need for educating inmates, but she wants a more effective school system than the one currently in place. And she can’t justify paying for college for inmates who rarely reimburse the state after release (Dallas Morning News).

All these changes are concerns about the condition of the prison, inmates and staffers. The Senate is adamant about these changes. The correctional system will be tested when these changes come into action. 

-Caroline Cardenas-

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