Texas Issue: Should Prisons The State Might Not Need Be Kept Open Anyway?


Fiscally conservative Texas Republican House members are pushing to keep open two prisons the state might not need, and they want to buy another one for which there are no convicts, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Leading the charge against the plan are Democratic legislators who are loudly complaining about pork-barrel spending. At issue is whether the state, with 12,000 empty prison beds and a prisoner population that's continuing to decline, should close lockups in Mineral Wells and Dallas to save money. Separately, should the state buy an 1,100-bed lockup it encouraged Jones County to build before the prison population began declining? Supporters of those moves cite extenuating circumstances: jobs, economic development, contingency planning, state contractual obligations, and not wishing to micromanage a state agency. Critics say none of that trumps the bottom line for taxpayers.

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