The Texas Public Policy Foundation released a survey gauging public opinion on rehab vs. prison for low-level drug and property offenders, says the Grits for Breakfast blog, quoting the Austin American-Statesman. It found that Texans by a wide margin support more treatment and rehabilitation programs for non-violent lawbreakers instead of prison time, which the newspaper called “a significant about-face by voters on the issue.”
The poll commissioned by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank backing prison reforms, showed 84 percent of likely voters favoring alternative-to-prison programs for non-violent drug offenders. By more than a 2 to 1 margin (62 percent to 27), Texans believe spending money on education and treatment is more effective than building prisons. Grits for Breakfast says the survey also is startling because of persistent public misperceptions about crime trends. Reported crime has consistently fallen, but 30 percent in the survey believed it had gone up, and only 18 percent correctly believed it had declined.