Lone Star lockdown


Who says Texas hasn’t made progress on George W.’s watch? The JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE reports that even in the prison-happy United States, which boasts the largest prison population in the world, Texas is a standout. The Lone Star State has more people behind bars than any other state in the country, surpassing even California, despite the fact that California’s population is larger by 13 million people.

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An accomplishment like that didn’t happen overnight. During the 1990s the growth rate of the Texas state prison system has been about double that of the rest of the country. As a result, today one in 20 adult Texans is in prison, on parole, or under some other form of criminal justice supervision. And here’s a Texas-sized statistic: The population under criminal justice supervision in Texas is larger than the entire population of Alaska.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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