Texas Urged to Send Fewer Women to Prison

Texas sends more women to prison than any other state, and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition is calling on the Legislature to take steps to end that disturbing statistic, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

TCJC attorney Lindsay Linder says the vast majority of the woman locked up in Texas are themselves victims.

"We received survey responses from 430 women in TDCJ (The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which runs the state prison system)," she said.  "And 82% of them said they have been victims of domestic violence, and more than half of them said they have been victims of childhood sexual assault."

Statistics show female violent predators, while not unknown, are very uncommon.  The number of women in prison for crimes like capital murder, aggravated assault and aggravated robbery, for example, is, while not non-existent, very small.  Statistics show the vast majority of women who are convicted of crimes are convicted relating to drug related crimes, domestic offenses, or committing crimes in connection with or at the orders of a male companion.

"81% of women in prison are mothers, and 85% of the women in TDCJ are there for non violent offenses, predominately drug offenses."

She is calling on the Legislature to rewrite the laws to, while still punishing offenders, allow more women to remain in the community, and provide public service type punishments where it is appropriate.  The TCJC says when mothers are locked up in prison, their children are far more likely to grow up to be offenders, and that simply pushes the problem forward to the next generation.

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