Tell TDCJ to budget for fewer, safer prisons!
Crime in Texas dropped precipitously over more than two decades. We now have more prisons than we need, and many of them are hard to staff or require millions in repairs. THIS MONTH Texas agencies are building their new budget requests. Tell Executive Director Bryan Collier to budget for fewer, safer prisons.
Taxpayers can have a prison system that costs less and is also better, by consolidating the shrinking inmate population and shuttering two prisons. The remaining system will be better staffed and safer for everyone. But government won't shrink itself. You have to demand a smaller system or TDCJ will try and solve its problems by asking for even MORE money.
An understaffed prison is an unsafe prison -- unsafe for the guards, unsafe for the inmates, unsafe for the surrounding community. Last year, staff turnover in the Texas prison system hit 28%. Some units lost half their staff in a single year. Prisons struggle to fill those open positions and the state has thousands of open guard jobs right now.
Because the jobs are located in distant rural areas or the facilities have serious safety issues, these are often jobs no one wants. Texans would rather dig an oil well, haul off trash, or change bedpans than live in temporary housing far from family in order to guard inmates four days out of seven.
Some of the prisons that are located close enough to population centers to hire staff are also among the oldest facilities in the state and need millions of tax dollars invested to make them safe for both guards and inmates. Last session, Collier asked lawmakers for more than $50 million in repair costs alone.
Tell Collier to present lawmakers with a budget that shrinks the size of our prison system, closing at least two prisons and consolidating populations among facilities that can be staffed more effectively.
We've made it easy to send a message to the head of the prison system! Executive Director Collier doesn't get a lot of email from the public. He will notice and he will need to respond. He is building his new budget request NOW. Help him do the right thing!
Learn more about prison closures!