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Study Shows Texans Support Changing How The State Punishes Drug Crimes

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Rather than locking people up for non-violent drug offenses, the latest poll shows Texans favor rehab, which experts say also saves money.

A new poll released this week shows Texans strongly support reforming how the state punishes non-violent drug offenses. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice polled over 1,000 people about how Texas currently punishes non-violent drug offenders with prison time vs. drug rehab and probation.  

Marc Levin, the director for the Center for Effective Justice, said their study shows 84 percent of Texans support sending this group of people to drug rehab vs. prison, and one of the biggest groups wanting to reform Texas’ drug law, is a faction of the Texas Republican Party.

"Those identified with the Tea Party were among the strongest among Republicans in terms of their support," Levin said.

TPPF Vice President Chuck DeVore said 62 percent of people polled agree that more money should be spent on education and treatment programs.

"If done correctly, probation and rehabilitation and education is less costly than incarcerating someone full time," DeVore said. "The buckets of money that paid for those often came out of different jurisdictions, where if you sent someone to state prison that cost was accrued to the state."

DeVore said that is one of the incentives why local prosecutors are more willing to sentence someone charged with drug possession to state jail because that doesn’t cost local counties anything.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.