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Survey: Many Texas GOP Voters Favor 'Smart' Changes To State's Criminal Justice System

Flickr/SalFalko (CC BY-NC 2.0) http://bit.ly/2HJ1qxP

Findings by the Texas Smart-On-Crime Coalition suggest that Texas Republican Party primary voters are in favor of reforming some of the state's law enforcement policies. 

Seventy-six percent of surveyed voters approved of making the possession of a small amount of drugs a misdemeanor instead of a felony, to avoid prison time for nonviolent individuals. In this scenario, judges could choose to sentence alternate options for offenders, such as treatment or community supervision services

Ninety-one percent supported increasing the availability of educational programs and vocational training for people in jail or prison. 

Seventy-one percent of surveyed GOP primary voters support smaller group homes in lieu of jail or prison for housing criminally convicted 13 through 17-year-olds.

The assessment, which polled at least 600 Texas residents identifying between the range of "moderate" to "very conservative," was completed in March and released this week

What other reform proposals are being considered in Texas? Will these issues translate to policy priorities for the 2019 state legislative session? 

View the criminal justice reform survey results here. 

Guest: Doug Smith, senior policy analyst at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.