(CNN) — As budget battles in Washington and the states unfold, politicians are striving to achieve the most for their money, pinpointing where they can cut spending without sacrificing service.
Although lowering spending can mean major overhauls to a lot of services, some states have realized that with a little outside-the-box thinking, corrections reform can simultaneously decrease the taxpayer burden and increase the efficacy of criminal justice systems.
In 2007, Texas launched this legislative trend of cutting corrections costs without sacrificing its tough-on-crime principles.
It has achieved this by making an effort to divert low-risk, nonviolent offenders from prison and rehabilitate them through community treatment programs and tighter supervision of probationers and parolees. This effort has saved Texans more than $1 billion on corrections costs, decreased probation revocations by 4%, shrunk parole revocations by 25% and lowered incarceration by 9.2%. These reforms coincided with Texas achieving its lowest crime rate since 1973.
A famously tough-on-crime state, Texas is proving “lock them up and throw away the key” is not always the best solution, and leaders around the country are beginning to agree.
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