Does Rick Reed believe Texas's drug laws must be respected? Absolutely.
Does he think sending drug offenders to prison is the most effective -- and efficient -- use of your tax dollars? Absolutely not ... especially when it is that person's first drug-related offense ... and no one else was harmed.
Reed's smarter, more progressive solution? Direct many more non-violent drug offenders into the county's existing S.H.O.R.T. (System of Healthy Options for Release and Transition) program. S.H.O.R.T. is a tough, no-nonsense drug-diversion court that has a strong track record at keeping drug offenders from repeating their crimes.
Why does Reed consider the S.H.O.R.T. program superior to incarceration?
1. Prison almost never solves the problem, while the S.H.O.R.T. program often does.
We all know that prison rarely reforms a criminal; in many cases, drug-offenders become more hardened and are back behind bars within a couple of years of their release.
In contrast, a recent evaluation of the S.H.O.R.T. program found its graduates are less likely to be arrested again than are those who don't participate in the program or fail to complete it. In fact, S.H.O.R.T. graduates had no subsequent arrests for drug offenses. Read more
2. It costs taxpayers far less to send drug offenders through the S.H.O.R.T. program than to house them in a prison cell.
It costs taxpayers more than $11,000 a year to incarcerate a non-violent drug offender. But it costs only $3,500 to put that same person through the year-long S.H.O.R.T. program -- and some of that cost is borne by the defendant.
And, S.H.O.R.T. saves thousands more per defendant per year because it eliminates the multiple court hearings, court-appointed counsel, police interviews, trials, etc. associated with convicting and incarcerating a defendant. Read more
As district attorney, Rick Reed will work to steer into the S.H.O.R.T. program every person arraigned for a drug offense who qualifies under the program's guidelines.
The goal? Far fewer drug-related crimes in the long-term ... and less taxpayer money wasted imprisoning people who -- with a commitment to the program -- stand a strong chance of once again becoming productive citizens.
You don't have to wait until March 4 to say you want to see Rick Read's smarter, more progressive perspective take the reins of the Travis County District Attorney's office. Here's where you can early vote and the hours those polling locations are open.
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