Tue, Oct 02, 2012 - Page 9 News List

Texan judge launches revolution in justice

Tough-on-crime Republican Robert Francis is an unlikely champion of a movement to close US jails

By Ian Birrell  /  The Observer

“I never want to know that person I was again,” Neal says. “This was the best thing that could have happened to me. I feel like I am starting life completely afresh.”

The revolution that begun in Texas and is sweeping conservative America remains in its infancy. Whatever populist politicians say, it is far tougher to force people to change errant behavior than it is to simply slam them behind bars. Yet all the evidence shows this approach cuts both crime and the costs of incarceration.

As Francis says: “What I am doing here is the most conservative thing possible. I am getting the biggest bang possible for the bucks of taxpayers and achieving something positive for society at the same time.”

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