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that we can build our way out of the crime problem? The prison expansion program [has] obviously not worked since it was designed to assure the public that they were going to be safer, their communities were going to be safer, and that the crime rate was going to go down. Because we haven’t seen anything but an increase in that rate despite the number of prisons that we build it seems to me that it is time for us to get very serious instead of using the emotionality of the 10-second sound bite or 30-second TV spot slamming jail doors. What does getting serious mean? We need to look at the profile of the people who are in prison. What do they look like? And we know very clearly that approximately 85 percent of them have reading disabilities, dropped out of school before they finished high school. Many of them were abused as children. Eighty-percent-plus of them committed their crime while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It would make perfect sense then to attack those root causes. I think that the reason that the state of Texas has not done its job in criminal justice is that we have always looked at what is the short-range appeal rather than the long-range effective program. The last session of the Legislature, there was a beginning with the anti-crime package that Hobby put together. And the passage of it produced programs for preschoolers of three years old to begin to attack those problems for kids most at risk that we know are going to grow up to be TDC inmates. We also know that there are effective programs for addiction. So if you look at the profile and you know that you’ve got a Texas kid that grew up, dropped out of school, hit the streets, became involved in alcohol or drugs, committed a crime, went into prison, was kept there for a period of time, when you open that jail door, you still have, a nowformer inmate who dropped out of school, can’t read, is going to hit the street, going to become involved in alcohol or drugs, and is going to commit another crime. So how would you transform these observations into policy? The first approach that has to be taken is to deal with addiction. It is the single largest adult problem that is facing us today. And unless we connect what are social-service programs, parole and probation programs with addiction treatment, we are never going to get a handle on these people who are the recidivists. In TDC, there’s the perfect opportunity to plug them into what is the greatest recovery success program in the world: AA, Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous. It’s a very simple, easy program. And yet it provides a support system when those people get out of the penitentiary that does not cost the taxpayers a dime. Not a penny. And unless we aggressively pursue those programs within the Texas Department of Corrections, when those people come out, they’re not gonna have any support system and they’re going to hit the same community and group of people that they ran with before they went in. The second thing that we have to do is to use, where at all possible, other programs that have proved successful. The Travis County boot camp program, which is voluntary. Its membership is selected by the Sheriff himself. A contract is drawn between those prisoners who choose to go in it with the Sheriff that he will assist them in getting further education or a job when they complete the program. It’s been tremendously successful. I think that shock probation is a very successful program particularly for young offenders. In other words, we need to revamp our approach to the solving of criminal behavior because we know that simple incarceration doesn’t work. And it not only “I feel that the death penalty is the law of the state of Texas… I’m prepared to carry out that law … it’s an CI1ANDS01110 responsibility. doesn’t work, it is financially and economically devastating. I think we should take the conservative approach in criminal justice because it takes us $33,000 a year per inmate and that includes the debt service on the building and it costs us $3,400 a year to educate a child. Wouldn’t that same approach also apply to the death penalty, since studies have shown that it’s actually cheaper to keep someone to send someone to life in jail than it is to execute them after all the costs that are added up, the lawyers’ fees and so on? I don’t know. You’re telling me new information. How about gun control. Last week a National Public Radio News feature focused on Texas, criticizing its lax gun control laws and easy access to handguns and, I think, assault weapons. What is your position on gun control? Well I have hunted ever since I was a kid. And I think the fear in gun control is truly for those people who use guns for sport and for pleasure as somehow being a government interference in their lives. I have very serious problems with those guns that are referred to as these plastic guns that you can buy Saturday-night specials. I have serious concerns about assault weapons. I don’t know enough about the different genre of guns. But making those guns readily available to anyone makes no sense to me. They’re not there to serve the purpose of sports, they’re not there really for hunting. Those guns are designed to kill people. And, so, I would be happy to consider any legislation that would deal with those specific kinds of guns. Another thing you mentioned in discussing prisons was debt service. Prison building usually means bonded indebtedness. Is the state of Texas overextending itself in bonded indebtedness? Well, I think that the difficulty is that you pay one way or another, whether you pay for it up front or later. It has always been a sound financing tool to do capital construction costs through bonded indebtedness. I think that we are Texas is in fine shape. I mean, I am not at all concerned about the debt that we have presently incurred. I think though, that it is important in each one of the instances, whatever it is, whether it’s building prisons or anything else, to determine whether or not there’s a more cost-efficient way to do it. The biggest problem with bond financing and the Legislature in the last session, for example, refused to issue bonds for the restoration of the Capitol, and set aside monies that are very dear and very needed in a lot of programs. So, I think that’s a call that you have to make in each individual instance. Wouldn’t a larger general-revenue fund and this comes as a question regarding a state income tax wouldn’t that be more cost effective than bonds which include interest, payments for bond lawyers, bonding houses all the costs associated with bonds. Would you favor a state income tax? No. It’s like the question that you determine whether you’re going to pay cash for a car. Or are you going to pay it out over a period of time. You know that car’s going to cost you more if you’re going to have to pay it out. But the circumstances at the time may be that it is wiser for you to do it in that fashion. So I don’t think you can pre-judge in the state any more than you can pre-judge in your own personal circumstances. Who do you think the tax structure in this state favors the most? The service industry. Do you think the tax structure is equitable in this state? No. Do you intend to make it more equitable? 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