79% of Texas voters oppose jail for drug offenders
Conducted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the poll asked respondents if they agree or disagree with the statement: “Drug offenders who are not drug traffickers should be placed on probation and receive drug treatment instead of being sent to prison.”
The poll found 53% of respondents saying they definitely agree and 26% who somewhat agree. Of the remaining responses, 11% definitely disagreed while 6% somewhat disagreed, 4% had no opinion or did not answer.
When asked about whether the cost of imprisoning a non-violent offender should be factored in when deciding to send them to prison, 64% agreed that it should be a factor while 30% said that it should not be.
A large majority said that non-violent offenders should have the opportunity to rehabilitate their behavior before facing the prospect of prison time with 77% supporting such a measure and 20% opposing.
An even larger majority responded in favor of allowing non-violent offenders to pay restitution rather than serve jail time, with 82% in support. However, most drug-related crimes have no victim, so it’s unclear how this would work for victimless drug offenders.
Further findings in the poll show that 27% of respondents supported spending more money on prisons while 62% supported spending more money on education and treatment programs.
Texas currently spends on average $21,390 per year on each inmate. This poll found that 79% of respondents wanted to decrease that amount.
The majority of those responding identified themselves as Republicans at 38%, while 28% identified as a Democrat. The remaining respondents were independents or identified with some other political party. Overall, 51% said they were in some way conservative about their political beliefs while 12% stated they were liberal. Everyone else fell under the poll’s moderate label.
Factoring in race, 64% of respondents were white, 18% were Hispanic, 13% African-American, and 2% were Asian.
About 42% of respondents were between 45 and 64 years old while 16% were between 35-44, 15% were between 65-74, 10% were between 25-34, 9% were 75 or over, and 6% were 18-24.
Females made up the majority with 52% while the Houston and Dallas areas made up 50% of respondents.
All indicators point towards an overwhelming support for reform of the Texas criminal justice system and drug law reform in general.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com