Home»Legislation/Policy»79% of Texas voters oppose jail for drug offenders

79% of Texas voters oppose jail for drug offenders

tppfComing on the heels of a poll showing 58% of Texans supporting marijuana legalization, a newly released poll shows that 79% of likely Texas voters oppose sending drug offenders to jail.

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 Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

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

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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