Criminal Justice Reform

Jailing Texans for Profit: The Prison Industrial Complex in Texas 

“Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today — perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system — in prison, on probation, or on parole — than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America — more than six million — than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.” — Adam Gopnik, “The Caging of America

No matter what Texas politicians say, prison privatization in Texas is not fiscally responsible.  It simply encourages incarceration for the sake of profits, while causing thousands of Texans, most of whom are minor, nonviolent criminals, to be handed over to private corporations for lengthy prison sentences. This does nothing to protect our communities or prevent recidivism. That is why Tom supports ending the use of private prisons in our state.

The Death Penalty: Capital punishment does not work

The death penalty in Texas is morally and religiously indefensible. It is discriminatory and is used disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities. Since humans are fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated. Furthermore, the astronomical costs associated with putting a person on death row – including criminal investigations, lengthy trials and appeals is nearly 5 times what it costs to sentence someone to life in prison. That is why Tom supports ending the death penalty in Texas.

Some cases in Texas with strong evidence of innocence include: Carlos DeLuna, Executed 1989; Ruben Cantu, Executed 1993; David Spense, Executed 1997; Gary Graham, Executed 2000; Claude Jones, Executed 2000; Cameron Willingham, Executed 2004; Lester Bower, Executed 2015; Richard Masterson, Executed 2016; and Robert Pruett, Executed 2017.