Target: Texas Governor Rick Perry
Goal: End the use of ineffective and poorly run state juvenile prisons in Texas
The state of Texas is considering eliminating all state-run juvenile prisons due to their excessive costs and the fact that these prisons are incredibly ineffective. In fact, 85 percent of the kids released are arrested again within their first five years of freedom. Studies have shown that high rates of juvenile incarceration actually cause the formerly incarcerated to commit more crimes in the future as a direct result of these brutal prison environments.
Violence and abuse tend to run rampant in U.S. prisons, and juvenile facilities are no exception. However, these abusive environments are worse for children as their developing minds are so much more susceptible to trauma. Many kids come out with mental illnesses that make it difficult or impossible for them to reintegrate into society, which is made harder when you’re just starting out on your own. It’s no surprise that so many of them have to turn back to crime just to survive.
During the past several years, Texas has actually been on a role in terms of prison reform. Eighty percent of Texans are in favor of probation for non-violent drug offenders rather than prison time. With some encouragement, we can help to continue this trend with the elimination of a horrid juvenile prison system and implementation of programs that focus on real rehabilitation. By signing this petition, you’ll urge Texas legislators to scrap their juvenile prison system.
Dear Governor Perry,
I understand that the Texas congress is considering eliminating the juvenile prison system from its state due to high costs and low effectiveness. It’s clear that putting kids in these facilities is not helping to rehabilitate them as a full 85 percent commit another crime within five years of their release. If recidivism rates are this high, there’s no point in spending the millions of dollars it takes to operate these prisons each year.
Not only are juvenile prisons a drain on the budget, they’re also harmful to the kids subjected to them. High rates of violence, abuse, and drug use result in prisoners who come out worse off than they were when they went in. The reason so many kids turn back to crime is because they’re psychologically incapable of functioning in the outside world after having to survive in these conditions.
I’m writing to urge you to go through with completely eliminating your state’s juvenile prison system so that you can focus on real rehabilitation programs that don’t cram thousands of disturbed children into crowded cells with one another. We should be focusing on supporting and uplifting our country’s children, not locking them away in horrid conditions with abusive guards so that the world can forget about them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dylan Oliphant via Wikimedia Commons