AUSTIN — With so many non-violent Mexican citizens clogging an increasingly jammed Texas prison system, a state lawmaker thinks it may be time for Texas to set up its own prison in Mexico.
After all, he figures, the inmates would be closer to home and they’re going to be deported anyway when their sentences are complete, so the move would save taxpayers money.
“The plusses are that it’s a heck of a lot less expensive to build and staff prisons down there,” Sen. Craig Estes said. “They would be Texas quality and they’d roughly cost about half.”
A hidden side benefit? “I would hope some people might look at it as economic development in some areas of Mexico that desperately need it,” he said.
Personal opinion, GREAT IDEA! Let the Mexican gubmint pay for their incarceration as well. Although I question that “Texas quality” business. I’ve seen a few of those prisons, NO, not from the inside – as a visitor, and I am NOT impressed. They’re kind of yucky actually.
As of Dec. 31, 8,058 Mexican nationals were among the 152,671 convicts in 110 Texas prisons. Among the states, only California, where about 10 percent of the 172,000 prisoners are Mexican citizens, has a larger total inmate population.
I would think that number is too low! We are talking about Texas here, after all.
“Hell no!” Sen. John Whitmire said. “It’s pretty generally accepted it’s unconstitutional and unworkable. It’s interesting to talk about it, but Mexico prisons are dysfunctional.”
Whitmire suggested instead that Texas could offer parole to some nonviolent Mexican inmates, return them home and insist they stay there as a condition of parole.
Not that it really matters (snicker), but Estes is a Republican and Whitmire is a Democrat. It seems Whitmire wasn’t listening when Estes said it would be “Texas run”.
“Somebody would have a difficult time trying to explain to Mexico what the benefits would be to participate in such a scheme,” he said.
How about jobs? Who would build the prisons, who would work in them? They’d probably be paid a lot better than at Mexican prisons.
“I don’t think we’ll ever know unless we take the first step,” Estes replied. “It’s like any idea around here. You run it up the flagpole and see if it flies. Other than the legal question, I don’t see a downside into looking into it.”
The legal question? I’m no scholar, but having them do time in their own country? Where’s the problem? And while they’re at it, don’t just sent the non-violent, send the violent ones too!