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Texas Prisons: The Business of Incarceration
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Category: Events


Texas is home to over 700 prisons and jails, which require complex infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and a variety of public and private providers to operate the multi-billion-dollar system efficiently. How is the Texas’ economy impacted by this facet of the criminal justice system? Join us to explore and discuss the history, legislation, data trends, ethics and priorities that shape and impact the business of incarceration in the Lone Star state. 

 Conference Videos


All Sessions: 8 a.m.-10 a.m. CST

Week 3: Thursday, September 24 

Legislators Panel: Regulation, Reform, and the Path Forward:
Rep. James White, House Committee on Corrections
Sen. John Whitmire, Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
Rep. Joseph Moody, Texas House of Representatives 
What is the history and current regulatory environment for one of the largest prison systems in the world?  How will many of the anticipated criminal justice reforms impact its future?  With the 87th Legislative session looming, what will Texas lawmakers do or not do? Please join a preeminent panel of Texas Legislators to answer these and many other questions. The Lyceum is honored to have Representative James White, Chairman of the House Committee on Corrections, Senator John Whitmire, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, and  Representative Joseph Moody, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House of Representatives. 

Ethics Exercises:
Incarceration in our state is a topic and issue that brings up a lot of questions, concerns, values and convictions. Through our ethics exercises, we hope to create a space for discussion, critical thinking and debate amongst attendees. Conference participants get to choose two options to explore in-depth with their colleagues, through a facilitated discussion. 

Topic 1- Profits and Prisons: Participants will explore the success and effectiveness in the sector. Together they will seek to answer: What is the ROI for our state’s investment in prisons? Are they effective? For whom? Who profits from prisons? Is it ethical to profit from incarceration? 

Topic 2- The Cost of Prison Labor: As one of the few states that does not compensate prisoners for their labor, participants will join in discussion to explore why this is the case in the Lone Star state and debate whether it is a policy that should or should not continue.