Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Hot Racking in Texas Prisons: Explaining a DeLay Tactic?

I was wondering the other week why my former congressman, and now convicted felon, Tom DeLay underwent a sudden turnaround in his bid to appeal his conviction for conspiracy and money laundering. Criminal Appeals Court judges in Texas are all, to a man and woman, Republicans.

My thought was that Tom DeLay might think he would get better treatment from his colleagues on the Right. And I thought he thought so, too. But then in a massive turnaround, Tom DeLays’s way, way overpriced lawyer Dick DeGuerin filed a motion for a new trial.

Could it be, I asked myself, that DeLay now believes that his fellow Republicans are ready, willing and able to toss him under the bus? And was Tom ready for an introduction to a bus’s transmission? Maybe not.

But now I know that’s not the case. Now I know the real reason Tom DeLay wants a new trial. Now I know why Tom DeLay has just 5 days ago established a new legal defense fund. A legal defense fund, I might add, that is tax-free to Tom.

Because a new report just released has revealed that if currentTexas state budget cuts go through, the Texas prison system could suffer a whopping 12,000 bed shortfall. You can read about it here.

“The study predicts that if the House draft is approved, Texas could be more than 12,000 prison beds short by 2013 — 8,657 from expected growth in the number of prisoners, and another 4,200 from beds that are to be closed.”

“The Senate draft budget, which cuts less from the prison budget, could leave Texas more than 9,600 beds short, according to the report — 6,774 for predicted growth and 2,860 from beds that are to be closed”
Now the article does not really go on in suggesting what changes will have to be made to relieve this crisis, like increases in the number of paroles, or increases in probation for “victimless crimes,” because, I suppose, no one wants to talk about that. Not yet anyway.

And why bring it up when the answer is so obvious to anyone? Even Tom DeLay can see the writing on the wall. The simple answer is to go the way that former State Senator (and now Idaho Tax Commissioner) Robert Geddes suggested way back in 2006: hot racking.

Hot racking is a practice of saving space, and bunks, on a Navy submarine by having 3 sailors share 2 bunks. While one is on duty, two are asleep. As then Senator Geddes said back in 2006:
“Why does every inmate need his or her own bed?. The military does it all the time”
Indeed they do.

And this is very probably the reason we have a new DeLay tactic in his never-ending quest not to spend one night in lockup.

You never know what kind of critters you might find lurking between the sheets of a Texas state prison hot rack.

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