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A Matter of Fact

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has a $2.5 billion annual budget and 40,000 employees. It is the largest state agency in Texas.

From January 1977 to October 1995, 302 prisoners were executed in the U.S. In that same time period, 95 death-sentenced prisoners either died of natural causes or were killed on death row while appealing their cases. An additional 43 committed suicide.

Former Pennsylvania Corrections Commissioner Joseph D. Lehman told USA Today: "We are not using prisons as a solution for everything... It does not work... My state had a 171% growth in the prison population in the 1980's... You cannot explain that by our 6% growth in the crime rate."

It took five decades, 1930-1980 for the combined state and federal prison population to double. Between 1980 and 1994 the prison population tripled.

Between 1832 and 1984 (152 years) California built 12 prisons. From 1984 to 1996 (12 years) the state built 20 prisons.

The California Department of Corrections "Planning and Construction" division had a staff of two in 1983. In 1994 that staff had grown to 216 with an annual budget of $17 million.

Nationally, the number of prisoners with the AIDS virus has increased from 17,551 in 1991 to an estimated 23,000 in 1995.

The incidence of AIDS among prisoners is 20 times higher than the national average. In New York, an estimated 14 percent of prisoners were HIV positive in 1992.

Mississippi and Vermont are the only two states to provide condoms to prisoners.

Construction will start on 27 federal prisons and 96 state prisons in 1996 fiscal year, adding 104,449 beds to the existing 1.1 million.

Today 15 Florida towns are on a waiting list to get prisons. Each one has offered to donate the land.

For the first time since Louisiana's parole system began in 1914, more Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola) prisoners died in prison than made parole. Of the 4,800 prisoners in Angola, only 25 were granted parole in 1995. Twenty-eight died; one was executed, one by homicide, three by suicide and 23 by ill health.

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