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Analysis: Texas Incarceration Rate Has Declined

An updated analysis by the Commit Partnership found that the incarcerated population across the state has declined by an average of 18 percent across all zip codes since 2019, with similar or better results found within Dallas County.

The two Dallas County zip codes reflecting the highest number of incarcerated adults in the state in 2019 – 75216 in South Oak Cliff and 75217 in Pleasant Grove – both saw steep declines of 21 and 18 percent, respectively. In fact, all but one of the 30 zip codes with the highest incarceration populations saw declines since 2019.

The updated analysis comes after a 2019 Commit analysis of Texas Department of Criminal Justice data that had a startling finding: seven of Texas’ thirty highest inmate zip codes were within the boundaries of Dallas ISD, representing over 3,500 inmates at a cost to taxpayers of over $70 million annually. Studies show education and incarceration are inextricably linked, which made this revelation a clarion call for our regional community to address the collective systemic inequities leading to these results.

In response to the 2019 analysis, Commit CEO Todd Williams called on the Dallas County community to “act with a sense of urgency that this data – this voice of our neighbors – demands.” Three years later, this new data suggests that some progress has been made.

While we don’t know how much this data was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is nevertheless good news for our students, their families, and our state as a whole. But our work is not finished. If we want to build upon this progress, we must continue to monitor this data and address the underlying root issues that lead to incarceration – including substantially improving our educational outcomes.

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