from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2007
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

Senator Craig Estes files bill to authorize Mexican prison

Austin, TX - State Senator Craig Estes filed legislation authorizing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to operate a prison facility in Mexico for housing Mexican nationals convicted of non-violent crimes in Texas.

"An unfortunate fact of illegal immigration from Mexico are the number of illegal residents who commit state crimes while in Texas and are incarcerated for public safety," said Estes.

Estes added that he believes a Mexican facility would help with rehabilitation and reduce repeat offenders.

"These offenders are often cut off from family support networks that are on the other side of an international border. If these inmates were housed in Mexico, it would be possible for family to visit and help with their rehabilitation and reintroduction into Mexican society," said Estes.

Estes noted that these offenders are deported when they are released from prison and such a facility should make it easier to repatriate these offenders to their home nation.

Other benefits of having a facility in Mexico would include reducing cultural and language barriers between prison personnel and inmates, and a reduction in costs to the state for incarceration.

Texas prisons currently hold 153,000 inmates, of which approximately 8,000 are Mexican nationals. Since the bill would only authorize the transfer of non-violent offenders, it is estimated the policy would apply to 3,000 to 4,000 offenders.

"This bill is not a mandate to build a prison in Mexico, but an option. I want to give our criminal justice officials an option for dealing with these inmates and their associated costs," added Estes.

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