In: Criminal Defense

Texas on List of States that Put the Most People in Prison


When people think of Texas laws, most people think of Texas as a state that doesn’t go easy on criminals, in fact, Texas has long held the reputation as a state that is tough on criminals.  Indeed, a new study published by SmartAsset, which was conducted using data provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, puts Texas as number six on the list of the 10 states with the highest percentage of people in prison.

The Study: Methodology and Results

As explained by the study’s authors, the results of the study were derived from a basic calculation of the number of people in a state’s prison system divided by the population in that state. The results revealed that the states with the highest percentage of people in prison were, in order:

  1. Louisiana;
  2. Alaska;
  3. Delaware;
  4. Mississippi;
  5. Oklahoma;
  6. Texas;
  7. Alabama;
  8. Arizona;
  9. Georgia; and
  10. Arkansas.

Keep in mind that the results do not reflect the number of people in prison each state, but rather the percent of the population that is in prison. For example, there are only 5,412 people incarcerated in Alaska, compared to a whopping 172,224 in Texas. However, 5,412 is .76 percent of Alaska’s population, whereas 172,224 is only .68 percent of Texas’ population.

Texas: Incarceration is Often Favored in the Criminal System

Texas is a state that is harsh on crime and tends to favor cracking down on crimes and emphasizing deterrence by aggressively punishing those who are convicted of criminal acts. The state has been accused of supporting “frontier justice,” a term that is used to describe punishment for a crime without a fair legal process, with a prejudiced judge, or with results of punishments that don’t fit the crimes. As noted above, there are approximately 172,224 people currently incarcerated in Texas, more than double that of any other state on the list.

The types of crimes committed varies widely, as well. To be sure, data provided by the Texas Tribune provides the following table regarding the rate of crimes committed among inmates in the state:

  • Burglary of habitation – 34,296 incidents
  • Possession of a controlled substance (less than one gram) – 29,322
  • Aggravated robbery – 26,422
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon – 16,071
  • Driving while intoxicated (third or higher conviction) – 15,782

This information was collected from the more than 145,000 inmates that sat behind bars as of the data’s publication in February 2016, according to Chron.

Study Emphasizes the Importance of Working with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you choose to represent yourself when charged with a crime in Texas, you may be unable to avoid the worst of sentencing. A criminal defense attorney can help to protect your constitutional rights, ensure that you receive a fair trial, and preserve your right to be innocent until proven guilty.

Reach Out to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you are facing criminal charges in Denton or surrounding areas, our criminal defense lawyer at the offices of Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law can help. Please contact us today to learn about our legal services and how to defend yourself against criminal charges.