Regular readers know that I always find fascinating when national political discussions and debate turn to issues of crime and punishment. And, because the record of Texas on such issues is so dynamic, I am both hopeful and intrigued that the addition of Texas Gov Rick Perry to the GOP nomination race might bring these issues into focus as Election 2012 takes shape. I suspect most readers know that Texas has a remarkable modern history with the death penalty, and Gov Perry holds the notable record of having signed more death warrants than anyone else in the US in at least the last 50 years. Less well known, but no less notable, is Texas's record on non-capital sentencing: the state has pioneered smart on crime reforms, reduced incarceration levels, eliminated juveniles LWOP for murder and reduced crime all the while. Whether and how the media and Perry's adversaries discuss these matter will be quite interesting to watch in the months ahead.
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