Here are the final two panel recordings from our Policy Orientation earlier this month. Please note that the audio files are very large and should only be downloaded via a broadband connection.

* “Repairing the Broken Windows and Social Fabric: How Texas Can Empower & Restore Crime Victims & Communities” (Presenters: Craig Watkins, Dr. Michael Gilbert, Dr. Glen Kercher, Dr. Marilyn Armour. Moderator: Marc Levin.)

Too often, crime victims are overlooked in the criminal justice system. Yet most crimes should not be seen as an offense primarily against the state but rather an offense against an individual victim and then against a neighborhood. Panelists will highlight policies designed to give victims and neighborhoods a greater stake in the criminal justice system while also reforming offenders through tools such as victim-offender mediation, neighborhood citizen sentencing boards, and victim participation in plea bargaining.

* “Thinking Outside the Cell: Can New Diversion Policies Arrest the Growth in Prison Costs Without Unleashing a Crime Wave?” (Presenters: Sen. John Whitmire, Rep. Jerry Madden, Susan Reed, Dr. Tony Fabelo. Moderator: Marc Levin.)

The 80th Legislature enacted historic reforms to place a greater emphasis on alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders instead of simply building more prisons. Panelists will examine the early evidence on the impact of these changes. Are better public safety outcomes being achieved by diverting misdemeanants and low-level drug offenders away from prison? What should the 81st Legislature do to reduce crime while limiting costs to taxpayers?