It looks like a sit com. Judge Robert Francis is holding court in  a room filled with people convicted of drug abuse. The judge alternates between profanity laced confrontations and pep talks.  In a nation that now has more of its people in prison than anywhere else in the world, a conservative judge in a conservative state is saying that punishment alone is not solving the problem.

“Remarkably, this revolution was unleashed in “hang ’em high” Texas, which prides itself on its toughness and still holds more executions than other states. But instead of building more prisons and jailing ever more people, Texas is now diverting funds to sophisticated rehabilitation programmes to reduce recidivism. Money has been poured into probation, parole and specialist services for addicts, the mentally ill, women and veterans. And it has worked:  figures show even violent crime dropping at more than twice the national average, while cutting costs and reducing prison populations.” -The Guardian

Adam Gelb of the Pew Center on the States, is quoted in the article below as deeming the new direction as “the triumph of sound science over soundbites.”