There are many states in the country with high crime rates. Not surprisingly, these states are often the ones that send the most people to prison. Other common denominators among states with high incarceration rates include a population with less education and in high levels of poverty. Yet, these factors do not fully explain Texas’ high rate of incarceration.

A recent report released lists the states that send the most citizens to prison. Number three on that list is Texas. Yet Texas is also one of the safest states in the country. According to some experts, in some instances states with high rates of imprisonment per capita prison have made a political decision in favor of incarceration. Certain policy choices, including minimum sentencing requirements, three-strike laws and tough approaches to certain crimes, including those related to drugs, can result in higher incarceration rates.

While many states in the Northeast portion of the country have started to loosen up on their drug laws, for example, Texas and other states high on the incarceration list have maintained strict policies of tough sentencing for drug charges.

Being charged with any crime is a serious matter and drug charges are no exception. A drug-related charge in Texas can carry heavy consequences. If convicted, an individual could experience substantial prison time, fines and damage to reputation.

This is why it is so important to obtain vigorous representation when charged with a drug crime. An experienced criminal defense attorney will point out weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and assert relevant defenses. Given the high stakes and state focus on such charges, skilled representation could be the difference between a criminal conviction and an acquittal or dismissal of charges.

Source: Huffington Post, “States Sending The Most People to Prison: 24/7 Wall St.,” Michael B. Sauter, Samual Wlgley, Alexander E.M. Hess, July 28, 2013.