TCJC In the News

Press Contact: For all media inquiries, please contact Madison Kaigh, Communications Manager, at or (512) 441-8123, ext. 108.


The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Welcomes Award-Winning Artist John Legend in Support of Campaign to End Mass Incarceration

April 16, 2015

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, along with Texas legislators and coalition partners, welcomed nine-time Grammy® Award winner John Legend to Austin in support of his FREE AMERICA campaign to end mass incarceration.

John Legend Targets Texas Incarceration Rates

April 15, 2015

John Legend is best known for his music. But the Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter is in Texas this week lending his voice to something different: criminal justice reform.

The Texas Tribune.

Lawmakers Push for Police Body Cameras

April 10, 2015

As the shooting of Walter Scott dominated national headlines this week, Texas lawmakers discussed legislation aimed at making police officers think twice before using excessive force.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Observer.

Testimony suggests growing support for police body cameras in Texas

April 9, 2015

Testimonies at the State Legislature on Thursday largely supporting the adoption of body cameras in police departments across Texas suggest that the technology may be gaining traction in the state. The issue of body cameras has recently earned some urgency in the light of a North Charleston, S.C., fatal shooting Saturday in which Officer Michael Thomas Slager was caught on video shooting 50-year-old Walter Lamer Scott in the back multiple times.

Read the rest of this article at The Austin American-Statesman.

Video Chats Are Replacing In-Person Jail Visits, While One Tech Company Profits

April 8, 2015

Richard Gladden, a Texas defense attorney, represents criminals for a living, so he’s no stranger to crime. But when he talks about Securus, a for-profit prison company based in Dallas, he is downright grim. “Securus is mercenary,” he says. “They’re squeezing blood out of a rock.”

Read the rest of this article at International Business Times.

House Hears Broad Support for Bringing 17-Year-Olds into Juvenile System

April 2, 2015

Miguel Moll went before the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues yesterday to tell the story of his introduction to the Harris County Jail. He was 17, he told lawmakers, when he was caught joyriding in a stolen car and brought to the Harris County Jail.

The Texas Observer.

Texas bills seek outside investigations of police shootings

March 27, 2015

AUSTIN (AP) — As national unrest swells over police officers not indicted in high-profile shootings, a Texas House panel on Thursday heard testimony on bills seeking to calm public concerns of bias.

Read the rest of this article at KXAN.

National Advocacy Group Weighs in on Incentives to Decrease Texas’ State Jail Population

March 17, 2015

Austin, TX -- Today Grassroots Leadership testified in favor of Texas Senate Bill 589, to streamline the process to grant diligent participation credit to people incarcerated in Texas’ State Jails.

Giving 17-year-olds second chance requires support of Whitmire

March 2, 2015

When it comes to criminal justice, we certainly respect the wisdom and experience of Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who has spent much of his 30 years in the Texas Senate working on those issues. His leadership on criminal justice matters is recognized on both sides of the aisle. As chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, Whitmire is rare, being one of two Democrats tapped by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to chair a Senate committee.

Read the rest of this article at the Austin American-Statesman

Legislators poised to make changes in juvenile justice system

February 21, 2015

The scene at a South Dallas apartment last month was shocking: a 14-year-old girl in bright pink pants, a blue top — and handcuffs — being hustled into a police car, after allegedly drowning a 2-month-old baby. Today, the girl, who is not being named because of her age, wears a shapeless navy uniform and tan shower shoes.

Read the rest of this article at The Dallas Morning News.

Lege May Finally Lift Hiring Policies That Hurt Ex-Cons

February 9, 2015

A mere decade and a half into the new millennium, state lawmakers appear to be grasping a basic tenet of facilitating employment: If you want all your citizens to have jobs, maybe don’t prevent them from getting jobs.

Read the rest of this article at the Texas Observer.

Jailhouse video visits drawing static

January 16, 2015

AUSTIN - Jailhouse visits are among the latest casualties of the digital age, with conversations squeezed through metal grates or thick plastic dividers replaced by Skype-like computer calls. Some are now revolting against the technology, calling it a poor substitute for human contact.

Read the rest of this article at Palestine Herald-Press.  

One box says it all for job-hunters with a criminal past

January 10, 2015

WTF? These bills could actually become law in Texas

January 7, 2015

After defeating Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for Texas' top leadership position, Abbott wasted no time announcing he'd sign a bill this legislative session to allow the open carry of handguns. "If an open-carry bill is passed by the House and Senate and arrives at my desk, I will sign it into law," he pledged November 5, the day after he won. "If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it's good enough for the state of Texas."

Read the rest of this article at

Juvenile justice advocates want age of adulthood raised to 18

January 2, 2015

In Texas, you have to be 21 to apply for a concealed handgun permit, and, in many cities, 18 to buy an e-cigarette. In the eyes of the criminal justice system, however, you are considered an adult at age 17, a nearly century-old law juvenile justice advocates and law enforcement increasingly agree is out of step with national norms.

Read the rest of this article at Corrections One.

Texas Bill Filed to Decriminalize Small Amounts of Marijuana

December 16, 2014

A bill filed Monday morning will decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in Texas. The bill, numbered H.B. 507, would make knowing or intentional possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a non-criminal offense with a civil penalty of no more than $100.

Read the rest of this post on Houston NORML's site.

Following On 2013’s Legislative Efforts, Texas Lawmakers Aim To Decriminalize Student Truancy

November 17, 2014

A Republican state lawmaker is hoping to decriminalize Texas students’ learning experience. Rep. James White’s bill, will decriminalize truancy laws and require schools to find a way to incentivize attendance and student learning.

Read the rest of this article at

Texas Criminal Justice Advocates Focused on Continuing Reform Efforts

November 3, 2014

Texas has made great progress in the area of criminal justice reform, but there is still a long way to go. That was the consensus message from a panel discussion earlier last month at the University of Texas at Austin, as reform advocates from the left and right, a state representative, and a man incarcerated for nearly twenty five years for a crime he did not commit, shared their thoughts with an audience of journalists, professors, students, and activists interested in criminal justice reform at the Texas Tribune’s annual Texas Tribune Festival.

Read the rest of this article at...

Editorial: DPD experiment for low-level pot suspects a smart approach

October 8, 2014

An underused 2007 state law offered police officers the option of writing citations for certain low-level offenses rather than hauling suspects to jail. The point was to keep cops on the street and avoid burning up valuable hours processing defendants for misdemeanors like marijuana possession or graffiti.

Read the rest of this editorial at The Dallas Morning News.

The Source: New Coalition To Reform Justice Spans Left, Right Divide

September 22, 2014

Texas Tough may be taking a back seat to Texas Smart when it comes to crime and punishment. An unlikely coalition of reformers, think tanks, and business groups are uniting under a new banner of "Smart-on-Crime" to take aim at what they say are the broken parts of our justice system.

Listen to an audio stream at Texas Public Radio.