How Data Can Be a Critical Tool in Criminal Justice Reform: Transparency Encourages Advocacy and Accountability in Dallas County

On any given day, Dallas County incarcerates about 5,100 people in county jail. About 71% of these inmates are “pretrial,” which means they are awaiting trial for the charges against them. If they are in jail as a pretrial defendant, it generally means they cannot afford bail, or they are held without bail.

Is the crime serious enough to do time? Not always. On average, Dallas County jail has about 400 pretrial defendants who...

TCJC Launches “One Size FAILS All” Report Series

I remember my time on probation in 2007. When the prosecutor offered a plea agreement for 10 years deferred adjudication, I felt as though my life had been handed back to me. Ten months earlier, I had been arrested for handing a note to a bank teller asking for $500, driven by my desperation to feed a drug addiction. At that point, I assumed that I would not breathe free air again until I was...

Talking Criminal Justice Reform with the Next Generation

For nearly two decades, TCJC has been advocating for justice reform in Texas. Recently, I joined Leah (TCJC’s Executive Director) and Lindsey (TCJC’s Policy Attorney) for a short trip to Round Rock, where we got to spend time with high school and college students, talking with them about the importance of advocating for criminal justice reform in Texas.

We shared how TCJC has been instrumental in influencing over 180 statewide justice policies that have helped...

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Joins the Discussion for Art in Justice Reform

The Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC), the Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, and the California Lawyers for the Arts invited TCJC to participate in their Texas Art for Justice Forum on July 14 at the HMAAC. The forum was part of a series of events designed to discuss and expand the role that art programs and the arts community can play in addressing mass incarceration, especially in other high incarceration...

Bipartisan Support for Criminal Justice Reform Is Alive and Well

Over the past two weekends, the Texas GOP and Democratic Party held their respective, biennial platform conventions to determine the parties’ official policy positions for the next two years. The outcome of these conventions shows that in a time where bipartisan agreement is rare, reforming our criminal justice system remains an area of common ground for the people of Texas. I want to acknowledge Scott Henson of Grits for Breakfast, who promoted much-needed criminal...

Moving the Needle on Women’s Justice

When TCJC launched our Justice for Women campaign in March, we never expected this much momentum! In the past four months, we’ve accomplished a lot.

We released two full-length reports and a “quick guide” on the challenges facing women in Texas’ criminal justice system:

Guest Blog: Tarra Simmons Is an Inspiration to Those in Need of a Second Chance

Last November, I flew to Washington state to support Tarra Simmons; a woman who, until then, I’d only known through Facebook and mutual friends. She and I have many things in common, not the least of which is having spent time in prison.

Tarra graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Dean’s Medal and received the coveted Skadden Fellowship, which is only rewarded to a handful of law students each year and provides recipients who plan...

TCJC Launches the “Justice for Women” Campaign

My mother is a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Her method of coping with the trauma she experienced was to never stop moving. Literally. When I was growing up, we moved over and over again—14 times during my high school years alone. If, instead, her method of coping had been to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, there is no doubt in my mind that she would be in prison.

Very little separates my...

Long Overdue: Texas Should Prioritize Safer Schools Through Restorative Justice, Not Zero Tolerance

TCJC’s Jay Jenkins was recently quoted in an article by NBC News about Dennis Rivera Sarmiento, a high school student who was arrested in Houston and later placed in immigration detention. Allegedly, a female classmate called him a racial slur and threw a sports drink at him, resulting in an altercation between the two students. Dennis tried to report the incident to a Houston ISD police officer but, instead of receiving help, he was arrested...

Join Our Team!

Are you ready to help transform Texas’ youth and criminal justice systems?
Do you have first-hand experience that could inform our work and advance our mission? 
If so, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition could be the place for you!

If you haven’t heard, we’ve opened our search for a Communications Manager!  We want to help change the narrative about what real public safety should mean for Texas: safely reducing incarceration through effective alternatives that produce...

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition is now the Texas Center for Justice and Equity! Learn More