TCJC In the News


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


 

The Traffic Stop: One of the Great Abuses of Police Power in Contemporary Life

June 12, 2019

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition reviewed all arrests in Harris County, which includes Houston, over the course of 16 weeks. It found that African Americans accounted for nearly half of all drivers arrested on a single, “non-jailable” motor vehicle offense.

Read the rest of this article from Literary Hub.

As Summer Temperatures Climb, Most Texas Prisons Aren’t Air-Conditioned

June 11, 2019

In 2018, after a years-long lawsuit, the state of Texas installed air-conditioning at the Wallace Pack prison southeast of College Station, as part of a settlement with inmates. But within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system, there are just 29 facilities with air-conditioned beds.

Read the rest of this story from Houston Public Media.

Allison Franklin, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Peer Policy Fellow, speaks with Spectrum News Austin about human trafficking

Texas Passes Bill to Fight Human Trafficking; Work Remains, Survivors Say

June 6, 2019

In Texas, there are currently more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking, and nearly 80,000 of them are children. New legislation signed into law this week hopes to go after online sex traffickers and boost protections for human trafficking survivors. But, some survivors say more work needs to be done.

Read the rest of this article from Spectrum News Austin.

Reginald Moore at the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery, Sugar Land, Texas, December 1, 2016

One Man’s Quest for a Memorial to Sugar Land’s Bitter History

June 4, 2019

Convict leasing, Jenkins told me, is the crucial link between the history of slavery and the present system of mass incarceration: “All the capitalist concerns, all the cruelty, of that stuff was baked into our carceral system during this period of convict leasing.” Building over the bodies denies that reality.

Read the rest of this article from the New York Review of Books.

Texas lawmakers pass school finance, criminal justice reforms

Texas lawmakers pass school finance, criminal justice reforms

May 29, 2019

“From improving conditions of confinement for women to addressing some of the root causes that contribute to women being incarcerated, to training to support pregnant women inmates, to understanding women’s unique role as primary caregivers, the Texas Legislature made women’s dignity a top priority in reforming the criminal justice system.”

Read the rest of this article from the Baptist Standard.

Texas Lawmakers Move To Meet Women's Needs In Prisons

May 27, 2019

Texas incarcerates more women than any other state. The number of women in Texas prisons has ballooned since 1980, growing by nearly 1,000% – twice the rate of men. 

Read the rest of this article from Texas Public Radio.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot ignited a firestorm of controversy when he announced he wouldn't prosecute some low-level crimes, including certain theft offenses.

Texas prosecutors want to keep low-level criminals out of overcrowded jails. Top Republicans and police aren't happy.

May 21, 2019

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot announced policy reforms last month that he said would be “a step forward” in ending mass incarceration in Dallas. His plans include decreasing the use of excessively high bail amounts and no longer prosecuting most first-time marijuana offenses.

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Tribune.

Five Things You Should Know About Our Justice System (Broken Bread)

Five Things You Should Know About Our Justice System

May 15, 2019

We tend to see those affected by the criminal justice system as an isolated minority, whose actions have no impact on our lives, but its effects ripple through families, communities and the economy.

Read the rest of this article from KCET.

Pushed out and punished: One woman's story shows how systems are failing black girls

Pushed out and punished: One woman's story shows how systems are failing black girls

May 15, 2019

For the first time in a long time, C’alra Bradley felt a glint of hope. It was an unfamiliar feeling for the then-18-year-old whose life had been disrupted and derailed by one roadblock after another. Once an A and B student who loved to read, she was living out of her white 1997 Toyota Avalon, on her own for three years, scrounging to get by.

Read the rest of this article from USA Today.

Texas Passes Bill To Improve Conditions For Women In Prison — But Is It Enough?

May 11, 2019

The Texas Senate recently passed a bill which would improve conditions for women in prison, if it becomes law. The bipartisan House Bill 650, authored by Republican state Rep. James White, mandates that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) must provide women in state prisons with more and higher-quality menstrual products, allow inmates to remain with their newborns 72 hours after giving birth, and bans the use of restraints on pregnant women, according to HuffPost.

Read the rest of this article from Refinery29....

The 13th Amendment left a loophole for prisoners to be forced to work without pay. Texas remains one of five states that exploits the carveout for state profit.

‘The Penal System Today is Slavery’: Lawmakers Finally Start to Talk About Unpaid Labor in Texas Prisons

May 10, 2019

Inmates in Texas make license plates, grow crops, tend to cattle, make soap and clothing, refurbish buses and computers, build furniture and more. They’re required to work if they’re physically and mentally capable, and the vast majority work for free — making Texas one of only five states where regular prison jobs are unpaid.

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Observer.

Texas prison officials roll out updated policy banning disciplinary quotas 1 year after scandal

Texas prison officials roll out updated policy banning disciplinary quotas 1 year after scandal

May 10, 2019

The Texas prison system has retooled policies to expressly ban the use of disciplinary quotas, nearly a year after a leaked email obtained by the Houston Chronicle pulled back the curtains on a scandal at a state lockup in Brazoria County.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition's Dallas County Data Dashboard

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Launches Dallas County Data Dashboard

April 29, 2019

Following the launch of a first-of-its-kind criminal justice data dashboard in Harris County late last year, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition is proud to announce that its Dallas County dashboard is now live.

Read the rest of this press release here.

In a prison interview, Geremy Sledge talks about his pleas for treatment while in a Texas prison program meant to get inmates with mental illnesses out of solitary confinement.

Solitary confinement worsens mental illness. A Texas prison program meant to help can feel just as isolating.

April 23, 2019

For nearly two years, Geremy Sledge sat alone in his Texas prison cell about 23 hours a day. He was placed in solitary confinement — called administrative segregation by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice — after he stabbed another inmate he says stole from him in 2015.

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Tribune.

Law enforcement personnel work at the scene of a shooting where five Houston police officers were reported shot Jan. 28, 2019 in Houston.

Houston Cop Who Led Botched Drug Raid Overwhelmingly Arrested Black People

April 23, 2019

Gerald Goines, who as a Houston narcotics cop led a botched deadly drug raid in January, heavily targeted Black people for low-level drug sale charges in majority black neighborhoods, according to arrest data obtained by The Appeal. In 591 cases in which Goines was the main officer, 94 percent of the defendants were Black, according to case data from the Harris County clerk’s office. The most frequent charge in these cases was “manufacture or delivery of less than 1 gram of a controlled substance,” which represented 23.69 percent, or 140 of the 591 cases.

Read the rest of this article...

4 Texas prison guards fired, 2 resign after #FeelingCute challenge photos spark probe

4 Texas prison guards fired, 2 resign after #FeelingCute challenge photos spark probe

April 23, 2019

Four Texas prison guards were fired and another two resigned under investigation after a controversial string of social media pictures posted as part of the so-called "Feeling Cute Challenge." Officials did not immediately clarify what units the officers worked at, what rank they held or which posts were flagged for concern following the spate of questionable images posted by law enforcement officers across the country.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

Light in the Gap volunteers provide homemade cookies—packaged in plastic bags along with an encouraging Scripture verse—to recently released female ex-offenders.

Waco women offer Light in the Gap to female ex-offenders

April 22, 2019

Every weekday, a van from Gatesville arrives at the Waco bus station to deliver women released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. And every weekday, women from Waco-area churches greet the ex-offenders, offering them a warm welcome, homemade cookies, handcrafted tote bags filled with helpful items and a prayer of blessing.

Read the rest of this article from the Baptist Standard.

Reform Groups Applaud Dallas County DA's New Policies

April 15, 2019

The plan from Dallas County District Attorney John Cruezot to scale back prosecution on some lower-level offenses to end what he calls "mass incarceration" is winning praise from criminal justice reform organizations.

Read the rest of this article from KRLD 1080 NewsRadio.

Convicted felons on parole could vote if Texas bill passes. These are the potential voter demographics in Harris County

April 15, 2019

In Texas, convicted felons are allowed to vote after serving their sentence, but House Bill 1419 aims to allow convicted felons to vote if they are not currently incarcerated. If it becomes law, felons sentenced to parole, supervision, probation or other sentences not involving jail time would be able to vote. The bill, authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, would be Texas' first law since 1997 to address felony disenfranchisement.

Read the rest of this article from Urban Edge....

Michigan Suit on Scabies Outbreak Newest Grievance Over Women’s Prison Conditions

Michigan Suit on Scabies Outbreak Newest Grievance Over Women’s Prison Conditions

April 12, 2019

In September, a report released by the Justice Department cited the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for not adequately addressing the needs of female inmates when it comes to trauma treatment, pregnancy programming, and hygiene. It charged oversight of policies, including those regarding strip searches, are conducted remotely– with no onsite visits to ensure compliance. Striking a similar note, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition released a report last spring calling on the state to treat female inmates with “dignity.”

Read the rest of this article at The Crime Report....

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