Bills aimed at changing Texas election law would create dozens of new criminal penalties, many of which could largely impact people of color, according to more than two dozen voting rights and criminal justice organizations. The groups — which include MOVE Texas, Progress Texas, ACLU Texas and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition — signed a letter Monday to Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dade Phelan, asking them to reconsider their support for the measures.
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.
Shortly after George Floyd’s murder last year at the hands of Minneapolis police, Gov. Greg Abbott went to his funeral in Houston, vowing legislation “to make sure we never have anything like this ever occur in the state of Texas.”“Discussions about the pathway forward will not be taken over by politicians but will be led by family members, will be led by victims, will be led by the people who have suffered because of racism for far too long in this state and this country,” he told reporters.
5 years after murder of Haruka Weiser, students, parents, faculty evaluate UT’s public safety response
In the five years following the murder of freshman Haruka Weiser, UT has increased safety measures on and off campus to reduce crime risk. However, some advocates say additional steps could be taken to improve student safety. Weiser was walking home from a class at 9:30 p.m. on April 3, 2016 when she was killed by Meechaiel Criner. Criner was sentenced to life in prison in 2018.
State Sen. Bryan Hughes laid out a bill which would protect school districts from liability in cases of armed employees. Hughes (R-Mineola) presented SB 534 before the Senate Committee on Education Thursday afternoon.
Just days after a jury found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, Austin Justice Coalition called on the community to continue making progress. "It was one very small moment that the justice system seemed to be working," Chas Moore, who runs Austin Justice Coalition, said.
A Killeen man serving a life sentence for capital murder may be eligible for parole sooner than expected thanks to a bill that has passed the Texas House and is currently in the Texas Senate. Jason Isaiah Robinson, 43, is being held in the Hughes Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Gatesville. He was sentenced to life in prison on Aug. 9, 1995, according to TDCJ inmate records.
After a year of near-constant traumas for Black and brown Americans—from particularly deadly COVID-19 outcomes, especially in prisons and jails, to a series of high-profile murders by police—another devastating murder has rocked the United States. Near the site of Derek Chauvin’s trial in Minneapolis for his killing of George Floyd, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was murdered by a police officer after being pulled over for a traffic violation.
Many Texans who are released from jail may find themselves behind bars again in the future, but a bill in the state Legislature is hoping to change that. On Friday, state representatives passed House Bill 930, which would create a board to deliver a recidivism report every other year. Filed by DeSoto state Rep. Carl O. Sherman Sr., the bill would detail re-arrest, reconviction and reincarceration rates in the hopes of keeping previously incarcerated Texans from returning to jail.
Art Acevedo, Miami’s new chief of police, works hard to project a public image that threads the needle between appearing tough on crime and assuring more liberal members of the public that he takes their concerns about policing seriously. He’s good at it.
Immigrants' rights groups call on federal government to speed up family reunification process after touring Freeman Coliseum
A coalition of immigrants’ rights groups are urging the federal government to speed up the family reunification process, following a tour of the Freeman Coliseum, which currently houses more than 1,800 unaccompanied migrant children. The tour comes after Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference Wednesday, calling for the facility to shut down operations, alleging instances of sexual abuse taking place, staffing issues and coronavirus safety concerns.
Only one child in federal custody at the Freeman Coliseum has been reunited with his family. The vast majority of the 1,898 children ages 13-17 who remain at the facility have been there long past the five- to seven-day timeline that immigrant rights groups were told to expect before authorities reunited the children with their families.
Southtown gallery Presa House will host two events this month that engage a broader cross-section of the city than the typical art world crowd. The first takes place Sunday, April 11, and is the latest in a monthly documentary screening program conducted in partnership with the PBS Indie Lens Pop-Up Virtual series.
Last year, the Texas prison system unwittingly started a controlled experiment. Agency leaders have long blamed prisoners’ friends and families for a constant flow of drugs they say are often smuggled in through visits and greeting cards. To combat this, prison officials in early March set up new rules curtailing prisoner mail. Two weeks later, they shut down visitation to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
On Feb. 8, the Houston Police Department (HPD) arrested a homeless man, 57-year-old Israel Iglesias, for allegedly handing an undercover cop 0.6 grams of methamphetamine. Iglesias died the next day in the county jail. Results of his autopsy remain pending. Iglesias’s death has raised obvious questions about what priorities the police and the Harris County prosecutor’s office have when it comes to solving or preventing crimes: Why, critics have asked, did police find it necessary to execute an undercover drug sting in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic?
George Floyd’s loved ones appeared before a state House committee Thursday to support a sweeping police reform bill named for the former Houston resident, who was killed last May when a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to the neck for almost nine minutes.
Social justice activists from around the state are planning to gather at the Texas Capitol building Thursday to urge state legislators to pass police reform bills introduced in the wake of the officer-involved killing of George Floyd. One of the bills, named the George Floyd Act, would ban police choke holds, require deadly force to end "the moment the imminent threat" ends, and limit the use of qualified immunity in police brutality lawsuits, among other measures.
Lia Pikus is no stranger to the intersection of seemingly unrelated passions. As a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a grant that allows graduating seniors to pursue an independent study project outside of the United States, she is bringing together two passions of hers — music and prison abolitionism — for her project “Beyond the Bars: Music’s Role in Reimagining Punishment.” At some point in the near future, she will be setting off to observe inner-carceral music programming first hand and experience musical community on a global scale.
Dallas ISD must stop using school suspensions as the district works to redress racial disparities, a group of local and statewide education advocates demanded Tuesday. Doing so would help keep children on track and position DISD as a national “game-changer” in taking meaningful steps toward policies that underscore the Black Lives Matter movement, advocates said.
One Year After First Taking Action on COVID-19, Texas Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Decry Continuing Dangers for Incarcerated People
Exactly one year after the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) first asked Governor Greg Abbott to protect incarcerated people and their communities from the urgent threat of COVID-19, the organization is remembering the lives lost to the virus and continuing to push for action. On March 16, 2020, TCJC and a large group of advocates and system-impacted people published a letter to Governor Abbott and the state’s criminal justice agencies with clear directives to mitigate the potential disaster of a deadly and fast-spreading virus in youth and adult corrections facilities.
Starting Monday, Texas prisoners will be able to see their loved ones in person again with some restrictions. It's been one year since Texas banned prison visits due to the pandemic. Here & Now's Tonya Mosley speaks with Kirsten Ricketts, who hasn't seen her husband Jeremy Ricketts since March 13, 2020. She's on the steering committee for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition's Statewide Leadership Council.