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 Wynne unit is one of the seven prison units in Walker county, Texas. Photograph: Chantal Valery/Getty Images

'People are in danger': the prisoners feeling the effects of US climate crisis

July 2, 2019

Rodney Adams had a job hauling luggage for airlines before bereavements and a back injury took their toll and he was convicted of drink driving in 2012. Just two days after his arrival at the Gurney unit in eastern Texas, Adams had a seizure and collapsed in the August heat. His body temperature was nearly 110F (43.3C).

Read the rest of this article from The Guardian.

We examine efforts seeking to reduce incidents resulting in suicides in Harris County jails.

Mental Illness, Suicide, and the Criminal Justice System

June 27, 2019

A joint investigation by The AP and the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service unearthed some alarming statistics regarding suicide rates in U.S. prisons and jails. Reporters compiled some 400 lawsuits in the last five years alleging mistreatment, most of which were of someone displaying a mental illness.

Read the rest of this article from Houston Public Media.

The population of women in state prisons has grown twice as fast as the male population since 1980.

Reproductive justice for incarcerated Texans

June 25, 2019

Spoiled milk. Too-thin mattresses. Shackling. Stillbirths. These are some of the appalling examples of neglect and lack of dignity that pregnant people face in jails and prisons around the country and right here in Texas.

Read the rest of this article from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Botched drug raid leads Harris County DA to seek funding for more staff

June 24, 2019

The Harris County District Attorney's Office is again asking county commissioners for more prosecutors, this time to handle fallout from the failed Pecan Park drug raid that left two homeowners dead and prompted an investigation into potential police misconduct.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

'Building over history': the prison graveyard buried under a Texas suburb

'Building over history': the prison graveyard buried under a Texas suburb

June 22, 2019

Behind a supermarket and across a highway from an airport catering to the private jet set, an education centre is rising in Texan fields bookended by fast-food chains, strip malls and residential streets lined with beige McMansions.

Read the rest of this article from the Guardian.

Stealing packages could result in jail time in Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signs bill

June 20, 2019

House Bill 37, which goes into effect Sept. 1, criminalizes mail theft, with the penalty ranging from a class A misdemeanor to third-degree felony, depending on the number of addresses mail is taken from.

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Tribune.

The Texas Capitol building

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Provides Legislative Update as Veto Period Ends

June 17, 2019

After the official end of Governor Abbott’s veto period, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) provided an update on the policies that will help to decarcerate the nation’s largest prison population, improve opportunities to divert people into programs and services that will have better outcomes, and help communities thrive statewide.

Read the rest of this press release here.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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