For generations the war on drugs has raged in our state, communities and even our own families. Nevertheless, the problem remains — seemingly as entrenched as ever. For decade after decade, we have tried to tackle the problem of drug addiction with severe laws and prison time.
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.
Doug Smith spent five years and eight months in a Huntsville, Texas, prison for a felony he committed while suffering from substance use disorder and mental illness. He was released in 2014, rehabilitated but still bound. “I was immediately turned down for 90% of the jobs I applied for because of my record,” Smith recalled in an interview, remembering the months he spent struggling to find a place to work and live during his re-entry process.
NAMI Central Texas is hosting a film screening and panel to jumpstart a discussion about mental health in America. You can sign up here to watch the film “Bedlam” which explores the mental health crisis in America by taking you inside one of the busiest psychiatric emergency rooms, jails, homes and homeless encampments where people struggle with serious mental illness.
Dallas-Based Training Academy Launches New Financing Solution to Help Underserved Workers Access Middle-Skill Jobs
ForgeNow, a skills training academy that prepares returning veterans, first-generation immigrants and formerly incarcerated adults for in-demand middle skills jobs, today announced the launch of an innovative tuition payment and financing solution that will help displaced workers access training in the high-demand fields of HVAC and electrical repair. Through a partnership with Meritize, a pioneer in financing solutions for skills-based education and training programs, students enrolled in the program will now be eligible for merit-based financing, which can in many cases reward individual borrowers for their past educational and military experiences."
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.
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.