TCJE in the News

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


Texas prison population on the rise after pandemic lows

After a significant decline during the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people in Texas prisons has been on the rise in recent months and soon could cross the threshold of 130,000, according to state records. Officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice told the Chronicle the uptick had been expected, with prosecutors slowly moving forward with cases that stalled during the pandemic.

Read the rest of this story from the Houston Chronicle.

Texas prisons are unbearably hot. I live in one.

Last month, a woman died. What I know was only what guards told me after I saw the reflection of the ambulance lights, she complained of chest pains. Guards at Lane Murray Unit, a prison in Texas where I am also incarcerated, took her to medical twice and each time returned her to her bunk in the general population dorm. When the guards came to take her a third time, they found her dead.

Read the rest of this article from Dallas Morning News.

Advocates demand lawmakers protect inmates and workers inside Texas prisons

Family members and advocates of inmates incarcerated inside Texas state prisons, rallied on Tuesday in Austin demanding lawmakers add AC to all their facilities. “If Texas is pro-life, this should be a priority. We have lives that are in our hands and families are trusting the state of Texas their loved ones will make it home,” Maggie Luna with the Texas Center for Justice and Equity said.

Read the rest of this story from KRIS-6.

As Texas Prisons Move to Digitize Mail, Advocates Say Family Bonds Grow Weaker

Five years since her release, Maggie Luna has kept the mail she received from family during her two stints in Texas state prisons: drawings from her daughter, a letter from her niece, prayer cards from her mother. “It was something that I was able to open up while I was in prison and just be able to escape for a minute,” she says. But under a new program launching in some Texas facilities this week, prison mail is about to become less personal, as prisoners will no longer be allowed to receive any physical mail from loved ones.

Read the rest...

Dallas County court hearing set for internal showdown over juvenile records

Dallas County Commissioners and their juvenile department are set to go to court following months of tension over access to records that could show if children at the county detention center are kept in isolation for most of the day. An initial hearing is scheduled for July 26 at 10 a.m. in Civil District Judge Eric Moyé's courtroom, where he will decide if county commissioners can receive subpoenaed records from the Dallas County Juvenile Department, according to court filings.

Read the rest of this article from Dallas Morning News.

Can descendants of the Sugar Land 95 be found? We start our genealogical journey

In September 2020, Fort Bend ISD officials placed black tiles on each of the graves of the Sugar Land 95, which the district uncovered two years earlier during construction of a school. The tiles read “Unknown No. 1,” “Unknown No. 2,” and so on. By that point, the district had paid for the archaeological work, the reburial of the bodies and a final report detailing all the research that had been done on the site. And the Texas Historical Commission essentially gave the project its stamp of approval and called it done.

Read the rest of this story from The Texas Newsroom.

Addressing the issue of benefits for almost 5K local vets

There is no way to sugarcoat this - according to Texas Human and Health Services (THHS) in 2020, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reported that 1.4 Texas veterans commit suicide every day, and 75 percent of those deaths involved a firearm. Last June, the state capitol took action on veteran suicide by signing HB-671 into law urging the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) to adopt a suicide prevention campaign and shine the light on Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD) driven suicides.

Read the rest of this article from the Huntsville Item.

Houston ISD superintendent vows to reduce ratios in early childhood programs

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles said he plans to change the district's early childhood centers and prekindergarten programs to address the "school-to-prison pipeline" in a sit-down interview with KPRC 2 reporter Khambrel Marshall over the weekend. Miles said HISD plans to decrease the student-to-teacher ratio in pre-K programs at the 29 schools where he is implementing his "New Education System" and the district's nine early childhood centers.

Read the rest of this article from Chron.

‘They are humans not dogs’: Dallas County juvenile lockup mistreating kids, parents say

Mark Halstead remembers the last time he was outside. The 17-year-old, being held at Dallas’ Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center while waiting for his reckless driving case to be resolved, was allowed to walk outside one day in February with other kids to visit a mobile dentist. As they waited for their dental exams, he tried to get a glimpse of what was around the beige brick building.

Read the rest of this article from Dallas Morning News.

Texas inmates ‘being cooked alive’ in heatwave with no air conditioning

In Texas’ state jails, the inmates are sentenced to just two years or less. But every summer, former inmate Maggie Luna remembers, the women inside worried their short sentences may take their life. “All of these women that were suffering with me had not a lot of time, and they feared that they were getting death sentences,” she said. “Several times I told my mom, ‘I hope I make it out of here.'”

Read the rest of this story from KXAN.