TCJC In the News

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


Editorial: Texas sex ed overhauled, still lacking

Editorial: Texas sex ed overhauled, still lacking

November 23, 2020

In 2018, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition estimated 158,500 Texas youth identified as LGBTQ, including about 13,800 transgender students. Discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in sex education is being inclusive to all students, and also has the potential to limit bullying and harassment. This is no small detail. As we noted in a recent editorial about homophobic politics — especially in a North East ISD trustee race — LGBTQ students are vulnerable. They are more likely to be in the foster system, end up homeless or forced into sex-trafficking than their non-LGBTQ counterparts.

Read the rest...

Despite calls for criminal justice reform, will Texas lawmakers add new crimes to the books?

November 23, 2020

The Texas District & County Attorneys Association, an advocacy group for prosecutors across the state, quipped on Twitter last week about state lawmakers’ effort to address criminal justice reform. “Some things never change” was followed by a shrugging emoticon.

Read the rest of this article from KXAN.

Opinion: Don’t lock away juvenile ‘lifers,’ especially in a pandemic

Opinion: Don’t lock away juvenile ‘lifers,’ especially in a pandemic

November 15, 2020

Providing a chance at parole for rehabilitated juvenile “lifers” is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, a 17-year-old survivor of domestic violence is preparing for trial in Texas. She faces up to 40 years in prison for a murder committed by a man her family says was trafficking her. Despite Zephaniah Trevino’s history of trauma and agreement by the defense and the prosecution that she did not pull the trigger, she is on the precipice of an extreme prison sentence. How did we get here?

Read the rest of this op-ed from the Austin-American Statesman.

“Spend Your Values, Cut Your Losses”: Justice Advocacy Group Releases 2021 Legislative Strategy

November 12, 2020

Today, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released its legislative strategy for the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. The organization’s strategy is presented as a “divestment portfolio” for Texas lawmakers and is titled Spend Your Values, Cut Your Losses: Smart and Safe Justice System Solutions that Put Communities First.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Covid Cases in One State Correctional System Are ‘Off the Charts’

Covid Cases in One State Correctional System Are ‘Off the Charts’

November 12, 2020

More people in Texas prisons have contracted and died from the coronavirus than in any other prison system in the country, a new report found. Between April and October, more than 23,000 incarcerated people tested positive and just shy of 5,000 staff have, according to the report from the University of Texas at Austin. That means people in Texas prisons are testing positive at a rate 40% higher than the national prison population average.

Read the rest of this article from Route Fifty.

Thousands Of Texans Can’t Vote Because They’re On Parole Or Probation

November 2, 2020

When Lori Mellinger was growing up in East Texas, her family talked about politics all the time. They voted in elections both national and local. "I voted for the first time when I was 18 years old," Mellinger said. "I think that’s the last time I probably really voted for the candidate that my family chose, and then started going a different direction."

Read the rest of this article from Houston Public Media.

New Report Shows How Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Experience the Criminal Legal System in Texas

October 28, 2020

A new joint report from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) and The Arc of Texas shows how individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DDs) are more likely to become involved and entrenched in the criminal legal system, and it highlights the unique challenges they face.

Read the rest of this press release here.

George Floyd and the Connection to Houston: A Call for Local Reform

October 20, 2020

On May 25, 3030, the Minneapolis Police murdered George Floyd. The bystander-recorded video footage of the killing showed Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s back for eight minutes and 46 seconds as Mr. Floyd protested that he was unable to breathe.

Read the rest of this article from Houston Lawyer Magazine.

Profiting from prisoners: Communities and companies made money off George Floyd’s imprisonment. Inside, Floyd withered.

October 19, 2020

The prison transport to this tiny city north of Austin took George Floyd past ranch land and cotton fields — worlds away from his home in Houston. But for the then-36-year-old Floyd, the spring of 2009 was another turn through a cycle of incarceration that would be both familiar and futile.

Read the rest of this article from The Washington Post.

Justice Advocacy Group Releases Open Letter: “Texas Cannot Afford to Wait for Justice”

October 8, 2020

This week, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released an open letter urging Texas leaders, legislators, and staff to prioritize justice reform during the state’s 2021 legislative session. With Texas facing an anticipated budget shortfall of $4.6 billion by the end of fiscal year 2021, TCJC emphasized the urgency of this moment as an opportunity for a top-down realignment in how our state’s money is spent, and the need for real public health and safety infrastructures. 

Read the rest of this press release here.

Houston Police Department to join county courts’ cite-and-release program

September 17, 2020

The Houston Police Department plans to join Harris County’s cite-and-release program, fulfilling advocates’ long-running request to implement a policy they say keeps low-level offenders out of jail and saves law enforcement resources for more serious threats.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

These Houston-area groups rehabilitate, help former inmates to prevent re-incarceration

September 16, 2020

The discussion around criminal justice reform in Harris County is complex and often heated. Stakeholders disagree on what that change should look like and how to go about it. The issue of how to handle repeat offenders is a major sticking point. According to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, more than 70,000 people return to the community from Texas prisons each year.

Read the rest of this article from Click2Houston.

Defense attorneys group files complaint against District Judge Ramona Franklin over bond revocation

August 28, 2020

Since November, eight defendants fresh out of jail on bond have walked into state District Judge Ramona Franklin’s court and been sent right back to jail. Instead of standing for a routine court hearing in a first step in their criminal court cases, they ended up back in sheriff’s custody after Franklin revoked their bail and ordered them back behind bars, sometimes with no lawyer present for the defendant.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

Jemima Abalogu Fights for Her Peers as an Advocate for Justice and Youth Voices

August 27, 2020

I got started in youth advocacy in the area of police brutality around the death of Trayvon Martin. My parents had to sit my brother and me down and have that conversation of how, as a Black family and as a Black woman with a Black brother, we have to interact with the world differently - especially with police officers. 

Read the rest of this article from the National Juvenile Justice Network.

03 Greedo has spent the last two years in a Texas prison but is still the beating heart of L.A.’s rap scene

August 21, 2020

It’s the last day of June and 03 Greedo is on the other end of the phone speaking from inside a sweatbox Texas state prison where he’s spent the last two years. When the Los Angeles street rap seer wakes up tomorrow on the first day of July, he’ll have lost all of his inmate privileges.

Read the rest of this article from the Washington Post.

Two New Data Dashboards Increase Justice System Transparency, Accountability

August 10, 2020

As the national movement around justice system transformation continues to swell, this month the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released two new data dashboards that make justice system information accessible to the public. 

Read the rest of this press release here.

100 Years After Women's Suffrage, US Voters Still Face Countless Barriers

August 3, 2020

As it's commonly told, in 1920, the 19th amendment granted American women the ability to vote. But the reality is more complicated. In fact, the amendment was ratified in part because of the exclusionary rhetoric behind it; the women’s suffrage movement was undergirded by anti-Blackness and racism

Read the rest of this article from Vice.

Test driving the 'Texas Criminal Court Data Dashboard': Extra functionality adds value

August 3, 2020

The Texas Criminal Court Data Dashboard - a project of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, January Advisors, Microsoft, and Norflet Progress Fund - has expanded its dataset. It now includes court data from Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis Counties, and statewide data from the Office of Court Administration going back 10 years. This lets one do a lot of work.

Read the rest of this article from Grits for Breakfast.

Reginald Moore, Sugar Land 95 activist and “a people’s historian,” leaves behind a legacy of endurance

July 20, 2020

In February 2018, construction for the Fort Bend Independent School District's new technology building was underway. After laying a drainage pipe, workers noticed something buried in the dirt — a bone. Archaeologists rushed to the scene, where they discovered a total of 95 bodies which became collectively known as the Sugar Land 95

Read the rest of this article from the Rice Thresher.

This Pandemic Is Already Hitting the Homeless Hard. It’s About to Get Worse.

July 15, 2020

The novel SARS-CoV-2 has roared through the American landscape leaving physical, emotional, and economic devastation in its wake. By early July, known infections in this country exceeded 3 million, while deaths topped 135,000. Home to just over 4 percent of the global population, the United States accounts for more than a quarter of all fatalities from Covid-19, the disease produced by the coronavirus.

Read the rest of this article from The Nation.