TCJC In the News

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


WTF? These bills could actually become law in Texas

January 7, 2015

After defeating Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for Texas' top leadership position, Abbott wasted no time announcing he'd sign a bill this legislative session to allow the open carry of handguns. "If an open-carry bill is passed by the House and Senate and arrives at my desk, I will sign it into law," he pledged November 5, the day after he won. "If open carry is good enough for Massachusetts, it's good enough for the state of Texas."

Read the rest of this article at

Juvenile justice advocates want age of adulthood raised to 18

January 2, 2015

In Texas, you have to be 21 to apply for a concealed handgun permit, and, in many cities, 18 to buy an e-cigarette. In the eyes of the criminal justice system, however, you are considered an adult at age 17, a nearly century-old law juvenile justice advocates and law enforcement increasingly agree is out of step with national norms.

Read the rest of this article at Corrections One.

Texas Bill Filed to Decriminalize Small Amounts of Marijuana

December 16, 2014

A bill filed Monday morning will decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in Texas. The bill, numbered H.B. 507, would make knowing or intentional possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a non-criminal offense with a civil penalty of no more than $100.

Read the rest of this post on Houston NORML's site.

Following On 2013’s Legislative Efforts, Texas Lawmakers Aim To Decriminalize Student Truancy

November 17, 2014

A Republican state lawmaker is hoping to decriminalize Texas students’ learning experience. Rep. James White’s bill, will decriminalize truancy laws and require schools to find a way to incentivize attendance and student learning.

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Texas Criminal Justice Advocates Focused on Continuing Reform Efforts

November 3, 2014

Texas has made great progress in the area of criminal justice reform, but there is still a long way to go. That was the consensus message from a panel discussion earlier last month at the University of Texas at Austin, as reform advocates from the left and right, a state representative, and a man incarcerated for nearly twenty five years for a crime he did not commit, shared their thoughts with an audience of journalists, professors, students, and activists interested in criminal justice reform at the Texas Tribune’s annual Texas Tribune Festival.

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Editorial: DPD experiment for low-level pot suspects a smart approach

October 8, 2014

An underused 2007 state law offered police officers the option of writing citations for certain low-level offenses rather than hauling suspects to jail. The point was to keep cops on the street and avoid burning up valuable hours processing defendants for misdemeanors like marijuana possession or graffiti.

Read the rest of this editorial at The Dallas Morning News.

The Source: New Coalition To Reform Justice Spans Left, Right Divide

September 22, 2014

Texas Tough may be taking a back seat to Texas Smart when it comes to crime and punishment. An unlikely coalition of reformers, think tanks, and business groups are uniting under a new banner of "Smart-on-Crime" to take aim at what they say are the broken parts of our justice system.

Listen to an audio stream at Texas Public Radio.

New Smart on Crime Coalition Challenges Legislature to Take Action

September 20, 2014

A new coalition of supporters of criminal justice reform announced an ambitious legislative agenda at a Capitol press conference on Wednesday. The Texas Smart-On-Crime Coalition‘s (TSCC) executive committee includes the Texas Association for Business (TAB), the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC), the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU of Texas), and Goodwill Central Texas joined together.

Read the rest of this article at Breitbart.

Editorial: Left and right join forces to push ‘smart on crime’ measures

September 19, 2014

Texas outdid most of the nation in the high-crime 1990s with a prison-building binge that tripled the incarcerated population by 2000.

Read the rest of this editorial at The Dallas Morning News.

Bipartisan Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform Debuts

September 18, 2014

We may be some four months away from the start of the 84th Legislature, but preparations are well underway. And while much of that groundwork is taking the form of opposing interest groups getting ready to beat the living daylights out of each other, a somewhat happier tale may have started yesterday at the Capitol, where an unlikely bipartisan group of criminal justice reformers gathered to launch an effort that stands a good chance of making gains next session.

Read the rest of this article at the Texas Observer.

Representative Ruth Jones McClendon Applauds Smart On Crime Coalition

September 17, 2014

Representative Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio) released the following statement after the press conference held at the Capitol this morning: “It is truly fantastic to see the creation of the Smart on Crime Coalition between the Texas Association of Business, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and Goodwill Central Texas. 

Getting Smart On Crime: New coalition launches legislative effort to bring about major juvenile and criminal justice reform in Texas

September 17, 2014

A broad-based and diverse coalition of groups is coming together to support criminal justice reforms that will make the system more just and, at the same time, improve public safety for all Texans.

Bipartisan Coalition Pushes for Justice Reform

September 17, 2014

A bipartisan coalition pegged "Smart-on-Crime" is hoping to send a strong message to state lawmakers when it comes to criminal justice reform. "The biggest thing we'd like to see is that probation be used much more often than it is currently,” Bill Hammond with the Texas Association of Business said. “Non-violent, non-sexual offenders—probation should be the first option."

Read the rest of this article at Time Warner Cable News - San Antonio.

Texas groups from left, right unite for justice reform push

September 17, 2014

In a union of strange bedfellows, groups on the political left and right have united to press the Texas Legislature to adopt a series of criminal justice reforms intended save money and decrease prison populations.
Read the rest of this article at the Austin American-Statesmen.

New coalition wants to reform sentencing for nonviolent offenders

September 17, 2014

A new coalition is outlining major juvenile and criminal justice reform they want to see in the next legislative session. ‘Texans Smart-on-Crime Coalition’ is looking to change state laws that criminalize nonviolent crimes, and get those people back to work.

Read the rest of this article at KXAN.

Republican Rep. Tan Parker open to medical marijuana in Texas

September 16, 2014

This election season our newspaper added two questions on drug policy to questionnaires we sent candidates for state offices. Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, surprised me with his answer on whether he’d support putting a medical marijuana amendment on the ballot for voters to decide.

Read the rest of this article at The Dallas Morning News.

Broad-Based Coalition Launching Smart-On-Crime Initiative

September 15, 2014

The Texas Smart-On-Crime Coalition will announce a wide-ranging and comprehensive criminal justice reform agenda for the 2015 Legislative Session at a Capitol news conference on September 17, 2014.

PODCAST: End of the road for Driving Responsibility Program

Houston's Morning News with Matt Patrick, welcomes attorney Elizabeth Henneke of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, to discuss the end of the road or the Driver Responsibility Program. 

Read the rest of this article at KTRH.

Broad Coalition Urges End to 'Lock 'em Up' Crime Policies

After decades of being 'tough on crime,' a broad coalition of groups ranging from the conservative Texas Association of Business to the liberal American Civil Liberties Union are urging a pivot, and want the state to take steps to become 'smart on crime' instead, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.