TCJC In the News

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


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.

Why a Dallas County Jail inmate who was quarantined, not freed, says ‘they do everything backwards’

July 10, 2020

In April, as the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to swell across North Texas, Harry Jacobs was booked into the Dallas County Jail on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Jacobs, 22, was offered probation and scheduled to leave jail June 19 to formally accept his plea deal in a courtroom. But he didn’t make it home until 13 days later, the result of administrative breakdowns regarding his quarantine status that have the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the judge in the case pointing fingers about who’s to blame.

Read the rest of this article from the...

Why Some San Antonio Students Want An End To School Policing

July 9, 2020

When Marsha Madrigal was in middle school, she thought it was normal to see her classmates in handcuffs. But she knows now that not all schools have a significant police presence, and the odds of seeing your classmates arrested go up if you are Black, like she is.

Read the rest of this article from Texas Public Radio.

Remembering Reginald Moore, the Activist Who Uncovered Sugar Land’s Dark Past

July 7, 2020

When I first met him in 2016, Reginald Moore was deeply frustrated. The retired longshoreman had spent much of the previous two decades trying—without much success—to bring attention to the brutal convict leasing system that flourished in Fort Bend County in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Read the rest of this article from Texas Monthly.

Juvenile Detentions Fall During COVID-19, Especially for Minorities

July 7, 2020

Arrests that land young people in the Texas juvenile-justice system have dropped since the coronavirus pandemic began, mirroring a national trend, according to a new analysis by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Alycia Castillo is a youth-justice policy analyst for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and said the closure of schools because of COVID-19 is likely responsible, because many kids are arrested for classroom violations.

Read the rest of this article from Public News Service.

Counting on state’s funding promise, San Antonio ISD approves budget

June 24, 2020

San Antonio Independent School District trustees Monday approved a $636 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, counting on a promise from the state education commissioner that funding rules released Tuesday would keep the district whole and assuming flat enrollment based on registration rates.

Read the rest of this article from the San Antonio Express-News. 

Groups Call For Austin ISD To Shift Money From Policing In Schools To Building Community

June 23, 2020

As the school board finalizes its FY2021 budget, racial justice advocates are calling on the Austin Independent School District to move money away from policing. The Austin Justice Coalition and other groups are asking the board to divest from what they consider "excessive funding" for school police departments – that includes not filling vacancies or increasing the number of school resource officers.

Read the rest of this article from KUT.

Austin school board OKs $1.65 billion budget amid calls to divert district police funds

June 23, 2020

The Austin school board early Tuesday morning approved a $1.65 million budget, which dips heavily into district reserves to cover a $47.6 million shortfall. The 2020-21 budget sets aside spending $33 million in coronavirus-related expenses, including technology for remote learning, training materials and personal protective equipment.

Read the rest of this article from the Stephenville Empire-Tribune.

Study Shows Elected Judges Appoint Lawyers Who Donated to Their Campaigns

June 23, 2020

A recent study shows that when appointing attorneys to represent indigent clients, elected judges in Harris County (Houston) were far more likely to choose lawyers who had donated to their campaigns. In these “pay to play” cases, the study further found that defendants were more likely to end up in prison or jail, and received longer sentences on average.

Read the rest of this press release here.

San Antonio ISD says ‘No’ to call for the elimination of district’s police department

June 23, 2020

Burbank High School history teacher Luke Amphlett is a member of PODER-The Social Justice Caucus of The San Antonio Alliance. The group is made up of rank-and-file educators who are education advocates and social justice in schools. “We should be very intentional about our priorities when we’re talking about school spending,” Amphlett said. “And asking the question, is school policing the most effective way to spend those tax dollars?”

Read the rest of this article from KENS5.

State prisons remain a hot spot for COVID-19 in Texas

June 18, 2020

Prisons and jails have returned the highest coronavirus case positivity rate in the state of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference this week. The number of positive prison cases has increased by 568% since May 1.

Read the rest of this article from KVUE.

Police department policies vary when it comes to releasing body camera video

June 11, 2020

Cities around the country including AustinAtlanta and Oklahoma City, have released body camera videos of controversial police encounters in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody as there are more insistent calls for more transparency from law enforcement. Body-worn cameras for all Houston police officers were introduced four years ago, but the public has rarely, if ever, been able to view any footage.

Read the rest of this article from Click2Houston.

Let them out: Advocates want inmates granted parole freed as COVID-19 stalks prisons

June 10, 2020

One month ago, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles approved Juan Escobedo’s parole request. But before the state will release the 41-year-old inmate, who is serving a sentence for a third drunken driving offense, he must complete a 6-month substance-abuse recovery program.

Read the rest of this article from USA Today.

Letter Calls on San Antonio ISD to Reevaluate School Police Funding

June 10, 2020

Calls throughout the nation to defund the police have reverberated in one of San Antonio’s largest school districts, as several social justice groups called on San Antonio Independent School District to divert resources from its police force and hire more mental health professionals and social workers.

Read the rest of this article from the Rivard Report.

Lawyers who donate to judicial campaigns get more indigent defense appointments, study finds

June 2, 2020

A study of lawyer appointments has found that judges were more likely to appoint lawyers who had contributed to their election campaigns to represent indigent defendants than they were to appoint nondonors.

Read the rest of this article from the ABA Journal.

Campaign Funds for Judges Warp Criminal Justice, Study Finds

June 1, 2020

Nearly 60 years ago, the Supreme Court decided the case of Clarence Gideon, a Florida drifter accused of breaking into a poolroom who was tried and convicted without a lawyer. In a unanimous ruling, Gideon v. Wainwright, the court transformed criminal justice in America, announcing that poor people accused of serious crimes were entitled to lawyers paid for by the government.

Read the rest of this article from the New York Times.

Elected Judges Pick Donors as Defense Lawyers, Study Says

June 1, 2020

Nearly 60 years ago, the Supreme Court decided that poor people accused of serious crimes were entitled to lawyers paid for by the government. The court did not say how the lawyers should be chosen, and many states settled on a system that invites abuses, letting the judge appoint the defendant’s lawyer. That system has been criticized for promoting cronyism and dampening the zeal of lawyers who want to stay in judges’ good graces.

Read the rest of this article from The Crime Report.