TCJE in the News


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


 

Overhaul of state bail system on the rocks after Democrats break quorum

A proposal for overhauling the Texas bail system gained steam at the legislature over the weekend before stalling dead in its tracks Monday when Democrats left the state to deny GOP lawmakers a quorum. The quorum break targeted an unrelated election bill similar to Senate Bill 7, which Democrats killed using the same quorum-busting tactic in May. 

Read the rest of this article from The Austin Bulldog.

Push continues in Texas to “Raise the Age” for Juvenile Offenders

Texas is one of only three states to automatically treat 17-year-olds as adults when they are arrested, and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition said that can often lead to a lifetime of involvement with the justice system. Since 2007, advocates to “Raise the Age” have encouraged state policymakers to change laws, so teens can go through the juvenile justice system instead.

Read the rest of this article from El Paso Herald-Post.

As COVID-19 Spreads, a Fight to Shutter Parts of Dallas County Jail

Bette knows the day she started to lose her son. It was eight years ago, when Cole (not his real name) lost his baby girl. Father and daughter had already built a relationship; when Cole talked to his girlfriend’s belly, the baby would kick in reply. “They went to the hospital expecting to take a baby home like we had done with his sister’s son just nine days before,” Bette said by phone in late July. “They get to the hospital, and the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.”

Read the rest of this article from the Dallas Observer.

When Prisons Locked Down, Prisoners Were Denied Release

When Lorenzo Culbero appeared before the New York parole board in December, nearly 15 years after he was incarcerated and four months before his potential release date, the board deferred its decision for 18 months. Culbero said the board cited his failure to complete a substance use program as one of the reasons for its decision.

Read the rest of this article from The Appeal.

Ballot initiative to decriminalize weed, ban ‘no knock’ warrants kicks off in Austin

Ground Game Texas, a new voter mobilization group, announced Wednesday they would be launching a new campaign to create a ballot initiative in Austin to decriminalize marijuana and end “no-knock” warrants. The “Austin Freedom Act of 2021” would decriminalize low-level marijuana offenses and prevent police in Austin from entering someone’s residence without first notifying them. 

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Signal.

Girls Embracing Mothers offers a chance for formerly incarcerated moms to rebuild relationships with their daughters

“No running!” says Diana Lopez, a volunteer at a summer camp organized by the nonprofit Girls Embracing Mothers. You can’t blame the young campers as they make a break for their cabins: The summer heat is finally kicking in, and swimming is the next activity on deck. They’ve already enjoyed archery and spoken-word poetry at the STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars in southern Dallas.

Read the rest of this article from Dallas Morning News.

Dozens of Texans Died of COVID-19 in Prison Despite Being Granted Parole, Report Finds

A new report shows that dozens of Texans have died in prison from COVID-19 despite already being granted parole. Within a year of the coronavirus pandemic, 18 people who had been approved for parole died with the virus before while still in prison, according to a report released Thursday from the University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Read the rest of this article from Newsweek.

Commissioners Court Puts Women’s Jail on Ice

On Tuesday, June 15, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted to delay moving forward with the design of a new women's jail for at least a year. The decision came after more than three hours of testimony from more than 100 callers, including formerly incarcerated women and leaders from Austin Justice Coalition, the Lilith FundTexas Criminal Justice CoalitionTexas Fair Defense ProjectGrassroots Leadership, and other activist organizations.

Read the rest of this article from the Austin Chronicle.

TDCJ: Moving prisoners out of Briscoe Unit to make room for undocumented migrants

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed Thursday the agency has been directed by Gov. Greg Abbott to move prisoners from the Briscoe Unit in Dilley to make room for migrants with low-level offenses. “Beginning on June 16, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) began moving inmates from the Dolph Briscoe Unit in Dilley, Texas, to other facilities with available capacity throughout the state. This action will allow the unit to serve as a central holding facility for non-TDCJ detainees who have been arrested and charged with a state offense,” a TDCJ spokesperson said in a statement.

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For the First Time, ‘Redeemed’ Texas Parents May Get a Second Chance

Maggie Luna tried to fit all of the love she had for her three children onto a tri-fold poster board a week before her court date. Each section of the plain white board was adorned with a photo timeline dedicated to one of her children, illustrating Luna’s presence in their lives from birth up until the day they were taken from her. It was a desperate attempt to persuade a Harris County judge to let her keep the kids. But the judge didn’t bother to look up at her or her poster before terminating Luna’s rights to her children.

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