TCJC In the News

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


Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Releases Bill Analysis Guide

September 4, 2019

Last week, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released a guide to positive youth and adult justice legislation that became law in Texas in 2019. The guide, which is organized by bill area, is free and available online at the TCJC website.

Read the rest of this press release here.

How Some of The Texas 19 Are Making Their Judgeships Count

How Some of The Texas 19 Are Making Their Judgeships Count

September 4, 2019

On a Friday evening, Judge Shannon Baldwin is at home with her toddler daughter and taking time out to be interviewed. “That’s probably just my boring life,” Baldwin says with a laugh. But her life has been anything but uneventful. The 49-year-old former criminal defense attorney is one of 17 Black women newly elected to judgeships in Harris County. Six of those women, including Baldwin, were elected to Harris County’s County Criminal Court system.

Read the rest of this article from ZORA.

After prison, more punishment

September 3, 2019

He had spent 17 of his 46 years behind bars, locked in a pattern of addiction and crime that led to 16 prison terms. Now, Meko Lincoln pushed a cart of cleaning supplies at the reentry house to which he had been paroled in December, determined to provide for his grandchildren in a way he failed to do as a father.

Read the rest of this article from the Washington Post.

Second chances: Lockhart inmates graduate from community college

Second chances: Lockhart inmates graduate from community college

August 24, 2019

Tears and cheers filled the gymnasium Saturday at the Lockhart Correctional Facility as more than 100 family members, friends and officers celebrated the graduation of 14 women from Austin Community College’s certified production technician program.

Read the rest of this article from the Austin American-Statesman.

SAISD trustees table vote on Student Code of Conduct

SAISD trustees table vote on Student Code of Conduct

August 19, 2019

A vote on changes to the San Antonio Independent School District’s Student Code of Conduct was tabled Monday by its board after a coalition of social justice advocacy groups said it didn’t adequately address the school-to-prison pipeline.

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

Busting Four Myths About Incarcerated Women

July 26, 2019

Six summers ago, Netflix introduced 105 million people to a group of women they typically sought to avoid—drug dealers, murderers, car thieves and more. Now one of the most popular shows on the channel, Orange is the New Black (OITNB) has made magic with its ability to humanize dastardly acts by providing backstory to crime—making it seem less like behavioral deviance and more like the understandable result of poverty, poor education, mental illness and misogyny. In many ways, Orange is the New Black turned the “bad girl” into folklore.

Read the rest of this article from Ms. Magazine.

‘Survival crimes’ can trap some in LGBTQ community in spiral of desperation

July 22, 2019

Allison Franklin still thinks about the transgender women who helped her during her 10 years as a prostitute. In those years in and out of jail, Franklin — now an LGBTQ advocate — and the people she was with were just trying to survive. Along with prostitution, some sold drugs or tried to recruit others to join them. It’s a narrative all too familiar for those members of the LGBTQ community caught in a spiral after incarceration, ending up there after committing crimes just to stay alive or find a place to sleep.

Read the rest of this article...

Advocates call on Harris County DA to release name of untrustworthy cops

July 19, 2019


A coalition of advocates and lawyers on Friday morning asked Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg to develop a list of police deemed too untrustworthy to rely on in court — and to release the names publicly to rebuild community trust on the heels of a botched narcotics raid that left a Houston couple dead earlier this year.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

Behind the Negative Headlines, Some Bright Spots for Criminal Justice Reform in Texas

July 15, 2019

Texas' 86th Legislative session came to a close last month with criminal justice reform advocates lamenting lost opportunities like the Sandra Bland Act — which died in the House of Representatives thanks to what Texas Monthly called “a fit of idiocy and confusion”— and the failure of marijuana sentencing reform. A session that began with cautious optimism for policies like bail reform, pretrial diversion programming, limiting three-strikes rules, and expanding air conditioning in sweltering prisons ended with bills failing left and right.

Read the rest of this article from Arnold Ventures.

NY’s High Rate Of Locking Up Parolees Gets Fresh Look

July 14, 2019

The New York State Bar Association is taking a hard look at the state’s parole system as lawmakers have so far fallen short on reforms to address the state’s high rate of revoking parole, keeping a fire under efforts to follow other jurisdictions that have slashed parole-related prison stints.

Read the rest of this article from Law 360.

Inmates taking a class inside a prison unit operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. (Photo: Courtesy: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

Texas will soon release prison inmates with documentation of job skills

July 5, 2019

For Allison Franklin, the Texas criminal justice system seemed designed to return her to prison rather than prepare her to make it in the free world. "The only thing I was ever released with was my prison ID, my offender ID," she said. "And you can't apply for a job with that."

Read the rest of this article from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

The Wynne unit is one of the seven prison units in Walker county, Texas. Photograph: Chantal Valery/Getty Images

'People are in danger': the prisoners feeling the effects of US climate crisis

July 2, 2019

Rodney Adams had a job hauling luggage for airlines before bereavements and a back injury took their toll and he was convicted of drink driving in 2012. Just two days after his arrival at the Gurney unit in eastern Texas, Adams had a seizure and collapsed in the August heat. His body temperature was nearly 110F (43.3C).

Read the rest of this article from The Guardian.

We examine efforts seeking to reduce incidents resulting in suicides in Harris County jails.

Mental Illness, Suicide, and the Criminal Justice System

June 27, 2019

A joint investigation by The AP and the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service unearthed some alarming statistics regarding suicide rates in U.S. prisons and jails. Reporters compiled some 400 lawsuits in the last five years alleging mistreatment, most of which were of someone displaying a mental illness.

Read the rest of this article from Houston Public Media.

The population of women in state prisons has grown twice as fast as the male population since 1980.

Reproductive justice for incarcerated Texans

June 25, 2019

Spoiled milk. Too-thin mattresses. Shackling. Stillbirths. These are some of the appalling examples of neglect and lack of dignity that pregnant people face in jails and prisons around the country and right here in Texas.

Read the rest of this article from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Botched drug raid leads Harris County DA to seek funding for more staff

June 24, 2019

The Harris County District Attorney's Office is again asking county commissioners for more prosecutors, this time to handle fallout from the failed Pecan Park drug raid that left two homeowners dead and prompted an investigation into potential police misconduct.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

'Building over history': the prison graveyard buried under a Texas suburb

'Building over history': the prison graveyard buried under a Texas suburb

June 22, 2019

Behind a supermarket and across a highway from an airport catering to the private jet set, an education centre is rising in Texan fields bookended by fast-food chains, strip malls and residential streets lined with beige McMansions.

Read the rest of this article from the Guardian.

Stealing packages could result in jail time in Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signs bill

June 20, 2019

House Bill 37, which goes into effect Sept. 1, criminalizes mail theft, with the penalty ranging from a class A misdemeanor to third-degree felony, depending on the number of addresses mail is taken from.

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Tribune.

The Texas Capitol building

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Provides Legislative Update as Veto Period Ends

June 17, 2019

After the official end of Governor Abbott’s veto period, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) provided an update on the policies that will help to decarcerate the nation’s largest prison population, improve opportunities to divert people into programs and services that will have better outcomes, and help communities thrive statewide.

Read the rest of this press release here.

The Traffic Stop: One of the Great Abuses of Police Power in Contemporary Life

June 12, 2019

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition reviewed all arrests in Harris County, which includes Houston, over the course of 16 weeks. It found that African Americans accounted for nearly half of all drivers arrested on a single, “non-jailable” motor vehicle offense.

Read the rest of this article from Literary Hub.

As Summer Temperatures Climb, Most Texas Prisons Aren’t Air-Conditioned

June 11, 2019

In 2018, after a years-long lawsuit, the state of Texas installed air-conditioning at the Wallace Pack prison southeast of College Station, as part of a settlement with inmates. But within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system, there are just 29 facilities with air-conditioned beds.

Read the rest of this story from Houston Public Media.