TCJC In the News

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


New report shows racial disparity in Travis County drug arrests

February 4, 2020

new report is highlighting racial disparities in drug arrests in Travis County. Four groups – the Texas Criminal Justice CoalitionTexas Harm Reduction AllianceCivil Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law and Grassroots Leadership – analyzed low-level drug arrests in 2017 and 2018. Their data showed even though African Americans make up 8.9% of the county's population, they account for 29.4% of drug possession arrests.

Read the rest of this article from KVUE.

A Houston artist struggles to overcome the stigma of a criminal record

January 23, 2020

Last fall artist Ronald Llewellyn Jones thought 2020 would be a breakout year for his career. He had opportunities lined up, the most important a residency at Zócalo Apartments in Spring Branch that gave him six months’ free rent and space to create whatever he wanted to engage the community.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

Treat nonviolent drug offenses as public health issue, Baker Institute paper recommends

January 6, 2020

Drug use among people arrested for nonviolent drug offenses should be treated primarily as a public health issue, according to drug policy experts at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.

Read the rest of this press release from Rice University's Baker Institute.

As More Mothers Fill Prisons, Children Suffer ‘A Primal Wound’

As More Mothers Fill Prisons, Children Suffer ‘A Primal Wound’

December 28, 2019

Every month, Lila Edwards wakes up early for a two-hour road trip with a group of girls that ends with them walking single file through a metal detector. Inside an empty classroom, Lila eagerly and anxiously awaits Inmate 01740964.

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

Conroe, Montgomery-area nonprofits tackle offender re-entry

December 20, 2019

About 15 miles north of Montgomery County sits the Huntsville Unit—a state penitentiary that serves as a Texas Department of Criminal Justice regional release center for male offenders. On any given day, over 100 men are released from this prison to counties across the state, including Montgomery County, said Jeff Springer, the founder of Suit Up Ministries, a local nonprofit that teaches men skills to become better fathers.

Read the rest of this article from Community Impact.

Harris County Advocacy Groups Blast DA Kim Ogg’s Push for Additional Prosecutors

December 9, 2019

Ahead of the Harris County Commissioners Court’s first set of preliminary budget hearings today, a slew of advocacy groups in and around Houston slammed Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg for an expected funding request for additional prosecutors for her office and called on Commissioners to reject the request, the fifth such ask by DA Ogg’s office since the start of 2019.

Read the rest of this article from Houston Style Magazine.

Advocates Push District Attorney to “No Call” Biased Cops

December 4, 2019

In a public letter released just before Thanksgiving, several local criminal justice reform groups asked Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore to implement a “‘No Call’ policy for officers who've “committed perjury and other acts of grave misconduct." The letter notes, these officers "cannot be relied upon to tell the truth on the stand or in any documents that impact a person’s liberty.”

Read the rest of this article from the Austin Chronicle.

Package Thieves Taking Your Holiday Deliveries Could Now Face Felony

December 2, 2019

While package thefts are nothing new, there is a new state law in place. Typical theft charges are based on the value of what’s stolen; the more expensive the item, the bigger the charge. But the new law counts packages, not dollars.

Read the rest of this article from CBS DFW.

Bringing the ministry to Texas prisons

Bringing the ministry to Texas prisons

December 1, 2019

When Charlie Owens was first told by a fellow church member that he had received a prophetic word from God that Charlie would be doing prison ministry, he thought that it was not likely. Now, Charlie and his wife Judy are helping inmates change their destinies through The Joseph Company Prison Ministry.

Read the rest of this article from the Huntsville Item.

Suspect freed twice in Dallas garage attack proves bail system is broken, critics say

November 25, 2019

When the suspect in a brutal attack at a downtown parking garage bonded out of jail not once, but twice, it sparked a public outcry. Why did judges set David Cadena's bail to low, critics asked after a Dallas waitress was beaten so badly with a fire extinguisher that she lay in a coma with her eyes swollen shut for two days.

Read the rest of this article from the Dallas Morning News.

Teens Behind Bars: ‘I Felt Like I Was Losing My Mind’

November 18, 2019

What happens to teenagers who become trapped in the adult justice system for committing just minor offenses? “I felt like I was losing my mind,” recalls “Leon,” who had been arrested on a marijuana possession charge and was thrown into solitary when he argued with a corrections officer.

Read the rest of this article from The Crime Report.

Having My Period in Prison Was Awful. In Texas, That May Finally Change.

November 12, 2019

“Does the commissary have any more tampons?” My bunkie shook her head. “I already asked when I went by there.” I panicked. “What are we gonna do? I’ve got six left, and I had to count them under my bed so no one would ask me for one. I’ll need them next week. I’m a terrible human being.”

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Observer.

Homeless-Services Provider Blasts Metro for Using Vacant Jail as Shelter

November 12, 2019

In an email obtained by the Scene, a homeless-services provider says that people experiencing homelessness are not responding well to Nashville’s new winter overflow shelter — in part because it’s a converted jail.

Read the rest of this article from the Nashville Scene.

Texas juvenile prison officer charged with sexually assaulting teenage inmate in his cell

October 30, 2019

A Texas juvenile prison employee was arrested Wednesday morning after he allegedly had a teenage boy perform oral sex on him at a Waco-area lock-up, officials said. Jatavian Smith was charged with sexual assault of a child after records show he admitted going into the boy’s cell on Thursday night and sexually assaulting him.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

Doug Smith explains how a prison provided melted ice in cups of water to avoid a lawsuit due to lack of air conditioning in the Texas heat. Prisons could reach up to 120 degrees.

SEU alumni speaks out about injustices in the criminal justice system

October 29, 2019

Senior Policy Analyst for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC), Douglas Smith, challenged his audience on Thursday Oct.17 to imagine a world without police officers or prisons. Smith, a St. Edward’s alumni and formerly incarcerated person, spoke on his six year experience in prison and how the United States currently resides in an era of mass incarceration.

Read the rest of this article from Hilltop Views.

NEW REPORT: Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Releases Youth Justice Report

October 8, 2019

Today, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released its newest report, which shares the stories of youth, families, and justice practitioners impacted by Texas’ failure to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18. “Seventeen in the Adult Justice System,” which is available online here, comes after the fourth state legislative session in which TCJC and its allies have worked to “raise the age” to align with best practices in the 46 states where 17-year-olds are no longer automatically charged as adults.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Group Wants to Raise “Age of Responsibility” for Texas Teens

October 8, 2019

Seventeen-year-olds convicted of a crime in Texas often end up in the adult prison system but one organization is hoping that changes. The "age of responsibility" is the age that dictates how old someone must be to be treated as an adult. In Texas, the age of responsibility is 17. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) says that age is too young.

Read the rest of this article from Spectrum News.

Criminal justice groups push to “raise the age” in Texas

October 8, 2019

Criminal justice groups are once again pushing efforts to “Raise the Age” of criminal responsibility. During the 86th Legislature, Texas legislators filed bills related to the way the state currently treats 17-year olds as adults when they commit crimes. House Bill 344 was a bill that would’ve raised the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18.

Read the rest of this article from KXAN.

TribTalk: Some progress on women’s justice in Texas — but more must be done

October 7, 2019

The number of incarcerated women in the United States has exploded over the past 30 years, growing at nearly twice the rate of incarcerated men. This problem is particularly acute in Texas, which now incarcerates more women than any other state in the country, and where the number of women in prison has risen by nearly 1,000% since 1980.

Read the rest of this article from TribTalk.

EVENT: Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Hosts Speakers on Youth Justice

October 3, 2019

Next week, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) will host an event highlighting the youth, families, and justice practitioners impacted by Texas’ failure to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18. Texas is one of four states left in the United States to “raise the age.” The event, hosted during Youth Justice Action Month, will feature people in TCJC’s newest report through a photo gallery and on-site speakers.

Read the rest of this press release here.