A group of Austin community advocacy organizations came together Tuesday to call on city leaders to end meet-and-confer negotiations with the Austin police officers’ union.
TCJC In the News
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The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) calls on Governor Greg Abbott to expand the call of the Special Legislative Session to fix the state’s dangerously outdated drug policies.
States are responding to U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have found mandatory life-without-parole sentences unconstitutional for juveniles except for the rare homicide offender incapable of rehabilitation.
In early 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court told states to retroactively apply its 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide. While many states have acted to resentence offenders to parole-eligible terms, Texas has left it to inmates to apply individually.
Texas is shedding its lock-'em-up image thanks to a 37-year-old tattooed lawyer and an unlikely political alliance
Mark Gonzalez had never prosecuted a single case before he was elected district attorney of Nueces County, Texas, last November. The 37-year-old self-described "Mexican biker defense lawyer" spent his first decade in law poking holes through bad cases and defending low-level offenders from what he viewed as unnecessary prosecutions and unduly harsh penalties.
During the past 10 years, Texas has made incredible progress both in reducing the number of individuals incarcerated and in creating alternative programs for low-risk offenders.
Texas will shutter more prisons this year than it has in any single year in history, a response to the state's tight budget and shrinking inmate population. In the state's two-year budget, which lawmakers approved in May, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was ordered to close four prison facilities by Sept. 1.
Texas police officers and other first responders who have job-related mental health issues can soon be diverted into pretrial treatment programs if they commit a crime, but many large counties don't appear interested in creating the new specialty courts.
Anthony Graves emerged from solitary confinement over six years ago to become a national crusader for justice reform, but it took a recent report by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin to add new urgency to his campaign to reform the practice in his own state.
Boys locked up for sex offenses were left unsupervised at a Dallas County juvenile detention center long enough to engage in sexual acts with each other on at least two occasions.
As City Council meetings go, the one held Thursday, April 20, was a rarity: a meeting with invited public testimony for a staff briefing on labor negotiations for the city's three public safety unions. That kind of Item doesn't tend to ever get scheduled.
Since 2003, an obscure Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) program has trapped more than a million Texans in a cycle of debt, opponents say. For nearly as long, lawmakers critical of the program have sought to repeal it.
Austin Police are getting ready to use body cameras, but some say they could be giving away public property to a private company. The city's buying cameras from Axon, which used to be known as Taser International.
Solitary confinement, administrative segregation, seclusion, disciplinary separation and lockdown are a few of the names for isolating a prisoner in a separate cell. Officials say administrative segregation or "ad seg," is necessary for offenders who require maximum security to ensure the safety of staff, other offenders and the security of the institution.
Last week, in a scathing 193-page opinion, a federal judge ruled the misdemeanor bail system violates poor people's constitutional rights, given that people with money can go free within hours of arrest while those without must languish in jail until trial.
Legislature Plans to Close Four Correctional Facilities. Will They Become Immigrant Detention Centers?
The lean, mean budgets proposed by the Texas House and Senate don’t do much to inspire optimism about the coming two-year cycle. But opponents of mass incarceration have found some solace in funding cuts.
Unofficially known as the “career criminal bill,” House Bill 383 would enhance punishments for repeat offenders who commit crimes less serious than a felony. Similar to the federal “three strikes” law for felony convictions, House Bill 383 would impose a five strikes rule on misdemeanors in Texas.
The cutoff for criminal responsibility in Texas was increased to age 17 in the year 1918. Before that, 9-year-olds could be prosecuted as adults.
On Thursday, though, the Legislature got a step closer to passing legislation that would raise the age to 18 after the House passed House Bill 122 with an 82-62 vote, sending the bill over to the Senate. Representative Gene Wu (D-Houston) called it “the most important change to our criminal justice system that we have done in probably five decades.”
Texas is one of seven states that automatically classify 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. That’s important because once a 17-year-old enters the courtroom as an adult, they are cut off from the stated rehabilitative goals and resources of the juvenile justice system.