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.
TCJC In the News
Press Contact: For all media inquiries, please contact Madison Kaigh, Communications Manager, at mkaigh@TexasCJC.org or (512) 441-8123, ext. 108.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Texas, there are currently more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking, and nearly 80,000 of them are children. New legislation signed into law this week hopes to go after online sex traffickers and boost protections for human trafficking survivors. But, some survivors say more work needs to be done.
Convict leasing, Jenkins told me, is the crucial link between the history of slavery and the present system of mass incarceration: “All the capitalist concerns, all the cruelty, of that stuff was baked into our carceral system during this period of convict leasing.” Building over the bodies denies that reality.
“From improving conditions of confinement for women to addressing some of the root causes that contribute to women being incarcerated, to training to support pregnant women inmates, to understanding women’s unique role as primary caregivers, the Texas Legislature made women’s dignity a top priority in reforming the criminal justice system.”
Texas incarcerates more women than any other state. The number of women in Texas prisons has ballooned since 1980, growing by nearly 1,000% – twice the rate of men.
Texas prosecutors want to keep low-level criminals out of overcrowded jails. Top Republicans and police aren't happy.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot announced policy reforms last month that he said would be “a step forward” in ending mass incarceration in Dallas. His plans include decreasing the use of excessively high bail amounts and no longer prosecuting most first-time marijuana offenses.
For the first time in a long time, C’alra Bradley felt a glint of hope. It was an unfamiliar feeling for the then-18-year-old whose life had been disrupted and derailed by one roadblock after another. Once an A and B student who loved to read, she was living out of her white 1997 Toyota Avalon, on her own for three years, scrounging to get by.
We tend to see those affected by the criminal justice system as an isolated minority, whose actions have no impact on our lives, but its effects ripple through families, communities and the economy.
The Texas Senate recently passed a bill which would improve conditions for women in prison, if it becomes law. The bipartisan House Bill 650, authored by Republican state Rep. James White, mandates that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) must provide women in state prisons with more and higher-quality menstrual products, allow inmates to remain with their newborns 72 hours after giving birth, and bans the use of restraints on pregnant women, according to HuffPost.
‘The Penal System Today is Slavery’: Lawmakers Finally Start to Talk About Unpaid Labor in Texas Prisons
Inmates in Texas make license plates, grow crops, tend to cattle, make soap and clothing, refurbish buses and computers, build furniture and more. They’re required to work if they’re physically and mentally capable, and the vast majority work for free — making Texas one of only five states where regular prison jobs are unpaid.
The Texas prison system has retooled policies to expressly ban the use of disciplinary quotas, nearly a year after a leaked email obtained by the Houston Chronicle pulled back the curtains on a scandal at a state lockup in Brazoria County.
Following the launch of a first-of-its-kind criminal justice data dashboard in Harris County late last year, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition is proud to announce that its Dallas County dashboard is now live.
Solitary confinement worsens mental illness. A Texas prison program meant to help can feel just as isolating.
For nearly two years, Geremy Sledge sat alone in his Texas prison cell about 23 hours a day. He was placed in solitary confinement — called administrative segregation by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice — after he stabbed another inmate he says stole from him in 2015.