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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tears often filled the eyes of the women in this Texas prison town as they prepared for their upcoming release from the system after years or even decades of incarceration. The women sometimes wiped them away as they recalled trauma and grief they’d long ignored in a harsh prison environment. But their eyes also welled up when they expressed gratitude for a new program they hope will keep them from ever coming back to this or any other lockup.
Anthony Graves was wrongly convicted of murder at 26 years old. He spent the next 18 years on death row, appealing that conviction until his exoneration and release from prison in 2010. His story stands as a saga of injustice that can too easily occur in contemporary America.