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.
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.
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.
Gerald Goines, who as a Houston narcotics cop led a botched deadly drug raid in January, heavily targeted Black people for low-level drug sale charges in majority black neighborhoods, according to arrest data obtained by The Appeal. In 591 cases in which Goines was the main officer, 94 percent of the defendants were Black, according to case data from the Harris County clerk’s office. The most frequent charge in these cases was “manufacture or delivery of less than 1 gram of a controlled substance,” which represented 23.69 percent, or 140 of the 591 cases.
Four Texas prison guards were fired and another two resigned under investigation after a controversial string of social media pictures posted as part of the so-called "Feeling Cute Challenge." Officials did not immediately clarify what units the officers worked at, what rank they held or which posts were flagged for concern following the spate of questionable images posted by law enforcement officers across the country.
Every weekday, a van from Gatesville arrives at the Waco bus station to deliver women released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. And every weekday, women from Waco-area churches greet the ex-offenders, offering them a warm welcome, homemade cookies, handcrafted tote bags filled with helpful items and a prayer of blessing.
The plan from Dallas County District Attorney John Cruezot to scale back prosecution on some lower-level offenses to end what he calls "mass incarceration" is winning praise from criminal justice reform organizations.
Convicted felons on parole could vote if Texas bill passes. These are the potential voter demographics in Harris County
In Texas, convicted felons are allowed to vote after serving their sentence, but House Bill 1419 aims to allow convicted felons to vote if they are not currently incarcerated. If it becomes law, felons sentenced to parole, supervision, probation or other sentences not involving jail time would be able to vote. The bill, authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, would be Texas' first law since 1997 to address felony disenfranchisement.
In September, a report released by the Justice Department cited the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for not adequately addressing the needs of female inmates when it comes to trauma treatment, pregnancy programming, and hygiene. It charged oversight of policies, including those regarding strip searches, are conducted remotely– with no onsite visits to ensure compliance. Striking a similar note, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition released a report last spring calling on the state to treat female inmates with “dignity.”
A Bowie County grand jury last week declined to indict two former prison officials who admitted to altering inmate disciplinary records, a move that sparked outcry from advocates who said it again highlights the need for independent oversight of the Texas prison system.
Driving with a suspended license is undoubtedly a petty crime, but more than 6,000 Texans were jailed for it in 2017. Texas state lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would reduce the penalty to a fine.
In his last letter home, Sawyer Letcher was searching for forgiveness.
“You are my hero and my inspiration — I love you more than life,” the 19-year-old prisoner wrote to his mother. “I did a lot of messed up stuff and I am just realizing now. I was just broken, trying to find my way.”
During the Texas legislative session, the Capitol sees a rush of advocates. Our latest "Under the Dome" episode features two people lobbying on issues they are all too familiar with.
Texas would grant felons who on parole or under supervision the right to vote if an effort by Democratic state representatives becomes law.
A new bill could change the way the Texas justice system upholds the law against minors who are a year away from being an adult.
The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition held a series of community visioning sessions across Texas, from July through October 2018, to answer this question: What do young people need to avoid justice system involvement and lead successful lives?
Texas officials say it would cost $1 billion to cool prisons – but they’ve grossly overestimated AC costs before
An estimate to put air conditioning into one prison changed from more than $20 million to $4 million last year.
As number of imprisoned Texas women grows, lawmakers hope to add "dignity" to their time behind bars
Multiple bills filed this session aim to address deficiencies in women's prisons.
After shrinking the population at state-run juvenile lockups, state Sen. John Whitmire wants to move the remaining youth at five facilities to one recently closed adult jail.