Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg is asking Commissioners Court for 100 new prosecutors to help clear a felony case backlog that was exacerbated by Hurricane Harvey.
TCJC In the News
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La Puerta, an emergency shelter for the underage victims of sex-trafficking, was unveiled during a ceremony Jan. 30, 2019. The facility is a service of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives.
A 12-year-old in Texas has been charged with capital murder after allegedly breaking into the home of a professional boxer and killing him. The boy could face a maximum of 40 years if convicted, a sentence that juvenile justice advocates are hoping he can avoid.
A day after another suicide at the local lock-up, a Houston-based legislator raised the possibility of state oversight for the troubled Harris County jail.
Beto O’Rourke Changed His Message To Win Voters Of Color In Texas. The Result Could Swing The Presidential Race
“If you’re going to motivate a diverse group of voters, criminal justice is the easiest issue to motivate them on,” said Jay Jenkins, an attorney with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. “It was refreshing to have a candidate speak openly and plainly about the things that black and brown folks experience on a daily basis, but politicians have been, for whatever reason, reluctant to bring up.”
Bill Mills experienced firsthand the cruel conditions of Sugar Land’s notorious Imperial Prison Farm. Back in 1910, he became a part of the Texas prison system shortly after his 17th birthday when he was arrested for horse theft. And though he went on to serve multiple prison terms in Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia, it was his time at Imperial Prison Farm that remained etched in his memory.
A new state law set to take effect in March aims to combat the crime by making sexually oriented businesses post human-trafficking hotline information in their bathrooms.
An [incarcerated individual] is suing the Texas prison system after officials allegedly failed to adequately treat his flesh-eating bacteria infection for a week, letting the wound fester as they refused to take him to the hospital because the unit was too understaffed.
Doug Smith, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, says lawmakers never delivered on the rehabilitation-focused approach they had promised. Without re-entry planning, ongoing mental health care and other rehabilitative programs, many formerly incarcerated Texans have little chance of reintegrating into society.
“Any criminal justice researcher will tell you that the people who are least likely to [commit the same crime over again] are people who have committed violent crimes,” said Doug Smith, a senior policy analyst at the non-partisan Texas Criminal Justice Coalition who has studied Texas’ reforms.
A bill aiming to detach the ombudsman from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice died in 2017. But news from the past year makes advocates hopeful that 2019 will be different.
A lawsuit challenging the cash bail system in Harris County, Texas, is at an unusual crossroads after 14 Republican municipal court judges named as defendants in the suit — all of whom opposed reforms — were voted out of office this month, a move that likely spells big changes for alleged offenders stuck behind bars because they can't pay their way out.
The liberal Texas Criminal Justice Coalition was a major player in the fight, but it was the support of the conservative TPPF that helped make passage possible in a Republican-dominated Legislature.
Last year, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition reviewed the citizen panel’s recommendations in other cases, including other mental health calls that resulted in cops killing people, and found that police officials mostly ignored them.
"For 19 black women and a socialist to be elected judge in Houston, which is the epicenter of mass incarceration, is not a small deal," said Jay Jenkins, an attorney with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. "The possibility that we could fix some of the issues that the sitting judges have just proved unwilling or unable to fix is on the horizon."
County commissioners change course on substance abuse treatment funding.
On average, one-third of families reject children who come out as LGBTQ, which puts them at greater risk for homelessness and incarceration.
In Harris County, which is home to Houston and the third-largest county in the United States, Democrats unseated 59 Republican judges—including all 23 district judges, all 13 family court judges, all eight county civil judges and probate judges, and all 15 misdemeanor judges. Of the newly appointed Democrats, an unprecedented 19 are black women, significantly changing the face of a judiciary that had been primarily white.
The Democratic sweep in Harris County Tuesday night could remake one of the largest criminal justice systems in the country.
After losing his bench in a Democratic sweep, Harris County Juvenile Court Judge Glenn Devlin released nearly all of the youthful defendants that appeared in front him on Wednesday morning, simply asking the kids whether they planned to kill anyone before letting them go.