TCJC In the News

Press Contact: For all media inquiries, please contact Madison Kaigh, Communications Manager, at or (512) 441-8123, ext. 108.


Incarcerated Moms Need More Attention, Says Texas Report

March 19, 2020

As imprisonment rates for women rise disproportionately across the nation, a group of formerly incarcerated women in Texas has called for family-oriented policies that provide mothers with community-based alternatives that allow them to avoid jail, in addition to major changes to state sentencing guidelines such as sharply lowered penalties for nonviolent drug offenses.

Read the rest of this article from The Crime Report.

COVID-19: Texas Advocates, Community Leaders, and Justice System Experts Send List of Urgent Mitigation Directives to Governor’s Office

March 16, 2020

Today, a group of advocates, community leaders, and justice system experts sent a list of urgent recommendations regarding COVID-19 and incarcerated populations to Governor Abbott. Urging state leadership to recognize the particularly dire threat that the global pandemic poses to people incarcerated in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities, the letter lays out recommendations for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, county jails (including sheriffs, courts, and district attorneys), law enforcement, and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

Read the rest of this press release here....

Some Texas Officials Want to Divert People from Jail Amid Coronavirus Scare

March 16, 2020

Last week, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas rose, Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner urged local police to think twice about who they arrest and bring to his jail. 

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Observer.

Can Texas’ School-to-Prison Problem be Solved?

March 16, 2020

Zero-tolerance policies can set up a pathway that leads a child’s future to be defined by their misbehavior, no matter the other situations happening in the child’s life. If you break the student codes, if you are struggling, if you have an emotional blow-up while at school, if you mess up, does that mean you don’t matter? 

Read the rest of this article from Reform Austin.

New Report Shares Lessons Learned and Policy Priorities for the Future of Women’s Justice in Texas

March 9, 2020

Yesterday, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released a new report sharing the future policy priorities of the Texas Women’s Justice Coalition. The report, called “The Future of Dignity: Insights from the Texas Women’s Dignity Retreat,” is the result of a wide-ranging policy discussion led by many of the women who pushed for eight new women’s justice bills to become law during the 2019 Texas legislative session.

Read the rest of this press release here....

HPD policy changes are not enough. More needs to be done. [Editorial]

March 8, 2020

More than a year after the botched Harding Street raid, which left two people dead and five officers wounded, we still don’t know the full extent of the rot in the Houston Police Department. Chief Art Acevedo is convinced that it’s a case of a bad apple infecting an otherwise air-tight department. But as Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg’s review of cases tainted by former Houston narcotics officer Gerald Goines expands, that’s increasingly difficult to accept.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle....

Editorial: School-to-prison pipeline needs to be shut off

March 5, 2020

Zero tolerance disciplinary policies in some of our public schools are creating a school-to-prison pipeline. It needs to be shut off. The disturbing findings of a recently released report from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition show how harsh disciplinary policies that offer little or no flexibility disproportionately affect students of color and those with disabilities.

Read the rest of this editorial from the San Antonio Express-News.

28 Days Isn’t Enough

March 5, 2020

Addiction treatment in America is like a Rubik’s Cube. We’ve talked about this. We know this. We feel this. But good programs do exist. This week, we visit The Women’s Home in Houston, a non-profit established 60 years ago, to check out their long-term approach to residential treatment.

Listen to the rest of this story from the Last Day podcast.

Greeting cards banned for TX prison inmates; drug dog searches for visitors increase

March 3, 2020

As of Sunday, Texas prison inmates can no longer receive greeting cards on colored paper from their children and loved ones. The new policy — named Inspect 2 Protect — was approved in February as a way to eliminate contraband, such as drugs, from coming into prisons through the mail, said Jeremy Desel, Texas Department of Criminal Justice director of communications.

Read the rest of this article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram....

This D.A. Election Could Bring A Big Change In How Austin, Texas Treats Drug Addiction

March 2, 2020

When Michael Bryant was found with illegal drugs last year, it landed him in jail for about a month, exacerbating his problems with addiction. Bryant, who is now 33, had been struggling with drug addiction for much of his life, and the problems got worse in 2015, when he moved to Austin from New York after a difficult breakup.

Read the rest of this article from The Appeal.

Texas Prisons Ban Greeting Cards, Expand Drug-Sniffing Dog Searches to Visitors

February 27, 2020

The cards and artwork that Maggie Luna’s children sent to her in prison helped her make it through her sentence. “It was one of the few things I had to look forward to,” she says. Now new mail and visitation rules in Texas prisons could further restrict what little contact family members have with loved ones in lockup.

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Observer.

We’re glad this segment of Texas’ population is shrinking

February 25, 2020

Even as Texas celebrates the good news of its growing statewide population, there is one population segment that is shrinking, and that is also good news. The number of people incarcerated in Texas has dropped by more than 15,000 over the past decade. Last year alone, the number fell by 4,000 to about 140,000 prisoners, according to a report from the Legislative Budget Board.

Read the rest of this article at Dallas Morning News.

How Attys Can Help Dismantle The School-To-Prison Pipeline

February 23, 2020

On Feb. 6, two armed police officers in Florida walked a 6-year-old girl out of school and into the back seat of a cruiser. They’d been called to take her to a mental institution after she allegedly threw chairs in her elementary school classroom. Body camera footage later published by a local news station shows the girl calmly walking to the car. Police can be heard discussing how school officials must have overreacted.

Read the rest of this article from Law360.

Study Finds Stark Racial Disparities for Low-Level Drug Offenses in Travis County, Texas

February 21, 2020

A coalition of criminal justice reform groups has found significant racial disparities in arrests and incarceration rates for people in possession of a gram or less of controlled substances in Travis County, Texas. A new report on the findings comes as the county’s largest police department, in Austin, faces accusations of institutional racism and overzealous policing of people for drug use, even in cases where both the City Council and the county prosecutor have said they will not prosecute.

Read the rest of this article from The Appeal.

Texas Debuts Special Clemency Application for Victims of Sex Trafficking and Domestic Abuse

February 21, 2020

It may be a small step, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is putting a little of his money where his mouth is on criminal justice reform. Thursday afternoon, the governor announced a specialized clemency application process for Texas Department of Corrections inmates who were victims of sex trafficking or domestic violence prior to their being locked up.

Read the rest of this article from the Dallas Observer.

Gov. Abbott establishes clemency application for survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking

February 21, 2020

Gov. Greg Abbott rolled out a new clemency application specifically for survivors of human trafficking or domestic violence Thursday afternoon. The new application, launched in coordination with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, will include a specific section for applicants to provide a statement about experiences with human trafficking or domestic violence.

Read the rest of this article from the Dallas Morning News.

As the Texas prison population shrinks, the state is closing two more lockups

February 20, 2020

Following a declining inmate population and dangerous understaffing in Texas prisons, the state is closing two of its more than 100 lockups. State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, announced Thursday that the Garza East prison in Beeville and the Jester I Unit in Sugar Land would be closing soon. 

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Tribune.

Travis County told to ‘do better’ and invest in drug treatment over arrests, report says

February 19, 2020

Authorities must take a different approach towards addressing drug use in Travis County, according to the authors of a newly released report. Earlier this month, the four criminal justice groups involved in a study into drug possession arrests revealed some of their findings.

Read the rest of this article from KXAN.

Report: Travis County drug possession arrests disproportionately harm Black residents

February 18, 2020

Today, researchers from four Texas-based organizations released their full review of 2,900 drug possession arrests in Travis County from June 2017 to May 2018. The data used to create their final report reveals troubling police practices that harm communities, exacerbate racial disparities in arrests and jail detention, and fail to address the underlying needs of people who use drugs.

Read the rest of this press release here....

Low-Level Drug Possession Arrests Are Hurting Travis County, Report Finds

February 18, 2020

Low-level drug possession arrests are ineffective and harmful to people who need community-based help, rather than jail time, a new report concludes. The report, released Tuesday by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Grassroots Leadership, the Texas Harm Reduction Alliance and the UT Law Civil Rights Clinic, analyzed Travis County data that found people of color are disproportionately arrested for these kinds of crimes.

Read the rest of this article from Texas Public Radio....