TCJC In the News

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


Critical Senate Juvenile Justice Reform Bill Passes Texas House

May 26, 2015

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition congratulates the Texas House of Representatives for passing SB 1630, continuing their effort to improve the state’s once dysfunctional juvenile justice system. SB 1630 represents a fundamental shift in how young people would be served by the justice system by creating a regionalization plan for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

Senate Moves to Reform Driver Responsibility Program

May 21, 2015

The Texas Senate on Thursday approved a proposal that would weaken the state’s Driver Responsibility Program, which critics say has unfairly penalized poor Texans.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune.

Unfinished Business in TX Juvenile Justice Reform

May 18, 2015

Texas has unfinished business in juvenile justice reform, according to a new report from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. The report was released as lawmakers consider bills that would expand independent oversight of juvenile facilities (HB 3277), increase support for local probation departments to keep young people closer to home (SB 1630), and raise the age of juvenile offenders to 17 (HB 1205).

Too Young to Jail

May 12, 2015

Senate Committee on Criminal Justice Chairman John Whitmire has been on an eight-year march to clean up the Texas juvenile justice system, driving a messy process that has involved the closure of state-run lockups, the restructuring of two state agencies and a reduction in the state’s population of juvenile offenders to one-fifth of what it had been.

Read the rest of this article at the Texas Observer.

Ban the Box: Roadblocks to nonviolent ex-offenders simply aren't a good idea

May 11, 2015

The "box" asking about a criminal conviction is one most of us mindlessly check on employment applications. But for many otherwise employable adults, it's the biggest barrier to moving forward with productive lives.

Read the rest of this article at The Houston Chronicle

New Policy Paper: Texas Should Build on Reforms To Keep Juvenile Justice System-Involved Youth in Their Home Communities

May 11, 2015

As Texas legislators consider a series of proposals that would change how young people are served by the justice system, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition released a policy paper designed to help policy-makers focus on capitalizing on the recent progress the state has made in juvenile justice reform.

Texas Threatening to Do Some Progressive Criminal Justice Reform

May 7, 2015

Amid what's been a massive bummer of a Texas legislative session, the search for silver linings has been difficult. Over the past week, though, a solid contender has developed: the chance for meaningful criminal justice reform. Specifically, a pair of efforts that would make it easier for ex-offenders to secure employment have picked up steam in recent days.

Read the rest of this article at The Dallas Observer.

Lawmakers Call for End to Controversial Driver Responsibility Program

April 30, 2015

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday called for the repeal of a state program that requires drivers convicted of certain traffic offenses to pay annual surcharges to keep their driver's licenses. Senate Bill 93 by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, is the latest legislative attempt to abolish the Driver Responsibility Program.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune....

East Texas man to testify before Senate about surcharges

April 28, 2015

An East Texas man traveled to Austin on Tuesday, preparing to tell a Senate committee in a public hearing about how the suspension of his driver's license has suspended his life. "If I don't drive, then I can't get a job or take my son to school or fishing." said Yeno.

Read the rest of this article at

Lawmakers, Civil Rights Groups Discuss Better Care For Pregnant Inmates

April 17, 2015

Every month, the number of pregnant women incarcerated in Texas county jails hovers between 300 and 500, according to monthly jail population reports collected by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Observer. 

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Welcomes Award-Winning Artist John Legend in Support of Campaign to End Mass Incarceration

April 16, 2015

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, along with Texas legislators and coalition partners, welcomed nine-time Grammy® Award winner John Legend to Austin in support of his FREE AMERICA campaign to end mass incarceration.

John Legend Targets Texas Incarceration Rates

April 15, 2015

John Legend is best known for his music. But the Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter is in Texas this week lending his voice to something different: criminal justice reform.

The Texas Tribune.

Lawmakers Push for Police Body Cameras

April 10, 2015

As the shooting of Walter Scott dominated national headlines this week, Texas lawmakers discussed legislation aimed at making police officers think twice before using excessive force.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Observer.

Testimony suggests growing support for police body cameras in Texas

April 9, 2015

Testimonies at the State Legislature on Thursday largely supporting the adoption of body cameras in police departments across Texas suggest that the technology may be gaining traction in the state. The issue of body cameras has recently earned some urgency in the light of a North Charleston, S.C., fatal shooting Saturday in which Officer Michael Thomas Slager was caught on video shooting 50-year-old Walter Lamer Scott in the back multiple times.

Read the rest of this article at The Austin American-Statesman....

Video Chats Are Replacing In-Person Jail Visits, While One Tech Company Profits

April 8, 2015

Richard Gladden, a Texas defense attorney, represents criminals for a living, so he’s no stranger to crime. But when he talks about Securus, a for-profit prison company based in Dallas, he is downright grim. “Securus is mercenary,” he says. “They’re squeezing blood out of a rock.”

Read the rest of this article at International Business Times.

House Hears Broad Support for Bringing 17-Year-Olds into Juvenile System

April 2, 2015

Miguel Moll went before the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues yesterday to tell the story of his introduction to the Harris County Jail. He was 17, he told lawmakers, when he was caught joyriding in a stolen car and brought to the Harris County Jail.

The Texas Observer.

Texas bills seek outside investigations of police shootings

March 27, 2015

AUSTIN (AP) — As national unrest swells over police officers not indicted in high-profile shootings, a Texas House panel on Thursday heard testimony on bills seeking to calm public concerns of bias.

Read the rest of this article at KXAN.

National Advocacy Group Weighs in on Incentives to Decrease Texas’ State Jail Population

March 17, 2015

Austin, TX -- Today Grassroots Leadership testified in favor of Texas Senate Bill 589, to streamline the process to grant diligent participation credit to people incarcerated in Texas’ State Jails.

Giving 17-year-olds second chance requires support of Whitmire

March 2, 2015

When it comes to criminal justice, we certainly respect the wisdom and experience of Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who has spent much of his 30 years in the Texas Senate working on those issues. His leadership on criminal justice matters is recognized on both sides of the aisle. As chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, Whitmire is rare, being one of two Democrats tapped by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to chair a Senate committee.

Read the rest of this article at the Austin American-Statesman...

Legislators poised to make changes in juvenile justice system

February 21, 2015

The scene at a South Dallas apartment last month was shocking: a 14-year-old girl in bright pink pants, a blue top — and handcuffs — being hustled into a police car, after allegedly drowning a 2-month-old baby. Today, the girl, who is not being named because of her age, wears a shapeless navy uniform and tan shower shoes.

Read the rest of this article at The Dallas Morning News.