TCJC In the News

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


The price of justice in Texas isn't cheap.

June 4, 2015

Time-tested observers of the Texas Legislature have learned to measure their expectations before each session, yet there was a secret hope that the twin engines of liberal and conservative supporters could push important criminal justice reforms over the finish line.

Read the rest of this editorial at the Houston Chronicle.

Texas Juvenile Justice Reformers: ‘Raise the Age’ Will Rise Again

June 1, 2015

Supporters of overhauling juvenile justice in Texas cheered the passage of two state bills even as some mourned the failure of a third that would have stopped the prosecution of 17-year-olds as adults.

Read the rest of this article at the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange.

Legislature Reverses Course, Will Keep 17-Year-Olds In Adult Justice System

June 1, 2015

A provision to keep 17-year-olds out of the adult criminal justice system was stripped from a bill this weekend as the Texas Legislature wrapped up the 84th Legislative Session.

Read the rest of this blog post at the San Antonio Current.

Legislators and Juvenile Justice Stakeholders Disappointed that Texas did not Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction

May 31, 2015

Representative Gene Wu (Houston) expressed disappointment this afternoon that a provision which would have raised the age at which youth are considered adults in Texas' criminal justice system from 17 to 18 was stripped from a juvenile justice reform bill.

Read the rest of this press release at the Texas House of Representatives' website.

Truancy Reform Heads Down to the Wire

May 29, 2015

With one Texas county facing a federal investigation into how it punishes chronic school-skippers — and Texas one of only two states that prosecute truants in adult courts — lawmakers are weighing two House measures that would decriminalize truancy.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune.

Texas Tackles Old Convictions, New Science

May 28, 2015

In the spring of 2013, the Texas Legislature passed a law that was hailed as the first of its kind in the country. The law expressly allows the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals to grant a new trial in cases where the underlying forensic science is flawed.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune.

Legislature OKs Juvenile Justice Reforms

May 27, 2015

A bill that juvenile justice groups praised as “a fundamental shift in how young people would be served by the justice system” passed through the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. SB 1630 will establish a more localized approach to juvenile justice, keeping young offenders out of large, regional detention facilities and closer to their home communities.

Read the rest of this blog post at the San Antonio Current....

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.