TCJE Blog

What You Can Do for System-Involved Texans This Holiday Season

In the age of limitless streaming and nonstop social media saturation, we see a lot of holiday imagery that evokes peace, joy, and plenty. But if your loved one is spending the holidays behind bars, or if you’re system-involved yourself, it can be challenging to remain in the holiday spirit when December rolls around.

At this time of year, a simple gesture like a message of love and support can make all the difference for...

How Fighting for Myself Became a Fight for Other Trafficking Survivors

In 2011, I heard a loud bang on my door. My heart began to pound in my chest. I’d heard that knock before. A “cop” knock. Complete and utter despair set in when I heard the officer call my full name, demanding I open the door or he would kick it in and take me to jail for everything he found in that room. I started taking inventory of all the illegal things my trafficker...

Justice for Women Campaign Update: Texas Prison Program Focuses on Trauma and Education Needs of Incarcerated Women

Yesterday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ, the state prison system) unveiled a first-of-its-kind women’s reentry program designed to help incarcerated women address and heal from trauma, as well as connect with jobs that will be waiting for them upon their release. The program is small—only 31 women in the inaugural class, though TDCJ is aiming to double it by the end of the year—and it starts late—during the last 12 weeks of a...

New Guide: Lessons for Creating a Data Dashboard in Your County

Over the last two years, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition has worked to make the state’s criminal justice system more transparent by obtaining and visualizing criminal court data. Beginning with Harris County, this project has helped hold people in power accountable for their promises of reform.

With funding from Microsoft Cities Team and a partnership with data science firm January Advisors, this work expanded geographically to Dallas County, as well as expanding in...

I Walked the Line

I recently shared my story as part of a restorative justice program at the Kyle State Prison Unit for men. It was the first time I had stepped foot in an adult unit in over a decade. After I shared my experience, the men, facilitators and I broke into groups to discuss my story in depth. I could see the hunger for change in these men’s eyes as they questioned me about my prison experiences...

2019 Bills That Are Still Moving or Have Become Law

 
Last updated: August 29, 2019

It’s Sine Die – the last day of legislative session – and TCJC is thrilled that so many positive bills have progressed to the Governor’s desk.  A few have already become law!

The Governor now has a 20-day period to review the bills and either sign them into law, let them pass into law without his signature, or veto them.

Below we have provided a list of nearly 90...

Taking Off the Mask: GRAD Program Helps Heal Men Who Have Hurt Others

As I visited several classrooms of students participating in the Gang Renouncement and Disassociation (GRAD) process at the Ellis Unit in Huntsville, Texas, I couldn’t help but remember my time in the same program at the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, Texas, in 2010. I shared those experiences with the men in Ellis and told them how much of an impact my cognitive intervention teacher, Ms. Kathy Gant, had had on my life. I told them...

Mother’s Day Update on TCJC’s “Justice for Women” Campaign

Last March, TCJC launched a Justice for Women campaign to urge the Texas Legislature to address the needs of women impacted by the criminal justice system. We kicked off the campaign with 2-part report series, which found that the number of women in Texas prisons had grown by nearly 1,000 percent since 1980 (more than twice the rate of men), and that Texas now incarcerates more women by sheer number...

What Good Bail Reform Looks Like in Texas (And How We’ll Get There)

On any given day, more than 60% of the people held in county jails across Texas have not been convicted of the crime with which they’re charged. These 40,000 people are incarcerated, draining important county resources and watching their jobs, families, and quality of life crumble, simply for being unable to pay their bail amount.

“Innocent until proven guilty” is a foundational principle of American life – but for many Texans, if you’re too poor...

Reflections on My Visit to the Youthful Offender Program

I recently visited a group of boys in the Youthful Offender Program (YOP). They’re all under 18 years old but they’ve been incarcerated in Texas’ adult prison system at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Ellis Unit in Huntsville. We enjoyed Domino’s pizza (the chicken and mushroom is the big hit) and asked each other ice-breaker questions. It was a positive experience talking with the kids. Still, it was difficult to deal with – these...

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition is now the Texas Center for Justice and Equity! Learn More