When I was an intern with TCJE, I jumped into a project analyzing a dataset of arrests for possession of a controlled substance in Travis County (Austin). The previous work on this project sparked my interest because it highlighted the communities that I’m from. I have lived in East Riverside for about 5 years and before that I came from a similar neighborhood in San Antonio. My whole life I’ve witnessed police saturation in my communities, but I always assumed it was a normal practice in every neighborhood.
Policing & Community Safety
In the past, I’ve shared how police brutality is a women’s justice issue, particularly for women of color. One example of this is in the news today with the case of Lawrence Parrish. In 2017, Lawrence’s girlfriend called police to say that he was acting strangely. After setting up a perimeter around his house, Austin Police officers shot him.
Last updated: June 19, 2021
After a divisive legislative session in Texas, lawmakers are headed home. But our work doesn’t end here. Over the next 20 days, the Governor will review the bills that have reached his desk and sign them into law, let them pass into law without a signature, or veto them.
A year ago, I sent out an email asking TCJC’s supporters for your input on our work. We collected survey responses from 140 people, who represented all walks of life and levels of justice system impact. I read about your priorities for policy reform, your difficulties navigating an opaque and insensitive justice system, and your reasons for joining us in this fight.
None of us could have guessed how different the world would be a few months later.
Finding the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition was a bit of a fluke—or at least that’s how it felt at the time. Doug Smith, TCJC’s Senior Policy Analyst, had come to speak to one of my classes at St. Edward’s University in 2018. I spoke to him after his presentation and asked for one of his business cards. About a year later, when I decided I wanted to spend my summer making a difference, I found his card. Our conversation was quick, and I began my internship with TCJC that summer.
TCJC condemns targeted and police violence against Black people and people of color across the country and reaffirms commitment to racial justice.
March 16, 2020
The Honorable Greg Abbott
Office of the Texas Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711
Mitigating Disaster: Urgent and Just Responses to COVID-19 in the Texas Justice System
Dear Governor Abbott:
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 had done, everything he’d forced me to do, and what we had in that room. I wasn’t quite sure why the officer was threatening to kick our door in, but I was sure I knew the only possible outcome.
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.