TCJE in the News

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


Letters to the Editor — Renewable energy, special ed teachers, youth prisons, energy tips

Letter to the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board from Sarah Reyes, TCJE Director of Youth Justice: The Texas Center for Justice and Equity is pleased that the editorial board has raised serious questions about the state allocating $200 million to build new child prisons. Given that the Texas Juvenile Justice Department is still in the midst of a staffing crisis at existing facilities — while being investigated once again for allegations of physical and sexual abuse in those facilities — it would be in the best interest of both Texas communities and youth that the state stop trying to build new prisons.

Read the full letter here.

Appointed attorneys are ‘doing less than the bare minimum’ for capital murder defendants in Harris County, report says

Over the five-year time period, 12 people were convicted after never being visited by their attorney, according to the report. Additionally, 56 people — less than 10% of cases — were visited by an attorney more than once per month. “It speaks to the nature of our system,” said Jay Jenkins, the Harris County project attorney for the TCJE. “We arrest so many people that cannot afford their attorney and then provide inadequate representation for them.”

Read the rest of this story from Houston Public Media

Data: Some Indigent Defendants in Capital Cases Received Few If Any Visits from Appointed Attorneys in Harris County

The Texas Center for Justice and Equity recently released a policy brief spotlighting inadequate legal representation for people with the most severe charges in Harris County. “Absentee Advocacy: Failures in Harris County’s Capital Representation System” explores the landscape of indigent defense in capital cases in the county, highlights findings from an analysis of jail visitation logs and court filings, and proposes an actionable solution for county decisionmakers.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Leaders Impacted by Criminal Punishment System to Host RGV Event

This Saturday, system-impacted Texans will gather in Edinburg for a community-building event. Organized by the Texas Center for Justice and Equity’s Statewide Leadership Council (SLC), the event will expand outreach to local community members who’ve been arrested, incarcerated, on probation or parole, or family members of those who have. “Know Your Rights! - Navigating the Legal and Carceral System” is free and will be hosted at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Why Many Democrats Are Turning Against One of the Most Powerful Prosecutors in Texas

At the Fountain of Praise, a Black church in southwest Houston, senior pastor Remus Wright was preaching to his congregation about the importance of protecting their dreams. In the crowded sanctuary that Sunday morning sat several political candidates with dreams of their own: among them was Sean Teare, a former assistant district attorney who is now the front-runner in a race to unseat his former boss, Harris County district attorney Kim Ogg, in the Democratic primary. 

Read the rest of this article from Texas Monthly.

Austin Event to Highlight Solutions Outside of Criminal Punishment System

This Friday, local coalitions and organizations will gather for a community conversation focused on incarceration, public safety, and healing. “The State of Public Safety Through Healing and Equity” will be led by crime survivors and Texans who’ve been personally impacted by the criminal punishment system. The event is free for all community members, and will be hosted at St. Edwards University.

Read the rest of this press release here.

The Juvenile “Injustice” System: How Texas Turns a Blind Eye on Incarcerated Youth

Twenty-three hours out of the day, youth in juvenile detention facilities in McLennan County, Texas are being locked in their cells for solitary confinement. Just a couple miles away at a youth prison in North Texas, children reported using water bottles as makeshift toilets because they were prevented from leaving their cells to use the bathroom. For decades, the juvenile justice system in Texas has been plagued with violence, scandal, and abuse.

Read the rest of this article from Harvard Political Review.

Formerly Incarcerated Leaders to Gather for Community-Building Event in San Antonio

On December 30, a group of formerly incarcerated and justice system-impacted Texans will convene in San Antonio. The event, “From Prison to Power: Finding Your Voice After Incarceration,” is organized by the Texas Center for Justice and Equity’s Statewide Leadership Council (SLC).

Read the rest of this press release here.

Learn from system-impacted individuals

Texas has an incredibly large prison population that stands out internationally. Mass incarceration found a home here, and Austin is no exception. In Travis County alone, there are 2,294 people in jail.

Read the rest of this article from the Daily Texan.

San Antonio looks to harm reduction in opioid crisis while Texas clings to drug war

District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo this summer filed a council consideration request to designate opioid-related overdoses a public health crisis and focus on efforts to help reduce fatalities among those already grappling with addiction issues. The harm reduction component of the plan includes boosting community access to Narcan, the nasal spray form of naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses.

Read the rest of this article from San Antonio Current.