TCJE in the News

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Austin youth re-entry program has 15% recidivism rate, compared to 75% nationwide

Raised on the streets, the sound of gunshots is just down the road from one group of teens in northeast Austin. Around the corner, a friend is being held at knifepoint. But one nonprofit in Austin is determined to show these youths another way to live. “I had to choose a better route. I was stuck in my ways, doing what I wanted to do,” said Antonio Martinez, 21.

Read the rest of this story from KXAN.

‘Paid $10 for his death.’ A Cedar Park family’s warning about fentanyl

Becky Stewart was looking forward to a Saturday with her son Cameron in mid-March. The two planned to drive down from Williamson County, stroll around Zilker Park in Austin, maybe visit a food truck. Cameron, at 19, was Becky’s youngest son. He was bright, charismatic, entrepreneurial. He had decided to take a pause before college to explore starting a business.

Read the rest of this article from KXAN.

With more than 25K signatures on petition, Austin voters may be able to decide on ‘re-funding police’

The nonprofit organization behind a petition to increase policing in the city of Austin says it’s received more than 25,600 signatures — making the proposed changes eligible for the November 2021 election. The local political action committee Save Austin Now began the petition in May and now says it’s completed the drive it hopes will make several changes to “#MakeAustinSafe.”

Read the rest of this story from KXAN.

Overhaul of state bail system on the rocks after Democrats break quorum

A proposal for overhauling the Texas bail system gained steam at the legislature over the weekend before stalling dead in its tracks Monday when Democrats left the state to deny GOP lawmakers a quorum. The quorum break targeted an unrelated election bill similar to Senate Bill 7, which Democrats killed using the same quorum-busting tactic in May. 

Read the rest of this article from The Austin Bulldog.

Push continues in Texas to “Raise the Age” for Juvenile Offenders

Texas is one of only three states to automatically treat 17-year-olds as adults when they are arrested, and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition said that can often lead to a lifetime of involvement with the justice system. Since 2007, advocates to “Raise the Age” have encouraged state policymakers to change laws, so teens can go through the juvenile justice system instead.

Read the rest of this article from El Paso Herald-Post.

As COVID-19 Spreads, a Fight to Shutter Parts of Dallas County Jail

Bette knows the day she started to lose her son. It was eight years ago, when Cole (not his real name) lost his baby girl. Father and daughter had already built a relationship; when Cole talked to his girlfriend’s belly, the baby would kick in reply. “They went to the hospital expecting to take a baby home like we had done with his sister’s son just nine days before,” Bette said by phone in late July. “They get to the hospital, and the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.”

Read the rest of this article from the Dallas Observer.

Ballot initiative to decriminalize weed, ban ‘no knock’ warrants kicks off in Austin

Ground Game Texas, a new voter mobilization group, announced Wednesday they would be launching a new campaign to create a ballot initiative in Austin to decriminalize marijuana and end “no-knock” warrants. The “Austin Freedom Act of 2021” would decriminalize low-level marijuana offenses and prevent police in Austin from entering someone’s residence without first notifying them. 

Read the rest of this article from the Texas Signal.

When Prisons Locked Down, Prisoners Were Denied Release

When Lorenzo Culbero appeared before the New York parole board in December, nearly 15 years after he was incarcerated and four months before his potential release date, the board deferred its decision for 18 months. Culbero said the board cited his failure to complete a substance use program as one of the reasons for its decision.

Read the rest of this article from The Appeal.

Girls Embracing Mothers offers a chance for formerly incarcerated moms to rebuild relationships with their daughters

“No running!” says Diana Lopez, a volunteer at a summer camp organized by the nonprofit Girls Embracing Mothers. You can’t blame the young campers as they make a break for their cabins: The summer heat is finally kicking in, and swimming is the next activity on deck. They’ve already enjoyed archery and spoken-word poetry at the STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars in southern Dallas.

Read the rest of this article from Dallas Morning News.

Dozens of Texans Died of COVID-19 in Prison Despite Being Granted Parole, Report Finds

A new report shows that dozens of Texans have died in prison from COVID-19 despite already being granted parole. Within a year of the coronavirus pandemic, 18 people who had been approved for parole died with the virus before while still in prison, according to a report released Thursday from the University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Read the rest of this article from Newsweek.

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