TCJE in the News

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


Statewide Leadership Council: Advocates Call for Emergency Planning in Texas Prisons Following Horrific Week [Press Release]

After historic winter weather caused a statewide emergency and devastated power and water supplies throughout Texas, families of incarcerated individuals from across the state are demanding better emergency preparedness for Texas prisons. The horrifying conditions experienced by incarcerated individuals and prison staff during the winter storm revealed a lack of preparation by prison officials to address even the most basic needs.

Read the rest of this press release here.

In Texas Prisons, Horror Stories Emerge From Catastrophic Blackout

As a winter storm battered Texas, 4.5 million people lost power. A humanitarian crisis mounted across the state, as residents lost heat and running water while food stocks dwindled. Dozens have died since February 11, likely from hypothermia. People without basic services sought sanctuary with friends, received assistance from mutual aid groups or, in the case of Senator Ted Cruz, fled to the warmer pastures of a balmy beachside resort in Cancún.

Read the rest of this article from Filter Mag.

The limits of bootstrapping in Texas

Who is at fault for the misery in Texas, and who should take responsibility for its alleviation? This is the debate as extreme winter weather and infrastructure failures in the state have left at least two dozen people dead and millions without heat, water, and/or power. And it's not an unreasonable debate to have, with one glaring exception: lock-up.

Read the rest of this article from The Week.

Letter to Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman: Inspect 2 Protect “Creates a Barrier to Vital Support Networks”

Today, a group of advocates, organizations, and system-impacted individuals released a letter sent to Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Patrick O’Daniel, which highlights the negative impacts of the “Inspect 2 Protect” policy enacted at Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) facilities last year. The letter—which received 29 signatures from local, state, and national groups—reiterates previous advocate requests for the policy to be reconsidered. 

Read the rest of this press release here.

How Texas Jail Overcrowding Became a Public Health Crisis

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Jay Jenkins of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition joined The Appeal Live to talk about Houston jail overcrowding and COVID-19.

Watch the full video from the Appeal Live.

‘No Beds Left': Houston's Jail is a COVID-19 Superspreader

As of Sunday, there were 8,889 people incarcerated inside Houston’s Harris County Jail, the largest facility of its kind in Texas. Of that number, 7,772—more than 87 percent—are being held pretrial. Nearly half of the people held in the jail, according to the county’s online jail population database, have been arrested on nonviolent charges.

Read the rest of this article from The Appeal.

SAISD students want more say in decisions related to pandemic, discipline, and student rights

A group of San Antonio Independent School District students called for the district to include more diverse student voices that accurately represent them in district decisions during a discussion on student rights Tuesday. The SAISD Student Coalition and Poder, the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel’s social justice caucus, held a Facebook Live discussion on student rights Tuesday, with experts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, and Texas Appleseed, an Austin-based nonprofit working to end inequities in state laws.

Read the rest of this article from the San Antonio Report.

25 beds left: Harris County Jail population again at dangerous levels

Finis Prendergast was expecting to have his day in court when COVID-19 came barreling into Harris County in March. The 42-year-old veteran has now spent 28 months awaiting trial at the county jail on an aggravated robbery charge; the court has reset his proceedings seven times during the pandemic.

Read the rest of this article from the Houston Chronicle.

On Opening Day of 87th Texas Legislative Session, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Prioritize Justice Reform

Kicking off the opening day of Texas’s 87th Legislative Session, where state leadership will be contending with a billion-dollar budget shortfall, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) repeated their previous call for lawmakers to prioritize communities over corrections in an unprecedented year.

Read the rest of this press release here.

State of Texas: ‘The public needs access to its government’ — balancing health and transparency at the Capitol

Lawmakers from every corner of Texas are preparing to return to the State Capitol for the start of the 87th legislative session. The state still does not have an official plan for how the upcoming 87th Legislative Session will operate during the pandemic. But the Texas House of Representatives has outlined a framework for the opening ceremony, offering the first glimpse of how lawmakers will balance transparency with COVID-19 precautions.

Read the rest of this article from Nexstar.

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