Conditions of Confinement

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

Shadow on wall behind prison bars, via Ye Jinghan, Unsplash, Harvard Political Review

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.

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

Screengrab of press release PDF

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.

Artists Respond to Conditions in Harris County Jail and Mass Incarceration in the US

Art piece drawing attention to conditions in Harris County Jail, showing a set of windows with many in red. Text reading, Each window in red represents a life lost in Harris County Jail custody in 2022. A majority of people here have not been convicted of a crime: they simply cannot afford bail. Some are paying with their lives.

In early November, Art at a Time Like This will launch 8x5 Houston, a public intervention with artworks responding to the mass incarceration crisis. Displayed on ten billboards and four mobile billboard trucks throughout the city, the project will run from November 4th to November 30th.

Read the rest of this article from Houston Style Magazine.

Advocates worry unmarked graves will surface during elementary school construction in Fort Bend

Screengrab from news video showing Jay speaking to a reporter. Text reading Controversy Over Fort Bend ISD's Plan to Build School on Old Prison Farm

The Fort Bend County community is pushing to ensure a new elementary school isn't built on unmarked graves. The proposed school would be situated to serve a fast-growing part of the county. The undeveloped field is between two newer subdivisions off of Harlem Road in the Harvest Green community, and the district says it picked this location because so many people are moving to the area.

Watch the full video from ABC 13 Houston.

Prison to Power: Advocating for change in TX

Screengrab of Fox Austin video with two SLC members speaking to anchor

A group of formerly incarcerated Texans is organizing to bring change to Texas prisons. A free event Saturday, called Prison to Power, focuses on helping people personally impacted by the criminal system.

Watch the full video from Fox 7 Austin.

Texas Center for Justice and Equity Releases 2023 Bill Analysis Guide While Acknowledging Need for Deeper Gains

Texas Capitol dome Text: 2023 Bill Analysis Guide: New Justice Legislation in Texas TCJE logo

Today, the Texas Center for Justice and Equity (TCJE) released a guide to around 40 bills that passed into law during the 2023 session of the Texas Legislature. The majority of the new laws go into effect on Friday, September 1. These bills span youth and adult justice—including court processes and defense, probation and treatment options, incarceration and conditions of confinement, parole and reentry, and other relevant issues.

All Texas prisons under lockdown in response to rising violence in units, TDCJ says

Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison, Darrington Unit, in unincorporated Brazoria County. Steve Gonzales, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Wednesday placed all of its facilities under lockdown, using new measures they say are in response to rising violence tied to illegal drugs within the prison units. All visitation is canceled until further notice, each facility will limit the movement of inmates and their contact with people outside the prison and both inmates and staff will undergo searches, according to a news release from the agency. The prisons will resume normal operations once they are completed. No timetable was provided.

Lioness Alliance raises awareness for inhumane prison conditions

KWTX screengrab. Nonprofit lights candles for inhumane prison conditions.

The Lioness Justice Impacted Women’s Alliance held a candlelight vigil to raise awareness for unsafe conditions in prison. Partnering with the Texas Statewide Leadership Council, individuals gathered at Raby Park in Gatesville at 8 to honor those who have lost their lives due to heat-related causes and to stand with those who they believe are suffering.

Read the rest of this article from KWTX.

Texas woman worried about boyfriend dying in prison due to heat

Screengrab from Spectrum news. Advocates for cooling Texas prisons construct a make-shift cell before a rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol, Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in Austin, Texas. The group is calling for an emergency special session to address the deadly heat effecting inmates. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

It’s a quiet morning in Houston as Rae Hoppe works remotely at home. As she types, she can’t help but think of her boyfriend, Charles Gholson, who’s in prison without air conditioning. “I think it’s inhumane,” Hoppe said. Hoppe is worried her partner will die during the heat wave. She says he wakes up in a puddle of sweat on a hot metal bed. 

Read the rest of this story from Spectrum News.

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