Informing the public about our data, our findings and what the data means is of the utmost importance to the Texas Justice Initiative. More information about our data sets can be found here, and all of our data is available through data.world (free account required) here. Below, you’ll find the Texas Justice Initiative’s latest press releases and reports.
Life and Death in a Carceral State (2018)
In 2017, TJI partnered with the Texas After Violence Project to document the experiences people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system in Texas. The result was a 25-minute-long video with in-depth interviews with five individuals who speak about topics like:
- Custodial deaths caused by “natural causes”: 90% of deaths in Texas prisons are classified this way;
- Pregnancy: Thousands of pregnant women are booked into Texas county jails each year, and 165 women gave birth while incarcerated in 2016;
- Officer-involved shootings: About 169 people are shot by Texas law enforcement each year, with about half causing fatalities;
- Harris County Jail suicides: The facility houses 13% of the state’s jail population and reports having 3% of the suicides in Texas jails.
Officer-Involved Shootings and Custodial Deaths in Texas (2018)
Since 2005, there have been 8,730 deaths of civilians in the custody of Texas law enforcement. In the past decade, officer-involved shootings in Texas have been on the rise. Data obtained from the Texas Office of the Attorney General shows that since Sept. 1, 2015, there have been 466 civilians shot by Texas law enforcement, and 78 officers have been shot.
Officers involved in shootings skew younger and male than the general population of Texas law enforcement officers. Overall, most deaths that occur in Texas law enforcement custody are due to natural causes, but that nearly half of all deaths of inmates housed alone in a jail cell are suicides.
Texas Custodial Death Report (2016)
From 2005 to 2015, a reported 6,913 people died in the custody of law enforcement and other state officials in Texas. More than 1,900 of the people who died (28%) had not been convicted of, or in many cases, even charged with a crime. Despite recent growing interest in counting and reporting on custodial and police-involved deaths, most of the nearly 7,000 people who died have never had their stories told, and aggregate data regarding the manner and locations of their deaths have not been widely available.