What We're ReadingNews that caught our attention or cited the Texas Justice Initiative from across the Lone Star State and beyond.
Lost in Lockup: Last year, prisoners in Bexar County and across Texas died in record numbersPublished on March 23, 2021
Sanford Nowlin reports on the record number of in-custody deaths that took place in 2020 in the Bexar County Jail – a trend that was unfortunately seen in lockups throughout the state.
Police transparency bills would close dead-suspect loophole, reform death reporting lawPublished on March 5, 2021
Josh Hinkle and David Barer report on Texas lawmakers' latest efforts at the state capitol to tighten up two laws that address transparency and accountability in law enforcement. One of the efforts is a bill that would add teeth to the requirement for law enforcement agencies to file reports when someone dies in their custody.
Texas lifts yearlong ban on prison visitationPublished on March 9, 2021
Texas prisons will allow in-person visitation again, reported Jolie McCullough of the Texas Tribune, after Gov. Greg Abbott announced that other pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted. In the year that prisons were closed, about 300 incarcerated people and dozens of employees died of COVID-19 and thousands got sick.
Rep. Joe Moody announces formation of criminal justice reform caucus, more efforts on police transparencyPublished on February 24, 2021
KXAN's Josh Barer reports on a panel on transparency in criminal justice, featuring TJI's Executive Director Eva Ruth Moravec, Rep. Joe Moody and Kathy Mitchell from Just Liberty. The event was hosted by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and ACLU of Texas.
With a stalled court system, some Texas jails are dangerously overcrowded in the pandemicPublished on January 28, 2021
Jolie McCullough with the Texas Tribune writes that under the coronavirus pandemic, jails – potential hotspots – are filling up as the criminal justice system has been paused: "State prisons stopped accepting new inmates for several months last year, and most counties have not held a single criminal jury trial since last March."