What We're ReadingNews that caught our attention or cited the Texas Justice Initiative from across the Lone Star State and beyond.
Dead and UndonePublished on November 23, 2020
David Barer and Josh Hinkle dig deep into custodial death reporting in Texas in their latest multimedia project for KXAN, which includes televised news stories and a dedicated series of their investigative podcast, Catalyst. TJI is grateful to have been used as a resource for this important work.
Texas prisons, jails worst COVID-19 hotspots of any in USPublished on November 10, 2020
The Associated Press' Terry Wallace wrote about a new report by the LBJ School of Public Affairs that uses TJI's data to determine that – even when adjusted for size – "Texas still has the second-highest rate of COVID infections and is tied for the third-highest proportion of its prison population that has died from COVID, among the ten largest prison systems."
Sunset Advisory Commission Reviews TCJSPublished on November 6, 2020
In Texas, state agencies generally expire every 12 years unless the Texas Legislature renews them in legislation. Before their expiration date (called "Sunset"), agencies are put under the microscope by the Sunset Advisory Commission, which reports to legislators. In November, the Commission published its evaluation (report, executive summary) of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, which oversees jails in Texas.
Why 4,998 died in U.S. jails without getting their day in courtPublished on October 16, 2020
Part 1 of Reuters' Dying Inside series examines 7,571 deaths of individuals held in 500 U.S. jails from 2008 to 2019, finding that death rates have risen over time. The journalists write: "At least two-thirds of the dead inmates identified by Reuters, 4,998 people, were never convicted of the charges on which they were being held."
A Carceral CrisisPublished on October 15, 2020
A new report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security urges officials to take "urgent and swift action" to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in jails and prisons. "The lack of preparation—the lack of a public health system—that exists in these facilities is really concerning," Crystal Watson, who co-authored the report, said.