We liveblogged the full debate over HB 1, the House version of the general appropriations bills for the next biennium, which passed late Sunday night 98 to 49.Full Story
Brandi Grissom is The Texas Tribune's managing editor and joined the staff when the online publication launched in 2009. In addition to editing duties, Grissom leads the Tribune's coverage of criminal justice issues. During her tenure at the Tribune, she was chosen as a 2012 City University of New York Center on Media, Crime and Justice/H.F. Guggenheim Journalism Fellow and was a fellow at the 2012 Journalist Law School at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Grissom, along with Tribune multimedia producer Justin Dehn, received a 2012 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting for work on the case of Megan Winfrey, who was acquitted of murder in February 2013 after the Trib’s coverage brought statewide attention the case. Grissom joined the Tribune after four years at the El Paso Times, where she acted as a one-woman Capitol bureau. Grissom won the Associated Press Managing Editors First-Place Award in 2007 for using the Freedom of Information Act to report stories on a variety of government programs and entities, and the ACLU of Texas named her legislative reporter of the year in 2007 for her immigration reporting. She previously served as managing editor at The Daily Texan and has worked for the Alliance Times-Herald, the Taylor Daily Press, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung and The Associated Press. A native of Alliance, Neb., she has a degree in history from the University of Texas.
Texas' decision to change one of the drugs used for lethal injections has sparked a lawsuit, calls for federal investigation of the criminal justice department and pleas from the drugmaker not to use its product for executions.Full Story
House lawmakers are considering a plan to privatize all of Texas' state jails for low-level felony offenders, a move they say could save the state up to $40 million.Full Story
Numbers aren’t all that’s buried in the budget. Lawmakers have filed hundreds of amendments that are political in nature, from repealing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants to trying to push Planned Parenthood out of the family planning business.Full Story
Lawyers for two Texas death row inmates today asked state and federal law enforcement to investigate whether prison officials illegally obtained death penalty drugs the state used in nearly all of its 466 executions.Full Story
Two death row inmates sued the state today, arguing that the decision to use a new lethal injection drug was made too secretly and too hastily.Full Story
Jim Willett had not intended to spend the better part of his adult life working in Texas’ sprawling prison system. But the business student turned prison guard worked 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and oversaw 89 executions.Full Story
Judges across the state, and particularly in Harris County, are sending youth offenders to adult prisons even when they have few prior offenses, according to a study by a University of Texas criminal justice expert.Full Story
The national criminal justice expert on how other states have handled controversial prison closings and reduced criminal justice costs and how the Right On Crime Movement might give lawmakers the political freedom to be more than tough when it comes to crime.Full Story
The Tribune sat down recently with national criminal justice expert Marc Mauer, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based reform advocacy group The Sentencing Project, to get his advice about how Texas can continue on its so-called 'right on crime' path even as lawmakers slice millions from the state budget. Mauer, who was in Austin for the Barbara Jordan Symposium at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, talked about how other states have handled controversial prison closings, how others have reduced criminal justice costs and how the Right On Crime Movement — with support from conservative leaders like Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich — might give lawmakers the political freedom to be more than tough when it comes to crime.Full Story
Lawmakers at the Capitol today debated eliminating a surcharge on traffic tickets that has been riddled with problems almost since its inception.Full Story
Cleve Foster will be the first Texas inmate to receive the anesthetic drug pentobarbital — instead of sodium thiopental — in the three-drug cocktail that will be used in his execution on April 5.Full Story
Criminal justice advocates say proposed cuts from rehabilitation and treatment programs would reverse years of reforms in Texas that have helped reduce recidivism and drive down the size of the prison population.Full Story
Sights and sounds from Huntsville when prisoners were released from the Walls Unit on March 4.Full Story
The director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown Public Policy Institute on the factors Texas lawmakers should consider as they seek to make budget cuts while continuing the reforms they started in 2007.