Tribpedia: Texas Department Of Criminal Justice

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is the state agency responsible for managing state prisons and jails and the oversight of more than 150,000 offenders. The agency also supervises offenders released from prison on parole.

The board is composed of nine members who are appointed by the governor to staggered, six-year terms. The governor also designates one member as ...

Preying on Texas Prisoners: When Guards Demand Sex

  • 8Comments

Since 2000, the Texas prison system’s inspector general has referred nearly 400 cases of staff sex crimes against inmates to prosecutors. An analysis by The Marshall Project found that prosecutors refused to pursue almost half of those cases. And of 126 prison workers convicted of sexual misconduct or assault, just nine were sentenced to serve time in state jail. 

Robert Lynn Pruett, scheduled to be executed Tuesday night in Huntsville for the 1999 murder of a Bee County prison guard.
Robert Lynn Pruett, scheduled to be executed Tuesday night in Huntsville for the 1999 murder of a Bee County prison guard.

Inmate Set for Execution Seeks Supreme Court Stay

Lawyers for a Texas inmate convicted of capital murder in the 1999 stabbing death of a prison guard have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution. Robert Lynn Pruett is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the fatal stabbing of guard Daniel Nagle.

Detainees line up to leave the outdoor recreation area at theTravis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin on June 24, 2013.
Detainees line up to leave the outdoor recreation area at theTravis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin on June 24, 2013.

Texas Among States Facing "Raise the Age" Debate

  • 2Comments

Texas is one of nine states that automatically classify 17-year-olds as adults when they're accused of crimes. Campaigns to “raise the age” are gathering momentum in some states, and Texas is facing a spirited debate of its own.

An inmate sleeps in his cubicle in the geriatric unit of the Estelle Prison in Huntsville.
An inmate sleeps in his cubicle in the geriatric unit of the Estelle Prison in Huntsville.

Report: Blind, Deaf, Disabled Inmates Abused in Prison

  • 28Comments

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is facing a scathing report and several lawsuits contending that correctional staff at a Huntsville prison regularly neglect, abuse and even violently beat prisoners with disabilities — with little to no consequences.

In 2004, Davontae Marcel Williams, on the left, was found starved to death. Lisa Ann Coleman, on the right, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday night for her role in the boy's death. If carried out, she would be the sixth woman to be executed in Texas since 1982.
In 2004, Davontae Marcel Williams, on the left, was found starved to death. Lisa Ann Coleman, on the right, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday night for her role in the boy's death. If carried out, she would be the sixth woman to be executed in Texas since 1982.

Woman Executed for Boy's 2004 Starvation Death

UPDATED: Lisa Ann Coleman, 38, was executed Wednesday for the starvation death of her girlfriend’s son, Davontae Marcel Williams, 9. Coleman is the the sixth woman to be executed in the state since 1982.

Video: Program Unites Veterans Behind Bars

They served their country, then ended up on the wrong side of the law. Many of the more than 10,000 Texas veterans serving time behind bars say they attempted to erase the images of war through illegal drug use and got caught, sometimes more than once. A new Texas Department of Criminal Justice program is giving a group of veterans the resources and guidance to stay out of the legal system upon their release. 

 

Bernhardt "Bernie" Tiede exits the Panola County Court building with his attorney Jodi Cole after his hearing on Feb. 5, 2014 in Carthage. A state district judge agreed to release Tiede in May, 17 years into his life sentence.
Bernhardt "Bernie" Tiede exits the Panola County Court building with his attorney Jodi Cole after his hearing on Feb. 5, 2014 in Carthage. A state district judge agreed to release Tiede in May, 17 years into his life sentence.

"Bernie" Victim's Family Files Objection to His Release

  • 1Comment

The family of the widow whose murder was the focus of the 2011 film "Bernie" objects to the court's decision to free the man who killed her, and wants the court to hear their case.

 

At the Hand Up, a halfway house in Houston, former inmates have more freedom to look for jobs than at state-chartered facilities, but few can afford the rent.
At the Hand Up, a halfway house in Houston, former inmates have more freedom to look for jobs than at state-chartered facilities, but few can afford the rent.

Despite Demand, Halfway Houses Struggle to Provide Care

A small fraction of the tens of thousands of inmates released in Texas each year find spots in state-contracted halfway houses. For many inmates, the private market is not an easy option either.

Inmates Roberto Bisco and Robbie Robinson undergo dialysis in the medical center of the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
Inmates Roberto Bisco and Robbie Robinson undergo dialysis in the medical center of the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas.

With More Inmates on Dialysis, Officials Deal With Rising Costs

A small but expensive and ever-growing group of Texas inmates requires dialysis. Fewer than 230 inmates who receive dialysis treatment account for about 3 percent of the entire prison system's pharmaceutical budget. Lawmakers and prison officials are struggling to manage the cost as the need for treatment increases.

Correctional officer Mike Warren walks with his contraband detector dog, Gus, during a demonstration of how the dog seeks out cellphones around the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.
Correctional officer Mike Warren walks with his contraband detector dog, Gus, during a demonstration of how the dog seeks out cellphones around the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

In Cellphone Contraband Cases, Few Face Charges

While confiscations of illicit cellphones in prisons have dropped, a Tribune investigation found that few inmates or correctional officers face legal consequences for smuggling the devices. It falls to prosecutors in the rural, cash-strapped regions where prisons are typically located to decide whether to spend resources on criminals who are already in jail or on local law enforcement officers.