Tribpedia: Texas Department Of Criminal Justice

Tribpedia

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 ...

Read More...

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.

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.

Major Michael Gruver in recreation area of Clements Unit (r) and a Guard tower near front gate of Clements Unit, Texas Department of Corrections (l).
Major Michael Gruver in recreation area of Clements Unit (r) and a Guard tower near front gate of Clements Unit, Texas Department of Corrections (l).

Perry: Anti-Prison Rape Standards "Impossible"

Gov. Rick Perry told federal officials he would not sign a form complying with regulations meant to prevent prison rape and assault. Prison reform advocates worry the decision could have financial and legal consequences.

Anthony Ormsbee places flowers with other volunteers at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas Monday Nov. 4, 2013 where a group placed roses on the more than 3000 headstones for All Souls Day.
Anthony Ormsbee places flowers with other volunteers at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas Monday Nov. 4, 2013 where a group placed roses on the more than 3000 headstones for All Souls Day.

For Prisoners and Families, Burials With Dignity

Prisoner rights advocates often criticize the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, but experts agree that offender burials are one thing the state prison system does well, especially compared with other states. 

Major Michael Gruver in recreation area of Clements Unit (r) and a Guard tower near front gate of Clements Unit, Texas Department of Corrections (l).
Major Michael Gruver in recreation area of Clements Unit (r) and a Guard tower near front gate of Clements Unit, Texas Department of Corrections (l).

Violence Behind Bars: A Tie to Mental Illness

A Tribune analysis of violent-incident data in state prisons shows that far more violent incidents occur at facilities with large populations of mentally ill inmates. 

Male detainees work to fix a cell door inside of the Dawson State Jail in Dallas on Jul. 31, 2013.  The Texas Department of Criminal Justice decided not to renew its contract with the Corrections Corporation of America for the Dawson State Jail after the state legislature struck 97 million dollars from its funding.  The unit will begin relocating its offenders on Aug. 1, 2013, and expects to have all offenders relocated by the end of the month.
Male detainees work to fix a cell door inside of the Dawson State Jail in Dallas on Jul. 31, 2013. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice decided not to renew its contract with the Corrections Corporation of America for the Dawson State Jail after the state legislature struck 97 million dollars from its funding. The unit will begin relocating its offenders on Aug. 1, 2013, and expects to have all offenders relocated by the end of the month.

In Two Cities, Opposite Reactions to State Jail Closing

The decision by legislators this year to close two privately run jails operated by the Corrections Corporation of America is being met with very different reactions in the communities where the jails are situated.

Scottie Louis Forcey, 21, photographed at the Barry B. Telford Unit in New Boston, Texas on July 2, 2013. Forcey is serving a life sentence without parole for a murder committed when he was 16.
Scottie Louis Forcey, 21, photographed at the Barry B. Telford Unit in New Boston, Texas on July 2, 2013. Forcey is serving a life sentence without parole for a murder committed when he was 16.

Young Murderers Await Legislature's Punishment Decision

Scottie Forcey is one of 23 convicted Texas murderers who could get the chance to be parole eligible after serving 40 years in prison as legislators work to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

This gurney is used to perform executions at Terre Haute by lethal injection.
This gurney is used to perform executions at Terre Haute by lethal injection.

Visualization: Executions on Perry's Watch

Wednesday's execution of Kimberly McCarthy for the 1997 stabbing death of her neighbor will mark Texas' 500th execution since 1976 and the 261st during Gov. Rick Perry's tenure. Use our interactive to view information on each execution under Perry.