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 ...
Aguilar on Mexican journalists in grave danger, Galbraith on the continuing saga of Texas vs. the EPA, Ramshaw on whether a broken hospital bed constitutes medical malpractice, M. Smith on the latest delay in the Cameron Todd Willingham case, Hamilton interviews a Sarah Palin-approved GOP candidate for Congress, Stiles goes all interactive in chronicling the massive increase in legislative filings in the last 20 years, Grissom talks about the criminalization of mental illness with an author who knows the subject first-hand, Philpott on closing the budget gap without federal stimulus money, Ramsey on everyone ignoring down-ballot candidates, Hu on the mysterious lack of Rick Perry yard signs and yours truly sits down with the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor: The best of our best from September 20 to 24, 2010.Full Story
The author of Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness on the criminalization of mental illness, the need for community-wide solutions and how Texas wastes the money it spends on the problem.Full Story
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice oversees most state jails. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards presides over county jails. But the 350 city jails across Texas are wholly unregulated. The jail commission receives dozens of complaints about the conditions inside municipal lockups — most commonly about sanitation, food, supervision and medical care — but they have no power to investigate. While critics are calling on state lawmakers to implement at least minimum standards, city officials worry that expensive new rules could result in the closure of their jails, which would mean that already overflowing county jails would get even more crowded.Full Story
Galbraith's three-parter on the battle over wind power transmission lines, Grissom on a convicted killer who got probation, Aguilar on how the U.S. census counts inmates in the Texas prison system, Stiles launches a new interactive tool tracking the candidates for governor, Hamilton on the Texas A&M University System's latest accountability measure for faculty, Hu's interview with Democratic megadonor Steve "Back to Basics" Mostyn, Philpott on how the Texas economy compares to that of other states and Ramsey on the start of the 2010 election sprint: The best of our best from Sept. 6 to 10, 2010.Full Story
Tow truck driver Steven Hardin was shot and killed in April 1998 by Houston firefighter Barry Crawford during a dispute over a parking space. At the end of a high-profile trial, a jury found Crawford guilty of first-degree murder but sentenced him only to probation. A judge required the convicted killer to comply with various terms, including the payment of child support to the victim's family, but he failed to do all he was ordered. Nonetheless, a few months ago, he was released from his probation, leaving Hardin's mother with no recourse but to lobby for a change in state law.Full Story
The first female district attorney of Harris County on the massive scope of her job, softening her office's tough-on-crime reputation, the link between mental health care and criminal justice, why she set up a Post-Conviction Review Section and what she's learned from innocence cases so far.Full Story
He can't read or write, struggles to speak, and at age 19 has an IQ of 47. Yet a judge in the northeast Texas town of Paris still sentenced Aaron Hart to 100 years in prison for performing sexual acts on a 6-year-old neighbor. An appeals court overturned Aaron's conviction this spring. Now he sits in jail facing the same charges a second time, and his family is praying for a different outcome.Full Story
The Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense today approved money to help establish a public defender's office in Harris County — the largest urban area in the nation without one — along with a slate of measures meant to prevent innocent people from serving time.Full Story
Five of the nine members of the state's Commission on Jail Standards, which oversees the 245 county lockups, are elected officials from or employees of the counties whose facilities they regulate. Advocates say that's a conflict of interest, and they're calling for a change in the commission's makeup.Full Story
The author and former security guard at the Port Isabel detention center for illegal immigrants talked with the Tribune last week about the torture, sexual abuse and drug smuggling he says he witnessed there.Full Story
For nearly a decade, advocates of expanded use of medical marijuana have been spurned by the Texas Legislature — but giving up isn't how they roll. So they're trying again with a limited proposal.Full Story
The ACLU has sued Hidalgo County for jailing an estimated 150 impoverished youths for failure to pay fines racked up on school-related tickets. Such sentences amount to running a "debtor's prison" and violate the Constitution and Texas law, ACLU attorneys argue.Full Story
The Senate Committee on Criminal Justice met today to talk about ways to stop Texans from getting behind the wheel after imbibing. Judges, police and even a third-time DWI offender told lawmakers some Texas drunken driving laws could use some stiffening, while other measures take punishment too far.Full Story
After a series of investigative reports revealed serious problems with the quality of legal representation for indigent defendants on Texas death row, lawmakers created the Office of Capital Writs. California lawyer Brad Levenson will be moving to Texas to open the new office and attempt to restore some confidence in the state's busy system of capital punishment.Full Story