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.
Some of the 1.2 million Texas drivers whose licenses have been suspended because they failed to pay expensive traffic ticket surcharges can catch a big break right now from the Department of Public Safety.
Texas officials have enough execution drugs to carry out the death sentences of two inmates scheduled for lethal injection in February. But they will have to find another sodium thiopental supplier or a different drug to use after March.
Or a $74,000 piece of radio equipment? Or more than 150 handguns and rifles? Those are just a few of the nearly 1,500 items that the Texas Department of Public Safety reported stolen or lost in the last decade. Some of the assets might still be in the possession of DPS or possibly were sold, but the agency’s inventory system is so poor that it's hard to know what's actually missing.
The Legislative Budget Board has begun distributing (to legislators — not to the public) its recommendations for how to save money and raise money to help balance the 2012-13 state budget. They plan to distribute copies of the budget itself (again, to lawmakers only) later tonight, and all of the documents will be available online to the public tomorrow morning. The details are still coming in, but here are some of the headlines from the LBB's Government Effectiveness and Efficiency Recommendations.
Texas prisoners have made and received more than 4.7 million telephone calls and sent and received 1.8 million e-mails since 2009, when the state became the last in the nation to allow inmates phone and e-mail use. But all those calls and messages haven’t generated the amount of revenue the state expected. The issue is balancing greater access for prisoners and their friends and family and the need to ensure security.
As 2010 drew to a close, the death toll in Juárez surpassed an astonishing 3,100 for the year. Since 2008, New Mexico State University librarian and professor Molly Molloy has been painstakingly keeping a daily tally of each one of the drug war killings that has made the city across the Rio Grande from El Paso one of the most dangerous in the world.
The jail conditions expert and professor at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs on why maintaining treatment programs that keep offenders in their communities and reducing some of the harsh, long-term jail sentences often doled out in Texas' notoriously tough criminal justice system could be more cost-efficient and allow Texas to close prisons.
Alan Bersin, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol commissioner, will be headed to Big Bend National Park on Thursday for an announcement that might please residents of that remote area of the border. Bersin is set to meet with National Park Services staff to discuss the opening of a border crossing in Boquillas Canyon.
Cockfighting in Texas has been illegal for decades, but a lengthy Humane Society investigation uncovered more than a dozen active rings throughout the state. What's not illegal is raising fighting game cocks, attending a cockfight or possessing paraphernalia related to cock fights — such as gaffs, the razor blades owners strap to the birds' legs to make them even more lethal. Animal rights activists came close in the last legislative session to getting such activities criminalized, which they say is critical to putting an end to cockfighting. They plan to try again next year.
Pardoning has become a holiday tradition for governors and the president, who each year choose a fortunate few whose criminal records will get wiped clean. But experts say state and national leaders are granting fewer pardons these days — and doing it in a way that undermines a critical criminal justice process that allows rehabilitated offenders to lead normal lives. Gov. Rick Perry, for example, has granted only about 180 pardons since 2001. By contrast, Bill Clements issued more than 800 pardons during his eight-year tenure, while Mark White issued nearly 500 in four years.