Brandi Grissom Managing Editor

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.

Recent Contributions

Pete Earley: The TT Interview

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.

Accountable to No One

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.

Getting Away With Murder

Steven Hardin's parents, photographed near his burial plot.
Steven Hardin's parents, photographed near his burial plot.

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.

There Goes the Sun

SunCatchers that Tessera Solar plans to install near Marfa.
SunCatchers that Tessera Solar plans to install near Marfa.

In the tiny outpost of Marfa, residents who opposed the build-out of a massive solar power plant can thank the languishing economy for putting the project on hold. Tessera Solar has scotched plans to erect 1,000 three-story mirrored satellite dishes until further notice.

Jail the Jail Official?

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The head of the state's Commission on Jail Standards could do time for being too open about a suicide in the Nueces County lockup. Is the indictment of Adan Muñoz retaliation by a sheriff his lawyer describes as a "crazy little bastard"? Regardless, an open government advocate calls it "outrageous."

Pat Lykos: The TT Interview

District Attorney for Harris County, Pat Lykos.
District Attorney for Harris County, Pat Lykos.
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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.

Ballot Brawl

Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade and Hidalgo County District Attorney René Guerra
Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade and Hidalgo County District Attorney René Guerra

Rio Grande Valley officials are fighting to hold a special election in November to fill a seat on the Hidalgo County Commissioners' Court — even though the secretary of state and a district judge say they have no legal authority to do so.

Jailhouse Revival

Jail officials watch as the ventilation system clears a day room of fumes released by a smoke bomb.
Jail officials watch as the ventilation system clears a day room of fumes released by a smoke bomb.

Since 2004, the the Dallas County Jail has failed every year to meet state jail standards, racking up dozens of violations. But on Wednesday, more than six years and $138 million later, the massive lockup finally earned a certificate of compliance.

The Big House Isn't Big Enough

At today's hearing of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Sheriff Adrian Garcia will be grilled about efforts to control overcrowding at Harris County's four jail facilities, which have seen a dramatic population spike. At the urging of Houston lawmakers, Garcia will be pressed to explain why he wants to keep housing more inmates than the facilities can accommodate, and why some recommendations by the county's own consultant for ways to reduce its jail population have gone unheeded.

Richard Wiles: The TT Interview

El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles
El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles

The sheriff of El Paso County on how his job has changed in the wake of rampant violence in Juárez, whether National Guard troops are needed on the border and the practical effect of an immigration law like Arizona's.