Texas House sends Sandra Bland Act to governor

The bill would mandate that county jails divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues toward treatment, make it easier for defendants with a mental illness or intellectual disability to receive a personal bond and require that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths.

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Sandra Bland, Jail Standards Top Criminal Justice News in 2015

In 2015, Sandra Bland's death jolted a conversation about inmate safety and mental health, while high-profile murder cases continued and Texas was criticized for the lengths it reportedly went through to find execution drugs for death row inmates.

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Callie Richmond for the Texas Tribune

Lawmakers Question DPS Director on Race Reporting

State troopers can end inaccurate reporting of the race and ethnicity of drivers they pull over by simply asking them for that information, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told lawmakers Wednesday.

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Kaitlyn Veto

Black Lives Matter Searches for Its Next Step

More than two years after the heat of anger over Trayvon Martin's shooting in Florida fused into Black Lives Matter, an Austin chapter is trying to mold its energy into an agenda to influence state lawmakers.

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Illustration by Emily Albracht

Scrutiny Follows Bland, Deputy Deaths

In the coming days, the deaths of Sandra Bland and Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth will continue to jolt statewide conversations about how the Texas criminal justice system deals with — or fails to deal with — mental health issues.

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Bob Daemmrich

McCraw Hammered at Hearing on Bland Case

State lawmakers grilled Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw on Thursday, voicing concerns about arrest procedures used by state police and pressing the agency head to explain the July 10 arrest of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged three days later in the Waller County Jail.

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Waller County Sheriff's Office

Mental Health Jail Check Failed in Bland Case

The Waller County Jail failed to complete a two-part mental health screening process as required by law during Sandra Bland's booking process, according to the state jail commission and at least one public policy group.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

Senate Backs House on In-Person Inmate Visitation

Inmates in some Texas county jails may no longer have to speak to loved ones on a video screen, after the Senate voted Monday to pass a House measure guaranteeing a minimum of two 20-minute, in-person visitations per week. 

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Marjorie Kamys Cotera

The Brief: March 18, 2015

A bill allowing the carrying of handguns on college and university campuses wasn't heard on the Senate floor on Tuesday because of a paperwork error. But it is expected to be heard today and will likely pass.

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