TDCJ

TDCJ Sued Over Heat
4:09 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Sued Over Inhumane Prisoner Treatment

Three groups filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and its executive director, Brad Livingston, alleging Texas prisons' lack of air conditioning is dangerous.

The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal court, alleges TDCJ is housing inmates in inhumane conditions that violate constitutional rights. Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas, lacks air-conditioning, and summer temperatures can send living conditions sweltering into the triple digits.

The groups bringing the suit include the Texas Civil Rights Project, and the University of Texas School of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic. The suit was filed on behalf of four prisoners at Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota. It also names Wallace Pack Unit senior warden Roberto Herrera as a defendant.

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Crime & Justice
1:19 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Pregnant Inmates Find Help to Stay Out of Jail

HOUSTON — At the “pregnancy tank” at the Harris County Jail, asking a female inmate “How much longer do you have?” can get a puzzled look in response. She could answer with a due date or an anticipated date of discharge from jail.

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Criminal Justice
11:56 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Solitary Confinement Study Approved but Lacks Funding

Texas lawmakers have yet to review the state's solitary confinement, including costs, frequency and effects of the policy on inmates.
Caleb Bryant Miller for Texas Tribune

Last year, lawmakers approved and Gov.Rick Perry signed a bill that requires adetailed review of the use of solitary confinement in Texas prisons.

Four months after the measure became law, though, the committee charged with hiring an independent party to study solitary confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice hasn’t met and has no intention to.

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Texas
8:27 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Texas Executes First Death Row Inmate of 2013

Carl Henry Blue was put to death Thursday night.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The State of Texas executed 48 year-old Carl Blue Thursday night. He was put to death for killing his former girlfriend in 1994.

Blue was convicted of setting 38 year-old Carmen Richards-Sanders on fire at her Bryan apartment.

According to information on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's death row website, Blue threw gasoline on Richards-Sanders when she opened the door to her apartment. He then ignited her clothes with a lighter. Blue also threw gasoline on a man in the apartment—who caught on fire when he tried to help Richards-Sanders.

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Criminal Justice
3:57 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Report: Fewer Ex-Cons Returning to Texas Prisons

The recidivism rate for ex-cons in Texas has fallen 11 percent - meaning less former felons returning behind bars.
flickr.com/hmk

Fewer Texas ex-convicts are returning to prison, according to a report released today by the National Reentry Resource Center.

The report tracked individuals released from prison between 2005 and 2007 until 2010, to see whether they returned to prison. It found that the three-year recidivism rate went down 11 percent in Texas.

Other states with significant drops in their recidivism rates were Ohio, Kansas and Michigan.

The report credits the lowered recidivism rates in many states to increased funding for programs that ease the transition from prison to society, including the 2008 Second Chance Act. The act provides federal grants to state and local governments and community organizations to provide services that ease the transition from prison to society. Funds can be used to provide employment services, substance abuse treatment, housing assistance and mentoring to prisoners and ex-cons.

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Austin
1:02 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Ex-Offenders Invited to Weigh-In on Reentry Process

Caleb Miller for KUT News

A local coalition that helps people transition from life in prison to the outside is now looking for ex-offenders to serve on an advisory committee.

The Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable’s Ex-Offenders’ Council will make recommendations for policy changes that make the transition from prison to society easier.

A few years ago, the group the helped change how city and county job applications ask about criminal background.

Jeri Houchins is the group’s Administrative Director. She says it’s important for those who have experienced reentry to have a voice in any possible changes.

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Texas
3:42 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Cell Phone Blockers Coming to Two Texas Prisons

Two Texas prisons will soon block most cell phone calls.
flickr.com/jonjon_2k8

Some Texas prisons will soon be equipped with technology that blocks most cell phone calls.

Inmates are not supposed to have cell phones. But officials at the Stiles Prison Unit in Beaumont and the McConnell Unit outside of Corpus Christi say it’s been a challenge to keep them out.

Brad Livingston is the Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He explains the technology limits which calls can be made.

“It allows cell phone signals to be sent successfully only to the extent that the number is pre-programmed in," Livingston says. "All other cell phones are defeated and the call is not connected.”

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AM Update: 9/4/12
8:54 am
Tue September 4, 2012

AM Update: Hearing on Women's Health Program, Lawmakers to Discuss Texas Prisons, New Rules for CDLs

Protestors Rally in Austin during March rally.
flickr.com/scATX

It's back to work today for many after a long Labor Day weekend. Expect another day in the triple digits.

Public Invited to Comment on Texas Women’s Health Program

Today the public will get a chance to express their thoughts on proposed changes to the Texas Women’s Health Program – what used to be known as the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

The program provides health services to about 130,000 low-income Texas women. It has been mostly paid for with federal funding. But when Texas lawmakers decided to enforce a state rule that the program could not support clinics affiliated with abortions, the Obama Administration vowed to cut off the funding. When Medicaid funding is cut off in November, Governor Rick Perry says Texas will pay for the program. The details of how the state will take on the funding have not yet been outlined.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is suing in hopes of retaining funding. Planned Parenthood says their clinics provide important health services to women who would otherwise have a hard time getting them.

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Texas
5:24 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Texas Changing Its Lethal Injection Protocol

via Texas Tribune

Texas will join a handful of states that use a single drug in lethal injections, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced Tuesday. 

"Implementing the change in protocol at this time will ensure that the agency is able to fulfill its statutory responsibility for all executions currently scheduled," TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark said in an email.

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Texas
3:58 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

Parole Changes for Foreign-Born Inmates

The new state law would mean more foreign-born Texan inmates would be eligible for parole if they are immediately deported.
Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

A new law that took effect on September 1st may make it easier for foreign-born criminal offenders in Texas to meet parole eligibility requirements, if they are subsequently deported. The law, authored by Representative Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, is designed to ease the state’s financial burden by deporting non-citizens instead of supporting their parole.

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Texas
2:15 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

Attorneys Ask Justice Dept. To Investigate Texas Execution Drugs

Attorneys for two condemned inmates say the state has been breaking federal laws for more than 25 years.
Photo courtesy of Andres Rueda/via Flickr

Lawyers for two condemned Texas prisoners are asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate how the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has obtained drugs used in executions.

Their argument hinges on what sounds like a technicality: the address used to register the state's drug supply.

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