As head of Texans Together, Fred Lewis helps poor and minority Texans gain a say in state government.
Tag Archives: Harris County
In 2001, Houston voters approved an amendment to the city charter forbidding benefits for anyone but “legal spouses” of city employees. Is a gay couple legally married in a state that recognizes their union a legal spouse in Houston? Mayor Parker and the city attorney say yes. The Harris County Republicans say they’re “[thumbing] their nose at the will of the people.”
Same-sex partners of city employees who were married in other states will now receive spousal benefits, and staff at that Harris County Jail will take a more nuanced approach to LGBTQI inmates.
Houston voters last night decided to keep Mayor Annise Parker and to destroy the Astrodome. While those were the headline votes, the more interesting […]
One of the contributors to Texas’ slowly dropping incarceration rates is a growth in diversion programs that address problems like addiction and mental illness.
Harris County, for example, recently doubled its number of crisis intervention response teams, which include trained deputies and mental health clinicians who answer 9-1-1 calls where mental illness may be a factor.
The study found that detained defendants had it worse all around. They were less likely than bond defendants to receive deferred adjudication or probation. And they were about half as likely to have their charges dismissed. That means in addition to having spent time in jail before their trial—which, obviously, the bonded defendants didn’t—detained defendants were likelier to get additional jail time.
Finally, among bonded and detained defendants who were sentenced to jail, the detained defendants received longer sentences. In brief, for being poor, they’re punished twice.
Houston police are now required to seek a warrant to draw the blood of any suspected drunk driver who refuses a breath test.
A massive new study by the U.S. Department of Justice ranked more than 350 jails by the rate of sexual abuse reported by their […]
Polling indicates that Democrats have no lock on the Latino vote, and that control of Texas may hinge on which Latino voters show up at the polls.
The study found that from 1992 to 1999, Harris County prosecutors sought the death penalty for African-Americans more than three times as often as they did for whites with similar cases. Hispanics fared even worse—the DAs pushed for capital punishment four times as often for Hispanics as they did for whites.