Families of Sick Prisoners Plead for Compassionate Release as Coronavirus Spreads Behind Bars in Texas
Advocates for incarcerated people are urging Governor Abbott to release parole-eligible people who are elderly or have chronic illnesses.
Justin Phillips’ health started deteriorating soon after police arrested him on drug charges in 2016. He grew gravely ill while waiting for his court date at the Smith County jail in Tyler, and doctors diagnosed him with kidney disease. Now, … Read More
Fearing spread of coronavirus, some sheriffs are calling on police to stop arresting and jailing people on low-level charges—a step reformers have been pushing for years.
Last week, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas rose, Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner urged local police to think twice about who they arrest and bring to his jail. In his letter to local law enforcement officials, … Read More
How voter suppression, poor planning, incendiary rhetoric, and fear of coronavirus could erode public confidence in elections.
Primary voters in some parts of Texas waited in punishingly long lines to cast a ballot last Tuesday. A surge in Democratic voter turnout overwhelmed many polling places on university campuses, as well as other locations serving communities of color … Read More
Democratic Voters Surge in Texas Primary, Waiting in Punishingly Long Lines as Officials Struggle to Keep Up
Grueling wait times stretched hours past closing time at polling locations across Texas. One voter in Houston waited nearly seven hours to cast his ballot.
One of the biggest and most disturbing storylines to emerge on Super Tuesday wasn’t about any top-of-the-ticket race, but rather the shockingly long wait times as some Texas polling locations struggled to keep up with increased turnout. According to the … Read More
In Harris County, Kim Ogg’s more cautious approach to reform wins big while Travis County’s incumbent DA still faces a challenge from the left.
Kim Ogg’s bruising primary fight to remain Harris County District Attorney was one of the most closely watched races in criminal justice reform circles heading into Super Tuesday. Both national reform groups and local progressive organizers in Houston backed a … Read More
Families of prisoners and civil rights groups call the new policies arbitrary, punitive, and isolating for people behind bars.
The cards and artwork that Maggie Luna’s children sent to her in prison helped her make it through her sentence. “It was one of the few things I had to look forward to,” she says. Now new mail and visitation … Read More
A big mistake in the lead up to primary voting underscores the anxiety around misinformation on elections and barriers to voting.
Early this month, Nueces County resident Linda White received a surprising piece of mail: Form 5-22a, a “notice to voter who must provide identification.” The notice, sent by the county clerk’s office, warned that her vote wouldn’t count unless she … Read More
In his book, Karakatsanis argues that lawyers and judges have become numb to the cruelties of the criminal justice system—and ultimately stand in the way of changing it.
These days, political candidates of all stripes say they support “criminal justice reform,” but what does that really mean? Alec Karakatsanis, a public defender turned civil rights lawyer, argues that the majority of officials calling for change have done little … Read More
Kim Ogg’s primary challenge for Harris County District Attorney is one of several prosecutor races in Texas that could redefine the bounds of criminal justice reform in the state.
When Kim Ogg first ran for Harris County district attorney, she had a simple pitch for criminal justice reform: stop jailing people for petty pot possession. The position, novel to Houston politics in 2014, proved so popular that even her … Read More