Nate Blakeslee


Overlooked Heroes

Three staffers led effort to overhaul the Texas Youth Commission

In a session that will be remembered for its stalled legislation and discordant ending as much as anything actually accomplished, passage of an ambitious reform bill for the troubled Texas Youth Commission seems to have happened almost effortlessly. Just a … Read More


Capitol Offense

TYC Sex Scandal Cover-up Widens

A disciplinary report confirming misconduct by former West Texas State School Assistant Superintendent Ray Brookins was altered with the apparent approval of Texas Youth Commission Inspector General Ray Worsham shortly after Brookins was given a promotion, documents obtained by the … Read More

Texas Politics

Hidden in Plain Sight

How did alleged abuse at a youth facility in West Texas evade detection for so long?

How did alleged abuse at a youth facility in West Texas evade detection for so long? * by Nate Blakeslee February 23, 2007 When Dwight Harris, executive director of the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), appeared before the Senate Finance Committee … Read More


End of an Era

The clock runs out on the state's infamous drug task forces

A major chapter in the drug war is ending in Texas, not with a bang, but with a whisper. After 18 years of untold numbers of highway stops and undercover busts of mostly small-time pot and cocaine dealers, funding for … Read More


The Worst Judges in Texas

In these courtrooms, justice comes to a screeching halt

*A clarification has been appended to this story. It’s not a good time to be a Texas judge. President Bush’s nomination of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals remained caught in the … Read More


What Rocky Wrought

Mandatory minimum, maximum pain-a review of "Life on the Outside: the Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett"

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Dateline Texas

Free at Last?

Tom Coleman entered the courtroom on Thursday afternoon, March 13, wearing an Italian-style black leather jacket over a blue shirt and black tie. The war with Iraq had begun the night before, and Coleman wore a flag pin in his … Read More


Capitol Offenses

Meet the New Boss

Pete Laney looked strange sitting at his desk on the first day of the 78th Legislature. Not smaller, exactly, but ill at ease. Seated in the left rear of the chamber, he was about as far as physically possible from … Read More


Capitol Offenses

Read My Lips

Combining as it does a projected budget shortfall of up to $12 billion and a slew of newly elected Republicans running–and winning–on a pledge to hold the line on taxes, the 78th Legislature may be remembered in years to come … Read More