Texas lawmakers are confronted with a bleak picture of life inside Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities every two years. Will they act this year?
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
While prison officials insist they’re doing their best in the face of an unprecedented crisis, Governor Greg Abbott has effectively ignored the pandemic inside the Texas prison system.
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.
Families of prisoners and civil rights groups call the new policies arbitrary, punitive, and isolating for people behind bars.
The Movement to Free Rodney Reed Illustrates the Growing Unease Over Texas’ Use of the Death Penalty
Deafening calls to spare Rodney Reed’s life point to a larger distrust in Texas’ use of the death penalty and an erosion of confidence in the justice system that convicted him.
At the Observer’s inaugural live storytelling event, formerly incarcerated advocates were among those sharing their experiences with Texas’ criminal justice system.
Russell Johnson’s sister warned officials that nearly three years in solitary confinement had broken him. His suicide in isolation two months later points to compounded crises inside Texas prisons.
Seth Donnelly was one of the many inmates Texas prison officials use as prey for dog hunts. He died from heatstroke after collapsing on the job in Abilene.
‘The Penal System Today is Slavery’: Lawmakers Finally Start to Talk About Unpaid Labor in Texas Prisons
The 13th Amendment left a loophole for prisoners to be forced to work without pay. Texas remains one of five states that exploits the carveout for state profit.
Scandals led to increased transparency for Texas’ juvenile lockups. When will lawmakers demand the same for the state’s adult prisons?