Criminal Justice


Editorial: Defund the Constables

The office of constable may have made sense back when Texas was a sprawling frontier. Instead, constables basically now run their own little personal fiefdoms.

From the March/April 2021 issue. Texas Republicans’ longtime demand that cities shrink their budgets ran into a thin blue line last year. Austin called thei...Read More



Homicide cases are going unsolved in Texas, leaving serial killers to murder again.

Undetected As more homicide cases go unsolved, the backlog of unsolved murders grows and serial killers are free to kill again. Too few police departments are e...Read More

Pamela Colloff by

Anatomy of a Crime

How one reporter followed a notorious jailhouse snitch into one of the ugliest parts of the criminal justice system.

Pamela Colloff’s story “False Witness” may begin like a piece of true crime journalism, but it doesn’t focus on criminal capers and colorful characters ...Read More

Telford prison, New Boston, Texas. by

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

COVID-19 has increased separation and isolation at a time of crisis for incarcerated people and their families.

Justin Phillips didn’t have much of a relationship left with his 5-year-old son by the time he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on drug charges in 2016. ...Read More


How Texas Jails Avoid Investigations of Inmate Deaths

Every Texas jail death is supposed to be investigated. But a recent case shows how facilities skirt the law and avoid scrutiny.

Early last year, Holly Barlow-Austin cut off her ankle monitor and headed to Dallas. She lived with her husband in Texarkana, a small town on the border of Texa...Read More