Due to staff expansion and tight quarters at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, the last of my makeshift office there was delivered back home this week. Along with the boxes of books and files came a plaque thanking me for being an "unfailing ally" during the legislative sesion, and I must admit it was a bit of a melancholy moment.
I retained an informal relation with TCJC after I left ACLU of Texas, but after some grant work fell through there was no paycheck in it, and as of now, I suppose, I'm officially, completely unaffiliated with any organization, FWIW. I suppose that's another way of saying nobody will have anything to do with me.
Thank heavens for you readers, anyway - I'm assuming you don't care where I blog from.
My own transition comes at a time of radical change and uncertainty in Texas' criminal justice reform movement, most prominently with my former employers at the ACLU. After Will Harrell left to become TYC's new ombudsman, I predicted:
Will's departure will have significant implications for ACLU in Texas, likely spelling the end of much of its public policy and advocacy work and presaging a lessened focus on criminal justice, with a greater emphasis instead on litigating church-state and other culture war type issues.That's now occurring. Soon after Will left, the visionless drone serving as ACLUTX's acting ED began meeting with employees who worked on criminal justice topics to let them know the organization would be shifting priorities to different, as-yet-to-be determined issues. The group's Prison and Jail Accountability Project Director Nicole Porter's last day was yesterday. The group is basically driving away it's hard-won talent with a whip.
It's hard to tell yet what ACLUTX's implosion means for the criminal justice reform movement in Texas, but it's an important transition moment, for sure, leaving a lot of people besides just me wondering, what next?