Otherwise, here are a few items that caught Grits attention but likely won't make it into their own posts:
Brooks County to feds: No pay, no prosecute
Thanks to a commenter for pointing out this McAllen Monitor story which reported that Brooks County has been refusing drug cases from the Border Patrol checkpoint at Falfurrias since 2010. The local DA stopped taking the cases "because of a debt dispute with the Justice Department involving a long-running program that reimburses border-state prosecutors for the cost of pursuing some drug offenders." The funding cut has indeed been precipitous, reported the Monitor: "Getting money for the reimbursement program has been an annual fight. The funding reached $31 million in 2011 but fell to $10 million in 2012 combined with similar efforts along the northern border." Hudspeth County is considering following Brooks' lead.
Muppet struggles with jailed parent
Pretty cool that Sesame Street created a muppet with a parent in jail to try to address the specific struggles facing those kids. But with one in 28 American children with an incarcerated parent (source), perhaps they should include him in the show instead of only in an online tool kit.
'Odd wife out'
Simple Justice has a good post on the struggles facing families of the falsely convicted and the limitations of financial compensation for the harms done by imprisoning the innocent, focusing on the depressing case of Texas exoneree Steven Phillips and a suit for a portion of his innocence compensation by his ex-wife.
And so it begins.
New Austin police contract
The Statesman reports ("Police to receive slight pay raises through 2017," June 19) that the new Austin police union contract features MUCH smaller raises than the massive pay hikes they've seen over the last decade, increases which made Austin cops among the highest paid in the country. Summarized Tony Plohetski:
Highlights of the proposed police/city contract
'Prison Grievances,' the comic book?• Officers would get raises of 1.5 percent in 2014, 1 percent in 2015 and 2016, and 2 percent in 2017.
• Officers would continue to be paid up to 1,700 hours in unused sick leave when leaving the department. (Grits note: far more than other city employees)
• The recommendations of a citizens panel that reviews police shootings could be released, even if the officers involved are not disciplined.
TDCJ's board will decide on Friday whether to allow a handbook for filing inmate grievances produced in comic book format may be placed in Texas prison libraries. Reported the Austin Statesman's Ken Herman:
“Prison Grievances” is a “graphic novel,” meaning it’s kind of in comic-book format. It’s [Austinite Terri] LeClercq’s effort at translating legalese about the fine points of the inmate grievance filing system into fifth-grade-level language that convicts can understand.The business agenda for criminal justice reform
And it’s a darned good effort, one that the Texas Board of Criminal Justice has banned from the prison law libraries.
The Texas Association of Business threw its hat in the ring this session on criminal justice topics for the first time. The Texas Tribune has a story on how their new agenda fared.
Lawsuit alleges S. Texas jail abuse
For symmetry, lets end as we started in South Texas: Live Oak County faces litigation over abuses at the jail alleged by two women, said the McAllen Monitor in a brief report. The Houston Chronicle's behind the paywall coverage quoted the lawsuit's allegations that Live Oak guards operated a "rape camp" at the facility.
Back mañana. Till then, Go Spurs!