Tuesday, May 06, 2014

More on Texas PREA compliance

In addition to Grits' brief writeup, a couple of MSM reporters covered yesterday's Texas House County Affairs Committee hearing regarding county jails' compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), and in particular testimony from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition's Elizabeth Henneke. See:
The big concern expressed by counties yesterday regarded the PREA requirement for 17 year olds to be housed separately from older prisoners, since under Texas law they're considered adults. But as Scripps reported, "Lawmakers have been considering whether to make 17-year-olds be tried as juveniles instead of being tried as adults in the criminal justice system." Henneke suggested yesterday that, if they go that route, the Lege should also increase the minimum age for incarceration in juvenile detention facilities from 10 to 12 years old to prevent very young kids from being housed with near-grown teenagers. Separating 17 year olds out would be an issue for some county jails, but it's a problem the legislature could resolve for them.

Relatedly, yesterday I received in the mail additional materials in response to Grits' open records request regarding the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's PREA consultant, in particular email correspondence between TDCJ's PREA compliance folks and The Moss Group, which was hired to evaluate agency policies and a handful of extant issues. Nothing groundbreaking here, but reading the correspondence made me even more curious why Gov. Perry would say TDCJ could not comply.

Though Gov. Perry called the consultant's advice "ridiculous," agency officials expressed no such reservations in the documents I received and seemed committed to complying with federal law. In October, a TDCJ PREA compliance specialist wrote that "PREA has been truly embraced by the TDCJ to find itself woven into the policy and procedures of MANY departments" (emphasis in original). So what changed? ¿Quien sabe? Perry's response on this makes no sense to me.

See related Grits posts:


Anonymous said...

TDCJ can't comply with PREA due to employee background check requirements. The agency hires several thousand visaed employees from around the world due to their extremely low pay... I doubt they check international criminal and civil records for visaed employees from Nigeria... Grits, I bet the agency will give you the run around on the actual number of visaed employees if you do a Open Records Request. The real number will be in the thousands!!!!!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

FWIW, 2:58, that wasn't an issue raised in the consultant's report or TDCJ's correspondence with them.

prawnik prawo budowlane Łódź said...

Compliance is very popular. I think that it is also future in Poland.