- Entrepreneurial jail building has left Waco with an empty jail downtown and no revenue stream to pay for the bonds issued to build an unnecessary extra facility. Faulty projections of increased immigration detention have left McLennan County and others seeking to rent out extra beds in the lurch. See prior Grits coverage.
- This month saw a rough start for video visitation at the Denton County Jail.
- I can't imagine Rep. Jason Villaba's bill disallowing straight ticket voting for judicial, DA and sheriff's elections will gain much traction, but it would be a step in the right direction. Personally I'd prefer such elections were entirely non-partisan, but eliminating straight ticket voting would at least cause voters to make a specific choice. For the most part there's scarce little vetting of any of these candidates in local races and little viable means for voters to evaluate them.
- The Austin Statesman has an editorial supporting legislation by state Sen. Rodney Ellis expanded access to post-conviction DNA testing.
- The editorial page editor for the Corpus Christi Caller Times argued Sunday that DPS should let local police patrol the Rio Grande Valley. Meanwhile, the Texas Border Coalition, representing cities and counties from El Paso to South Padre Island, is making the case that border security should be left to the feds. The Beaumont Enterprise argued that the National Guard deployment along the border is unjustified.
- In the context of proposals to further downsize the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, I was interested to read "How communities are keeping kids out of crime" from the Christian Science Monitor.
- Here are five states where Republicans are getting serious about criminal justice reform.
- Radley Balko has a good piece on how flawed bite mark analysis has sent innocent people to prison. See also this academic paper on the topic and prior Grits coverage.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Roundup: Jail foibles, judicial elections, border security and bitemarks
Here are several items that merit readers' attention while your correspondent is focused elsewhere.