Thursday, March 05, 2015

Give the gift of criminal justice reform

Gentle readers, I hope you'll allow me this point of personal privilege, offered at the behest of a friend ...

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition is participating in "Amplify Austin" - 24 hours of fundraising for Austin based nonprofits. If you support criminal justice reform in Texas, go here to donate. For anyone who hopes to improve the state's criminal justice system, your investment couldn't go to a better place. Unlike groups with a national agenda, TCJC works exclusively for what's best for Texas, a distinction which matters more than you might think. National groups' agendas don't always translate here.

TCJC has been at the center of reform efforts in this state for 15 years and I've worked with and for them on and off since the beginning. (Disclaimer: most recently, I've been employed as a consultant for the group since last summer.)

Some of their most important work has gone relatively unheralded. They've taken the lead seeking to end the Driver Responsibility surcharge.  For many years (before the state took it over) their indefatigable Molly Totman operated a de facto repository for the state's racial profiling reports, and the group's regularly published "grades" gave some police agencies incentive to improve. Dr. Ana YaƱez Correa, their executive director, is somebody I'm terribly proud of; she has sacrificed immensely to build this organization. Here's their 2015 legislative agenda.

Other groups working on criminal justice topics over the last decade and a half in Texas have ebbed and flowed, often flashing into existence then fading just as fast. TCJC has not just remained but thrived and grown, contributing much needed stability, experience, and leadership to an effort that, by it's nature, is a long-haul endeavor. What TCJC brings to the table is unique, important, and worthy of support.

Please give generously if you're able in this one-day Amplify Austin fundraising effort. In fact, my suggestion would be to imagine what you would consider a generous gift, double it, then give that.

Thanks in advance. I try not to use the blog for these purposes often, but this particular cause is worth it.


Anonymous said...

Was gunho to donate till I saw it was another Justice Reform group that wants to help everyone but people with a sex offence. So no thanks.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

As you like, 12:25, Texas Voices may be more your speed. Nobody can work on every topic. If memory serves, they've supported the Romeo and Juliet reforms on sex-offender registration, but you're right it's by no means their primary issue.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Regarding their 2015 legislative agenda.

As 12:25AM anticipated (but sadly failed) to see any reforms finally being aimed at his / her personal, family member's or, friend's specific F-Story lead to deciding 'not' to donate -

I too, was saddened to see no effort by any of the non-profits to address the goddamn *Plea-Mills, the *No Bail and/or Jury Trial to Verdict For You System, *the Shoddy Live Show-Up (Line Up) process, and nothing relating to the need for *Automatic Felony Perjury charges for those in L.E. that create and sign off on falsified Police Incident Reports including: witnesses and crime victims that provide false information, witnesses or crime victims that provide detailed suspect description(s) that go on to positively identify suspects in line ups or photo arrays having nothing in common with the original descriptions. And, nothing about dealing with *those (Detectives) that catch the falsified information and/or gross eye witness description discrepancies only to ignore it and seek charges via the DAs INTAKE (including their Supervisors and anyone that represents the suspect turned Defendant (CDL) that failed to perform a mandatory investigation prior to filing the first - Ready for Trial notice). It truly takes a Team Effort to get it both - right and wrong on the front & back ends of any case.

When these - In-your-face Crimes are blatantly committed and condoned by the very criminal justice system set up to seek justice and to defend those wrongfully accused: (Police, Sheriffs, Judges, DAs, ADAs, CDLs, Clerks of Court, Court Reporters, Labs, TBPP, Governor, Taxpayers, etc..) are ignored by so-called reformation groups, it should be of no surprise that some refuse to donate.

When Texas' history shows the state & feds allowed and condoned this behavior, it basically green lighted the raping of both - US & State Constitution(s). With that, you'd think that one of the groups would've stepped up to the plate by now to right a laundry listing of wrongs that has countless victims. And, when there is no jury trial all the way to verdict, that's wrong, wrong, wrong and Real crime victims and those that advocate on their behalf should be all over it but aren't.

Grits, you are 100% correct in applying - 'Nobody can work on every topic' but when no one in the "Amplify Austin" endeavor dares to attempt to address the issues that have direct consequences to the State's greatest F-Stories and bank account, I have to ask - why? have they chose to ignore?


*I refuse to donate to the IPoTX, and the Innocence Project until they publicize that they are all inclusive in their Application process where the type of evidence, the date of conviction, the method used to obtain the conviction and the goofy ass need to have exhausted all direct appeals bullshit is removed.

Cherry Picking for Justice is just as wrong as Cherry Picking for Donations that skirt the number one reasons applied to false arrests being allowed to morph into wrongful convictions. While the Coalition is comprised of Good people with good intentions, it's the half-ass good intentions that throw folks off. Of course, give if you can but consider asking them why they collectively ignore in the memo portion of your check.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

You know, Thomas, I suppose it's alright to allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good for blog commenters. But when you're actually working the political system - and must accept the limitations that come with doing so in the existing political environment - it's not so easy to climb onto one's high horse.

Politics is the art of the possible. Complaining because your allies don't attempt the impossible - and heaping more disdain on them than your actual enemies - at the end of the day IMO won't help your cause. I understand your frustration; I wonder if you understand the real-world strategic limitations that come with the legislative process? I sincerely doubt you could do better.

Tscc said...

You might be interested in our organization, "Texas State Community Council" of which I am the coordinating advisor of the Abilene Division. We can be found at both and