Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Reviewing 2015 criminal justice reforms, and other stories

Here are several recent stories which merit Grits readers' attention:

Reviewing criminal justice bills from 84th Texas Legislature
See the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition's 84th session wrap-up document.

Debating legacy of Texas 2007 de-incarceration reforms
The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition's Ana Correa and Marc Levin from the Texas Public Policy Foundation co-authored a column which implicitly replied to an earlier guest column minimizing the importance of reform measures passed eight years ago. Grits earlier offered my own rebuttal to the piece.

Too many jails get loophole in bill requiring in-person visitation
The bill to preserve in-person visitation at county jails was a bit of a mess, reported the Dallas News, leaving room for counties to game the system and pretend they're already invested in new systems to get in under an arbitrary deadline. There should be some means to go back and force these agencies to enable in-person visits, especially for those who announced their interest in changing over only after the bill was filed.

Sheriff blames deputy's murder on Black Lives Matter
A mentally ill man shot a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy and the Sheriff blamed the Black Lives Matter movement based on exactly zero evidence. The Harris County Sheriff runs the largest mental hospital in Texas, but he ignores the mental illness angle and blames his political enemies. Pathetic.

Hands up!
Two Bexar County Sheriff's deputies shot a man who supposedly had his hands up at the time. KSAT-TV paid $100 for cell phone video of the killing, which seems to have the Sheriff's Office more hot and bothered than what their employees did.

Kids or Criminals?
That was the title of a Dallas Morning News feature on youth who grow up incarcerated.

Be sad - but not scared
Here's a good editorial from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram putting coverage of violent crime into perspective.

Oliver Sacks on the reliability of eyewitnesses
Neuroscientist Oliver Sacks passed away recently and his death reminded me of an excellent short essay he wrote a couple of years back on the reliability of eyewitness identification. I've read several of his books; his passing was a loss.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misread data from a DPS gang assessment report and that sub-item has been removed as has the reference to it in the headline. Grits regrets the error.


Duncan Maples said...

Pathetic or not, that deputy blaming the "black lives matter" crowd has just as much supporting data as the BLM crowd do when casting their political rhetoric yet you never call them "pathetic". Any emotionally charged comments made are understandable from either side but the impromptu crowd gathering in support of the deputy on West road had far, far more in attendance than any of the Bland or Brown demonstrations that included paid protesters and weeks of planning. That helps put things in perspective when most contacted politicians fell all over themselves to pledge support for pro-police legislation in the future, including the governor, Lt governor, and Texas' Congressional contingent.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

What "supporting data" are you talking about? There's no evidence AT ALL the perpetrator in this instance had political motives. The Sheriff pulled that accusation out of his rear end. The man was mentally ill, it had nothing to do with BLM.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that was his point Scott. Much of the rhetoric espoused by members of the "BLM" movement has no basis either, yet some affiliated/supportive with/of the group have made it clear they believe in violence toward cops.

Anonymous said...

Well, leave it to Grits to automatically assume there is merit to the mentally ill defense. And even if there is, how can you so quickly determine there isn't some nexus between the incendiary BLM rhetoric and this guy's motivation?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

5:00, if you want to criticize specific rhetoric, as I did, fine. But it's BS to claim generally that BLM advocates "violence toward cops." It's just a lie and diverts from serious discussion.

@5:42, I assume there's merit to the mental illness claim because a court found him incompetent as recently as 2012. We know he's mentally ill. We also know the Sheriff pulled the line about BLM out of his ass with no basis whatsoever. He admitted as much.

Anonymous said...

Whatever. Stop the freaking presses, RIZZIE OWENS GOT CANNED! Best news in criminal Justice in Texas this year!

Anonymous said...

I believe you have misread the Lubbock gang article.
Here's the quote from 2015 TGTA.

"Among all gang members entering into TDCJ during FY2014, approximately seven percent came from counties located in Region 5. Thirty-nine percent of those gang members originated from the Lubbock MSA"

Gritsforbreakfast said...

You are 100% right, 10:35, I deleted the sub-item and appended a correction. Will look more closely at the report itself later.

Anonymous said...

Whatever. Stop the freaking presses, RIZZIE OWENS GOT CANNED! Best news in criminal Justice in Texas this year!

And where in the hell can we read all about it? I'm not buying any champagne until it's verified.

Anonymous said...

When those claiming to be under the BLM banner shout slogans about "frying pigs" or retribution for past wrongs invoke hate speech, Grits has no problem with it, nor do the leaders of the BLM movement. At very best, it gets explained away as political rhetoric or a few bad apples. Yet when pointing out that most cops rarely even draw their gun from their holster except at the firing range, never mind shoot at someone, he's willing to indict officers in wholesale fashion because he somehow "knows" they are guilty, that they all know about specific cases of corruption, and all refuse to act upon it.

Hickman did not pull anything out of his ass, he sees this daily hypocrisy by the left. As someone who has won elections for years by wide margins, it must drive Grits crazy knowing Hickman's approval rating just shot up enough that unless he's caught in bed with a juvenile boy before next year's election, he's a shoe in to keep the office while preparing to privatize the county jail, remove reforms for the mentally ill, and do away with many more reforms from his predecessor.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem with the partisans, married to their torch bearers right up to the point of child rape. And from time to time they will overlook those indiscretions if their chosen one is particularly effective on the soapbox.

Hickman and the DA. are trying to divert attention from the fact that they manage dysfunctional systems. Dysfunctional for all but themselves and their codependents that is. You get on you knees for this and call others hypocrites? Why bless your heart.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Where have I endorsed such language, 1:33? Nor do I have any magical powers to "know" if someone's guilty. These are silly red herrings.

As for Sheriff Hickman, I hardly ever think about him at all, much less does anything about him "drive [me] crazy." But if he plans to run on a platform of "privatize the county jail, remove reforms for the mentally ill, and do away with many more reforms from his predecessor," then this little episode of demagoguery may not be enough to put him over the top in a presidential election year.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true liberal, Scott. When Whites are killed by Blacks we instantly come up with a hundred excuses. Like a true liberal, you ignore all the calls (by protesters) to kill police.

Anonymous said...

How is it that someone is mentally ill but asserts knowing right from wrong by not sticking around until law enforcement arrives but choose flight from the scene?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

No one made excuses, 8:54. I only asked that you criticize specific statements, as I have here. Which protesters have called for murdering police? Be specific. And after you identify them, I'll then expect you to distinguish between those who do so and those expressing legitimate criticisms. You can't smear everybody with the extreme statements of a few hot-headed idiots.

@3:27, you're making the assertion, not the mentally ill person. In truth, very little factual detail has come out about either why the alleged shooter did it or why police think he did it. This issue is like a Rorschach test. There are almost no facts available so how people view it generally says more about them than the subject at hand.