- The Committee will meet to discuss how Texas Department of Public Safety codes race during traffic stops, problems with their current method, and ways to correct coding moving forward.
- Additionally, Texas Commission on Jail Standards will present the new inmate intake screening form to the Committee and discuss recent jail suicides.
The Dallas News previewed the jail suicide part. (See also the Texas Tribune.) And Grits' own Jennifer Laurin wrote this about the traffic data.
Too much has been made about this new Jail Standards Commission form, IMO. That's a fine, bureaucratic change but it's not the end-all-be-all of jail-suicide prevention; it barely scratches the surface. (Grits' new contributing writer Michele Deitch offered these more probative suggestions to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee in September, arguing for a much more comprehensive approach.)
On the racial profiling data at traffic stops, to me this would be a missed opportunity if all they look at are the codes for Hispanic vs. white. Nobody has revisited the fields on traffic stop data collected under Texas' anti-racial profiling law in 14 years, so this might be an opportunity to revisit the question. Some of the Tier II data fields, like whether contraband was found during a search, really ought to be made mandatory, even for departments with dashcams, who are now exempted.
This may be an opportunity to improve the stop data, which really can't be used to prove racist intentions but which has many other uses for police accountability advocates. What we got back in 2001 was a compromise; requiring more/better data fields could make the information a lot more probative.