Texas prisoner strike?
"Inspired by a growing wave of prison strikes in Alabama, Georgia, and California," Texas prisoners reportedly will engage in work stoppages next week as part of a strike action being organized by the International Workers of the World, according to a press release Grits received today. See here and here for details. One would expect units with striking prisoners to end up on lockdown, but who knows what will happen? Their stated demands include:
Oversight and prosecutorial misconduct1. Meaningful application of work time credits2. Repeal $100 medical copay3. Right to an attorney on habeas claims4. Independent oversight of TDCJ5. Humane living conditions (including air conditioning, better medical care, etc.)
See a new report from the national Innocence Project on oversight and prosecutorial misconduct. Here's initial coverage from the Houston Chronicle and more from ProPublica.
Keeping up with Anthony Graves
Speaking of prosecutorial misconduct and those who've fought against it, see a good profile of exoneree Anthony Graves and his various activities through his personal foundation now that he's a free man..
Investigating police-shootings investigations in Houston
The Houston Press published a feature diving deep into Houston PD disciplinary processes and the investigation that takes place when a police officer shoots someone. Grits also recently ran across a similarly themed investigative story out of New Mexico looking at police shooting protocols.
Doubling down on hype
The governor may send state troopers in Dallas to respond to
Video exonerated defendant, but no consequences for false accusers
See coverage from an episode in Caldwell County where sheriff's deputies allegedly beat a guy up and accused him of assaulting an officer, only to find home security video contradicted all their claims.
Tasers and police interrogations
A new study out of Drexel University is titled "Taser shock disrupts brain function, has implications for police interrogations."
Senators consider mental health and jails
The Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee today has a hearing 1t 1:30 p.m. on an interim charge directing them to "evaluate the current guidelines and practices in county and municipal jails relating to the health, welfare, and safety of those in custody. Review law enforcement and correctional officer training, with emphasis on mental health and de-escalation. Study the effectiveness of existing oversight mechanisms to enforce jail standards; making recommendations for policies and procedures if needed. Examine the current mental health and substance use treatment services and medical resources offered in county, municipal, and state correctional facilities." You can watch it here. Mark Haslett has a preview of the hearing on KETR-public radio.
Bail reform roundup
Several items related to bail reform deserve attention:
- Bail, the next frontier for criminal justice reform
- Texas bail system punishes poor who lack the cash to get out pending trial
- Review of Waller County legal system to mend reputation
- From Texas Appleseed: Bail and pretrial release: Summary of recent research on what works
As I've said many times, Grits really can't stand the Politifact model - their only valid results IMO are "True" and "Pants on Fire." All the gradations in between are matters of (often uninformed) opinion. Take this one, for example. Austin state rep candidate Gina Hinojosa said in a mailer that “Texas has a higher incarceration rate than Russia or Iran. It’s time to reverse course.” Politifact sought out sources that confirmed the rates used for both countries, and Texas' rate, but added "mostly" because the data sources weren't exactly apples to apples (as though data across prison systems ever is!). This is an absurd analysis. She could call ten experts on the topic and they'd all give the same answer. That statement was simply "True"; no source the reporter found contradicted it in the least.
Implanting false memories of crimes committed?
According to a tech blog I follow, "Scientists are discovering how to erase and implant memories." Indeed, "A recent study had a 70% success rate of implanting false memories into their subject’s minds to lead them to believe that they had committed a crime." See the study here. Whether memories can be implanted has been debated since some of the earliest research on eyewitness identification.