- The Houston Chronicle's Mike Ward explained to KUT "Why Texas could close even more prisons."
- A fine for an offense which doesn't exist highlights the absurdity and counterproductive incentives arising from debtors prison policies and practices.
- Jennifer Erschabek of the Texas Inmate Family Association had a column in the Houston Chronicle arguing that "Texas prison reform must get 'smart on people'."
- Grits contributing writer and Texas Justice Initiative director Amanda Woog had a column on a website called The Conversation titled "Who dies in police custody?," describing how data gathering initiatives in Texas and California are providing a fuller picture of police shootings and deaths in custody for the first time.
- Harris County law enforcement does not use statutory authority to give tickets instead of arresting people for low-level pot offenses, but it's not because of District Attorney opposition, as elsewhere. Rather, it's because disparate computer systems won't support it, according to JoAnne Musick at Reasonable Doubt. "Issuing citations to approximately 14,500 people who could have qualified for cite and release in 2015 alone certainly would have lessened the burden on the jail."
- Texas' new law allowing broader use of life saving naloxone to prevent overdose deaths has been making a huge impact. This news make me even more unhappy about the Governor's veto of related "Good Samaritan" legislation which would have given people immunity from prosecution on drug charges if they called in an overdose to 911, stayed with the victim, and cooperated when authorities arrived. Even more lives could have been saved.
- The US Justice Department intervened in a Georgia lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of money bail. Note to Vanita Gupta: How about joining the Houston litigation?
- News that ramen noodles are a primary currency in prison is a sad commentary on conditions. This reminds me: I wonder if the Victoria County Jail has gone back to hot meals or are inmates still eating cold sandwiches after their nutritionist recommended an expanded menu?
Thursday, August 25, 2016
DOJ should intervene in Harris Co. bail litigation, and other brief notes
Here's a quick roundup of items which merit Grits readers attention even if they haven't made it into independent posts: