Friday, August 17, 2007

Quickies: Stuff I'd blog about if I weren't busy today

A friend I'm supposed to meet at 2 p.m. let me know she'll be a half hour late. Let's see how many quickies I can get in the half hour before she and her hound arrive for a visit:

TDCJ saw record number of guards arrested in 2006
The number of TDCJ guards arrested in 2006 topped 800 for the first time ever, reports The Back Gate, many more than in other large states. This continues a trend I've written about previously. What's going on?

Reporter resigns under political pressure
Now-former San Antonio Current reporter Dave Maass, who has done some excellent criminal justice coverage in recent months including editing the magazine's recent insert for prisoners (discussed by Grits here), has resigned from the Current in the face of undue pressure to support Democratic Senate candidate Mikal Watts, reports McBlogger in an item Maass calls "the slightly factually stretched and bent version of the story." This is a loss. Good luck, Dave, hope you land in a good gig.

Civil suit seeks damages for wrongful conviction
Unfair Park has the story of Billy Ray Smith's lawsuit against Dallas County for his wrongful conviction that led to 20 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit. Glenna Whitley points out that this is no doubt the first of many such lawsuits that will be filed in the near future.

Dallas DA guest blogging
On DallasBlog, Dallas DA Craig Watkins makes the case for why he needs full funding for 68 new employees to keep his office progressing forward the way it should. The new issue of Texas Monthly, btw, has a feature on Watkins by ace reporter Mike Hall.

Home detention lessens Brazos jail overcrowding
In Brazos County another jail overcrowding solution emerges: Send them home, reports the Bryan-College Station Eagle:

Under a program started July 9, more than 70 convicts have been sentenced to pay their debts to society under house arrest. The effort frees space in the jail and saves the county money, officials said.

"What we are doing is taking the work-release prisoners who serve part of the day in jail and then are released hours later, and using a leg monitor and have them sit at home instead," Sheriff Chris Kirk said.

The prisoner wears a rubber bracelet with a transmitter smaller than a deck of cards. The device alerts officials if a prisoner leaves home for any reason other than to go to work.

TDCJ promotes adult probation director from within
TDCJ has hired a new parole director to replace Bryan Collier: Stuart Jenkins, a long-time parole employee. Reported the Statesman's Mike Ward:

Jenkins, 47, will make $100,000 a year in his new job, officials said.

A 1982 criminal justice graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, Jenkins joined the then-state Department of Corrections in July 1982 as a parole officer in Houston, and he worked his way up through the ranks as a supervisor, a hearings analyst, a regional director and head of the parole division's warrants section.

For the past two years, he has served as deputy director of support services for the parole division of the criminal justice agency, which supervises parolees once they are approved for release.

Needle exchange advances in Bexar
Despite opposition from the District Attorney, the Bexar County Commissioners Court voted to move forward with a legislatively authorized needle exchange program. Bully for them! Susan Reed's trying to push around every politician in town, it seems like, and I'm glad to see officials demonstrate the huevos to stand up to her. Reported the Express-News:
Speaking on behalf of the Texas Medical Association, which supports syringe exchange, Dr. Janet Realini said the program would go beyond preventing drug addicts from getting sick and protect their families as well.

"I have had to tell young women — two young women in the last year or so — that they have tested positive for HIV," said Realini, medical director of the city's Project Worth program. "And every day I remember the look of shock and fear on their faces. Neither has done any IV drug use or shared needles. Neither has been unfaithful to her husband. They just happened to be in love with someone who has a drug problem."

So, it's 2:25 and that's what I had to write about. Check the links for more, and thanks for stopping by this afternoon.

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