Friday, April 04, 2008

End of the Week Roundup

Here are a several diverse news items, all deserving of more extended comment, that I only have time to mention right now:

A prison coverup after Hurricane Rita?
Reports the Houston Press, "For days after the storm, inmates in Beaumont lived without A/C, electricity or hot meals. Press releases kept saying everything inside was fine. Guards and prisoners agree — that was nothing but B.S."

Babies killing babies
Rick Casey at the Houston Chronicle mulls over the proper sentence for a 14 year old who concealed her pregnancy then killed her newborn baby.

TDCJ bans Bob Dole?
As I found out last year, there's not really a comprehensive list of banned books at TDCJ, though books and publications are denied to inmates every day. So the Houston Press took the next step and got a year's worth of correspondence under open records to see what TDCJ is banning, and published some of the more bizarre examples. My favorite among authors whose books are forbidden to Texas prisoners, according to the Press: "Bob Dole, whose World War II: An Illustrated History of Crisis and Courage was rejected for "NUD CHL," which isn't on the acronym list but which we guess refers to a photo of a nude child. Bob Dole, pedophile."

Another gem: "Rejected: Naughty Bedtime Stories. Accepted: Naughtier Bedtime Stories. Which, apparently, were not actually naughtier."

Shapleigh: No gracias on halfway houses
El Paso state Senator Eliot Shapleigh learned from the media that 2/3 of new halfway houses in Texas will be in El Paso, and he's not happy about it. I've complained about NIMBYism, but I can also understand not wanting them all in El Paso, just because nobody else would take them. Further evidence the state should force cities to identify spots for new halfway houses.

A dark underbelly to criminal justice power relationships?
After reading the sad and grotesque story of an immigration agent coercing sex from a green card applicant, and news of police coercing sex from prostitutes, it's disturbing to see the same pattern allegedly occur in the relationship between a Texas parole officer and a male parolee, which supposedly happened in Conroe. Let me know in the comments: Would you perform a sex act against your will if the person demanding it could send you back to prison? It's really an ugly thought.


Anonymous said...

Well done Houston Press for showing what a ridiculous system TDCJ has for approving/denying books. TDCJ obviously goes on nothing more than the title and any pictorial content.

The denial of the Pre-Raphaelite book really gets my hackles raised ~ it is ART. Fully accepted as ART thoughout the whole civilised world. Does that mean Texas is not civilised? (you dont have to answer that one). TDCJ may as well deny anything with a beer advert in it as it obviously encourages everyone to go out and commit DWIs, or deny all inmates from having anything with a picture of a child in it including their own children, because obviously it encourages paedophillia.

Anonymous said...

"a 14 year old who concealed her pregnancy then killed her newborn baby."

I'm having trouble imagining a worse punishment than having her peers know that she's so fat you can't tell when she's pregnant...

Anonymous said...

In regards to the 14 year old killing her baby, I know the crime was horrible, but you first have to prove intent and state of mind. This kid needs a psychological assessment to determine her level of maturity and if she is able to stand trial as an adult. Giving her the death penalty or putting her away for life is not going to solve anything, and it will certainly not deter anyone else in the same situation from doing the same crime. When a person is not thinking clearly they are not considering the consequences of their actions.