Friday, September 22, 2017

TDCJ ends solitary confinement as punishment, and other stories

Here are a few odds and ends that merit Grits readers' attention while mine is focused elsewhere:
  • TDCJ is ending the use of solitary confinement as punishment, and the number of people in ad-seg overall continues to drop precipitously. "Before the administrative change was implemented this month, Texas prison officials had made sharp reductions in its solitary confinement population. In August 2013, there were 215 inmates in punitive solitary confinement. By July 2017, that number was down to 76. In the same time frame, the number of inmates placed in administrative segregation decreased from approximately 7,200 to 3,940."
  • Why no Texas 5th Circuit nominations yet?
  • Judge orders AC for some Harvey-displaced prisoners.
  • Read Brandi Grissom on Texas' latest snitching reforms, and a case study supporting them published last year. The Texas Tribune quoted the national Innocence Project saying that, with Texas' newest innocence statute, our law represented the "gold standard" among states on innocence reform.
  • Read the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Greg Glod on why Texas' cash bail system is "costing us all a fortune."
  • More on this later but the Texas Indigent Defense Commission has produced a "primer" for operating "managed assigned counsel" systems. These are basically the counter-proposal by the Texas defense bar to the push to create real-deal public defender systems. MAC systems are IMO a better situation than straight-up judicial appointments, but not by much. In Austin, Grits has not observed that the managed assigned system has resulted in significant improvements in indigent representation. There's a risk of nearly-impossible-to-root-out corruption and self-dealing by the defense bar. This is basically a regulatory system that's been captured by the regulated parties. 
  • Here's an academic article on, "Changing the Culture of Disclosure in Forensics" which gets added to Grits' to-read pile.


Txbombshell said...

The use of ad seg for gang members is limited to white supremacist gangs and a couple of the Hispanic gangs. TDCJ does not classify the largest gang, Tango Blast, as a gang. They refer to it as a "clique". Along with the Crips, the Bloods, and many other groups that pretty much every other law enforcement entity DOES consider as very dangerous GANGS. Inside of TDCJ walls, they are labeled like groups found in middle school - "cliques". So much more innocent and harmless sounding than the organized crime forces that they Are, running the prisons witb contraband and the assistance of corrupt TDCJ staff.
But, let's not classify THEM as gangs and keep THEM in seg...

rozmataz said...

I'd like to see an investigative report on mentally ill inmates and those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and how they are being treated in the TDCJ. Personally, I believe many, many crimes committed by such persons could be prevented by diagnosis and treatment, as well as educating the public in how to recognize someone who is in need of psych care. Of course, that means the laws must be changed to bring these issues out of the dark, and many forms of identification are shrouded by HIPPA and the stigma of mental illness. The law which allows judges to sentence a mentally ill person to outpatient medical care instead of incarceration provided they stay on prescribed medication and appear regularly for monitoring and counseling is way too underused by courts. This is a much more humane and reasonable way to handle such persons. The law is referred to informally as AOTP (Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program.