Moving the Needle on Women’s Justice

Panelists in conversation at the Women Unshackled: The Next Step event

When TCJC launched our Justice for Women campaign in March, we never expected this much momentum! In the past four months, we’ve accomplished a lot.

We released two full-length reports and a “quick guide” on the challenges facing women in Texas’ criminal justice system:

We launched a women’s justice webpage, dedicated to addressing the challenges facing incarcerated women. On this page, we share stories of women impacted by Texas’ justice system. Learn about Hannah Overton, a mother of five who spent seven years in a Texas prison before being exonerated, and Evelyn Fulbright, a nurse at a drug rehab center who helps others struggling with substance use disorder, as she once did. We’re also excited to highlight the organizations we’ve partnered with to create a coalition for system-impacted women. For instance, Girls Embracing Mothers work to build the bond between mother and daughter in an effort to break the cycle of incarceration. Truth Be Told provides transformational programs through self-discovery for women who are or who have been incarcerated, resulting in increased self-worth, accountability, and positive contributions to society.

In May, we testified before the Texas House Corrections Committee on the treatment options, services, and programs available to women in the criminal justice system, as well as how to more effectively serve system-involved pregnant women. [Our testimony starts at 2:24:00.]

Just last week, we hosted Women Unshackled: The Next Step, alongside the Coalition for Public Safety. This event brought together prominent lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, as well as notable policy experts, impacted individuals, justice system practitioners, and advocates to discuss the growth of women in the justice system and identify solutions that would both stem the flow of women into incarceration and fundamentally change the experience of incarcerated women to one rooted in dignity.

We’ve been busy, and the efforts of our Justice for Women campaign have been covered by Mother Jonesthe Atlanticthe Crime ReportTexas TribuneTexas ObserverSpectrum Newsthe Dallas Morning NewsFort Worth WeeklyTexas Public Radio, and more.

We are so grateful to the Coalition for Public Safety for working tirelessly to see that women are treated with dignity and that families and communities are supported. Without their support, we would not have accomplished all of this in a few short months.

The next step in our Justice for Women campaign is to advocate for a Texas Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act at the state legislature. With your support, we can channel this momentum into monumental and lasting change for women, families, and communities. Please visit to support our Justice for Women campaign, or text NEXTSTEP to 1-844-544-7171 to make a donation.

About the Author

Lindsey Linder, J.D.

Lindsey Linder

Lindsey Linder is the former Senior Policy Attorney for the Texas Center for Justice and Equity. Lindsey co-founded the Texas Women’s Justice Coalition, a statewide group of more than 60 system-impacted women and advocates calling for women’s justice, and she was a 2020 finalist for the Austin Under 40 Awards for her policy work and advocacy. During summer 2014, she interned with UNICEF in Tel Aviv, Israel, drafting a report on Israel’s implementation of the UN treaty Convention on the Rights of the Child to be submitted to the New York and Geneva United Nations headquarters for review. Lindsey first joined TCJE as a member of Senator Rodney Ellis’ Texas Legislative Internship Program, and she continued to support TCJE while completing law school, receiving her Juris Doctor with honors from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016.