Alternatives to Incarceration

Beginner’s Guide: The Sunset Review Process for Texas State Agencies

Although the Texas Legislature won’t reconvene for its next regular session until January 2025, decision-makers are already considering issues that could impact Texans for years to come. One key topic over the next 18 months is the state’s decision whether to continue (and fund) key justice-related agencies as part of its “Sunset” review process. In today’s Beginner’s Guide, we’ll share what Sunset is, why it’s important, and how you can use your voice to make a difference!

Rising from the Ashes: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month as a Latina

As the seasons change and hopes of temperatures dropping become real, I have begun to look back on the incredible journey that has led me to where I am today. Hispanic Heritage Month holds a special place in my heart; it is not only a time to celebrate our rich cultural heritage but also an opportunity to share stories of resilience and rebirth.  

2023 Bills That Are Still Moving Or Have Become Law

Last updated: June 19, 2023 

Texas’ 2023 Legislative Session is officially over, but our work isn’t done yet! Governor Abbott has until June 18 to sign bills, veto (reject) them, or let them pass into law without a signature. Now that the dust has settled, we’ve identified about 40 positive justice-related bills that still have a chance of becoming law (and a handful have already been approved by the Governor). 

How we can close youth prisons and #FinishThe5

This past August, breaking news revealed a major crisis in Texas youth prisons. The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD), an agency that’s always been plagued with problems, was at a point of collapse. Due to severe staffing shortages, kids were stuck in their cells for up to 23 hours a day, forced to use the bathroom in water bottles and on lunch trays. In many cases, these are kids who are already traumatized – and isolated in tiny cells, their mental health was profoundly impacted. Nearly half were at risk of suicide, and many had self-harmed.

Beginner’s Guide: Interim Hearings at the Texas Legislature

If you’ve followed previous posts in our beginner’s guide blog series (which you can scroll down to revisit!), you may know that the Texas Legislature only holds its regular session from January through May of every other year. But the reality of how our laws are made is actually a little more complicated–in part because legislators start working early, in what’s called the interim.

2021 in Review: A Year of Transformation at TCJE

I’m sure you’ve seen the posts all across social media: it’s the time of year when people reflect. They’ll share their most heard songs (mine: “Jackson” cover by Trixie Mattel and Orville Peck, “Jerome” by Lizzo, “The Six” by the Six the Musical cast). Or they might note personal accomplishments from the year (mine: a lot of homemade empanadas and one truly phenomenal maple pecan pie).

Visualizing the Drug War in Travis County: What We’ve Learned from Our Newest Data Story

When I was an intern with TCJE, I jumped into a project analyzing a dataset of arrests for possession of a controlled substance in Travis County (Austin). The previous work on this project sparked my interest because it highlighted the communities that I’m from. I have lived in East Riverside for about 5 years and before that I came from a similar neighborhood in San Antonio. My whole life I’ve witnessed police saturation in my communities, but I always assumed it was a normal practice in every neighborhood.

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