Criminal Justice

The Source - April 1, 2014
12:45 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

The Source: Gov. Perry Calls Full Prison Rape Elimination Act Implementation "Impossible"

Flickr User: 710928003 cc

Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote a letter to the U.S. attorney general last week. In it, Perry stated he would not be able to certify Texas prisons under the guidelines of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA).

Perry cited several points of issue, with the largest being cross-gender monitoring.

The guidelines establish that only members of the same sex should monitor prisoners in private settings like showers and dressing areas. Perry called the restriction "impossible" to enforce.

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Community
10:14 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Bexar County Jail Program Helps Incarcerated Mothers Connect To a New Way Of Life

"...this program I would recommend to any mom that comes in here because if you need to change your life, it'll help you."
Credit Eileen Pace / TPR News

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, more than 7 million children in the U.S. have at least one parent in jail or prison. Studies show many of the children get stuck in a cycle of intergenerational crime and incarceration. 

Several programs in Texas jails are trying to break that cycle.

This month marked 30 years for Bexar County’s Mothers and Their Children (MATCH) Program, which works to make things better for kids whose mothers are spending time behind bars.

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Criminal Justice
4:12 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Update: Texas Supreme Court Halts Execution Drug Disclosure Order

Update (3/28): The Associated Press is now reporting that the Texas Supreme Court has halted the court decision that ordered the state to disclose the name of the compounding pharmacy that makes the drug pentobarbital.

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Texas Matters
12:54 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

What Will We Learn From New Transparency In Privately-Run Texas State Jails?

Flickr User: 710928003 cc

Texas Matters: A court has ruled that privately-run jails are, in effect, governmental bodies when it comes to Texas open records law, so what will be uncovered from the new level of transparency that these institutions must follow? Will the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association be ready to pay out in the event of a destructive hurricane? Also on this show: Whooping crane populations along the coast and a new ocelot kitten in South Texas.

Privately-run jails must now open up records

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The Source - March 10, 2014
10:02 am
Mon March 10, 2014

The Source: Calls To End Solitary Confinement

The Walls Unit for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Huntsville, TX
Flickr user: mlsnp cc

  In US prisons 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement every year, spending more than 22 hours completely alone. It's expensive, its effectiveness is questionable and a growing body of work shows it exacerbates mental health issues. In addition to exacerbating mental health issues already present there is substantial research showing it causes mental health problems. 
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Community
11:26 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Stabbing Victim Given Peace Award For Efforts To Change Parole Violation Policy

Author Karin Richmond speaks to St. Mary's Criminal Justice students at the President's Peace Commission event Wednesday, Feb. 19.
St. Mary's University

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has changed the method for notifying victims of violent crime if their attacker has violated parole.

Karin Richmond is a former lobbyist, both in Austin and in Washington, D.C.. In 1983, while in her hotel room in Austin, Richmond was brutally stabbed more than a dozen times, her nose cut off, and blinded by her attacker, an employee of the hotel.

“He was imprisoned for a sentence of 90 years which came to 30 years and now he’s been released on parole with a GPS monitoring bracelet," Richmond said. 

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The Source - January 15, 2014
11:49 am
Wed January 15, 2014

The Source: Broadband In America | The School-To-Prison Pipeline

Flickr user biologycorner (Shannan Muskopf) cc

In the first segment:

The United States internet service providers are charging more money for less broadband access according to a report from the New America Foundation. Can the country continue to foster innovation as the country falls behind in access?

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Science & Technology
9:56 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Former Bexar Medical Examiner Tapped For Seat On National Commission On Forensic Science

A longtime medical examiner for Bexar County has been appointed to the newly-formed National Commission on Forensic Science.

The commission, which meets for the first time in February, was created last year to establish national standards to help assure the scientific value and accuracy of evidence in criminal cases and investigations.

Dr. Vincent DiMaio of San Antonio, who is now a consultant, said lawmakers and the president became interested in standardizing evidence after DNA evidence began to disprove convictions.

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Community Safety
4:05 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Feds Say Texas Syndicate Has Been "Wiped Out" In San Antonio

Flickr User: 710928003 cc

The last member of the Texas Syndicate on a 20-defendant federal indictment has been sent to prison, and federal officials say the sentencing effectively shut down the prison-based gang in San Antonio.

Of the handful of prison gangs in Texas, the TS had operated mainly in the other big cities in the state -- Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Joey Contreras in San Antonio said the government’s earlier success in getting rid of the Mexican Mafia allowed the TS to get a foothold here.

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Bexar County Jail
9:25 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Bexar County Jail Cracks Down On Security After Discovery Of Smuggled Cell Phones

Secondary jail entrance where staff, contractors, and volunteers must now go through security checkpoint for admission to jail
Eileen Pace TPR News

There are only two entrances open to the Bexar County Jail after officials discovered several incidents of security violations involving cell phone use in secure areas of the jail. 

Sheriff Susan Pamerleau announced Thursday that one contractor had been arrested after jail officials learned he had brought cell phones into the jail.

"The individual was granted access to the jail to perform his job, but he abused that access by bringing in a cell phone and providing it to an inmate," Pamerleau said.

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