Texas Legislature

Did you know formerly incarcerated people fought back (and won) in Texas? You should

After long battles in both the Texas Capitol and Austin City Council, formerly incarcerated people and their allies won a major victory for Fair Chance Hiring here in 2017. We celebrate this victory as a landmark event for the people who have been dehumanized by incarceration to advocate for their rights and to be seen and hired by employers for who they are.

The Fair Chance movement is a nationwide campaign to end employment discrimination in the hiring process, and to restore civil rights in our society. The Fair Chance process requires employers to consider candidates on their merit prior to asking about criminal convictions, moving the background check to the end of the hiring process. This ordinance is the only one of its kind in the South, and took effect in Austin on April 4, 2016.

Legal employment discrimination against individuals with an arrest and/or conviction history is far reaching, and disproportionately harms the poor and communities of color. In Texas, despite making up only 12.5% of the population, African Americans account for nearly 35% of individuals locked up in Texas prisons, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Gainful employment is one of the most critical steps to prevent recidivism. [node:read-more:link]

ACTION ALERT May 19, 2015 | We need you ASAP to protect jail visitation for Texas families!

May 19, 2015
The legislative process is long and layered and takes several rounds of engagement before a bill passes.  With your help we have gotten HB 549, a bill that protects the face-to-face visitation rights of people incarcerated at Texas county jails from being replaced with expensive, poor quality video chats, all the way to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.  In order for it to have a chance of passing, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee needs to hear from you TODAY.  (see more background here)
Please call and write the members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee ASAP and let them know you support protecting face-to-face visits at County Jails.  Consider reminding them that the Texas debate on the issue has gained national attention, and we have a perfect opportunity to set an important precedent for the rights of incarcerated people and their loved ones.  Below is a brief list of notable state and national media about visitation, video technology and county jails in Texas.  

Jan 13, 2015
The Texas Observer

Five Issues to Watch as the Show Unfolds at the 84th Legislature

Grassroots Leadership's Cristina Parker speculates about the type of legislation immigrant rights groups are going to be fighting during the 84th Texas legislative session. 

“The general consensus among immigrant rights groups and advocates is that we’re going to see sanctuary city bills [allowing police to ask for immigration status] and legislation doing away with in-state tuition for undocumented students, among other things. I think both chambers are going to be rough.” [node:read-more:link]

Humpday Hall of Shame | CCA-run state jails prove unsafe (again) for prisoners

Thanks to a lawsuit filed by Edwards Law in Austin, TX on September 3rd, a veil of secrecy around rampant sexual abuse and staff misconduct is being lifted at CCA-run Bartlett State Jail in Bartlett, TX.  In particular, the suit sheds light on acute staff incompetence and most disturbingly, a well-known hazing ritual known by prisoners and prison staff alike as “ass on the glass.”


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