The Time is NOW for Independent Oversight of Texas Prisons!

Once again, families of Texas inmates and criminal justice advocates are calling for independent oversight of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

The need to spot and stop systemic abuse, corruption and toxic environments continues to be critically important. These situation and conditions are most acutely felt by those living and working in Texas prisons.

As we begin 2020, the need and momentum for independent oversight continues to grow. The news in 2019 was filled with examples of the need for oversight.

  • Texas holds 4,165 in solitary, more than all the other states and federal government combined.      
  • The number of cases of excessive use of force continue to rise, even resulting in inmate deaths.
  • The number of suicides continue to rise.    
  • Another lawsuit has been filed for the lack of treatment for those with Hepatitis C.
  • Prison medical care is dangerously underfunded resulting in premature deaths.
  • Family members are still being removed from visitation lists and are not added back.
  • Prisons are critically understaffed threatening prison and officer safety.
  • TDCJ officials are being accused of lying to cover up prison temperatures and face threats of jail time from the very frustrated federal judge on the case.

TDCJ has various internal accountability mechanisms, but they do not and cannot serve the same role or offer the same benefits as external oversight, which promotes transparency, accountability, and good government.

For Texas families, communities, and the State, it should be clear that there are public safety and cost-savings benefits to developing a system of independent, external monitoring for prisons operated by TDCJ.

We hope you’ll join us once again in letting our elected officials know that we expect their support in passing this important legislation that will lead to improved relationships between the department and the public.

When you sign this form, we’ll let you know when it’s time to take action, with a reminder of your representatives and how to contact them.

Thank you not only for the people who work in the harsh prison environment but also for the people who are behind the bars, the people without hope, the socially marginalized, and those who are discriminated against for their very existence.