#BREAKING The Department of Justice is investigating the Texas juvenile prison system.
Those of us reporting on criminal legal matters in Texas have been writing about how deeply troubled these places have been for years, and the legislature hasn’t really done much since the TYC scandals. Amazing to see the feds finally paying attention houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-t…
Just in the time I’ve been covering there’s been gang wars, a riot, sexual assaults and one kid tattooed a penis on another kid’s forehead. Guards said they urinated on themselves bc they were so understaffed they couldn’t take breaks. chron.com/news/houston-t…
My editor @brandigrissom has been writing about the mess that is Texas kid prisons far longer than I have dallasnews.com/news/investiga…
The Texas juvenile prison system just issued a statement on this investigation:

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More from @keribla

14 Oct
I'd been in jail for 7 months when the guards stormed our cells one night after dinner, tearing our photos & letters from home & tossing them on the floor like they meant nothing. 

I’d been thru searches before but this was different. A THREAD & a column: themarshallproject.org/2021/10/14/the…
The guards crammed us all into a grimy holding cell with one toilet, and a metal shower stall caked in vomit. They left us there wondering for hours, then finally came back for strip searches. One at a time, we got naked and squatted and coughed and lifted our breasts.
Just when we thought it was over, one of them csme back and said they’d found powder in my cell, and it tested positive for opiates. I knew they were wrong, so I as BAFFLED.

But I was also terrified - I had no idea what that meant they’d do next.
Read 31 tweets
18 Sep
THREAD: When I got arrested, a woman I met my first day in jail told me I should take notes on everything and someday write a book. A decade later, I FINALLY have – and now you can buy it here.

I wish she had lived to see this. read.macmillan.com/lp/corrections…
I can tell you more about the book, but first I want to tell you more about that woman – Susan. She was a foul-mouthed pagan lesbian, and I liked her from the start. She was in her early 60s when we met, and her graying hair stood out on a cellblock filled with 20-somethings.
Unlike most of us, she wasn’t in for drugs; it was a DUI. And unlike most of us, she was single, had no kids and actually had a long employment history – she’d been a veterinarian and a firefighter and in the merchant marines.
Read 25 tweets
16 Sep
The Texas prison system announced NINE employee covid deaths in the past 16 days. Five just since last Friday.

How many prisoners died in that time? NO CLUE. They haven't updated prison deaths since JANUARY.
Some of the staff who died had a lot of years in with the agency, but some of them are so much younger than the deaths earlier in the pandemic. Like this guy was 38 -- and died three days after testing positive.
And this one was 32:
Read 6 tweets
15 Sep
NEW: After Texas death row inmate Steven Butler’s lawyers spent almost 2 decades saying he was too intellectually disabled to execute, yesterday prosecutors finally agreed he should not be on the row.

Now, it’s in the court’s hands. Here’s the filing: documentcloud.org/documents/2106…
Butler was convicted of a 1986 killing at a dry cleaner, and has been on death row since 1988 -- much of that time in near-total isolation. houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-t…
Tests show his IQ is between 67 and 77. He’s been unable to balance a checkbook, obey common signs or fill out basic paperwork on his own:
Read 8 tweets
14 Sep
Wondering how Texas prisons have fared in the storm?

Officials say 1 unit on generator power, several others had outages but are back online, another had a power line down and another had trees blown over nearby. No flooding or sewage probs reported. More details below:
The unit still on generator power is Wayne Scott. CONFUSINGLY, the old Scott Unit closed last year but now another unit (Jester IV psych unit in Richmond) was renamed as Scott Unit.
The Stringfellow Unit in Rosharon & all the Jester Units in Richmond (all SW of Houston) had outages, but are now back up and running. Stringfellow, btw, was one of the units that had to evacuate for Harvey.
Read 6 tweets
28 Jul
When I got arrested, Gawker took a swimsuit pic off my FB &wrote: "Cornell senior smuggled heroin, posed in bikini, edited Cornell Daily Sun"

It was completely misogynist clickbait.

I am not glad they're back. But I hope they do better this time
I think we can all understand why this was problematic, but to be clear: It was a 3-year-old candid picture of me - a nobody - and they put it in the headline of their story, framing the existing shaming of a drug arrest in a way that invited sexist commentary.
I have written before about why mugshots are bad, but adding bikini pictures to them is really upping the ante. themarshallproject.org/2020/02/11/new…
Read 5 tweets

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