Keri Blakinger Profile picture
Reporter: @MarshallProj. Priors: @HoustonChron @NYDailyNews. Author: Corrections in Ink. Journalist, felon. (I promise I don't bite)
Ella Sanders Profile picture Ken Tancrous Ⓥ 🌱 Adam Smithee Profile picture rcnewcomb Profile picture 5 added to My Authors
May 7 11 tweets 4 min read
Today is ~one month~ until my book comes out!! Accordingly, here are 10 reasons you should order today.

This is, of course, listicle-style because old tabloid habits die hard.… 1. You are keeping a list of one million reasons to hate prisons and would like to add several hundred more. Order now and you can probably find one per page!…
May 6 4 tweets 2 min read
Happy Friday open records nerds!! We at @MarshallProj have won an open records suit this morning!

Short version: I asked for records, the DA refused to give them, the AG said she had to, the DA sued the AG, & then we went to court & the judge said she has to give them. 🎉🎉🎉 Image And if you think this this sounds familiar... you're right.

This is the SECOND time the DA has insisted on dragging it into court fight over the request turn over records quite clearly subject to release.
Apr 18 19 tweets 3 min read
My first Easter in jail, the girl in the next cell tried to kill herself.

I think about it – and her – every year. But every year that I cover prisons I think of it a little differently. The woman was what the staff derisively called a “frequent flyer” in the cell next to me. She was not well-liked. Let's call her Betty.
Apr 16 13 tweets 3 min read
I've never gotten as much anti-LGBT hate as in the past 3 days.

I had 2 TikTok videos end up on the “wrong” side of the app &, sure, the internet is the internet. But I keep wondering how much the response is an outgrowth of don't say gay bills etc. normalizing homophobia For context, these were responses to videos about being a woman in prison – but neither video had anything to do with sexuality. Both videos got >150k views, and a lot of the comments were also other varieties of shitty.
Mar 21 14 tweets 5 min read
Arrests of U.S. citizens. Drug busts 100s of miles from the border. Changing statistics.

Gov. Abbott has boasted abt the success of border initiative, Operation Lone Star - but our investigation found the data doesn’t back him up.

My latest & a THREAD:… I started looking into this last year, after I got a tip that Texas had emptied out a prison & planned to fill that unit and one other with immigrants.

It seemed like a ridiculous rumor - but it turned out to be true.
Mar 17 19 tweets 6 min read
NEW: A Scottish court has refused to extradite a man to America — entirely because he would have gone to Texas, and the judge decided Texas prison conditions violate international human rights standards.

My latest, and a THREAD:… First, if you’re wondering how common this is — the experts I talked to said they’d never heard of it happening before.

Sure, courts refuse extradition all the time, for other reasons. But refusing extradition here based ONLY on prison conditions appears to be new.
Mar 2 22 tweets 8 min read
Four years ago, I tweeted about what happened to my dog while I was in prison and it kind of wildly changed my life.

Here's an update thread - with a gratuitous number of dog pics. First, in case you didn’t read the original thread, here’ it is -- and here's the short version: Back in 2007 I tried to kill myself. Afterward, the person I was dating made a rare good suggestion and pushed me to get a dog. Her name was Charlotte.

Feb 24 25 tweets 7 min read
When I went to prison there was a program called “shock.” It was legendary bc it could get you out early.

But I always heard horror stories — shoveling snow w/spoons, eating food off the floor. Beatings, rape. For my latest column, I investigate. THREAD:… First some background: The whole idea of shock is that it’s this military-style program and if you can survive it for six months, you can get out 2.5 years early.

In theory, the rigorous scheduled instills discipline...
Feb 22 16 tweets 7 min read
So far in the pandemic, Texas prison workers have died of COVID at 3x the rate of other prison systems.

Their deaths lost the agency >1,000 YEARS of combined work experience.

Here’s a THREAD on what that means for people living & working in those prisons now: Image First, for background, here’s some more number-y goodness -- all of which comes from a report released today by UT’s @mydeitch @WelchAlycia & crew.

Here’s the link:…
Jan 28 14 tweets 4 min read
After approving the prison radio station I wrote about before, the Polunsky warden is doing something a lot of ppl thought would not happen: He’s letting guys on Texas death row have limited access to TV *for the 1st time in 2 decades*

Here’s a THREAD on what’s happening & why. The last time condemned men in Texas had TV access was in the 1990s, when death row was housed at Ellis Unit.

Back then, they could have jobs and there were TVs on the runs and they could go out to rec together.
Jan 13 12 tweets 4 min read
#breaking The DOJ just formally announced a new rule that will allow 1000s of federal prisoners to get "earned time credit" for taking part in certain programs.

It will be applied **retroactively** and allow 1000s out of prison sooner.… Here's the full 52-page rule in the federal register:…
Dec 29, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
#BREAKING The Texas National Guard has been called to 4 of the state's youth prisons because so many of the regular staff have covid. This comes after a covid surge in the state's kid prisons and halfway houses; cases increased nearly 10-fold in four days.

Although the numbers are small, this isn't a big agency.
Dec 26, 2021 16 tweets 4 min read
Since it was jail, everyone was just passing through and we didn’t know each other well. So there were no real attempts at parties or gifts from commissary. No toilet paper decorations or jailhouse trees, at least not that holiday. I don’t remember if there was visiting that day, but visiting was a double edged sword in jail anyway: No one got to go out for rec on visitation days, so it was just pacing in the day room – 40-some feet in either direction.
Dec 20, 2021 30 tweets 9 min read
HERE is my *favorite* story this year. It came from a guy on death row, who told me how prisoners there started a radio station - and how it gave him a last chance to find community.

Here’s a THREAD about the power of words & the magic of 106.5 The Tank… If you’ve heard of San Quentin’s Ear Hustle podcast, you might think a radio station in prison is no big deal.

But that’s California, and this is Texas – at a no-frills maximum-security prison where a few hundred men live in solitary, nearly 200 of which are sentenced to death. Image
Dec 6, 2021 35 tweets 9 min read
When the top TX prison psychiatrist testified in court last month, he likened prison to a “design magazine,” called it an inmate's "natural environment" & claimed ppl would kill each other for psych meds

If you ever wondered why ppl don't trust prison healthcare, here's a THREAD First, background: This started when Arizona prisoners sued to say they were getting unconstitutionally bad care.

During the trial, officials called in Dr. Joseph Penn - who oversees Texas prison mental health - as an expert to say it’s all fine.…
Dec 4, 2021 6 tweets 3 min read
These are images from inside in an Alabama prison cell. In case you can’t tell, the first is 2 bottles of mice caught in one of the units.

This has been circulating online over the past few days so I asked the state for comment. Thread: ImageImageImageImage Some of the pics are from a different facility, but the one of the bottles full of rodents is a screenshot from this video taken recently at Kilby.
Nov 16, 2021 10 tweets 3 min read
#breaking There was a small riot at Briscoe Unit, the prison holding ppl arrested thru Abbott’s border initiative, Operation Lone Star. Several men - US citizens arrested w/the migrants - started fires in protest, got gassed, broke out windows & went outside to escape the gas The incident took place on November 7. TDCJ offered the statement above, but they haven’t clarified what prompted the unrest.

Sources at the unit have cited conditions and lack of access to courts as some of the reasons.
Nov 11, 2021 23 tweets 7 min read
My first day in jail I woke up to my mugshot all over the news, a cringy shot of me at my worst.

It didn’t occur to me then to question why cops post pics like that, or whether the should be allowed to. But reporting this column got me thinking. THREAD: A lot of the time when it comes to mugshots the debate is about whether news outlets should publish them - especially since the motive is usually just to get clicks & thus ad $$$.

That’s what I wrote about last year, for my first @marshallproj story.
Nov 9, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
I planned to live tweet SCOTUS arguments today but instead I'm just screaming at the screen, I'm sorry. Here's background on the case in question, which is now being argued:…
Oct 14, 2021 31 tweets 9 min read
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:… 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.
Oct 13, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
#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…