There have been two significant developments since the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state doesn't have to say where it got the pentobarbital it will use to kill death row inmates Tommy Lynn Sells and Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas. One is that the state of Texas, which had been rather vague ... More >>
The last time the Texas Department of Criminal Justice secured a cache of pentobarbital, the drug it uses to execute prisoners, the Houston-area compounding pharmacy that supplied it had second thoughts. "[I]t was my belief that this information would be kept on the 'down low,' and that it was unli ... More >>
It's a curious phenomenon, the "death row groupies" who become enamored with men who committed some of the most vile crimes you can imagine. When Scott Peterson arrived at California's San Quentin State Prison fresh off a conviction of murdering his wife and unborn child, he received a marriage prop ... More >>
When William Chance's parents died, in 2008 and 2009, he wanted to honor them properly. As a practitioner of a pan-Native American faith derived from the tribes of the Great Plains -- his grandmother was a Cheyenne from Montana -- this required a lock of their hair about the thickness of pencil lead ... More >>
They don't last long these days in the media relations office at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. First, longtime public information director Michelle Lyons resigned last year after being demoted and accused of fudging her time sheets. This was after she responded to a media request from a ... More >>
Death row inmate Michael Yowell's last-minute, Hail Mary lawsuit, based on the claim that the state was going to experiment on him with untested execution drugs, failed to sway U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes. In an order handed down Saturday, she dismissed that as "a guess piled on an assumption" a ... More >>
UPDATE: After this item ran, we sent a question to Texas Department of Criminal Justice public information director Jason Clark, asking him -- not to put too fine a point on it -- why Texas doesn't just switch to an alternative method of execution altogether, like the electric chair. The short answe ... More >>
There's something about the thought of air conditioning prisons that rankles Texas officials. Partly, it's the cost: Cooling the 90 (out of 111) state-run prisons that lack any sort of climate control would run well into the millions. Partly, it's a tough-on-crime thing: These are convicted criminal ... More >>
Barring a stay of execution, Douglas Feldman is scheduled to die in nine days. His petition for a state writ of habeas corpus based on ineffective assistance of counsel has gone nowhere. He claims his trial attorney failed to investigate the role his alleged bipolar disorder played in the murders. N ... More >>
For 17 years, Tina Milton worked as a clerk at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Wynne Unit. Her job was to pore over inmate mail in search of coded gang messages, and she did it just fine until late 2006. That's when she returned from a sinus surgery and found that she could no longer sta ... More >>
The only halfway house in Dallas County occupies the cabana area of the luxury hotel-turned-county lockup on Stemmons Freeway. At any given time, the Bill Decker Detention Center houses 225 former Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates, all sex offenders, trying to make the transition back to ... More >>
Just in case you needed an extra incentive to stay out of prison, the Texas Tribune brings us the news that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is running out of deodorant and toothpaste. "For the roughly 151,000 inmates in the Texas prison system, there are 1,800 units of deodorant and 28,000 ... More >>
Because of a new law passed in the last legislative session, Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates are now faced with a choice when they need to see a doctor: pay a yearly $100 fee, or don't go in for treatment at all. As the Texas Tribune reports today, many of them are choosing the latter. ... More >>
On the sprawling "social news" website Reddit, there are pages and pages of user-created discussions and links, ranging from funny to poignant to vile. One of the site's most fascinating sub-sections is r/IAmA , also known as "Ask Me Anything," or AMA. AMAs are question and answer sessions with un ... More >>
Last month, the daughter of Larry Gene McCollum sued the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. McCollum was serving an 11-month sentence at Hutchins State Jail in Dallas last summer when, after days in a cell where the temperature neared triple digits, he had a seizure. He was taken to the hospital, ... More >>
On Tuesday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced it would use a single drug -- pentobarbital, a barbiturate -- to carry out executions due to a shortage of one component in a three-drug cocktail. Overseas manufacturers of pancuronium bromide, a powerful paralytic, have halted shipment ... More >>
Every year, when temperatures in Texas inevitably hit triple digits, the inside of the state's prison cells heat up like an ovens. Only 21 of 111 units in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system are fully air conditioned; the rest have some AC but mostly not in the inmates' quarters. Every y ... More >>
Rais Bhuiyan's attempts to spare the life of Mark Stroman, the white supremacist who shot him in the face and killed two other men he believed to be Muslim in the days following September 11, 2001, have failed: A federal judge down in Austin denied the Dallas man's petition for clemency that woul ... More >>
Courtesy CBS NewsMark Stroman, who is scheduled to die Wednesday, talks to Don Teague about his jailhouse conversion.As you're no doubt well aware by now, Mark Stroman is scheduled to die down in Huntsville on Wednesday for killing Waqar Hasan, a Pakistani father of four who was gunned down on Se ... More >>
This morning, a reader wondered: Has the state decided if it's going to renew its contract with Corrections Corporation of America regarding operations of the Jesse R. Dawson State Jail on the Trinity River? When last we looked at the issue, the contract was set to expire January 15, only ... More >>
A couple of weeks back, Nicole Porter at Texas Prison Bid'ness took note of the state's impending budget shortfall and concluded that, more than likely, it'll result in the closing of some private prisons and jails. Sure, but which ones? Well, writes our old pal Scott Henson today over at Grits f ... More >>
Never had time to make it to the Texas Big Cities Mayors shindig at City Hall today. But no matter: Meranda Cohn at Dallas City Hall this evening forwards along a copy of the mayors' letter to Governor Rick Perry, in which Tom Leppert, Bill White (Houston), Mike Moncrief (Fort Worth), Phil Hardberge ... More >>
At this very moment down in Huntsville, folks are marking the 25th anniversary of lethal injection in the U.S. at the Texas Prison Museum, which is hosting a panel discussion titled, fittingly, “25 Years of Lethal Injection: What Have We Learned?” Good question -- same one the Supreme Court's sc ... More >>
Floating around the legally minded blogs this week is this video, which is from a self-proclaimed redneck says he used to work as a correctional officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice -- and, no, I don't think it's Larry the Cable Guy. (Link props to The Backgate Website via Grits for ... More >>
There are nearly 7 million people now under the supervision of the correctional system in the United States -- and that includes prison, parole or probation. That’s one out of every 32 adult Americans, a rate of incarceration that is unprecedented in U.S. history. What, then, to do with our ever-g ... More >>
In 2000, The Dallas Morning News ran an op-ed that pimped out the locally based Corrections Concepts Inc., which was trying to get off the ground by selling faith-based prisons to states. According to the piece, written by a professor of economics at Texas A&M University who happened to be an unpaid ... More >>
Texas prisons start barring book authors from inmate interviews
A new effort tries to unlock former felons' votes
The career of Dallas sportswriter Jim Dent was skyrocketing, then booze and bad behavior caused a hard landing
Food cuts have inmates and guards grumbling
How do we deal with the staggering number of prisoners re-entering society? Ned Rollo thinks he knows. He should. He's been there.
Bill Everett thanks Jesus he's behind bars, for real.
The story of Edwin Debrow Jr., one of the youngest Texans ever convicted of murder, in his own words
Seventy-three DMNers get sent packing
Think it's brutal to send a 14-year-old boy to prison for decades? Meet Billy Ray Dennis, and think again.
Spurred by a horrifying wave of teen violence in the '90s, Texas today spends more money than ever to lock up young criminals. Are we getting our money's worth?
God and Texas taxpayers answer the prayers of a prison-based ministry
The InnerChange Freedom Initiative says it can rehabilitate Texas prison inmates through God--a conservative evangelical Christian God, to be more precise
Looking for love in the wrong places? Try Meet-An-Inmate.com.
Texas prisons take a byte out of crime with a computer rehab program
It is 6:07 p.m. John Albert Burks salutes the Oakland Raiders and says goodbye to his friends. Minutes later, he is a dead man. This year's 21st execution.
Image is everything; Death watch; Miracle cure
Federal prosecutors get tough with an escape artist
Will proposed media rules stifle coverage of convicts facing execution?
Mentally ill Texans used to go to hospitals. Now, increasing numbers of them go to prison instead.
A convicted killer gets placed on an electric leash
Reports of Steven Russell's death were greatly exaggerated, but they were enough to spring him from a Texas prison
Paul "Mouse" Millender is in hiding after being stabbed 24 times. He says his old skinhead running buddies did it. But he swears he's not a rat.