Houston Matters

Does Texas’ New Grand Jury Law Go Far Enough?

Posted on · Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new law changing how grand juries are selected in Texas. Previously, judge-appointed commissioners picked grand jurors in a system sometimes referred to as “pick-a-pal.” Critics said the commissioners tended to select jurors who share their backgrounds, making it less likely grand juries would reflect the diversity of their […]

Houston Matters

Sam Houston State Marks 50 Years as a Leader in Criminal Justice Studies

Posted on · Fifty years ago George Beto, the director of the Texas Department of Corrections and Arleigh Templeton, then president of Sam Houston State College, lobbied the Texas Legislature to establish an Institute of Contemporary Corrections and Behavioral Science. This program would aim to lead the nation in the study of criminology, corrections and behavioral research. Today, […]

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Grade Inflation and Visiting The Heights: Wednesday’s Show (May 20, 2015)

Posted on · Earlier this month, internal HISD auditors confirmed the now-fired principal of Westbury High School ordered failing grades in a reading class to be raised to a B. Jason Catchings is appealing the dismissal. (His attorney told Fox 26 that Catchings was operating under orders from a superior, and then told the Houston Chronicle the changes were intended to […]

Houston Matters

Is the State’s Sex Offender Program Working?

Posted on · The state agency responsible for supervising, monitoring and providing treatment for the most violent sex offenders in the state is undergoing some sweeping changes. Among the problems faced by the recently revamped Office of Violent Sex Offender Management: a shortage of housing for sex offenders released from prison and a perception that the state’s civil commitment program […]

Houston Matters

Study Shows Juvenile Justice Reforms in Texas Are Working

Posted on · A federal civil rights investigation into law enforcement and criminal justice in Ferguson, Missouri will be released Wednesday. A law enforcement official familiar with the report tells NPR the investigation determined blacks were disproportionately targeted by police and the justice system, leading to – or reinforcing – a lack of trust in both police and the courts. […]

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Juvenile Justice, Equal Pay and The Full Menu: Wednesday’s show (March 4, 2015)

Posted on · A federal civil rights investigation into law enforcement and criminal justice in Ferguson, Missouri will be released Wednesday. A law enforcement official familiar with the report tells NPR the investigation determined blacks were disproportionately targeted by police and the justice system, leading to – or reinforcing – a lack of trust in both police and the courts. […]

Houston Matters

How Do You Make Grand Juries in Harris County More Diverse?

Posted on · Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson wants to see a change in how grand juries are selected. Grand juries of 12 people determine whether enough evidence exists to formally charge a suspect with a crime. Currently in Texas, judges are tasked with impaneling them, but it’s a time-consuming process. So, some name friends as “grand […]

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Grand Jury System and Pet Care: Monday’s show (February 23, 2015)

Posted on · Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson wants to see a change in how grand juries are selected. Grand juries of 12 people determine whether enough evidence exists to formally charge a suspect with a crime. Currently in Texas, judges are tasked with impaneling them, but it’s a time-consuming process. So, some name friends as “grand […]

Houston Matters

Why Were There So Many Criminal Exonerations in Harris County Last Year?

Posted on · An annual report from the National Registry of Exonerations reveals a record number of exonerations in the U.S. last year — 125 of them, in fact. That’s nearly a 40 percent increase over 2012 and 2013. Plus 33 of those exonerations came in drug cases in Harris County. Houston Matters’ Maggie Martin talks with Samuel Gross, […]

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Wrongful Convictions & Living Car Free: Tuesday’s Show (February 17, 2015)

Posted on · We posed this question to you last year: is it possible to live in Houston without a car? Some Houstonians would characterize such an idea as pure folly. There’s too much of Houston that isn’t walkable, too much that’s too far away from public transportation to make life in Houston manageable without a car. But […]

Houston Matters

Is Truancy a Matter for Criminal Courts?

Posted on · Texas and Wyoming are the only U.S. states that will prosecute kids in adult criminal court for failing to attend school. Opponents of Texas’ truancy law characterize it not as a way to properly address truancy but rather the establishment of dropout courts. Lawmakers sought to change the system in 2013; Governor Perry vetoed legislation […]

Houston Matters

Majority Of African-Americans In Houston Feel Criminal Justice System Is Biased

Posted on · There’s been an ongoing national conversation about race, discrimination and justice sparked by the recent high profile killings of black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City. Here in Houston, a majority of the African-American community feels that there’s a bias against them in the criminal justice system. That’s according to the latest survey […]

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Hazlewood Act, Missing Persons, and Chris Field: Tuesday’s show (February 3, 2015)

Posted on · The Hazlewood Act in Texas provides veterans (and some children of veterans) exemptions from some tuition and fee charges at public colleges and universities here. It’s awarded regardless of financial need. But historically, it has required the veteran to be a resident of Texas at enlistment. That wasn’t the case for Keith Harris. He enlisted before […]