Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Play

Connecting health outcomes to climate solutions and lower utility bills, Engagement Center finding success near Boston's troubled 'Mass and Cass' and more protections coming for PA Children's Service providers.

Play

Georgia breaks a state record for early voting, Democrats are one step closer to codifying same-sex marriage, and Arizona county officials refuse to certify the results of the midterm elections.

Play

A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

Group Fears New Dallas Jail Could Stall Justice Reform

Play

Friday, August 26, 2022   

Members of a Texas group working to end mass incarceration thought they were making headway, but now they're not so sure.

Faith in Texas has ideas for how Dallas County could reduce the prison population by 25%, and received support from a county judge to draft a proposal.

Joe Swanson, lead community organizer for the group, said the reform talks have stalled, and the Dallas County commissioners have appointed a committee to determine if a new jail should be built. Swanson emphasized reform is an important conversation, especially because people of color are incarcerated at significantly higher rates than white people across the country.

"We can either put our heads in the sand, and close our ears and our eyes and pretend that's just a coincidence," Swanson pointed out. "Or we can do something about it, in a way that's not just the status quo of, 'Well, new jail.' And I think that's really important to name; this is systemic racism at work."

One commissioner argued a new jail might be appropriate, because the county has a dated criminal justice system, and needs new ways of doing things. Faith in Texas will rally supporters at Thanksgiving Square tomorrow beginning at 2 p.m., to make sure they know about the proposed new facility and what it could mean for incarceration reform.

It is estimated Black men make up 13% of the U.S. population, but 35% of those who are incarcerated. Swanson worries an emphasis on new jail construction could permanently stall discussions about alternatives the county could pursue.

"As far as we can tell from the outside looking in, it's been people pointing fingers at each other to the reason why our jail population is so high," Swanson observed. "Rather than trying to sit down at a table together to coordinate an effort to reduce the jail population."

The U.S. has 5% of the world's population, but holds almost 25% of the world's prisoners, about 2.2 million people, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.

Disclosure: Faith in Texas contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Civic Engagement, Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
The city-run Engagement Center is a low-barrier day facility, which serves a few hundred people each day from the nearby "Mass and Cass" area, offering everything from bathroom facilities and a clean bed to referrals to drug-treatment facilities, dental care and even writing groups. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Boston's 'Mass and Cass' area, with its large homeless population and open-air drug market, remains a trouble spot for city officials, but staff at …


Social Issues

Maryland's Juvenile Restoration Act has been in effect for more than a year now and its impact has people talking about additional reforms. The act …

Social Issues

Local candidates that signed onto a no-corporate-money pledge made midterm election gains in Charleston. Katie Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia …


Research indicates that the number of women who have experienced Traumatic Brain Injury secondary to domestic violence is 11 to 12 times greater than experienced by military personnel and athletes combined. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

A new statewide initiative aims to help connect domestic-violence survivors with medical providers, with a focus on treating traumatic brain injury…

Environment

A successful program that helps low-income households weatherize homes and lower energy bills is setting its sights on improving the health outcomes o…

According to First Things First, 90% of a child's brain develops before he or she starts kindergarten. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Arizona New Parent Guide is a resource that is intended to help new parents meet the challenges of having a baby and support their baby's health …

Environment

An environmental advocacy group in Virginia has been working to bridge generational gaps. Third Act Virginia began as a group of elder climate …

Social Issues

In just two months, it should be easier for providers of children's services in Pennsylvania's child-welfare and foster-care system to get the …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021