The tragic death of Sandra Bland put a human face on the troubles lurking within the “pretrial” stage of criminal justice–policing and the decision to effectuate a custodial arrest, the bail decision, jail safety and the impact of incarceration on the mentally ill. The profound sadness and frustration over her death galvanized legislative hearings and more are planned.
By all accounts, the next legislative session promises to bring some important criminal justice reform. For a preview of some of the most pressing issues, a group of academics, national experts and justice system practitioners, including LBJ professor and CHASP faculty associate Michele Deitch, held a major symposium in December 2015 called, “Police, Jails, and Vulnerable People: New Strategies for Confronting Today’s Challenges.”
In response to issues raised at the symposium, the students of the LBJ School of Public Affairs Policy Research Project (PRP) led by Prof. Deitch, developed and recently released two white papers:
- Risk Not Resources- Improving the Pretrial Release Process in Texas – on bail reform and pretrial practices in Texas
- Prioritizing Treatment Over Punishment – on Texas’s efforts to divert people with mental illness away from the justice system
Both white papers are intended to provide guidance to legislators and others looking for recommendations to address these important criminal justice issues.
Prioritizing Treatment Over Punishment was written by LBJ graduate students Rachel Gandy and Erin Smith, under the supervision of Prof. Michele Deitch and Dr. Lynda Frost from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. Click for more.
Risk, Not Resources: Improving the Pretrial Release Process in Texas was written by LBJ School graduate students Nathan Fennell and Meridith Prescott, under the supervision of Prof. Michele Deitch. Click for more.
Credit: Thank you to Michele Deitch for allowing reprinting of parts of her blog posts from Grits for Breakfast for this article.