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TDCJ Initiates Inmate Censorship Policy

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice initiated a new inmate censorship policy.  The new Offender Orientation Handbook, released earlier this month, contains a new provision punishing offenders for having a social media presence even if it is managed by a friend or family member.   The new section prohibits inmates from "maintaining active social media accounts for the purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging others, through a third party or otherwise."   Violators of the new policy will be charged with a level three disciplinary violation which can result in more »

Federal Court Says Texas Inmates Exposed to Extreme Temperatures Violates 8th Amendment

A U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that allowing an inmate to be “exposed to extreme temperatures can constitute a violation of the Eighth Amendment.” The case was remanded back to the district court for a new trial.

Texas Lawsuit Alleges Prisons Without Air Conditioning are Inhumane

A lawsuit was filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project on behalf of 58 year old Larry Gene McColuum who died while suffering a seizure in the soaring 100 degree heat while incarcerated in a Texas prison.  McCollum was taken to the hospital where his body temperature was measured at 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  He fell into a coma and died six days later of what an autopsy concluded was hyperthermia "due to housing in a hot environment without air conditioning." Only 21 of Texas' 111 prisons are fully air conditioned. more »

Texas Parole Officials Can Be Held Liable Over Sex Offender Restrictions

  A federal judge in Austin, Texas has ordered that state parole officials can be held personally liable by inmates suing over restrictive sex-offender conditions required of them, even though they were never convicted of a sex crime. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued the order.  Yeakel blasted the state's persistent refusal to provide due process hearings before imposing the sex-offender restrictions on an offender who was never convicted of a sex crime. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Texas Board of Criminal Justice have argued that more »

Once Again, Court Says No to Parole Board

Reprinted with permission of In a case of “Won’t they ever learn”? a federal judge, Judge Lee Yeakel, issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles from imposing Condition X without due process. While the issue of the Board’s policy of making prisoners waive their due process rights prior to being granted parole, as described in a previous post, was not before the court Judge Yeakel indicated it wouldn’t pass Constitutional muster either, which any attorney not firmly in the pocket of the state could more »