Prison Reform

The attempted suicide rate recorded inside the Texas prison system has doubled in four years, a trend that some experts call "concerning" and others see as a positive sign the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is getting more serious about tracking mental health issues.

A century-old law on the books in Texas provides that all 17-year-olds arrested in Texas, including juveniles who have committed misdemeanors, are automatically sent through the adult system, regardless of their alleged offense, their maturity level or their personal or criminal history, according to a legislative briefing report prepared by University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Just over a month after its last citation, the Harris County jail got dinged again by the state officials after leaving two inmates unattended in a van overnight and well into the next afternoon. LBJ Professor and criminal justice expert Michele Deitch called the incident an "extraordinarily unusual set of circumstances," but said that prisoner transport has long been problematic.