As the country’s leading incarcerator, Texas has a long history of providing constitutionally inadequate and inhumane conditions in its state prisons and county jails. Policies enacted during the “tough on crime” era exponentially increased the number of people incarcerated and contribute to the constitutional violations and inhumane conditions PJL seeks to reform. PJL believes that prison population – and harsh sentencing laws that contribute to prison population growth – are the root cause of unconstitutional conditions. Therefore, through PJL’s programs, we work to ameliorate prison conditions and reduce civil rights violations, as well as to reduce the number of people going to prison through our policy advocacy and grassroots campaigns.
Prison conditions are a constant concern for our members. We receive hundreds of letters each month from our members, and other prisoners, writing about the deplorable conditions throughout the Texas prison system. Physical assaults, sexual assaults, and poor medical care are common occurrences and there are few, if any, meaningful processes to address these issues.