How Texas created a prison that’s not a prison

The Texas Observer has a story on that state’s new civil commitment facility — a repurposed, privately-run prison in Littlefield, Texas, that the state really, REALLY, doesn’t want you to call a prison. Once inside those old prison walls, the men surrendered their IDs, Social Security cards, birth certificates and credit cards, along with cash and […]

Texas towns committed to useless ordinances

Eric Dexheimer, writing in the Austin American-Statesman, explains how small towns in the Lone Star State continue to bow to public hysteria and implement sex offender residency restrictions. Dexheimer cites a Nebraska study to explain why these ordinances are passed, despite evidence they don’t work and court rulings striking down restrictions in some places.Yet the fear […]

Couple convicted in "satanic day care" case exonerated

Nearly 25 years after being convicted of sexually abusing children at their home day care facility, a Texas couple has been fully exonerated. The Travis County District Attorney filed papers to declare Dan and Fran Keller “actually innocent, which will allow them for collect payment from the state for their wrongful conviction.Jordan Smith writes about […]

How a Texas legislator’s comments helped fuel harsh sex offender laws

The Austin American-Statesman looks at how a statement by one state legislator nearly 20 years ago helped fuel today’s draconian sex offender laws across the country. July 1997: State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, a former schoolteacher and proponent of the state’s strict 1995 Ashley’s Laws for sex offenders, attends a conference in Bellevue, Wash., about sex […]