Criminal Justice

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Texas Matters: A court has ruled that privately-run jails are, in effect, governmental bodies when it comes to Texas open records law, so what will be uncovered from the new level of transparency that these institutions must follow? Will the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association be ready to pay out in the event of a destructive hurricane? Also on this show: Whooping crane populations along the coast and a new ocelot kitten in South Texas.

Privately-run jails must now open up records

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In US prisons 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement every year, spending more than 22 hours completely alone. It's expensive, its effectiveness is questionable and a growing body of work shows it exacerbates mental health issues. In addition to exacerbating mental health issues already present, there is substantial research showing it causes mental health problems. 

St. Mary's University

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has changed the method for notifying victims of violent crime if their attacker has violated parole.

Karin Richmond is a former lobbyist, both in Austin and in Washington, D.C.. In 1983, while in her hotel room in Austin, Richmond was brutally stabbed more than a dozen times, her nose cut off, and blinded by her attacker, an employee of the hotel.

“He was imprisoned for a sentence of 90 years which came to 30 years and now he’s been released on parole with a GPS monitoring bracelet," Richmond said. 

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In the first segment:

The United States internet service providers are charging more money for less broadband access according to a report from the New America Foundation. Can the country continue to foster innovation as the country falls behind in access?

A longtime medical examiner for Bexar County has been appointed to the newly-formed National Commission on Forensic Science.

The commission, which meets for the first time in February, was created last year to establish national standards to help assure the scientific value and accuracy of evidence in criminal cases and investigations.

Dr. Vincent DiMaio of San Antonio, who is now a consultant, said lawmakers and the president became interested in standardizing evidence after DNA evidence began to disprove convictions.

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