TPCA is very proud of the summer Cooling Towel donation campaign. Thanks to our fabulous members, 1500 cooling towels were donated this past summer (2022).
During the last legislative session (87th), TPCA worked with legislators to create HB 1971, which passed the Texas House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 123 to 18. It was not heard by the Senate, but we are very encouraged to see such overwhelming support from the house and will continue to press on until a heat bill is passed.
This last summer was full of fun and sweat at our Beat the Heat Events in Waxahachie and at A&M College Station and St. Mary's University San Antonio. We had a great time educating the public with our banner exhibit and panel discussions and showing just how hot it is in Texas prisons with visits to the heated Mock Cell.
TPCA continues to partner with FAMM on the #VisitAPrison Challenge to encourage our legislators to show up unannounced, talk to population members, and find out what is really going on in their district's prisons. We have received news that several Texas legislators have visited, and we hope to encourage more to go #VisitAPrison.
So far this year (2022), TPCA has received over 900 pieces of mail from population members. The incarcerated mediator team has been hard at work, responding to and facilitating the help that people need, and they will continue to serve the needs of the incarcerated.
TPCA mails out a newsletter quarterly, pending funding. Our current mailing list stands at about 1300 people. Included in the most recent newsletter are op-eds from incarcerated persons, general updates from our Director of Family Mediators and our Director of Incarcerated Persons Mediators, a feature on another advocacy organization, and a general survey that will give incarcerated people the opportunity to inform us about what they need, changes they see that are important, and programs and educational opportunities that they believe are helpful for their future success. Our past newsletters have included heat surveys and Covid 19 surveys and have been used to create reports with our academic partners.
TPCA has been blessed to work in partnership with some GREAT people in the academic world. We have continued to work with Dr. Carlee Purdum and Dr. Benika Dixon of Texas A&M, crunching the data and co-authoring the Extreme Heat and Covid-19 in Texas Prisons report. We also connected with some research professors at the University of Boulder, Colorado, and together have created the CIRCol Collective, which includes another community partner Rev. Sharon White-Harrigan from New York. Dr. Dominick also co-authored a report with Dr. Julianne Skarah called Provision of Air Conditioning and Heat-Related Mortality in Texas Prisons which found that "an average of 14 deaths per year between 2001 to 2019 were associated with heat in Texas prisons without AC vs no deaths associated with heat in prisons with AC."