The Clinic researched the capital punishment system in Texas, publishing a report detailing the chronic overuse of solitary confinement on Texas’ death rows by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC). The report, titled “Designed to Break You: Human Rights Violations on Texas’ Death Rows,” details how TDCJ’s practice of holding prisoners in mandatory solitary confinement from 22 to 24 hours a day, often for decades on end, violates the Constitutional rights of those prisoners and contravenes well-established international standards of human rights.
Human Rights Clinic
The Human Rights Clinic brings together an interdisciplinary group of law and graduate students in a course that incorporates both classroom study and hands-on participation in human rights projects and cases.
Cases and Projects
The Human Rights Clinic partnered with the Public Interest Clinic at University of Palermo Law School to advocate on behalf of prison guards who want to form a union in the province of Córdoba. Such guards have petitioned the Inter-American Commission about their grievances. During the spring semester of 2016 Clinic students traveled to Washington DC to appear before the IACHR and submitted a brief which summarized the guards’ petition and argued in favor of expediting that petition.
Since 2007, at least fourteen inmates incarcerated in various TDCJ facilities across the state of Texas have died from extreme heat exposure while imprisoned. TDCJ inmates and many TDCJ personnel are exposed to dangerously high heat levels on a regular basis. This practice violates individuals’ human rights, particularly the rights to health, life, physical integrity, and dignity.
- Reckless Indifference, April 2015 (PDF)
- Reckless Indifference Press Release, April 2, 2015 (PDF)
- Deadly Heat in Texas Prisons, April 2014 (PDF)
- Heat in Prisons Press Release, April 22, 2014 (PDF)
- Heat in TX Press Release on IACHR Hearing, September 29, 2014 (PDF)
- Shadow Report: Deadly Heat on U.S. (Texas) Prisons (PDF)