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Imagine spending 23 hours each day alone in a 6-by-9-foot space. Crowd into it a toilet-sink combo, rusty iron set of bunk beds and overhead lockers, layers of peeling paint in multiple colors, showing the years of neglect, black mold, roaches, rats, along with spiders and bugs I can’t even identify – then you’ll have some idea of what home looks like to many people here in Texas’ Eastham Unit.
For the past four years, community activists and civil rights leaders in the Houston area have been fighting hard to establish a civilian review board with prosecutorial power over local police. The board would oversee the activities of a Houston Police Department (HPD) which has had a “love affair” with the use of excessive and lethal force on Houstonians. The problem with HPD is much larger than it appears and affects everyone in Houston.