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Diana Claitor Co-Founder & Communications Director

Diana Claitor has been a journalist and historical researcher for more than 30 years. Her articles have appeared in publications such as the Texas Observer; Current—for People in Public Media, the Austin Chronicle and the Austin American Statesman (AAS). Her op-ed pieces on jail issues have been published in the AAS, the Waco Tribune and the Dallas Morning News.

She has covered subjects such as maternal incarceration with her groundbreaking “Baby Steps,” a story about BAMBI, the Babies and Mothers Bonding Initiative, in a TDCJ facility in Houston. With well-known journalist Lou DuBose, she co-authored a story that examined experiences of Central American refugees in a privatized detention facility in 1987. Her profile of Texas activist-author (and co-founder of TJP) Diane Wilson appeared in Hope magazine in 2003. Claitor worked as an information specialist at PBS in Washington, D.C. In Austin, she has worked as a proxy researcher at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, contributing both textual and photographic research to books and films. She continues to do research and editing for Wexford Publishing about the history of Texas’ Coastal Bend, including research in Ireland on the colonists who emigrated from there to Texas. In addition, she has tutored and taught classes in writing at Austin Community College; her essay, “A Day in the Life of a Part-time Teacher,” has appeared in two anthologies.

In 2006, she co-founded the nonprofit Texas Jail Project (TJP) with three other women. As the executive director of the only county jail specific advocacy organization in Texas for the past 11 years, she has answered thousands of emails and calls from families across the state and continues to update an innovative website — texasjailproject.org —that provides help and information to families and friends of the approximately 65,000 inmates in Texas county jails on any given day. Under her leadership in 2016, TJP launched Jailhouse Stories: Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas, a website collection of first-hand accounts of what happens to people and families as a result of incarceration in county jails prior to conviction. She has successfully supported four bills reforming treatment of pregnant women in county jails, and contributed to others, including one prohibiting nighttime releases of people from county jails and others improving care of incarcerated people who are experiencing mental illness.

Claitor is routinely contacted by state and national media outlets as a source and speaks on panels such as the panel on “PreventableTragedies: How to Reduce Mental Health-Related Deaths in Texas Jails,” at the UT School of Law; and in 2019, she spoke about treatment of pregnant women in county jails at a Texas Women’s University symposium in Denton.