Diana Claitor has been a journalist and historical researcher for more than 30 years. As a proxy researcher at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, she has contributed both textual and photographic research to books and films on President Johnson; Ladybird Johnson; and the legendary anti-war priests the Berrigan Brothers; Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the major leagues of baseball; and legendary newsman Walter Cronkite. She has done extensive research for small presses and books on the histories of San Antonio, the Coastal Bend Region of Texas, and the early Irish colonies before the Texas revolution. She has worked as an information specialist at PBS and as an instructor; her essay on teaching at Austin Community College, “A Day in the Life of a Part-time Teacher,” has appeared in two anthologies. She is currently working on her second novel.
In 2006, she co-founded the nonprofit Texas Jail Project (TJP). As the executive director of the only county jail specific advocacy organization in Texas for the past 10 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 the county jails of Texas. In addition, 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 three bills reforming treatment of pregnant women in county jails, and worked on others, including one prohibiting night time releases of people from county jails and another that would limit the use of solitary confinement of people experiencing mental illness. Claitor is routinely contacted by state and national media outlets as a source and speaks on panels such as the January 31st noonday panel on the publication of “Preventable Tragedies: How to Reduce Mental Health-Related Deaths in Texas Jails,” at the UT School of Law.