The Travis County District Attorney (DA) is at the forefront of efforts to dismantle our nation’s endemic over-reliance on incarceration and reimagine and reconceptualize local systems of justice permanently. In just the last few months, the County and DA have worked to bring the jail population down by about 300 people (about 20%); establish an immediate case review system to ensure that cases are not brought when there is not probable cause; and significantly expanded diversion eligibility. The DA has also prioritized restoring trust in the Office, delivering and unveiling innovative public safety reforms that emphasize making communities safer by investing in support services outside of the carceral system – such as restorative justice programs.
Driven by this mission, the DA has designed a robust restorative justice pilot program for juveniles, allowing youth to resolve their offenses outside of the formal carceral system while enabling the community to reclaim their children and their neighborhoods. FUSE and Travis County’s partnership is two-fold: first FUSE will implement this pilot program; then FUSE will work to sustain and scale the program, recommending a model for how restorative justice can also address domestic violence and other interpersonal crimes. In concert with the DA, FUSE will play a critical role in propelling these cutting-edge criminal justice reforms forward.