Travis County (Austin) is the state’s fifth-largest driver of people into state prison and home of the state’s fifth-largest county jail population. Drug possession is a large driver of local incarceration, with felony drug possession cases increasing by 34% from 2014 to 2019. The local treatment infrastructure has been insufficient to address the high need for services.
While TCJE does not have a staff person dedicated exclusively to working in Travis County, our Austin-based staff have been participating in local advocacy since 2016. Our work, in strong partnership with other advocates on the ground, has been incrementally paving the way for pre-arrest and pretrial reforms that will improve people’s access to treatment and programming, reduce the number of people entering incarceration, and make Travis County safer.