The Texas Fair Defense Project's mission is to fight to end the criminalization of poverty in Texas. We envision a system of justice that upholds the dignity and civil rights of all people, regardless of income, race, or gender.
Through litigation, policy advocacy, and community lawyering we aim to disentangle people and communities from the criminal legal system and hold system actors accountable. As an anti-racist organization, we recognize the criminal legal system systematically targets Black people and other people of color, causing irreparable and intergenerational harm. We are committed to assisting and empowering impacted people and communities, working side by side to dismantle the current system so healthy communities can take hold in its place.
- We are stronger together than alone.
- We are nimble and intentional in our approaches to our work.
- We believe people are experts in their own lives and we intentionally make space and center their voices in our work.
- We are committed to being anti-racist and anti-classist within our organization and in our work.
- We are accountable to communities we serve and strive to create an environment conducive to growth and productive conflict.
Our client population is disproportionately targeted by the criminal legal system simply because they cannot afford access to justice. These are people who cannot afford to hire an attorney in their criminal case, cannot purchase their freedom through cash bail, have had their driver licenses revoked because they could not pay ticket and related debt, or who are held in jail for failing to pay court debt they cannot afford. They are disproportionately people of color, and are caught in a cycle of poverty, debt and criminal justice involvement because they lack the financial resources to break that cycle.
We provide limited legal services to help people resolve ticket and related debt so they can get their driver licenses back, clear warrants and avoid jail time. We also use local and legislative advocacy, impact litigation, and public education.