Our Reports

TFDP monitors court practices in Texas and studies national developments related to the rights of poor people accused of criminal offenses. We publish reports concerning our research and recommend steps state and local officials can take to improve Texas’s criminal system.
Driven by Debt

This report issued by Texas Fair Defense Project and Texas Appleseed shows how driver license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees hurt Texas families.

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Benefits of a Public Defender Office: Increasing Accountability and Effectiveness in Harris County's Indigent Defense System

This white paper argues that creation of a public defender office not only will enable Harris County to more effectively evaluate the quality of publicly-funded legal services, but also is likely to improve the quality of those services. A public defender office will provide safeguards against excessive workloads, access to investigative and support staff resources that are comparable to those enjoyed by the prosecution, and training and peer support to new and experienced defenders alike.

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The Way Forward: Recommendations for Improving Indigent Defense in Texas on the 50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright

This report outlines several areas in which Texas is failing to meet Gideon’s requirements and to ensure that every poor person who is accused of a crime has a lawyer with the time and resources necessary to provide an adequate defense.

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Depenalizing Poverty: A Proposal for Improving Harris County Bail Policies

This report details how Harris County’s reliance on bail schedules, limited use of personal bonds, and practice of conducting bail hearings without the participation of defense counsel lead to the unnecessary pretrial detention of poor people solely because they cannot afford financial bail.

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Strengthening Juvenile Defense Representation by Partnering with Social Workers: A Holistic Approach

This report provides an introduction to the role social workers can play in holistic representation, with a focus on juvenile defense.

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Pay or Stay: The High Cost of Jailing Texans for Fines and Fees

This joint report from Texas Fair Defense Project and Texas Appleseed details how tens of thousands of Texans are spending time in jail for non-jailable offenses.

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Driven by Debt: Dallas

This report issued by Texas Fair Defense Project and Texas Appleseed details driver license holds issued by Dallas area courts and the impacts of these holds on low-income Dallas area residents. It recommends ways to end the punishment of poverty through driver license holds.

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Because poverty is not a crime.

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