Racial Equity Statement

Justice is often defined by words like equality and fairness. But the way most people enter the criminal legal system and the treatment they receive is all but just. Systemic racism has tilted the scales of justice against communities of color. This imbalance demands acknowledgement and reckoning of a system that has advantaged some and disadvantaged others.

Since inception, the Lone Star Justice Alliance has challenged the inequities that disproportionately impact people of color in the legal system. Data shows that in the United States, Black and Latinx populations are overrepresented in the prison population. While all human lives should be valued, our country’s history and current policies produce outcomes that tell us they are not.

To effectively drive system change, racial equity is integrated into the fabric of our organization as well as our theory of change.

We are committed to challenging the policies and practices that produce disparate outcomes to establish a system where each person can receive equal justice under the law.

Core Values

We are client centered
When in doubt about what direction to take, we always prioritize our clients and their needs. Harder said than done, this lodestone makes sure that we act with authenticity and integrity at all times. We also believe that those closest to the problems are closest to the solutions, and we collaborate with our clients as partners in their cases.
We are truth tellers

We speak hard truths, including that our criminal justice system has roots in racial oppression. Only through dismantling and rebuilding the system can we hope to bring about racial equity, increase public safety, and create opportunities for our entire community.

We give grace
We believe, as Bryan Stevenson has said, that “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done [or said].” Only together can we rise above the failures of our past and present.
We are innovators

We are entrepreneurs who incubate change by developing and piloting innovative programs focused on criminal and juvenile legal reform. We do this with a focus on scalability and impact.

We hold people accountable (including ourselves)

While we give grace, we believe people should be held accountable– our clients, ourselves, and systems. The foundation of accountability is honesty rooted in self-awareness. Just as our clients must be honest with themselves if they are going to achieve change, we evaluate our performance and programs objectively and critically and make changes when they are warranted. We do the same with systems and system actors.

We act with a fierce urgency of now
Martin Luther King told us to act with a fierce urgency of now because “In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. There is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” We are action-driven, results-oriented, and drivers of change.

Core Goals

1. Reduce the number of children entering or serving time in the Texas adult system by 25%.
2. Achieve clemency for survivors of human trafficking and interpersonal violence
Achieve clemency for survivors of human trafficking and interpersonal violence served by LSJA and end the incarceration of children in Texas whose crimes were a direct result of, or incident to, human trafficking, intimate partner violence, or their abuser.
3. Reduce the average number of years spent in prison
Reduce the average number of years spent in prison by those directly impacted by LSJA’s litigation, policy, and advocacy efforts.
4. Reduce recidivism among youth and emerging adults
Reduce recidivism among youth and emerging adults participating in LSJA’s Transformative Justice programs from 75% to 40%
5. Improve social determinants of health
Improve social determinants of health – particularly health, mental health, and employment – for youth and emerging adults participating in LSJA’s Transformative Justice programs

Core Strategies

Data Driven

We use data-driven research and evidence-based practices to guide decision-making. We translate research into practice and practice into research to inform programmatic decisions, policy agendas, and future organizational development. We compare our outcomes to established baseline thresholds from the existing criminal and juvenile legal systems and our peer organizations. Our service delivery is one of a kind and serves as the foundation for current research in the field of developmentally-appropriate responses to behavior in the juvenile system.

Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration

We reduce the silos that prevent whole-person intervention strategies by engaging a multidisciplinary strategy toward addressing our goals. We use experts in multiple fields to develop solutions, create new systems, and support clients in individual cases.

Individualized Approach

We courageously challenge the status quo in defense of personal dignity and equity. Our approach to services considers the individual and structural circumstances of each of our clients to ensure fair, just, and equitable outcomes tailored to meet their needs. We serve all clients with unconditional positive regard and engage with them in a spirit of collaboration. We recognize that while we work at a macro level to change unjust systems, we must also ensure that those currently trapped within and those affected by this system receive the appropriate services and supports necessary to receive justice as well.

Depth of Experience

We establish and maintain credibility due to a staff made up of current subject-matter experts. LSJA staff is composed of experts, who have demonstrated impact and innovations in cross-sector disciplines. This expertise allows LSJA’s staff to innovate by combining their prior experiences with evidence-based practices to yield best-in-class programs and assure systemic impact to address Texas’ most challenging problems. Many of LSJA’s staff are either themselves directly impacted by the legal systems, have families who are, or are survivors of crime themselves. LSJA subscribes to the notion that those who are closest to the problem are often closest to the solution.

Systems Approach

We operate as a state-level organization with national-scale policy influence to reimagine responses to behavior. Each of LSJA’s programs is designed to address critical failures in the criminal and juvenile legal systems and to innovate new approaches for systemic change. LSJA as an organization engages in the “big bets,” investing in programs that create systemic change, and yet are scalable. These innovations are not without risk, but LSJA constantly asks, “if not us, then who?” We choose to innovate by taking appropriate risks rather than accepting the status quo.