WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Williamson County Transformative Justice (TJ) Program was awarded a $1 million grant from the United States Department of Justice.
The Transformative Justice Program is a court-supervised diversion program that provides counseling, substance abuse treatment and life skills education to 17 to 25 year olds who have been charged with non-violent felony offenses.
By addressing underlying issues that lead to criminal behavior, the program aims to improve health outcomes and reduce recidivism, or the likelihood to commit another crime, for offenders, according to a press release.
The program can take 10-18 months, and once completed, participants have the opportunity to get their charges dismissed and their records expunged. This can help ease their path into employment and housing opportunities.
“The TJ program is an example of how, going beyond the traditional prosecution approach, the justice system can make a positive impact on individuals and our community,” said Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick.
The grant will allow the program to continue and offset costs for several years to come.
Since launching in 2018, the program has had 69 participants. By May, the county hopes to increase that number to 140.
The County partnered with Texas A&M University to conduct research on the program’s effectiveness by tracking the outcomes of participants for up to five years.
As of now, the researchers said it is too soon to draw conclusions.