Criminal Justice Reform

The URRC declared 2019 as the Year of Criminal Justice Reform. Armed with a growing number of community partners the URRC launched the year with a criminal justice reform symposium that brought together experts in the field of criminal justice as well as community activists and Houstonians who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.

During the year, the Center and its partners will work to engage the broader community as we seek to find viable sustainable solutions to the problems and failures of the criminal justice system.  In addition to 2019 as the Year of Criminal Justice Reform, the Center is engaged in various criminal justice initiatives including

  1. Smart Justice, a collaborative with the ACLU-Texas
  2. Humane Investigation Project, a collaborative with Brass facts, Harris County DA Conviction Integrity Division, the Innocence Project of Texas and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law’s Experiential Learning Program
  3. The DNA Project, a collaborative with the Earl Carl Institute, Brass facts

Additionally, the URRC works closely with the Barbara Jordan Policy Institute at Texas Southern University to conduct research on criminal justice.  The Center is working with Dr. Ashraf Mozayani and the university’s forensic sciences division of the administration of justice department of the Barbara Jordan Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs to review Harris County criminal case files to determine how effectively forensic science is used in the criminal justice system.

Criminal Justice Collaborators


Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development, Inc.

Black Girls Initiative

Blodgett Urban Gardens

Brass Facts, formerly Anthony Graves Foundation

Change Happens

Earl Carl Institute

Greater Zion Baptist Church

Harris County Precinct One—Rodney Ellis Commissioner

Harris County Racial & Ethnic Disparities Committee

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Pan African Orthodox Christian Church

Re-Ward Third Ward, Inc.

S.H.A.P.E. Community Center

Safety and Justice Challenge


St Paul Missionary Baptist Church

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Texas Southern University