Margaret is ensuring that Travis County’s criminal justice system adopts reforms to treat young people and those with substance abuse issues progressively. She believes that substance abuse should be handled as a public health issue and not a criminal justice burden.
To fight mass incarceration, District Attorney Margaret Moore has:
• Increased the use of diversion for drug cases.
• Expanded diversion opportunities for first-time and youthful offenders.
• Reduced the number of people being incarcerated for felony offenses in order to stop mass incarceration.
Margaret is leading efforts to ensure that no one stays in jail in Travis County just because they are poor. She knows that the only people who should be in our jail are those who are a threat to our safety or who have a high risk of failing to appear for court proceedings. Margaret has long stood for and supported Travis County’s commitment to the use of personal recognizance releases instead of forcing folks to resort to cash bail. Counties all over Texas look to Travis County as the model for ending cash bail.
During COVID-19, she collaborated with the Travis County Sheriff and County Attorney David Escamilla to significantly reduce the jail population, through measures such as the entry of standing orders that grant automatic personal bond to individuals charged with non-violent offenses and that temporarily suspend warrants for those offenses, and by focusing all our court proceedings on jail cases to resolve them as quickly as possible.
As District Attorney, Margaret Moore personally oversees officer involved shooting reviews. She established a Civil Rights Division that conducts independent investigations of officer-involved shootings and serious non-lethal use-of-force incidents. Plus, she created a Civil Rights Advisory Council that includes members from across our diverse community and to give feedback on the actions of the Civil Rights Division and other matters regarding criminal justice reform. Finally, the new Civil Rights Division has a Conviction Integrity Unit that reviews possible cases of wrongful conviction.
Under Moore’s leadership, the District Attorney’s Office now has an Adult Sexual Assault Unit, which has devoted more dedicated resources — prosecutors, an investigator, two victim counselors — to assist with these important cases.
Since the unit was created:
• Pleas and convictions for sexual assault cases have increased by 114%.
• More cases have been received from law enforcement, more indictments have been returned, and more cases have proceeded to pleas or findings of guilt.
• The number of jury trials for these cases has increased dramatically
Margaret created a Family Violence Unit with dedicated domestic violence prosecutors. Now every single district court has a domestic violence prosecutor. The Family Violence Unit has handled over 3,500 cases and has given survivors a voice.