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TEXAS DEFENDER SERVICE

Leading the fight to end excessive punishment in Texas since 1995.

Photo by Patrick Patterson

Thank You to Everyone Who Supported our Light of Justice Luncheon!
Thank You to Everyone Who Supported our Light of Justice Luncheon!

Dear Supporters, Thank you to everyone who joined us at our inspiring and energizing 2022 Light of Justice Luncheon on October 13th. Those of us in the room were from many walks of life: business leaders and community organizers, public defenders and seasoned law-firm partners, doctors and law professors, people directly impacted by incarceration and people […]

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TEXAS DEFENDER SERVICE

Leading the fight to end excessive punishment in Texas since 1995.

Photo credit: Meralta Films/Rafael Roy

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TEXAS DEFENDER SERVICE

Leading the fight to end excessive punishment in Texas since 1995.

TDS 2022

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TEXAS DEFENDER SERVICE

Leading the fight to end excessive punishment in Texas since 1995.

Photo by Patrick Patterson

TDSBanner6

TEXAS DEFENDER SERVICE

Leading the fight to end excessive punishment in Texas since 1995.

Photo by Patrick Patterson

Our Mission

We fight for the end of mass incarceration and excessive punishment in Texas through direct representation, policy reform, and public education.

We stand up for the dignity and humanity of people harmed by mass incarceration, and advocate for a reimagined criminal-legal system that is just, humane, and free from racism and cruelty.

Photo by Patrick Patterson

Direct Representation

We represent people imprisoned in Texas because of extreme punishments - from the death penalty to life sentences for third-degree felonies. 

We fight for our clients’ right to a second chance, focusing on cases that highlight how excessive punishments fuel mass incarceration, perpetrate injustice, and fail to serve public safety.

Policy Reform

We advocate for local and state-wide reforms that will end excessive punishment and shrink mass incarceration in the Lone Star State.

We fight for Second Look legislation that would give people in prison a second chance; advocate for humane prosecutorial sentencing practices; and push for transformation of Texas’s system of parole, clemency, and compassionate release.

Public Education

Through storytelling about our clients’ experiences, we educate the public about how excessive sentences are cruel, extreme, and unnecessary.

We make visible the damage that mass incarceration wreaks, so often hidden from the public eye. Shifting the narrative about those impacted by mass incarceration, we teach Texans about the vital importance of compassion and second chances.

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Our History

Texas Defender Service has led the fight to end the death penalty in the Lone Star State for over twenty years. Founded in 1995, Texas Defender Service has argued – and won – five cases before the United States Supreme Court; achieved countless victories for clients who faced the death penalty because of their mental illness, intellectual disability, or race; and won innumerable legislative reforms to protect Texans facing the death penalty and other extreme punishments. Since 2018 alone, TDS has gotten prosecutors to drop capital charges against 25 of our clients. TDS has driven down new executions – from their startling height of 40 in 2000 – to just a trickle today. In 2022, we expanded our mission to battle other excessive punishments in Texas.

Ways You Can Support Texas Defender Service

Financial Support

Your support empowers Texas Defender Service to end excessive punishment in the Lone Star State.

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