80 Texas judges take part in local poverty simulation

Texas judges take part in poverty simulation (KXAN Photo)
Texas judges take part in poverty simulation (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A simulation has local judges taking on the role of a person living in poverty.

About 80 Texas judges are getting to explore the intersection of poverty and criminal justice in South Austin. The workshop put on by the Texas Justice Court Training Center includes a role-playing exercise where they experience a “day in the life” of a person who gets involved in a court matter.

“Sometimes, those people just don’t have the money to pay for services,” Judge Bill Gravell, Williamson County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3, said. “There are two sides to every story. We should hold people accountable but be compassionate in how we administer that justice. It’s smart for Texas.”

More than 17 percent of Texans are below the poverty line, making it a major issue for courts.

One example the simulation proposes is making someone do community service if they can’t pay a fee. The course wraps up Tuesday.

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