Fresh Start Resource Fair

To be announced.

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BAYOU City Community Court

BAYOU City Community Court is a restorative justice umbrella initiative developed by the Harris County Criminal Courts at Law to encompass their efforts related to compassionate justice and community empowerment. BAYOU serves as an acronym for the judges’ mission — Bringing Assistance to You with Outreach and Understanding.

The initiative builds upon the judges’ restorative approach to criminal justice, which aims to identify and address root causes of crime, hopefully breaking the cycle of incarceration and making the community safer in the process.

The work of the community court — which includes all 16 Harris County misdemeanor court judges — focuses on rehabilitative justice, as well as community education, outreach, and service.

Fresh Start

The inaugural program offered under community court is Fresh Start, a second-chance program that aims to help eligible individuals seal their criminal records after successfully completing deferred adjudication for select non-violent misdemeanor offenses.

Under Fresh Start, judges grant orders of non-disclosure to individuals who qualify for them under state law. With the order, the charge doesn’t have to be disclosed publically — on job applications, for example — but can still be viewed by criminal justice agencies.

The program aims to make it easier for low-level offenders to course correct and change their path after experiences with the criminal justice system. It’s offered in partnership with Harris County’s Community Supervision and Corrections Department and Public Defender’s Office.

Fresh Start is held regularly at rotating locations throughout Harris County. Held in conjunction with a community resource fair, the program features judicial remarks and the signing of orders of nondisclosure for select individuals who have been pre-screened to verify eligibility.

To be considered for participation, sign up at one of the monthly Resource Fairs.

Community Resources Fairs

Community resource fairs are free and open to the public. Held monthly in conjunction with the Fresh Start program, the fairs are designed to help connect community members with various community services and programs, such as adult education and workforce training and placement programs, counseling and coaching, job readiness and career development, and health-related services.