People arrested by the 16 law enforcement agencies in Travis County are generally booked into the Travis County jail. Black residents account for 24% of people booked into jail, but only 8% of Travis County’s adult population, which indicates a high level of disproportionate representation and a disproportionality ratio of 3.1. This level of disproportionality has been relatively constant over time.
The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the proportion of each racial and ethnic group booked into Travis County Jail by their representation in the county’s adult population. Disproportionality ratios are classified as follows: Comparable Representation (rates under 1.50), Moderate Disproportion (rates between 1.50-2.49), High Disproportion (rates between 2.50-3.49), and Extreme Disproportion (rates of 3.50 and over).
During the 2020-2021 school year, African-American students were over represented in Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (DAEP) removals by a factor of 2.6 in AISD. African-American students are disproportionately represented in DAEP placements. The number of DAEP removals decreased by more than 85% for each of the three racial/ethnic groups.
The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group removed from AISD classrooms to DAEP by their representation in the general student population.
Black children in Travis County are over represented among children who experience abuse or neglect. During Fiscal Year 2021, African-American children made up about 21% of confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect in Travis County, compared to about 8% of the total population under 18. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 2.6, indicating a moderate level of over-representation.
The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group’s confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect by their representation in the county’s child population.
Disproportionality among those who are experiencing homelessness reveals the greatest level of disproportionality found for any of the CAN Dashboard indicators. Blacks are disproportionately overrepresented among the 3,151 people counted through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). In 2021, the disproportionality ratio for Blacks was 4.6 which indicates an extreme disproportion of overrepresentation
Hispanics are highly overrepresented among adults with no high school diploma. In the five-year period from 2016 to 2020, people identifying as Hispanic or Latino accounted for about 74% of people with less than a high school diploma, but only about 29% of the total population over 25 years of age. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 2.6, indicating high disproportion.
African-Americans are moderately overrepresented among adults who are high school graduates, but have not gone on to pursue post-secondary education. In the five-year period from 2016 to 2020, people identifying as Black or African-American Alone made up about 15% of adults over 25 with a high school diploma (or equivalent), but about 8% of the total population aged 25 and over. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 1.9, indicating moderate disproportion.
The number of uninsured residents in Travis County decreased by more than 18,000 from 2019 to 2021. Hispanics continue to be uninsured at higher rates than other races or ethnicities, but the gap has narrowed. According to the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated 6.7% of the population in Travis County are undocumented immigrants, and 60% of those undocumented immigrants do not have health insurance. Overall, in Travis County Hispanics are uninsured at 3 times the rate of Whites. In 2021, people identifying as Hispanic or Latino accounted for over 60% of people under 65 lacking health insurance, but only 36% of the total population under 65. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 1.7, indicating a moderate level of disproportion.
CAN has worked with local leaders to facilitate dialogue on cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. In 2013, CAN developed the Cultural Competency, Diversity, and Inclusion Toolkit to connect local organizations with free resources to improve cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. CAN has also worked to host dialogues and trainings for local leaders on these issues. In 2015, CAN hosted four training sessions, specifically designed for senior staff from CAN’s 28 partner agencies. CAN also released results of a Language Access Survey and continues to convene meetings of local stakeholders to consider how they can collaborate and share resources to better meet the language needs of our community’s diversifying population.
Building Bridges: Brick by Brick is a steering committee created by former Sheriff Greg Hamilton and Rev. Mike Manor. The committee’s goal is to create meaningful and sustainable conversations between neighborhoods, churches, communities and law enforcement.
The Texas Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities, under the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was created in 2011 as a result of Senate Bill 501. The Center is using a comprehensive approach that cuts across systems to reduce disparate outcomes for vulnerable populations. The Center also provides free trainings in racial bias to communities and organizations.
Undoing Racism Austin brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to address issues of disproportionality and provide resources and training.
Changes to state law have limited the extent to which students may receive tickets for Class C misdemeanor offenses while on school grounds. Locally, school districts and law enforcement agencies have worked to implement this law and reduce the number of students ticketed while maintaining safe campuses. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition summarizes the changes that began for the 2013-2014 school year here. According to data reported by the Texas Office of Court Administration, in the first school year after implementation, courts across the state experienced an 83% drop in court filings for Class C misdemeanor violations that fall under the Education Code.
Austin Independent School District’s Cultural Proficiency and Inclusiveness department, part of the Department of Social and Emotional Learning, works to promote these principles within the district. The department provides professional learning opportunities for staff to enhance their ability to serve a diverse school community.
Local law enforcement entities have implemented multiple outreach strategies to work with minority youth in the community including utilizing school resource officers, Police Activity Leagues, Police Explorer programs, and prevention activities associated with the Joint Juvenile Gang Unit (Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Office and AISD).