The Deason Center applies a Stats and Stories approach to reform. Our expertise includes the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, the exercise of prosecutorial charging discretion, and the operation of small, tribal, and rural (STAR) criminal legal systems. An emphasis on early-stage criminal process and a commitment to building justice reform communities are hallmarks of our work.


Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is at the heart of the Center's expertise. We study public defense and appointed counsel systems, and advocate for best practices in the delivery of this fundamental right.

Early-Stage Criminal Procedure

Because the earliest stages of the criminal process may be the most important determinants of case outcomes, our work focuses on initial appearance procedures and the screening and charging process.

Prosecutorial Discretion

With their discretionary power to screen and charge criminal cases, prosecutors wield extraordinary influence on the criminal legal system. Our research helps define best practices in this critical work.

Pandemic Policy Responses

Pandemic Policy volunteers from across the nation are tracking local criminal legal responses to Covid-19. The resulting pandemic policy database will help experts plan for future crises.

STAR Criminal Justice

We study the operation of small, tribal, and rural (STAR) criminal legal systems. We also support a network of STAR justice stakeholders and drive national reform conversations about STAR communities.

Building CJR Connections

With engaging programming for lawyers and lay people, the Deason Center builds the powerful partnerships and strong communities that are necessary to changing the criminal legal system.