About This Project
The Impetus: The John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies
The John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, housed withing Southern Methodist University's Dedman college of Humanities and Sciences, is a non-partisan academic center that seeks to bring political theory and practice together by sponsoring research and researchers. One of the jewels of the Tower Center is the Tower Scholar program, which is a selective minor in Public Policy and International Affairs that students can apply for their first year at SMU. Once selected, each year's cohort of Tower Scholars participates in one class each semester together, with the focus of these classes ranging from grand strategy to AI. The culminating experience of this minor is the senior practicum, in which each senior Tower Scholar is placed with a local organization relevant to that scholar's policy interests. The senior's fall semester is spent working with this organization, which provides the Tower Scholar both with experience working in the real world of policy, and a venue in which to do independent research.
The Placement: The Lone Star Policy Institute
The Lone Star Policy Institute is a new think-tank that focuses on local Texas issues, with a specific interest in the expansion of personal freedoms through public policy. For the fall 2018 semester, LSPI took on three Tower Scholars for independent research projects: one on the comparative ease of doing business in Texas cities, one on comparative analysis of Texas city spending, and one on comparative analysis of Texas District Attorneys.
The Author: Destiny Rose Murphy
At the time this website was initially published, Destiny Rose Murphy was a senior at SMU finishing up her triple major in Political Science, Philosophy, and English, with a Human Rights minor as well as the Tower Scholar minor in Public Policy and International Affairs. Destiny Rose's interests lie at the intersection of criminal law philosophy and public policy, with a special focus on theories of punishment. She hopes to continue updating this website in the future to maintain it as an open resources for all, and to practice her coding and research skills.
The Final Product
Although this website is the product of specific research, it is also designed to serve as a public resource for those interested in Texas' criminal justice system. As such, you can either treat this website as a digital academic paper, or an extension of DA office record keeping. If you're interested in the data and analysis displayed in this website then head over to the Methodology and Findings pages, where you'll find a complete description of how this website came to be and what the research that produced it eventually unearthed. If you would prefer to just learn a few fun facts about your county, then check out the Find Your County page. Be sure to come back later for new data and features, including a comparative tool to let you see the differences between two counties side by side!