Options for Justice was founded in 1994 in partnership with the St. Louis County SB40 funding board. It had become evident that the number of people who were becoming involved in the justice system who had a developmental disability was on the rise. There were no programs in St. Louis County, or anywhere in the St. Louis area, that had the resources and training to support these individuals.
It is easy to dismiss people involved in the justice system. “It is their own fault, and it is the consequence of bad choices.” It is easy to ignore this issue, but often there is more to the story…. For those individuals with developmental disabilities, interactions with law enforcement and the legal system are scary and confusing. Often, people do not know how they got into trouble in the first place, they don’t know or understand their rights, and they do not have the knowledge or ability to connect to available resources. They do not know what will happen next.
Consequently, Options for Justice was created. Frequently, Options for Justice can be the difference between a person’s success or harsher sentences and new criminal charges.
Within the second year of its creation, Options for Justice became a standalone non-profit organization and quickly began expanding programs in surrounding areas.
Since services began in 1994, Options for Justice has tried to respond to the needs of the community and the individuals served, offering training and education along with individualized services and supports to promote success. We carefully follow state, national, and international trends to ensure that our organization has updated information and tools to keep up with the constantly changing needs and demands of this unique population. We are always learning, growing, and evolving as an organization and could not be prouder of the organization we are today. We are excited about our future and our ability to positively impact individuals who have a developmental disability and who find themselves involved in the justice system.