On Wednesday, Judge Troy Braswell announced his candidacy for re-election to the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court, Second Division.
Judge Braswell was first elected to the same position in 2014 and was sworn in on Jan. 1, 2015. He is currently in the fifth year of a six-year term.
As the juvenile court judge, Judge Braswell has reinvigorated the juvenile court by focusing on community partnerships to help at-risk youth. He currently serves as the chair of the Youth Justice Reform Board and is a member of the Supreme Court Commission on Youth and Families, and the Arkansas Specialty Court Committee.
Judge Braswell is an advocate for using an assessment tool aimed at smarter sentencing of juveniles. During his time on the bench, there has been a 57% reduction in the confinement of juveniles in the local jail, a 42% reduction in commitments to the Division of Youth Services, the state's most secure confinement, and a 35% reduction in delinquency cases filed by the prosecuting attorney in Faulkner County.
"This is not about being soft on juveniles. This is about being smart," Braswell said. "We owe it to the community and to the families we serve to understand the individualized areas of risk and need that each youth has when the enter court. Then, we must be willing to implement programs and services aimed at true rehabilitation and decreasing recidivism."
Judge Braswell credits strong community partnerships as a major catalyst to juvenile justice reform in the district. The court has partnered with the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, United Way, Deliver Hope, First United Methodist Church of Conway, Counseling Associates, Community Services Inc., the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office, the Van Buren County Literacy Council, and countless other volunteers in the community.
During Judge Braswell's term, the Court has expanded the Juvenile Drug Court to serve youth in Van Buren County. Judge Braswell has also restored Teen Court and for the first time since its inception, included students from Van Buren County. Other programs include: Girl Scouts, Girls Book Club, Boxing Program, Paws for a Cause, Zumba, Self-Defense for Girls, summer academic camp, Growing Great Girls, Civil Rights Class, Financial Literacy Class, writing workshops, tutoring, Death Ethics and Pizza, Theatre Class, sewing and many others.
"We must continue to fight for our youth," Judge Braswell said. "This is our community and these are our kids. I am honored to serve as the juvenile court judge and I look forward to continuing my service as a circuit judge."
Judge Braswell and the juvenile court have won the following awards: Drug Court Judge of the Year (2016), UCA Service Learning Community Partner of the Year (2016), Girl Scouts Opening Doors Award (2017), Conway Morning Rotary Citizen of the Year (2018), Arkansas Mental Health in Education Association Advocate of the Year (2019).
Judge Braswell resides in Conway with his wife, Karla, and two children, Trey (7) and Mia (5).