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Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Reports Success of Juvenile Justice Reforms

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A report by a state coalition shows changes following reforms to the Texas juvenile justice system.

The report released Wednesday by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition includes in-depth information regarding juvenile justice centers and organizations.

The Texas Legislature enacted sweeping reforms in 2011 to help keep youth in their home counties, as opposed to state lockups. Research shows that rehabilitation has a higher success rate when delinquent youth receive treatment in their community.

Lubbock County has 23,317 residents between the ages of 10 and 16, and 810 youth have been referred to the juvenile justice system. Of those, 399 had past traumatic experiences, and 266 have been diagnosed with mental illness.

Of those referred, 494 were not adjudicated, 193 were adjudicated to probation, 51 were put in secure placement, 22 were committed to state secure facilities, and 4 were certified as adults.

Prior to adjudication, it costs the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center $95 per day per youth, and the average daily population of youth is 39 prior to their adjudication, with a 17-day average stay. Forty-two youth annually are physically restrained before adjudication, and the report found that there are 4 annual injuries.

Following adjudication, the cost per day for youth stays the same, and the average daily population is 19, with an average stay of 164 days. Seventy-seven youth are physically restrained annually post-adjudication, and the Center reports no serious post-adjudication injuries.

“The great thing is, the successful programs we identified in this report are county-developed and county-approved,” said TCJC Executive Director Dr. Ana-Yañez Correa. “Which means that other communities can replicate them and know they can survive the real-world constraints that juvenile departments face.”

A copy of the entire report “Community Solutions for Youth in Trouble” is available here.

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