The Texas Youth Commission referred more than 6,600 cases of abuse and neglect to law enforcement authorities during the past six years, but only 18 cases have been prosecuted, the Houston Chronicle reports. Data highlight what advocates for juvenile offenders have said since the commission sex scandal erupted more than a week ago: The failure to protect juveniles from abuse extends beyond the jailers. “This speaks to the need for independent oversight,” said Isela Gutierrez of the Texas Coalition Advocating Justice for Juveniles.
A commission spokesman said cases of abuse and neglect can range from a love note from a corrections officer to a student to injury of a child who has to be restrained to an actual sex act between a staff member and student. Gov. Rick Perry called on legislators to empower the attorney general to step in and work with the local county or district attorney to prosecute commission cases; to bring in special prosecutors with the adult prison system to prosecute cases; and to create a new inspector general with greater authority who could act independently of the commission’s bureaucracy.