Texas Youth Commission officials are segregating lockups across the state by gender for the first time in more than a decade, says the Austin American-Statesman. The two-unit Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex – which has housed both boys and girls since at least 1995 – will soon house only girls. The co-ed Giddings State School is being converted to house only boys. As of early this month, 395 of the 3,300 youths in Youth Commission lockups were girls; 17 girls were among 240 youths in halfway houses; 41 were among about 425 youths in contract centers; and only 330 were among the 3,600 on parole.
The American Civil Liberties Union has urged that girls in the custody of the Youth Commission be provided specialized programs and that a new high-level administrator will serve as an official advocate for girls. The commission is conducting research on priorities needed to house girls in youth lockups. Youth “Girls who are in TYC custody need, but are not receiving, individualized counseling necessary to cope with childhood disadvantage, familial abuse and psychological damage,” the ACLU report states. “Major aspects of TYC, including its range of available placement for girls, its institutional culture and its rehabilitative programming, fall short of meeting the needs of girls.”