The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recommended fundamental changes to the troubled Texas Youth Commission, suggesting reforms haven't worked, reports the Dallas Morning News. The agency is among 28 that could see changes this year after being reviewed by the commission designed to keep state agencies operating efficiently. The Legislature must approve any changes. Sunset staff members had advised giving the scandal-plagued Youth Commission six more years to straighten out. But the 12-member commission, made up mostly of lawmakers, unanimously recommended eliminating the agency and merging it with the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission to create the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Sunset Commission officials, in a report released last year, argued that continuing problems at the Texas Youth Commission pose a significant challenge to effective operation of the system. The report also estimated that the merger of the agencies could save as much as $28 million. The Youth Commission runs correctional programs and institutions for the state's young felony and misdemeanor offenders. In 2007, the Legislature enacted radical reforms after sexual abuse of inmates by adult supervisors was exposed.