In Texas, teens who kill often get sentences of 40 years in prison, but walk out free by the time they turn 21. Few critics see this as a problem, because Texas has found a way to change some very troubled lives, says Texas Cable News. At the Giddings State School, between Austin and Houston, are teens who’ve done the ugliest deeds. “They can hurt somebody; beat somebody up; kill them–then go eat a hot dog,” said Larry Reue, who manages the treatment of Giddings’ residents.
Seventy-five percent of people sentenced to the California Youth Authority are back behind bars within three years. That compares with just 17 percent who complete the treatment program at Giddings. Its Capital Offenders program teaches that while family abuse was not their fault–the crimes are. Giddings is all about changing how they think. Inside one nondescript metal building on the Giddings campus, residents engage in role play. They are asked to reenact their crime stories, but here they must put themselves in place of their victims “That’s when we really hold them accountable,” said one official. “Once they go back there and feel all that pain and anger, then they can acknowledge the pain they inflicted on their victims.”