Few Juveniles in TX County Jails, Some Isolated, In Danger


Few juveniles in Texas land in county jails, but when they do they are often isolated, in danger from older inmates, and without access to educational and rehabilitative programs, says University of Texas reprot quoted by the Texas Tribune. Last year, state legislators allowed local boards to give judges the discretion to send youths who are certified to stand trial as adults to juvenile facilities, instead of county jails.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs surveyed jails to determine what kind of conditions juveniles face when they are incarcerated in facilities meant for adults. Jails, they discovered, are not suited to deal with the particular needs of youths. “There's no good answer,” said Michele Deitch, who led the study. “The jail administrators are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to managing these juveniles.” Researchers discovered far fewer youths in county jails than they expected. Each year from 2006 to 2010, about 200 youths were certified to stand trial as adults. Last October and November, there were only 34 youths under the age of 18 in jails statewide.

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