Answering demands from angry lawmakers, Texas officials moved quickly to remove youthful offenders with a history of violence behind bars from the six state juvenile-justice lockups, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Jay Kimbrough, interim executive director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, said seven troublemakers are being referred back to court for possible transfer to an adult prison.
“If we see assaultive behavior on their record while they've been with us, they're on our list” for transfer out, he said. “If we don't have safety and order in our facilities, we can't have rehabilitation. “We're not going to tolerate continued violence.” At least 230 incarcerated youths aged 17 to 21 are scheduled for review for chronic violent behavior as part of the new initiative, launched yesterday after Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire demanded that violence-prone youths be removed from the lockups. Transferring youths to adult prisons is expected to be controversial, especially from advocacy groups and juvenile-justice experts who have insisted that teen-aged offenders should be the focus of programming to turn their lives around, not a prison environment that would only assure they will remain criminals.