The “worst of the worst” teenage boys are the focal point of an initiative by Texas officials to curb violence inside state-run youth lockups, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The Phoenix Program provides treatment and education in a steel-bar environment, instead of the campuslike setting found at other state juvenile lockups. Officials say the 24-bed program at the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility near Waco is a success so far, though they admit it has been open for just two months and holds only 14 boys.
Weekly referrals to security at the six state-run lockups — a benchmark of how many incarcerated youths in Texas cause serious trouble in custody — are down slightly from June to August. Internal reports by investigators show the lockups have been much calmer than they were last spring, when disturbances, gang fighting, and assaults on both youths and staff were an almost daily occurrence. For instance, 56 assaults and 15 serious incidents were reported during the second week of June at the six lockups, while 28 assaults and 14 serious incidents were reported during a week at the end of August.