After years of reforms in Texas’ juvenile justice system, the state may be headed toward further downsizing state-run lockups or even junking them, says the Houston Chronicle. Juvenile crime dropped precipitously during this period while the juvenile incarceration rate plummeted, calling into question any direct link between incarcerating juveniles and reducing the crime rate, says the Grits for Breakfast blog.
The number of youths targeted for probation programs and incarceration has declined by 31 percent in six years. The youth corrections system in Texas held more than 4,200 offenders seven years ago. The total is down to about 1,000 in five lockups. Tony Fabelo, who is overseeing a study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, said the trend is for “counties keeping more youths in local programs.” He said said Texas spent nearly $134,000 a year per youth held in a state juvenile lockup in 2012. In 2014, the 800 youth committed to (state lockups) cost $162 million, enough to educate almost 20,000 students for a year,” he said, noting that 85 percent of the incarcerated youths are arrested again within five years.