Advocate Says Texas Study Shows Youth Prisons “Model Destined To Fail”


A study of reforms in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department “puts a nail in the coffin” of the strategy of youth prisons as a public safety option, Nate Balis of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which funded the report, tells the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. Most strikingly, said Balis, the report shows that youth released from a juvenile correction facility were 21 percent more likely to be rearrested than a youth under supervision of a local juvenile probation department. Youth released from a state facility who reoffended were almost three times more likely to be rearrested for a felony.

The study, “Closer to Home,” was conducted by the Council of State Governments and Texas A&M University. It provides a detailed look at how reforms in the Texas system actually affected youth. “I think this is really important for the field,” Balis said. “Its value will go far beyond the borders of Texas. It bolsters what academic reports already have suggested, but this looks at actual experience. This will raise serious questions about youth prisons: It is a model that is destined to fail.”

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