AUSTIN – A new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation seeks to help state and local policymakers identify cost-effective approaches to reducing juvenile crime and rehabilitating juvenile offenders.
“With Texas entering a difficult budget-cutting cycle, the report is intended as a reference guide for policymakers that helps them to replicate programs proven to be effective and replace those that have not worked,” said the report’s author, Marc Levin, Director of TPPF’s Center for Effective Justice.
The report includes a comprehensive review of juvenile justice programs across Texas and the country, measuring their effectiveness based on a range of factors – including cost, recidivism rates, and education and vocational outcomes. The report also makes recommendations for improvements in data collection and analysis.
“Saving a youth from becoming a chronic offender results in $1.7 million to $2.3 million in avoided lifetime costs to taxpayers and victims,” said Marc Levin, Director of TPPF’s Center for Effective Justice. “Consequently, all Texans have a large stake in cost-effective approaches to juvenile justice that result in more youths turning away from crime and towards a future as a productive citizen in which they are an asset, rather than a liability, to their fellow citizens.”
The report, “Getting More for Less in Juvenile Justice,” notes that the number of Texas youths adjudicated for delinquent conduct dropped 16.1 percent between 2006 and 2009, even while:
– The state’s juvenile population increased 0.9 percent a year; – The number of youths incarcerated in Texas Youth Commission (TYC) facilities fell by more than 50 percent; and – The shifting of resources away from TYC to juvenile probation programs resulted in a net savings to Texas taxpayers of more than $200 million.
“Local programs based on established research can more cost-effectively hold troubled youths accountable, prevent further criminal activity, and result in positive educational and vocational outcomes so that these youths contribute to a safer and more prosperous future for Texas,” Levin said.
Marc Levin is Director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and author of the report, “Getting More for Less in Juvenile Justice,” which is available on the Foundation’s website, www.TexasPolicy.com.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan, free-market research institute based in Austin.
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