AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice Director Marc Levin issued the following statement on the Texas House passage of Senate Bill 1630, which relates to the commitment of juveniles to post-adjudication secure correctional facilities operated by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and by local probation departments.

“We applaud the Texas House for giving initial approval to landmark juvenile justice regionalization legislation that will reduce juvenile crime and save tax dollars by holding more youths accountable in programs closer to their homes and families, instead of shipping them to costly remote state youth lockups which now cost a whopping $159,500 per youth per year,” said Levin. “SB1630, passed on second reading on May 25, will save more than $40 million, but more importantly will result in better outcomes given the research showing that both residential and non-residential programs in the community do a better job of turning around troubled youths.

“We urge the Senate to keep the House amendment that raises the age of juvenile jurisdiction so 17 year olds, other than those certified as adults for the most serious crimes, are processed in the juvenile rather than the adult system. This reflects our research showing that when it comes to these teenagers, who are legally required to attend high school, the juvenile system better reduces re-offending by working closely with parents and schools. Moreover, when processed in the adult system, parents of these 17-year-old high school students are not entitled to any notice or involvement in proceedings. Raising the age will also ensure 17 year olds are in facilities where they are less vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse. In short, this amendment is a conservative, common-sense approach.” 

Marc A. Levin is director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. 

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.

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