Commentary: Texas’ juvenile justice system is in crisis. Here is how to reform it.
In the criminal justice reform community, Texas has long been considered the “how to” leader for other red states looking to implement smart-on-crime reforms. This includes measures that save taxpayer dollars, protect public safety and enhance fairness for people wrapped up in the justice system. Yet in recent weeks, a correctional travesty has come to light in the Lone Star State’s juvenile justice system that demands immediate action.
According to recent reports, juveniles in the five Texas Juvenile Justice Department, or TJJD, detention facilities are facing inhumane conditions. Some of the most dire stories tell of juveniles locked for 23 hours in often windowless cells using water bottles to go to the bathroom. Many juveniles are hurting themselves and being placed on suicide watch.