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Rep.Dutton Jr., Harold V.

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DUTTON FILES HB 2512  print page

by: Rep. Dutton Jr., Harold V.

~ Bill calls for reforms to the Texas Youth Commission ~

(AUSTIN) - Today, Rep. Harold Dutton (Houston), Chair of the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, filed House Bill 2512. The bill calls for sweeping reforms in the Texas Youth Commission's (TYC) facilities in response to the recent allegations of abuse and mismanagement within the commission.

"It is imperative that we immediately restore public trust in our handling of juvenile offenders," Rep. Dutton said. "Parents and the courts need to have confidence that we are doing our best to protect these children while giving them another chance."

House Bill 2512 calls for limiting the total number of juvenile offenders detained by the TYC to a maximum of 3000 juveniles. This would ensure a more scrutinizing selection process so that only the most extreme offenders are detained by the TYC. Juvenile offenders of lesser crimes could be placed under the auspices of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission or local community programs.

In an effort to remedy the myriad of problems caused by placing juvenile facilities in remote Texas locations and to make the detention facilities more accessible to offenders' families and local community support, the bill also requires the establishment of one or more community-based residential facilities in any county with a population of 600,000 or more. This would mean that more offenders could serve their sentence in their county of residence, since many juvenile delinquents come from urban or heavily populated areas.

In addition, the bill would limit future TYC facilities to house no more than 100 juveniles at a time and all current TYC facilities would be transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to be used for drug rehabilitation programs for adult offenders..

Rep. Dutton stated: "House Bill 2512 begins the structural and cultural changes that will strengthen our juvenile justice system and ensure the safety of Texas juveniles."

Nicole R. Bates

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