- Where it all begins: Austin's Gardner-Betts facility
- Inside Southwest Key: Austin caseworker program examined
- Orientation and Evaluation: Inside the Marlin intake center
- In the System: The reality of living under TYC's care
- Changing Lives: Some kids achieve rehab goals
As you might expect from local TV news, Robuck doesn't get that deeply into it - he's got a different audience. But for average viewers who seldom think about the topic, he provides a good, big picture analysis of where the kids go and what happens to them. The whole series is worth reading (or watching, video feeds for each story are in the links), but here's a taste from Wednesday's piece, In the System:
"They're locking them up almost two years on the average. It's costing you $56,600 per year (per child), and 55 percent of them are back within a year," Southwest Key President Juan Sanchez said.
More than 60 percent of juvenile offenders in Travis County completed Southwest Key program in 2004. Depending on the child's needs the program can cost from $11,000 to $44,000. However, 48 percent of the juveniles who completed the program were re-referred or arrested as adults.
Another TYC cost is emotional turmoil. Kids here must face possible crime within the secure environment. Gangs do form and troublemakers cool their heels in a special lock-up.
"Temptation is easy in here for doing the wrong thing, like stealing and fights. It's hard. You've got to pretty much use your self-control skills and coping skills," TYC inmate Steven Howard said.
But there are those who resist the pressure and use their time in lock-up for positive change.