Counties in Texas might soon be allowed to incarcerate all their teenage lawbreakers locally rather than send them to state-run lockups that have been plagued by violence, high recidivism rates and gang activity in recent years, officials confirmed Wednesday.Ward refers to a "plan that is quietly being floated by Travis and other counties’ officials at the Capitol," which:
Travis County is among several counties that are pushing for the change in state law that some officials predict could save taxpayers millions of dollars — and have better success at thwarting criminal behavior in youths.
Such a change would mark Texas’ latest move away from state-run juvenile corrections, a trend that started five years ago when a sex-abuse scandal in the state’s juvenile-justice agency triggered reforms that have resulted in the closure of half the state-run lockups. The six that remain house less than 1,200 youths — about the size of an average city high school.
would require a change in state law, giving counties the authority to commit a youth to their custody, rather than to a state lockup. In addition, they said there are issues that must be resolved, including whether county lockups would have to meet state standards, who would handle transfers to adult prisons for youth offenders who are too violent to keep in county lockups and how much the state would pay counties for incarcerating youths.It sounds like a lot of the key opinion leaders are generally on board, though that's a long way from passing a functional reform bill.
The cost of incarcerating a youth in a state-run lockup runs just over $400 a day; the cost in counties is much less — about $118 a day in Travis County.