Tuesday, May 06, 2014

LBB forum to discuss raising juvenile age, capital public defender, and school discipline

If you'll be in Austin on Friday, this forum sponsored by the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) will cover quite a few relevant, interesting issues:
We would like to remind you we will be hosting a Criminal Justice Forum on Friday, May 9, 2014, in which the LBB will host University Professors. The presentations will highlight some of the research they have conducted in the areas of adult criminal and juvenile justice. The forum will also include opportunities for questions and suggestions for future research from the audience.
May 2014 Criminal Justice Forum Details
When: May 9, 2014 (1:30 PM-3:00 PM) 
What: May 2014 Criminal Justice Forum Guest Presentations: University Professors
  • Raising the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction in Texas from 17 to 18 - Michele Deitch (University of Texas - LBJ School of Public Affairs)
  • Judgment and Justice: An Evaluation of the Texas Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases - Dottie Carmichael and Heather Caspers (Texas A&M Public Policy Research Institute) and Joel Lieurance (Texas Indigent Defense Commission)
  • The Economic Effects of Exclusionary Discipline on Grade Retention and High School Dropouts - Trey Marchbanks (Texas A&M Public Policy Research Institute)
Where: Robert E. Johnson Conference Center
1501 N. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78701


Anonymous said...

There are WAY too many unanswered questions regarding raising the juvenile age so I sure hope there are answers provided here. Procedural, funding, logistics etc all need to be addressesd well before the legislature just jumps off into the middle of things.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Be specific, 8:02 ... what exactly are you worried about?

Around 40 other states are able to operate with the age at 18, so it strikes me such concerns are not insurmountable.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Grits, thanks for the heads up. For those of us that don't do Austin (or can't afford it) but wish to participate in the questions & suggestions portion, it would be nice if they included a website or email address to utilize.

Since they didn't, maybe you could host an UPDATE! with a Qs' & Ss' series here at GFB.

*My number one concern for Texas in relation to the criminal justice system reformation movement is directly tied to the systemic abuses of the plea bargain (guilty or not). If I were allowed to suggest something positive for our future, it'd be to advocate for a 'One' plea per defendant clause. Not Guilty pleas being mandatory to go the entire distance to verdict. Guilty as sin and caught red handed, cop to it and let the judge dole out mercy and punishment.

Banning the Texas TapOut and forcing the system to prove all arrests are valid via: digital documentation (and backed up with an investigation), and deemed worthy of prosecution and letting the defense do it's duty all the way to verdict - is just one of many ways to correct a corrupt industry. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Well for one thing, if the juvenile age is raised to include 17 year olds, we would be adding a whole year's worth of juveniles to a juvenile justice system that already seems incapable of handling its current volume of offenders. That 17 year old age group is a prime age group for antisocial/criminal behavior and I'm not sure that counties are at all capable of absorbing this increase to their juvenile caseloads. You also have to transfer this same group of cases from adult court into juvenile court, add more juvenile probation officers, etc. As things stand now, 17 yr. olds who are arrested and go into the adult system also have their arrest and conviction information included into the adult TCIC/NCIC crime database. The rules regarding the reporting and/or confidentiality of that information would have to be changed. These are just a few of the logistical issues that would need to be resolved. Not saying it couldn't be done. I just think the Legislature would need to think through all of the potential unintended consequences of such a change. It's way more involved than just saying we're going to raise the age to 18.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Those all seem like pretty minimal and foreseeable logistical changes, 4:12, particularly if they simultaneously raised the minimum incarceration age for juvies from 10-12 to free up resources.

The purpose of the interim hearings on these topics is precisely to think through all these issues, most of which have been raised repeatedly. None of what you're discussing seems insurmountable, though there would definitely have to be some planning/shifting of resources.

@TRG, unfortunately I teach an after-school math club at an elementary school on Friday afternoons and can't attend. Wish I could, though, this one looks pretty interesting.

Anonymous said...

Grits, raising the age is projected to increase juvenile referrals by a minimum of 24%. Raising the minimum age onle decreases referrals by 7%. There will be a need for funding number 1. Secondly, the older population will need to beprogrammed differently. New services such as transitional living and job skills will need to be identified and developed. By raising tha max age to 17 it will in theory raise the max age on ptobation from 18-19, meaning there is a potential for having a near 19 year old in a secure facility with a (if they raise the minimum) 13 year old. Secure facilities will need to assure segregation of the older vs younger population. That brings up the third issue, is there enough detention bed space available in county operated facilities across Texas to detain the older juveniles.
Then, take into consideration all the statutes that will need to be re-written across the state. This will take 1 session in itself to accomplish with at least a year of review prior to rewrites.
How will raising the ages effect the school system and CPS?
Restricted access? Sealing of files?
Will TJJD Committments grow and will there be enough capacity to handle them?
I have an entire laundry list of unknowns that thus far none of the advocacy groups have an answer for.