Monday , November 20 2017
Home | News | Regional News | Report: Texas, Other States Should Close Youth Prisons
States pay on average about $90,000 a year for every youth in a juvenile facility. (carroteater/iStockphoto)

Report: Texas, Other States Should Close Youth Prisons

AUSTIN, Texas – Children should not be kept behind bars, according to a new report that examines the ineffectiveness of youth prisons in Texas and other states.

The research from The Annie E. Casey Foundation pulls together evidence of the failings of youth correctional facilities and recommends they all be closed.

Foundation president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says youth prisons just don’t work, and states need to take a different approach.

“We’ve got to build a juvenile justice system that’s based on the very simple principle of developing young people’s capacity, giving them opportunity,” he states. “Holding them accountable, of course, is also very important, but doing it in a way that provides them a path to get back on track.”

McCarthy says young people are incarcerated for low-risk offenses and often don’t get the guidance and support they need to get back on track.

Texas, which still houses more than 800 youth behind bars, began reforming its juvenile justice system in 2009 after reports of physical and sexual abuse surfaced.

McCarthy says the state has made positive changes since then.

“Texas is another state that had very high numbers in their locked state facilities, and they’ve moved much more to a community based corrections system,” he points out.

McCarthy adds that there is an enormous financial toll for youth prisons. While costs vary, states pay on average about $90,000 a year for every youth in a juvenile facility.

“Alternatives to these youth prisons are much smaller, more home like, much more oriented to the appropriate developmental needs of young people, a heavy focus on education, on job training and in preparing them to be successful through the rest of their lives,” he states.

The report recommends a four R strategy: reduce the pipeline of youth into youth facilities; reform the corrections culture that wrongly assumes locking up young people improves safety; replace youth prisons with rehabilitative services; and reinvest in evidence-based solutions.

About Texas News Service

Texas News Service is an arm of the Public News Service that provides stories that examine the effects of policy on areas that receive too little coverage, lifting up often marginalized voices and making greater journalistic breadth on any platform.

Check Also

Ysleta ISD Raises More than $31K for Southeast Texas Flood Victims

In the span of a day, Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) students and employees raised …

3 comments

  1. Just who and what is the motivation of the Annie B Casey Foundation? I looked at their website and they seem to be a liberal politically motivated organization.

    • Figures that Mad Mike is all about prisons including keeping Texas youth behind bars because that is a republican thing to do.Prisons for profit equal financial windfall for the cruel masters that own and run them.Release the children NOW and put republicans behind bars starting with Ken Paxton and Groper Donald Trump throw Mike in prison as well and see how long he would last,probably would end up liking it.

Medley728