State Chapters > Texas

The number of Texas kids behind bars is suddenly at its lowest point in decades


Dallas News by Lauren McGaughy 4/4/2018

The number of Texas teens behind bars has dropped to its lowest point in decades, as the state yet again rethinks how to incarcerate its underage felons.

The average daily population in the state's five secure juvenile lockups has hovered around 1,040 for years. But after more than 100 offenders were released, paroled or reassigned in the past three months, that number dropped below 900 on Friday.

"Today's population is 889. We have not been this low in decades," Bobbi Kessler, spokeswoman for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, told The Dallas Morning News on Friday. "Population fluctuates every day, but our current average daily population [since September] so far is 999 — which is the first time it has been under 1,000 since the early 1980s."

Fewer kids are being kept in the state’s five secure juvenile lockups than at any time since 2007.


Texas' juvie decarceration provides example for adult side

 Juvie decarceration in Texas is arguably the most important accomplishment of the "Right on Crime" era among Lone-Star Republicans, even if the job remains unfinished. Texas launched its juvenile decarceration scheme just four years after the GOP took over the Texas Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, and has now been sustained through successive governors, with reductions now accelerating again under Gov. Abbott.

Texas has proven the concept on the juvie side. Now the task is to convince those same leaders to apply the same lessons to the adult system, where our prison population remains the highest in the nation and the prison system releases some 70,000 people per year. Many of those people would be less likely to recidivate if they'd never been sent to prison at all!


[0] Message Index

Go to full version