Steering kids into adult prisons and courts instead of the juvenile justice system compromises safety—not just for the youth but for society as a whole. It leads to higher recidivism and less public safety.
Texas created its juvenile justice system to hold kids accountable and rehabilitate them, preventing crime for years to come. This youth-focused justice system exists for good reason. Multiple studies have found public safety improves and the likelihood of further crimes diminishes when young offenders receive age-appropriate rehabilitative services that will help them turn their lives around. While the juvenile justice system was tailored for rehabilitating young offenders and designed especially to respond to youths’ still-developing minds and special propensity to change, the same cannot be said for the adult justice system. Common sense and research both say the best way to rehabilitate young offenders is to keep them safe and away from adult criminals. Putting kids in adult prisons, on adult probation and parole, and in adult court increases chances of reoffending.