The Texas Juvenile Justice Department is working on implementation of the juvenile justice reform legislation passed earlier this year (SB 1630). Among other changes, the legislation tasked the agency with developing a Regionalization Plan that will keep youth in the justice system closer to home. To develop the plan the agency created a Regionalization Task Force, which has met four times. I have participated in those meetings as the appointed representative of juvenile justice advocates.
Thus far the Task Force has focused on diverting 180 youth from state secure facilities over the current biennium. The Task Force is finalizing an application for county probation department to apply for funding to divert youth from commitment to the state. It has also tasked the county probation departments and seven juvenile probation regions to complete an "inventory” of locally available services to begin the next phase of regionalization planning. Stay tuned for more updates.
Speaking of task forces, I am also serving on the Juvenile Records Advisory Committee, created by HB 431, tasked with developing a plan to study, reorganize, and comprehensively revise state laws regarding juvenile records as well as the Task Force on Improving Outcomes for Juveniles Adjudicated of Sexual Offenses, created by HB 1144. Both of these groups will meet for the first time in early December.
If you have any questions about the work of these task forces or would like to provide recommendations or ideas that should be included in our discussions, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]