In the News: House Hears Broad Support for Bringing 17-Year-Olds into Juvenile System

Texas Observer - April 2, 2015
by Patrick Michels

Miguel Moll went before the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues yesterday to tell the story of his introduction to the Harris County Jail. He was 17, he told lawmakers, when he was caught joyriding in a stolen car and brought to the Harris County Jail. He heard the threats from other inmates as soon as he walked in: "I got him, I have this one, I got this one.”

Much younger, and much smaller than many of the men he was locked up with, he said he simply wasn’t prepared for what he faced.

"So now I have a decision to make,” he said. "Am I going to bow down, am I going to submit? Or am I going to be a beast just like them?”

Moll’s story was one of a few powerful testimonials lawmakers heard yesterday as they considered bills to move 17-year-olds from the adult criminal justice system to the juvenile system...

Lauren Rose of Texans Care for Children, who has studied the impact of making the change, said there’s no reason to wait."The system can definitely handle it,” she said. "The change happens slowly. It’s a very slow trickle of juveniles in the system.”

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