A Texas state senator wants to create a new system of youth prisons for the state’s 17- and 18-year-old offenders, the Austin American-Statesman reported last week.
Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), chairman of the state Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said his proposal would operate as a division of Texas’ adult prison system.
Under the new system, older teens with violent offenses would be transferred from the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC). Most likely, he said that the first wave of transferred juveniles would be placed in a Youthful Offender Program in a Houston-area prison, which currently holds fewer than 100 inmates. The program might be expanded to include as many as 500 beds.
“Many of the kids who are in the youth program at TDCJ are not as tough as the ones who are on the TJJD campuses,” Whitmire is quoted by the Austin American-Statesman.
“We need to look at what is the proper place for youths in these two systems and whether there’s a better model for what we’re doing.”