This week, the Texas Senate passed SB 1769, a legislative proposal that would establish an advisory committee to evaluate the prospect of ending the state’s practice of fingerprinting low-level juvenile offenders who are referred to probation departments.
State Sen. Jose Rodriguez, a Democrat representing Texas’ 29th District and the bill’s primary sponsor, said that since a majority of juvenile records in the state are not restricted, information about a young person’s arrest history could be easily accessed by others.
If Senate Bill 1769 were to become law, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department would conduct an assessment of whether the state could stop fingerprinting delinquent juvenile offenders who are referred to state probation departments, without compromising public safety. By foregoing the fingerprinting process, criminal records, as a result, would not be created.
“The vast majority of youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system learn from their mistakes and go on to become productive, law-abiding citizens,” Sen. Rodriguez is quoted by KRWG News. “However, despite existing safeguards, many juvenile records are still widely accessible, which creates serious burdens for youth who have gotten their lives back on track.”
The bill now heads to the state House for further consideration.