Grits for Breakfast: TYC Can Learn From NYC

Scott Henson at the Texas-based blog Grits for Breakfast read Wednesday’s New York Times story on the Juvenile Justice Initiative and thinks officials at the Texas Youth Commission should, too. When it comes to developing cheaper alternatives to youth prisons, he suggests, the TYC can learn a lot from NYC.

“In Texas we spend around $60-65K per year for children locked up in TYC – more for those with significant mental or physical healthcare needs – so $17K would be an inexpensive alternative, even here where we spend much less than New York,” he writes.

Later, he concludes,

Community-based services aren’t a cure-all for juvenile crime, but neither are youth prisons, which are a lot more expensive and which we already know don’t prevent recidivism. As the Youth Commission and the juvenile probation system go through “Sunset” review in the coming year, I hope this model – which coincides with and complements the recommendations of the “Blue Ribbon Panel” – is the direction they take things.

TYC officials are holding an oversight hearing this morning, Henson explains in a more recent post. That hearing, in turn, prompted this strong editorial in today’s Dallas Morning News, which calls on State Senator John Whitmire to “crank up the heat” in discussions with fresh-face TYC conservator Richard Nedelkoff.

[Hat tip, of course, to Henson, and a plug to boot. If you’ve never stopped by Grits for Breakfast, do. You can’t find better daily commentary on criminal justice in the Lone Star State, and it’s a top-notch resource for those interested in tracking developments in the never-ending TYC scandal.]

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One response to “Grits for Breakfast: TYC Can Learn From NYC

  1. Aw, shucks! Thanks for the plug!

    And the TYC story really is “never ending,” isn’t it? What a zoo! It looks like the guy in there now may have the capacity to fix things, if the pols will get out of his way.

    To do the NYC model, though, counties would have to step up, either with their own funds for funds from the state. Plus right now there aren’t enough providers out there even if there’s money, especially outside the five biggest cities. The services you can get in Brooklyn aren’t available in Waco or Nacogdoches, and I don’t know what you do about that. Cheers!

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