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.]