Juvenile Justice Agencies Come Closer to Merger

Hours after the state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would merge the state's two juvenile criminal justice agencies, a House committee passed a similar bill.

The bills aim to consolidate the Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and save the state up to $150 million. HB 1915 by Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano, would create a new agency, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, with 11 appointed board members, and it would focus on community-based treatment programs.

The House Corrections committee substituted its original bill to include a reduction in the transition period — from one year to three months — and a charter school provision, among other things. 

Once the bill is placed on a major state calendar, Madden is likely to replace it with the Senate's version. He said a conference committee may form depending on the amendments representatives tack onto the bill on the floor.

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