The Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission would be combined into a new Texas Juvenile Justice Department under a bill the Texas Senate approved today.
“It will allow a seamless system for juvenile detention,” said the bill's author, Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston.
The new state agency would have an 11-member board appointed by the Governor and would establish a unified state juvenile justice agency that works in partnership with local county government and the courts.
In committee, Whitmire emphasized that by creating a more streamlined agency, young offenders would be kept in their communities for treatment and confinement instead of being sent to rural TYC facilities. Whitmire said that the most violent offenders would still need to be confined in separate institutions but the majority of youths would be better served by the new agency. Whitmire has said that merging the two agencies could save the state about $150 million.