Detention Center Seen as Model for Reform

EAGLE PASS, Texas — Freddie knows he is lucky. If he were six months older, he could be in a state prison.

Or he could have been labeled a snitch and treated as such by Mexican cartel operatives. Or he could be dead.

Instead, Freddie will be free in December after finishing a year of court-ordered juvenile probation in his drug smuggling case. And he owes his good fortune to Bruce Ballou, the chief juvenile probation officer for Maverick, Zavala and Dimmit Counties.

Ballou, who has held his position for a year, focuses on a “restorative justice” approach to rehabilitation ...

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