Tribpedia: Texas Juvenile Justice Department

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) is responsible for overseeing all youth correctional facilities in the state of Texas. It suffered a major abuse scandal in 2007 from which it is still recovering.

Three percent of youth offenders referred to county juvenile probation departments each year are committed to TJJD institutions. A juvenile offense is committed when the offender is ...

Juvenile justice agency pushes back on claims of ineffectiveness

Detainees are moved from location to location within the Travis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin, Texas, Monday, June 24, 2013.
Detainees are moved from location to location within the Travis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin, Texas, Monday, June 24, 2013.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department is challenging a lawmaker's claim that the agency has lost control of its young offenders and that staff are afraid to go to work. After a hearing in which Sen. John Whitmire called the department inefficient, the department sent out a memorandum to defend itself against those claims.

One of the residence units at the Travis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin, Texas, Monday, June 24, 2013.
One of the residence units at the Travis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin, Texas, Monday, June 24, 2013.

Study Touts Community Programs for Juvenile Offenders

Juveniles in Texas who break the law are less likely to reoffend if they’re placed in community supervision programs instead of state facilities, according to a report released Thursday by criminal justice researchers.

 

An empty cell at a state a juvenile correctional facility.
An empty cell at a state a juvenile correctional facility.

Vacant Juvenile Facility Costing $100K Monthly

Last year, lawmakers told the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to close a facility, and the agency drew up plans to shutter its aging Corsicana detention center. Now, lawmakers are keeping it open at a cost of $100,000 a month.

Michael Griffiths, the executive director of the Texas Department of Juvenile Justice
Michael Griffiths, the executive director of the Texas Department of Juvenile Justice

Interim Juvenile Justice Department Leader Named

UPDATED: The board of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department on Wednesday announced the selection of an interim executive director to succeed Mike Griffiths, who announced his resignation last month.

Bruce Ballou, left, and Jose Luis Perez tutor a teenager participating in the alternative education program in Maverick County.
Bruce Ballou, left, and Jose Luis Perez tutor a teenager participating in the alternative education program in Maverick County.

Border Probation Officers See Hope in Reduced Juvenile Offenders

In the Eagle Pass area, the number of juvenile felony cases referred to Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Bruce Ballou has fallen more than 40 percent since 2012. It's a sign, he says, that his rehabilitative approach is working. 

Despite the statewide decrease in staff-on-youth assaults at juvenile correctional facilities, the rate of youth-on-youth assaults has increased following the 2007 legislative reforms.
Despite the statewide decrease in staff-on-youth assaults at juvenile correctional facilities, the rate of youth-on-youth assaults has increased following the 2007 legislative reforms.

TJJD Weighs Closing Mental Health Unit, Halfway Houses

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department is considering closing the Corsicana Residential Treatment Center and two halfway houses after a state budget rider cut funds for the agency's secure facilities.

Detainees line up to leave the outdoor recreation area at theTravis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin on June 24, 2013.
Detainees line up to leave the outdoor recreation area at theTravis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin on June 24, 2013.

Law Could Set Stage for Juvenile Justice Reforms

A new law allowing Travis County to commit juvenile offenders to local detention facilities instead of large state institutions could set the stage for the next steps in reforming Texas’ juvenile justice system.

An empty cell at a state a juvenile correctional facility.
An empty cell at a state a juvenile correctional facility.

Report: Counties Provide Better Juvenile Services

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County juvenile probation agencies produce better results for less money than state youth lockups, according to a report by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. The report also says counties need more funds and oversight. 

Michael Griffiths, the executive director of the Texas Department of Juvenile Justice
Michael Griffiths, the executive director of the Texas Department of Juvenile Justice

Michael Griffiths: The TT Interview

The incoming director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department on how his experience has prepared him for his new role and how he'll solve the problems that have long plagued the state's juvenile system.

Juvenile Justice Board Hires New Agency Leader

The Texas Juvenile Justice Board on Friday voted to hire Michael Griffiths to be the next leader of the youth justice agency as it struggles to improve security and safety at its juvenile correctional facilities.

Survey: Local Juvenile Programs Underfunded

Instead of continuing to spend millions on problem-plagued secure facilities operated by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, juvenile justice reform advocates say legislators should invest more in local probation departments.

State Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano.
State Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano.

House Departures Take a Bite Out of Criminal Justice

For years they’ve been the Butch and Sundance of Texas criminal justice policy. Republican state Rep. Jerry Madden and Democrat state Sen. John Whitmire have helped lead a sea change in the adult and juvenile prison systems. But the team is breaking up.