Bending the Curve: Juvenile Corrections Reform in Texas
Quick SummaryDuring the past six years, Texas overhauled its juvenile corrections system, enacting a series of reforms that led to a significant reduction in the state-level committed population and yielded millions of dollars in cost savings while protecting public safety.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Texas responded to an increase in juvenile arrests with stiffer penalties for juvenile offenders. Those changes, coupled with expanded funding for secure state facilities, led to a near-tripling of the number of committed youth between 1993 and 2001.1
To accommodate this growth, Texas built one of the nation’s largest juvenile corrections facilities, with planned capacity of more than 600 beds, in the early 2000s.2 In 2007, abuse was exposed in several secure state facilities, prompting a comprehensive juvenile corrections reform effort in the state.3