Bending the Curve: Juvenile Corrections Reform in Texas
The reforms of the past six years contributed to a significant reduction in the committed juvenile population and helped Texas save substantial funds while boosting public safety.
- Commitments down: The number of new admissions to state facilities fell 59 percent between fiscal 2007 and 2011, from more than 2,300 to 960.11
- During the same period, the percentage of dispositions resulting in commitment to state facilities was cut in half.12
- The average daily population in secure state youth facilities declined 62 percent, reducing the state’s daily population to pre-1993 levels.13
- Costs reduced: Texas has closed or consolidated seven secure state facilities since 2008, saving the state more than $50 million annually.14
- Public safety maintained: Arrest trends and a recent analysis of reoffending by the Texas Legislative Budget Board suggest that the reforms have helped boost public safety.
- Statewide juvenile arrests dropped 27 percent between 2007 and 2011.15
- There has been a slight decrease in the recidivism rate of youth on probation. While 13.4 percent of youth placed on probation in 2007 were incarcerated within three years, that rate fell to 12.3 percent for those placed on probation in 2009.16
- Three-year reincarceration rates for juveniles released from secure state facilities in 2009 remained at the historical average of about 47 percent.17 This is an improvement because the shift to community programs of juveniles adjudicated for less serious offenses means the facilities are managing a more violent population.