Supporters of overhauling juvenile justice in Texas cheered the passage of two state bills even as some mourned the failure of a third that would have stopped the prosecution of 17-year-olds as adults.
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A provision to keep 17-year-olds out of the adult criminal justice system was stripped from a bill this weekend as the Texas Legislature wrapped up the 84th Legislative Session.
Legislators and Juvenile Justice Stakeholders Disappointed that Texas did not Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction
Representative Gene Wu (Houston) expressed disappointment this afternoon that a provision which would have raised the age at which youth are considered adults in Texas' criminal justice system from 17 to 18 was stripped from a juvenile justice reform bill.
With one Texas county facing a federal investigation into how it punishes chronic school-skippers — and Texas one of only two states that prosecute truants in adult courts — lawmakers are weighing two House measures that would decriminalize truancy.
In the spring of 2013, the Texas Legislature passed a law that was hailed as the first of its kind in the country. The law expressly allows the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals to grant a new trial in cases where the underlying forensic science is flawed.
A bill that juvenile justice groups praised as “a fundamental shift in how young people would be served by the justice system” passed through the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. SB 1630 will establish a more localized approach to juvenile justice, keeping young offenders out of large, regional detention facilities and closer to their home communities.
The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition congratulates the Texas House of Representatives for passing SB 1630, continuing their effort to improve the state’s once dysfunctional juvenile justice system. SB 1630 represents a fundamental shift in how young people would be served by the justice system by creating a regionalization plan for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
The Texas Senate on Thursday approved a proposal that would weaken the state’s Driver Responsibility Program, which critics say has unfairly penalized poor Texans.
Senate Committee on Criminal Justice Chairman John Whitmire has been on an eight-year march to clean up the Texas juvenile justice system, driving a messy process that has involved the closure of state-run lockups, the restructuring of two state agencies and a reduction in the state’s population of juvenile offenders to one-fifth of what it had been.
The "box" asking about a criminal conviction is one most of us mindlessly check on employment applications. But for many otherwise employable adults, it's the biggest barrier to moving forward with productive lives.
New Policy Paper: Texas Should Build on Reforms To Keep Juvenile Justice System-Involved Youth in Their Home Communities
As Texas legislators consider a series of proposals that would change how young people are served by the justice system, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition released a policy paper designed to help policy-makers focus on capitalizing on the recent progress the state has made in juvenile justice reform.
Amid what's been a massive bummer of a Texas legislative session, the search for silver linings has been difficult. Over the past week, though, a solid contender has developed: the chance for meaningful criminal justice reform. Specifically, a pair of efforts that would make it easier for ex-offenders to secure employment have picked up steam in recent days.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday called for the repeal of a state program that requires drivers convicted of certain traffic offenses to pay annual surcharges to keep their driver's licenses. Senate Bill 93 by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, is the latest legislative attempt to abolish the Driver Responsibility Program.
An East Texas man traveled to Austin on Tuesday, preparing to tell a Senate committee in a public hearing about how the suspension of his driver's license has suspended his life. "If I don't drive, then I can't get a job or take my son to school or fishing." said Yeno.
Every month, the number of pregnant women incarcerated in Texas county jails hovers between 300 and 500, according to monthly jail population reports collected by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Welcomes Award-Winning Artist John Legend in Support of Campaign to End Mass Incarceration
The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, along with Texas legislators and coalition partners, welcomed nine-time Grammy® Award winner John Legend to Austin in support of his FREE AMERICA campaign to end mass incarceration.
As the shooting of Walter Scott dominated national headlines this week, Texas lawmakers discussed legislation aimed at making police officers think twice before using excessive force.
Testimonies at the State Legislature on Thursday largely supporting the adoption of body cameras in police departments across Texas suggest that the technology may be gaining traction in the state. The issue of body cameras has recently earned some urgency in the light of a North Charleston, S.C., fatal shooting Saturday in which Officer Michael Thomas Slager was caught on video shooting 50-year-old Walter Lamer Scott in the back multiple times.