Approximately 40,000 kids (aged 10-16) are annually referred to juvenile probation in Texas, the gateway to the youth justice system. The school-to-prison pipeline is a key driver to the system: schools continue to over-rely on harsh “zero tolerance” policies that disproportionately impact youth of color and youth with special needs, and it is especially damaging for 17-year-olds who, in Texas (like in two other states), are still treated as adults for justice system purposes. Today, more than 1,200 teenagers are in an adult facility in Texas; thousands more went in as teens, some who are facing extreme sentences.
TCJC is fighting to reduce the number of kids entering youth or adult prisons, to keep more kids closer to home in community-based programs, to improve conditions for kids in confinement, and to create a meaningful opportunity for release for people sent to adult facilities as youth.
Click here to see TCJC's legislative strategy for 2021.