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Closer to Home: An Analysis of the State and Local Impact of the Texas Juvenile Justice Reforms

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2015
108 pages
The methodology and findings are presented for an evaluation of the impact of juvenile justice reforms mandated by the Texas Legislature beginning in 2007.
This evaluation produced three key findings. First, State efforts to reduce the number of youth in State juvenile correctional facilities has enabled thousands more youth to live at home or be supervised closer to home. The State has saved hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of this reform, while ensuring that public safety is not compromised. Second, at the State and local levels, Texas is not achieving the full potential of its investment in community-based programs for youth under the supervision of juvenile probation departments. The likelihood of juvenile probationers being re-arrested did not decline between 2007 and 2012. This is a disappointing finding, since the State increased appropriations to county probation departments under the reform agenda. Improved training for probation officers and the upgrading of performance measures are recommended. Third, State and local officials in other States should be addressing the questions posed and answered in this report in their own jurisdictions; however, in many other jurisdictions, information systems are inadequate to measure the implementation and outcomes of reforms similar to those in Texas. 15 tables, 14 figures, and 64 endnotes