Study: Texas cut juvenile jail rates, saw youth crime fall

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A new study shows the Texas juvenile justice system's dramatic shift away from sending youths to state detention facilities has coincided with a sharp drop in crime committed by young people.

The report's authors praised the overhaul as a model for the country. It was compiled by the Justice Center at the nonpartisan Council of State Governments and unveiled Thursday.

Lawmakers spent years redesigning the system after pervasive reports in 2007 of physical and sexual abuse.

The number of youths subsequently confined to state facilities fell by 65 percent from 2007 to 2012. Many were shifted to community-based, county programs.

The study found that, over the same period, crimes committed by youths declined 33 percent.

It also says having fewer juveniles in state facilities has saved Texas $150 million.

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