News

Press Contact: For all media inquiries, please contact Lisa Koetz, Bloom Communications for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, at lisa@bloom-comm.com or (512) 535-5066.

Texas Goes Big on Youth Justice Reform

October 12, 2017

NJJN’s Texas members, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC), Texas Appleseed and Texans Care for Children were successful in their collaborative efforts to pass legislation focused on dual-status youth, confidentiality of juvenile records, 10 and 11 year olds in the juvenile justice system and the suspension and expulsion of kids in early grades.

Read the rest of this post at the National Juvenile Justice Network.

Raise the age from 17 in criminal cases

July 24, 2017

During the past 10 years, Texas has made incredible progress both in reducing the number of individuals incarcerated and in creating alternative programs for low-risk offenders. This progress, including mandatory sex offender rehabilitation and supervision programs, have contributed to decreased recidivism rates in Texas.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the San Antonio Express-News.

Let's stop condemning children to adult lives in prison

June 22, 2017

Christopher L. was 16. Had the Chicago media deemed his alleged crime salacious enough, they would have printed his full name. They revealed the full names of other kids at the jail where I worked as a guard in the late 1990s.

Read the rest of this op-ed at Dallas News.

Raise the age, or pay the price

May 18, 2017

Once again, the Texas House of Representatives has passed a thoughtful proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 from 17.

Read the rest of this article at TribTalk.

Rep. Dutton: If "raise the age" bill dies in Senate, he'll kill Senate bills

May 11, 2017

State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., D-Houston, has set his crosshairs on Senate bills Wednesday after learning that a major criminal justice reform bill that he authored was not only languishing in the upper chamber but appeared to be left for dead.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune.

Raise the age: Texas' 17-year-old offenders don't belong in prisons with adults and that should change.

May 10, 2017

A 17-year-old reportedly committed suicide in January while in custody at the Fort Bend County Jail. Jail staff found the teen - charged with aggravated robbery involving a pellet gun and evading arrest - hanging in his cell, as reported by KPRC-TV.

Read the rest of this editorial at the Houston Chronicle.

Guest commentary: Raise the age to lower crime

May 9, 2017

Most 17-year-olds are in high school. Their parents still ground them, and they have to ask to borrow the car. Besides being able to get into R-rated movies, they possess the same adolescent freedom as 16-year-olds. Yet, in Texas, 17-year-olds are prosecuted as adults and housed in adult correctional facilities.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Texas Lawmakers Want To Allow 17-Year-Old Offenders To Be Tried As Juveniles

April 27, 2017

Texas is one of six states that tries 17-year-olds as adults. But a new bill wants Texas to follow the national trend of raising the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18.

Listen to an interview with Rep. Gene Wu at KUT 90.5 (Austin's NPR Station).

Mistrett, Schindler: Texas can 'raise the age' and keep communities safe

April 27, 2017

Texas is one of only a handful of states that still sends all 17-year-olds to adult courts, no matter how minor their offense. Legislation that would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction in Texas was passed by the state House of Representatives last week and is now awaiting action in the Texas Senate.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the Houston Chronicle.

Will Texas 'Raise The Age' Of Criminal Responsibility?

April 24, 2017

The cutoff for criminal responsibility in Texas was increased to age 17 in the year 1918. Before that, 9-year-olds could be prosecuted as adults.

Read the rest of this article - and stream an interview with various stakeholders - at Texas Public Radio.

Here's a sign Texas' lock-em-up stance may be softening

April 22, 2017

It has long been an article of faith in Texas politics that no one ever lost an election for being too tough on lawbreakers. The inverse of that, of course, is that locking up more people for longer periods tends to pay dividends at the ballot box. But that principle was turned on its ear in the Texas House last week when legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 years old to 18 cruised to passage by a vote of 92-52.

Read the rest of this article at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

After Raise the Age Bill Passes House, Texas Closer to Considering 17-Year-Olds Juveniles

April 21, 2017

It has been nearly 100 years since Texas raised the age of criminal responsibility from eight years old to 17, and today, Texas is only one of six states that still considers 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. On Thursday, though, the Legislature got a step closer to passing legislation that would raise the age to 18 after the House passed House Bill 122 with an 82-62 vote, sending the bill over to the Senate.

Read the rest of this article at Houston Press.

Texas House To Vote On Bill To Raise Age Of Criminal Responsibility

April 20, 2017

A bill that would bump up the age of adult criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 is scheduled for a vote in the Texas House today. Advocates say this gives a second chance to 17-year-olds who are still treated like minors in other aspects of society.

Read the rest of this article at Houston Public Media.

In Texas, Pattern of Arrest for 17-Year-Olds Is Closer to Juveniles than to Adults

April 20, 2017

Texas is one of seven states that automatically classify 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. That’s important because once a 17-year-old enters the courtroom as an adult, they are cut off from the stated rehabilitative goals and resources of the juvenile justice system.

Read the rest of this article at The Chronicle of Social Change.

Most Texas voters support criminal justice reform

April 20, 2017

More than three-fourths of Texas voters believe 17-year-old offenders should be treated as juveniles rather than adults, and an even greater number support alternatives to incarceration for some nonviolent low-level drug-related crimes, a newly released survey revealed.

Read the rest of this article at The Baptist Standard.

Survey Shows Texas Voters in Favor of Criminal Justice Reform Policies

April 20, 2017

A broad group of smart-on-crime organizations in Texas announced the release of new Texas Voters Survey polling data showing strong Texas voter support for alternatives to incarceration, as well as for other criminal justice reform policies currently being considered during Texas' 85th Legislative Session.

Read the rest of this article at Yahoo Finance.

Texas House OKs raising age of criminal responsibility to 18

April 20, 2017

A high-profile bill that would raise the age of criminal responsibility in Texas from age 17 to 18 tentatively was approved Thursday by the Texas House of Representatives, despite the likelihood that its projected $45 million cost will doom it in the Senate.

Read the rest of this article at the Houston Chronicle.

Outlook uncertain for bill to raise age of criminal responsibility

April 17, 2017

State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, is not sold on raising the age of criminal responsibility in Texas from 17 to 18. House Bill 122 would move 17-year-old offenders from the adult criminal justice system to its juvenile justice counterpart, beginning in 2019. 

Read the rest of this article at the Texas Tribune.

Bill Would Put 17-Year-Olds in Texas Juvenile System

April 13, 2017

Texas is one of only a handful of states that still prosecutes 17-year-olds as adults in its criminal justice system, but state lawmakers could soon change that. A coalition of advocacy groups is backing House Bill 122, to change the age of criminal responsibility to 18, moving 17-year-olds into the juvenile justice system.

Read the rest of this article at the El Paso Herald-Post.

Study supports call to keep minors out of adult courts and prisons

April 12, 2017

Although the criminal justice system in Texas treats 17-year-olds as adults rather than juveniles, their arrest rate—and types of crimes for which they are arrested—more closely resembles 16-year-olds than adults, a new study revealed. Criminal justice reform advocates insisted the data supports their call to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction.

Read the rest of this article at the Baptist Standard.

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