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Conditions for Certified Juveniles in Texas County Jails

NCJ Number
Michele Deitch; Anna Lipton Galbraith; Jordan Pollock
Date Published
May 2012
54 pages
This report examines the current conditions for certified juveniles in Texas county jails.
In the State of Texas, certified juveniles in the State's criminal justice system are those juveniles who have been accused of committing a crime and have been certified to be tried as an adult. In 2011, the State legislature passed a law allowing for certified juveniles awaiting trial to be housed in juvenile detention facilities as opposed to adult county jails. This report presents the results of a survey to determine the experiences of county jails that have housed certified juveniles. The results of the survey will be used to provide a comprehensive assessment of how certified juveniles are housed in county jails, and the challenges faced by jail administrators when they are required to confine these juvenile offenders. The survey looked at five key areas: housing, contact with adults, out-of-cell time, educational programming, and other programming. Major findings from the survey include the following: 1) fewer certified juveniles were held in county jails during the survey period than had been expected given the number of certifications in the State in the previous 4 years; 2) of the 41 jails that responded to the survey, only 18 kept the juveniles separate from adult inmates at all times; 3) 25 of the 41 jails provided youth with 1 hour or less of out-of-cell time per day, indicating the majority of the youth were spending their time in jail in isolation; 4) only 54 percent of the jails provided any kind of formal educational programming for the juveniles, while the rest provided limited access to educational programs; 5) housing of certified juveniles presents an increased burden on agencies in terms of staffing and financial resources; and 6) no standards exist for governing confinement of certified juveniles in adult county jails. Recommendations for improving conditions for certified juveniles are discussed. Figures and appendixes