State: No improvement in operations at Texas youth lockups
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The latest state review of Texas juvenile lockups shows no apparent improvement in operations as inspectors found teenagers shouting obscenities at guards, little supervision, assaults and severe understaffing.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the Office of the Independent Ombudsman for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department released findings last month showing troubling conditions continue at the agency’s five secure lockups.
It was found that a power outage in April at the facility in Gainesville, long seen as having the most severe problems, led to a “chaotic scene” where juveniles ran freely around the dorms.
Lawmakers this year approved a bump in pay for correctional officers. But juvenile justice experts says broader issues must be addressed, such as closing large facilities in favor of smaller ones that promote individualized therapy for troubled teens.