When politicians talk about “reform” in criminal justice, you have to clutch your wallet tightly, because all too often they are looking to spend a lot more of your money — and make you feel guilty for asking a question. But last Session the House Corrections Committee chairman, State Rep. Jerry Madden of Plano, managed to push through reforms to the Texas Youth Commission that ended abuses, reduced TYC’s budget, and give every indication that they are working to turn wayward juveniles around and protect public safety.
Juvenile offenders are much easier to rehabilitate than their adult counterparts, while the costs associated with simply “locking away” young holligans is much higher over the long-haul. State law, unfortunately, went with the more expensive route.
A great paper examining this issue was recently published by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, called “The ABC’s Before TYC.”
Evidence suggests that in juvenile justice, a few creative reforms continuing on Jerry Madden’s efforts could not only go a long way in reducing juvenile crime, but saving money.