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.

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.

Coalition pushes to keep Texas 17-year-olds out of adult jails

April 11, 2017

In Texas, 17-year-olds are tried as adults, but one coalition says new data collected shows 17 is too young. The Raise the Age Coalition is working to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Texas from 17 to 18. The group says research shows that 17-year-olds are arrested for non-violent, low-level offenses that closely resemble those of 16-year-olds rather than older youth or adults.

Read the rest of this article at KXAN [with video].

Advocates say new study proves Texas law should treat 17-year-olds as juveniles

April 11, 2017

When it comes to committing crimes, 17-year-olds are much more similar to 16-year-olds than to adults, according to a study released Tuesday by advocates urging lawmakers to treat those under 18 as juveniles in the criminal justice system.

Read the rest of this article at Dallas News.

Press Release: New Analysis of Texas Crime Data Suggests 17-Year-Olds Should Be Treated As Juveniles, Not Adults

April 11, 2017

Seventeen-year-olds are automatically prosecuted as adults in the Texas criminal justice system. A new data analysis from a broad coalition of groups working to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Texas from 17 to 18 finds that 17-year-olds are arrested at a rate and for non-violent, low-level offenses that closely resemble those of 16-year-olds rather than older youth or adults.

Read the rest of this press release here.

House panel votes to raise age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18

March 22, 2017

The House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee on Wednesday voted to approve a bill that would raise the age of criminal responsibility in Texas from 17 to 18. The proposal would affect thousands of 17-year-olds who encounter the criminal justice system by sending their cases to the juvenile justice system, a bone of contention for advocates and critics.

Read the rest of this article at the Texas Tribune.

Commentary: Texas can raise the age and keep youth, communities safe

March 20, 2017

Few Texans would want to be judged their entire life based on what they did or who they were when they were 17, an age when most of us were in high school. However, Texas is one of only seven states where all 17- year-olds are placed in the adult justice system.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the Austin American-Statesman.

Schneider: Improving foster care should include juvenile justice reforms

March 17, 2017

Each child who walks into my courtroom is unique, but most of them have a lot in common. Many have been scarred by childhood neglect and extreme trauma.

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

A Cost Analysis for Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility in Texas

March 14, 2017

Texas’ House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues recently heard testimony from stakeholders and the public on House Bill 122, a bill which would “raise the age” of criminal responsibility in Texas—from 17 to 18 years old. In attempting to model potential costs borne by state and local governments in implementing such policies, it is not altogether uncommon for government agencies to overestimate the fiscal impact of “raise the age” legislation.

Read the rest of this post at Right On Crime's Outside the Cell blog.

Advocates tell lawmakers to treat 17-year-olds like kids, not grown-ups

March 9, 2017

Lexus'Kiyra Cubero is still haunted by words she uttered at age 17. The 25-year-old from Dallas told a panel of lawmakers Wednesday that she was charged with making terroristic threats during an altercation in her foster home when she threatened to take a stick to someone who was making fun of her.

Read the rest of this article at Dallas News.

Adult prison is not for 17-year-olds

February 19, 2017

In Texas, 17-year-olds are not allowed to vote, join the military, enter into a binding contract, serve on a jury or buy cigarettes, but they can land in adult prisons. It’s time to change the state law.

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

Commentary: Legislators should reform age of responsibility in Texas

February 18, 2017

The time has come for Texas to recognize the burgeoning body of evidence that points to the negative effects on youth who are exposed to the adult criminal justice system. It is time for the state to not only recognize the evidence but to take action.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the Austin American-Statesman.

Coalition wants minors out of adult prisons

February 14, 2017

A broad-based coalition that includes the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission insists tough-on-crime Texas should get smart on crime by raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18. Texas is one of only seven states where 17-year-old offenders are treated as adults.

Read the rest of this article at The Baptist Standard.

Lawmaker seeks to end Texas prosecution of 17-year-olds as adults

February 10, 2017

As more states come in line with the federal standards that mark the age of adulthood at 18, state Rep. Gene Wu believes that this is the year Texas will stop prosecuting 17-year-olds as adults. Wu and another Houston Democratic lawmaker have filed a pair of bills that would do just that.

Read the rest of this article at the Austin American-Statesman.

Op-Ed: Raise the age of criminal responsibility

February 4, 2017

As the CEO of Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and the former executive director of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, I have spent my career advocating for children who need the help of caring adults to shepherd them through a crisis. This experience in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems provides me with a unique perspective about the importance of raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds.

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

Press Release: Local Advocates Show Support For “Raise The Age” Initiative

February 2, 2017

A diverse group of more than 200 local legislators, advocates, students, and faith leaders convened this week to learn more about the juvenile justice system and to demonstrate their support and solidarity for efforts to “Raise the Age” of juvenile jurisdiction in Texas. The “Raise the Age” effort, which helps keep kids out of adult jails and prisons, would increase the age of adult facility incarceration from 17 to 18.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Faith coalition backs plan to raise age of juvenile offenders from 17 to 18

February 1, 2017

Faith leaders and activists mourned the death of a Fort Bend County youth Wednesday as they gathered to announce an initiative to raise the age of juvenile offenders in Texas from 17 to 18.

Read the rest of this article at the Houston Chronicle.

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