Press Contact: For all media inquiries, please contact Madison Kaigh, Communications Manager, at or (512) 441-8123, ext. 108.

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.

States are raising age for adult prosecution back to 18

February 1, 2017

Miguel Moll had a choice: Would he be a beast or a victim? Moll was 17 when he was taken into custody on suspicion of joyriding. He’d been a passenger in a stolen car. It was exactly the kind of dumb thing teenagers do; but under Texas law, 17-year-olds are automatically prosecuted as adults.

Read the rest of this article at the ABA Journal.

Coalition backs Texas effort to raise age for juvenile offenders

January 31, 2017

Texans have to be 18 years old to vote, join the military or buy a lottery ticket. But when arrested for any crime from misdemeanor to felony, 17-year-olds are treated like adults, an inconsistency some legislators, judges and religious leaders hope to change.

Read the rest of this article at the Houston Chronicle.

Juvenile justice advocates look to raise age of criminal responsibility to 18

January 30, 2017

Seventeen-year-olds can't vote, join the military or buy cigarettes or alcohol, but they're treated as adults in criminal cases in Texas. About 200 people rallied at the Capitol on Monday to change that.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune.

Texomans weigh in on 'raise the age' push

January 30, 2017

Hours after a rally at the Texas state capitol to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18, Texomans are voicing their opinions.

Read the rest of this article at WMC Action News 5.

Here are four key criminal justice issues in the Texas Legislature

January 29, 2017

The top issue for juvenile justice advocates this session will be pushing to raise the age of criminal responsibility from age 17 to 18. State law has considered 17-year-olds adults for criminal purposes for decades, but critics say the practice could do more harm than good to children, who they say have no business being locked up with adult offenders instead of being treated with 16-year-olds and younger people in the juvenile justice system.

Read the rest of this article at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Rose: Handling 17-year-old offenders

January 21, 2017

When 17-year-old Texans are caught pulling a high school prank, shoplifting, or getting in more serious trouble, they are automatically considered adults and sent to the adult criminal justice system. That’s bad policy for youth and taxpayers, and momentum is building to change it.

Read the rest of this op-ed at The Tennessean.

Raise the Age

January 20, 2017

Charles Rotramel is joined by Elizabeth Henneke to discuss the movement to keep Texas 17-year-olds out of the adult criminal justice system, and why it is of critical importance to our kids.

Listen to this podcast at reClaimed: Dialogues on Justice and Kinship.

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

December 14, 2016

Expanding reentry education, job training and treatment alternatives to incarceration were announced Wednesday as the upcoming legislative priorities for the Texas Smart-On-Crime Coalition.

View the news coverage at Austin KXAN.

Keep Preteens Out of Juvenile System, Texas House Panel Told

September 7, 2016

Already facing calls to limit when teenagers are treated as adults in the criminal justice system, Texas lawmakers next year may also see legislation trying to keep preteens from being shunted into the juvenile justice system.  

Read the rest of this article at the Texas Tribune.

Op-Ed: Time to raise the age for keeping kids in juvenile court system

August 2, 2016

An issue that was debated in the last legislative session and should be passed this legislative session is raising the age of offenders who are treated as adults in the Texas criminal justice system. After studying this issue for several years and speaking with criminal justice experts, I have concluded that this is an important issue that needs correcting in order to salvage young lives and increase the size of Texas’ workforce.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.