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Senate Interim Committee on Juvenile Justice and Child Support
Charge

Study whether the criminal offense of failure to stop and render aid, which applies to adults, should also apply to juveniles.
Recommendation

  • Direct Legislative Council to draft legislation which makes minors subject to the offense of failure to stop and render aid and other felony traffic offenses in a manner similar to an adult.

    Charge

    Study and make recommendations regarding juvenile justice revisions made by the 74th Legislature, with special focus on (a) implementation of progressive sanctions and related programming by local entities, and (b) the expansion of the STARS (Services to At-Risk Youth) program of the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, by the Juvenile Justice Reform Bill (H.B. 327) and the Appropriations Act (H.B. 1), 74th Legislature.

    Recommendations

    PROGRESSIVE SANCTIONS

  • Appropriate additional funds to address the needs of each of the levels of the progressive sanctions continuum. These funds should be provided in a way that allows more discretion to juvenile probation departments in how the funds are used.

    STARS

  • Provide increased funding to allow expansion of STARS services statewide.

  • Designate funds to support the Criminal Justice Policy Council in performing ongoing evaluation of the STARS program.

  • Restrict STARS services to non-adjudicated youths.

    COMMUNITY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT GRANT PROGRAM

  • Designate funding to support the Criminal Justice Policy Council in performing ongoing evaluation of the Community Youth Development Grant Program.

  • Continue funding the Community Youth Development Grant Program and consider increased funding subject to successful evaluation of the program.
    Charge

    Study and make recommendations for any juvenile justice related issues that are identified as problems in the revisions of juvenile justice laws, including omissions and unintended consequences of the Juvenile Justice Reform Bill or related statutes and legislation.
    Recommendations

  • Allow local law enforcement agencies to keep records on juveniles arrested for any offense until the youth reaches age 17 regardless of whether the youth completes a first offender program.

  • Prohibit the sealing of juvenile records until two years have elapsed since last contact and the youth has reached 17 years of age.

  • Simplify the warning procedure. (Allow peace officers, rather than a magistrate, to give first rights warning.)

  • Repeal the requirement that a peace officer, prior to obtaining a statement from a juvenile, take the juvenile before a magistrate, provided that prior to the taking of the statement the peace officer advises the juvenile of his or her constitutional rights, and such proceeding is video taped with audio sound. The requirement to take the juvenile before a magistrate after obtaining a statement remains unchanged.

  • Support, but not require, a county's decision to create or designate a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week facility, where a youth can be taken if a parent or responsible adult cannot be found in cases of Status and Class C offenses.

  • Provide funding to counties for juvenile departments to fingerprint youths and forward the records to the Department of Public Safety.

  • Clarify § 54.044, Family Code (Community Service) to indicate that a court could require each person (parent and child) to perform 500 hours of community service.

  • Remove one of the barriers to finding jobs for juvenile offenders by making more information regarding the juvenile's record available through Project-RIO to the potential employer.
    Charge

    Review analyses of the Criminal Justice Policy Council and other information required to be reported to the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, or the Legislative Budget Board by the Juvenile Justice Reform Bill or related statutes, and make recommendations from those reports.
    Recommendations

  • Without making recommendations, the committee reviewed the following reports: "An Audit Report on Contract Administration at the Texas Youth Commission," State Auditor Report No. 96-005; "Juvenile Processing in Dallas County," Criminal Justice Policy Council; "A Reexamination of Factors Influencing the Disposition of Juvenile Cases in Dallas County," Dallas County; and "Top Priority: Preparing the Juvenile Justice System for the Twenty-First Century," Criminal Justice Policy Council.

  • Without making recommendations, the committee reviewed information on the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation First Offender Program; the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; the role of the Department of Public Safety in the Juvenile Justice System; the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Youth Services; and information from various local juvenile programs, such as First Time Offender and Homework Programs, Back to School Program, Strength Through Academic Respect Day Camp, and Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Pilot Program.
    Charge

    Study and make recommendations regarding child support payments, specifically relating to the collection and distribution of child support as in S.B. 793, 74th Legislature.
    Recommendations

  • Define more clearly which licenses and permits issued by the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Motor Vehicle Board, and Texas Motor Vehicle Commission are subject to license suspension provisions of Chapter 232, Family Code.
    Charge

    Study and determine whether the expansion of the Texas Youth Commission and local juvenile facilities is sufficient to go into the year 2002.
    Recommendation

  • Despite an impressive bed acquisition program being conducted by TYC, based on projected increases in commitments to the agency, a shortfall of 902 beds is expected by the year 2002.
    Charge

    Study and report on juvenile sex offenders.
    Recommendations

  • Provide a continuum of care to be available either through Child Protective Services or out-sourced so that a family is monitored for a period of time after a sexual abuse incident involving a child has occurred.

  • Consider providing an incentive to receive treatment by linking financial support through the Victims Compensation Fund to the victim's attendance of treatment.

  • Create a Specialized Unit/Program level within Child Protective Services for the identification and monitoring of sexually abused juveniles.

  • Require those who provide treatment to juvenile sex abuse victims to be credentialed and registered as part of their licensure. Presently providers who treat offenders must be so registered.

  • Remove any statutory barrier for treatment providers to accept juvenile clients.

  • Require a specialized psychological evaluation to be conducted by the county juvenile department or equivalent in a county. This evaluation should consist of pertinent information for treatment, placement, and proper identification of the offender's propensity to recommit the offense. The evaluation should then be placed in the juvenile's permanent file to be used as a reference for any agency that comes into contact with the offender.

  • Create an expedited court hearing for sexual offenses in which the offender is a juvenile.

  • Require Child Protective Services to create guidelines and allocate staff resources for adequate training of videotaping policies, and implement that policy across the state.

  • Amend the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to allow the admissibility of a child's first videotaped statement, taken by a trained neutral party, as evidence in a court of law.

  • Expand probation of juvenile sex offenders so that they must attend, participate in, and complete treatment.

  • Specifically address juvenile sex offenders, their treatment, and supervision in the progressive sanctions guidelines by adding a section requiring their mandatory referral to treatment.

  • Statutorily allow the use of polygraph examinations by juvenile probation officers.

  • Grant school districts and/or parents the authority to bar placement of a juvenile sex offender in the same class or school as the victim. Strengthen the ability of school districts to obtain information on the offender.

  • Create a gradual step-down transition into the community for juvenile sex offenders from a high restriction institution, to a halfway house, to a community-based outpatient followup with close parole supervision.
    Charge

    Study and report on Alternative Education Programs and Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs mandated under Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code.
    Recommendation

  • The committee approved the deferral of action on these issues to the Senate Education Committee and other entities that have been, and will continue to be, involved with the issues more comprehensively than time allowed this committee to be.