Most Texas Juvenile Prisoners Have Mental Health Problems

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Some 52 percent of young people in Texas’ six youth prison facilities have moderate or high mental health treatment needs, the head of the state juvenile justice department says.

Texas Juvenile Justice Department executive director Cherie Townsend said Tuesday that that figure “greatly concerns us.”

She said early intervention programs designed to rehabilitate problem children before they enter the juvenile justice system are especially crucial for youngsters with mental health problems.

Townsend is head of a new agency created after last year, when the state Legislature voted to merge two previously existing juvenile justice agencies.  In the months immediately before it was shut down, one of those agencies, the Texas Youth Commission, had several incidents involving violence against its inmates.

Townsend is the former Executive Director of the Texas Youth Commission.

Of the state’s six youth prison facilities, two are in North Texas: the Gainesville State School and the Corsicana Residential Treatment Center.

Supporters say the move will save Texas money and bolster early-intervention and rehabilitation programs for a juvenile justice system that in the past was dogged by allegations of neglect and sexual abuse.

Click here for the state’s statistics on the demographic makeup of its juvenile inmates.

Also Check Out:

(Copyright 2012 by CBS Local.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.  All Rights Reserved.)


One Comment

  1. Dirk says:

    NAW,what they have is lack of parental guidence,and ya can take that however you like!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Robbie says:

    Dirk, evidently you do not know anything about mental illness. It is an imbalance in the brain and the state of Texas ranks 48th in the U.S. in care for people with mental illness. As long as we keep pushing mental illness on the back burner people with and people without will suffer. If you had cancer would you not want treatment? Have a heart. Texas legislature need to wake up and demand that Texas provide care for the people with mental illness. It is a very crippling disease.

    1. Matt says:

      I agree, the state of Texas should pay to help the mentally ill. All deemed unfit for society should be locked up in institutions.

      I nor anyone else should have to deal with crazy people walking the streets.

      P.S. F*ck the homeless!

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE