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Extortion Reports Among Locked Up Texas Youth

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AUSTIN (AP) - A state ombudsman tells lawmakers that students at a youth lockup in Central Texas are coercing and extorting each other for cigarettes, drugs and money.

Ombudsman Debbie Unruh says youths at the Giddings State School are being “bought and owned” by fellow students at the lockup about 50 miles east of Austin.

The Austin American-Statesman reports Unruh’s nine-page report also says youth ringleaders are “controlling the culture” on the Giddings campus and staff lack control over students.

The report says students refuse to leave security detention because they fear for their safety.

Sen. John Whitmire calls the situation “totally unacceptable and unbelievable.” He’s chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

He and state Rep. Jerry Madden led the effort to overhaul the state’s juvenile corrections system after abuse scandals.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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