Basic services, 2017

  • Overall

    Locally operated

  • Detention

    Locally operated

  • Probation

    Locally operated

  • Reentry

    State operated

Texas' delinquency services are organized at both the state and local level. Secure detention in Texas is administered locally by county juvenile boards which may serve one county or in some cases several counties. The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD), an independent juvenile justice agency, provides significant oversight including technical assistance and creating standards.

Community supervision in Texas is administered by county juvenile probation departments under the supervision of juvenile boards. There are 165 juvenile probation departments across 254 counties, as some departments are responsible for several counties. However, TJJD exercises a significant oversight role for all Texas juvenile probation departments.

The TJJD administers commitments to state facilities and reentry services for those youth leaving state facilities.

Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) administers commitments to state juvenile correctional facilities and reentry services for youth leaving those facilities.

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer, divided by offense.

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is allowed in Texas' juvenile correctional facilities. Disciplinary seclusion is allowed up to 24 hours, but may be extended with administrative approval. Youth confined for more than 24 hours must receive a formal disciplinary review no later than his 72nd hour of seclusion. Isolation for assessment, medical, or protective reasons, that exceeds 72 hours requires administrative review. Youth may be confined to a “security program” for non-punitive reasons for up to 8 days with appropriate approvals.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP) 

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

Release decisions for youth committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with an indeterminate commitment are the responsibility of the Department. The Department utilizes a Release Review Panel to determine if youth who have completed their minimum length of stay should discharged from custody, released under supervision, or given an extended length of stay. Results from a risk assessment tool are used to inform the panels release decision.

Risk assessment, 2020

Organization 2013 2017 2020
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Texas, juvenile probation services were previously organized at the local level by county-funded probation departments and are administered by juvenile boards. Administration of a risk/needs assessment is required by statute. As of 2020, Texas has moved to implement CoNEXTions, an integrated rehabilitative program for those youth involved with their juvenile justice department. In the process of risk assessment, CoNEXTions utilizes the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) inside of its greater program to assess the risks of its youth.

Sex offender registration, 2015


Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
Risk & Needs Assessment & other approved assessments

Mental health screening, 2014

Requires a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Other: Juvenile Court intake

Mental health screening tool used
Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument –Version 2 (MAYSI-2)

In Texas, State statute requires the use of a mental health screening tool in probation, detention, and corrections. A Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) policy requires the use of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument –Version 2 (MAYSI-2) uniformly in detention, probation, and corrections.

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

Texas supports the proliferation of evidence-based programs and practices (EBPs) in juvenile justice through statute and funding. Statute states that TX will fund evidence-based or research-based programs and dedicates funding for two positions to provide technical assistance on program design and evaluation for programs operated by juvenile probation departments. Specific EBPs, ART and FFT, are funded in state operated facilities.

Additionally, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) is required by the Texas Human Resources Code to issue an annual report addressing the effectiveness of its programs. These reports are called "The Annual Review of Treatment Effectiveness" and are publicly available. Texas also has a program registry on the TJJD website for non-residential community based programs.

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Study populations

The group(s) of youth being studied in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Re-offense events

Events that are used to measure recidivism in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Follow-up periods

Details regarding the length of time and frequency that youth are tracked in states that publicly report recidivism data.

36 months with interval and adult systems reporting


Additional levels of analysis provided in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • County

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race/ethn.

  • Risk level

  • Initial offense

  • Re-offense

  • Prior history

The Texas Legislative Budget Board reports recidivism for youth served by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). This includes youth under probation supervision or in residential placement at the county level as well as youth in state run residential facilities or under state parole supervision. Recidivism includes a re-arrest, incarceration/ re-incarceration, or probation/ parole revocation within 36 months. Recidivism rates are reported at 12, 24, and 36 month intervals with a maximum follow up time of 36 months.

Data sources

Statewide Criminal and Juvenile Justice Recidivism and Revocation Rates 2015
The State of Texas Legislative Budget Board

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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