“We all have the same goals for the young people entrusted to our care: to ensure their safety, their effective rehabilitation and the best chance for them to live productive, fulfilling lives,” said Camille Cain, the executive director of the Texas Department, in a statement.
While the U.S. Department of Justice and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, have fought each other over several high-profile issues, including the state’s new law banning nearly all abortions, they’ve both tried to address the issues with the juvenile detention centers of the United States. able to tackle.
In July, Mr. Abbott sent the Texas Rangers, a division of the state’s Department of Public Safety, to investigate Juvenile Justice Department employees over allegations of illegal conduct with incarcerated children.
“Child welfare is a two-pronged issue, and that makes it possible to see reform in a politically divided state,” said Brett M. Merfish, the director of juvenile justice at Texas Appleseed, a criminal justice and legal aid group.
Texas Appleseed teamed up with another group, Disability Rights Texas, on a complaint of sexual assault, physical assault and gang activity at the facilities, as well as chronic understaffing and inadequate mental health care.
The advocacy groups sent their complaint to the Justice Department last fall and Ms Merfish said she was encouraged by the investigation and hoped it marked the start of real change.
“This isn’t a new problem in Texas,” Mrs. Merfish said.
Chad E. Meacham, the acting US attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said many children are already traumatized when they enter the Texas criminal justice system.