Texas Wesleyan Law Review

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For the reasons explored in detail in this Comment, the Texas juvenile justice system should be reformed to eliminate the TYC. In its place, Texas should implement locally-managed multisystemic therapy (MST) programs that focus on eliminating risk factors for delinquent behavior and strengthening the family in order to assure long-term maintenance of acceptable behavior. Participation in MST is community- based and allows the juvenile to remain at home during treatment. This should be the first line of defense in assisting juveniles in overcoming delinquent behavior. As a result, incarceration of juveniles should be reserved only for serious or habitual offenders, and these facilities should be regionalized in order to keep juveniles connected with their families and involved in their communities. Research suggests that MST is cost effective, reduces recidivism rates, and keeps youth integrated within their families and communities. Section II of this Comment explores the history and origins of the TYC, reforms implemented in the TYC since its formation, general offender statistics and trends, reports and investigations of abuse and neglect in recent years, and recommendations made by the recent Blue Ribbon Task Force as to the direction and suggested future reform of the TYC. Section III of this Comment evaluates MST as an alternative to incarcerating juvenile offenders. It specifically explores studies proving MST to be cost-effective and productive, and it details the underlying principles of the MST approach. Additionally, Section III analyzes the necessity of "last resort" regionalized incarceration facilities in order to rehabilitate the most serious and habitual offenders. It reviews the success of the "Missouri Model" and establishes why a similar model in the State of Texas would be cost-effective and would reduce recidivism rates among juveniles released from those facilities.



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