The number of juvenile offenders having to face adult courts in Texas is slowly decreasing. This is a trend that is occurring all across the U.S. The effect of this historic decrease is a net positive for both juvenile offenders and the justice system. A number of reasons are being cited to explain this new trend.
Juvenile courts help young offenders avoid adult prison
Juvenile crimes are a source of serious concern in Texas as in the rest of the nation. This is why the new trend toward referring younger offenders almost exclusively to juvenile courts is welcomed by experts. The trend has resulted in a drop in the total number of juveniles being referred to adult courts. The figure went from 8% to 2% in 2020.
Part of the reason for the drop may be the lock down during the recent pandemic. But even with this cause in mind, the drop in the total percentage has been one for the record books. It has also resulted in a great deal of positive change. Fewer juveniles are having to face long prison sentences in an adult facility.
Alternatives to adult detention are being recommended
There are a number of alternatives that are currently being recommended in place of adult detention. These include programs that offer counseling, peer mediation, and a host of other services. These programs are aimed at keeping young people off the streets and away from the temptation to commit crimes.
Some law enforcement observers feel that courts are being too lenient on some young offenders. A proportion of these youths may continue to offend until they are old enough to go to an adult facility. However, studies show that many younger offenders can be reached in time to dissuade from committing more crimes.