Texas justice advocates call to shut down youth lockups

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas civil rights and juvenile justice reform groups are calling for the state to close all of its remaining youth lockups and replace them with community-based treatment and rehabilitation centers.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Texans Care for Children, Texas Appleseed and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition wrote to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus in a letter Thursday calling for the facilities’ closures.

The move comes as confirmed allegations of sexual abuse of incarcerated teenagers at the Gainesville State School spark renewed demands by lawmakers to stop such criminal misconduct.

The groups’ recommendations would take the Texas Juvenile Justice Department out of the business of incarcerating youths in remote state-run lockups for the first time in years.

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State officials didn’t immediately comment.