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Texas

More Young Offenders Are Mentally Ill

Inmates.jpg
KUT News
Former juvenile inmates are speaking out during the trial of a former Texas Youth Commission official. More testimony is scheduled for today.

More than half of young people in Texas correctional facilities, 56 percent, have some diagnosed mental illness.

The latest figures were presented to lawmakers today. The mental illness rate compares with 39 percent in 2007.

Michael Griffiths, the new head of the state’s Juvenile Justice Department, says getting treatment for those youth is one of his top priorities.

“I want to do this job,” Griffiths said. “I don’t have any more career goals. I’m here to fix this thing. And if I fail, I’ll be the first to admit it. But I want to be the person who can stand before you next session and say, ‘We succeeded.’”

The Legislative Budget Board is recommending a 4 percent reduction in psychiatric care for the Juvenile Justice Department.

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