Juvenile Justice

Age-JurisdictionNew State Law Increases Protections for Undocumented Youth
State juvenile courts with delinquency jurisdiction handle cases in which juveniles are accused of acts that would be crimes if adults committed them. In 41 states, the maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction is age 17. Seven states draw the juvenile/adult line at 16 and two states set it at 15. In these two states, 16- and 17-year olds are automatically tried in the adult system.


Solitary confinement, or “seclusion,” is the most extreme form of isolation in a detention setting and can include physical and social isolation in a cell for 22 to 24 hours per day. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry says solitary confinement of juveniles can lead to depression, anxiety and even psychosis. In recent years, seven states have passed laws that limit or prohibit the use of solitary confinement for youth in detention facilities. For example, Connecticut law states that no child at any time shall be held in solitary confinement, but “seclusion” may be used periodically if authorized and the young person is checked every thirty minutes.


  • Raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18
  • Guarantee juveniles the right to counsel regardless of parents income and assets similar to 11 other US states
  • Abolish court fees for delinquent youth similar to New Orleans


Texas Constitution
Code – Family Code
Chapter 51 – General Provisions
Section 51.02 – Definitions

Justice Policy – Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration

Vera institute – New Study: Texas spends 23 percent more on prisons

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

NPR – Juvenile Incarceration Rates Are Down; Racial Disparities Rise

US News – What Youth Incarceration Costs Taxpayers

Justice Policy – Finding Direction: U.S. Should Consider Other Nations’ Justice Policies

World Justice Project – Rule of Law Index 2015

Malloy: Raise the age for juvenile justice system to 20

Moving 17-year-olds to juvenile courts for most offenses would save Louisiana taxpayers millions, study expects

New York Times – Louisiana Juvenile Defendant Age May Be Raised to 17

Ex-schools chief Deasy’s next step: build alternative juvenile prisons

Houston Free Press – Harris County Sheriff May Hand Over 17-Year-Olds to Private Prison Contractor

Texas Tribune – House passes bill to raise age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18

The Intercept – Private Prison Corporation Wrote Texas Bill Extending How Long Immigrant Children Can Be Detained

Think Progress – Most states consider family income when deciding on child’s right to counsel

Aldermen to consider ordinance to expunge juvenile criminal records

L.A. County to stop collecting old juvenile detention fees, erasing nearly $90 million of families’ debt

New Orleans becomes first city in South to axe court fees for delinquent youths

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