Texas has found itself stuck between the need to punish juvenile offenders and the need to ensure early offenders are rehabilitated. Study after study has indicated that juveniles who are placed in jails, or jail-like conditions at an early age, are more prone to acts of crime as they reach adulthood. While lesser juvenile crimes such as drug offenses have been at a low, the number of serious juvenile crimes such as murder and arson have increased tremendously over the years. Unfortunately, the juveniles who commit these serious offenses are often subject to the same punishment ranges as adults, which can mean life in prison at a very young age. If a young family member has been arrested on suspicion of criminal activity, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Houston juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible after the arrest. Gang conduct and gang membership is now a huge problem and a red flag to law enforcement to effectuate arrests of these youngsters.
Harris County Juvenile Probation Department has reported an increase in recidivism rates (adjudication of a second offense which is greater than or equal to the severity of the first adjudication) from 14.7% to 15.6%. This means that in 2008, for example, approximately 15% of all juveniles relapsed into criminal behavior within one year of the original adjudication.
One of the issues which continues to plague juvenile courts in Houston, Texas is the factor of adult certification. Juveniles who commit certain severe offenses are tried as adults and are available to receive felony punishments, beginning at age 14. This can lead to life in prison at the young age of 14. Juveniles who are incarcerated at such a young age are deprived of the rehabilitative services which are available at juvenile facilities and are much more likely to relapse into criminal behavior upon release and at Mary E. Conn Law – our Houston juvenile defense lawyers treat each case and client with the utmost care and compassion
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department has unfortunately seen a rise in the number of teenagers who are arrested and detained for minor infractions such as truancy and curfew violations. The resulting detention can often lead to more risky behavior and actual criminal offenses that can have dire repercussions on the juvenile, the community, and their family. The cost of detention is additionally burdensome on the state, and therefore rehabilitating the juvenile is often the preferred and cost-effective method to juvenile penalties as it will prevent future crimes from occurring.
If a young adult in your family has recently been arrested, it is important to contact Mary E. Conn Law as soon as possible. Juvenile offenses often appear to have little to no repercussions to family members, but in fact can lead to the same punishment ranges as any adult would face. Mary E. Conn is an experienced juvenile defense lawyer in Houston, handling all types of criminal defense, and understands how important it is to ensure juveniles are kept out of the prison system. Not only does prison incarceration result in a greater likelihood or recidivism, but juveniles often fare terribly in the prison system and are often subject to ongoing assaults by inmates. Contact us at our Houston, Texas offices today for your initial free consultation.