The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a statewide investigation into the conditions in the five secure juvenile correctional facilities run by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
The investigation will examine whether Texas provides children confined in the facilities reasonable protection from physical and sexual abuse by staff and other residents, excessive use of chemical restraints and excessive use of isolation. The investigation will also examine whether Texas provides adequate mental health care.
No specific allegations were outlined in the announcement of the investigation and the announcement also said the department has not reached any conclusions regarding the allegations in this matter.
Nothing was mentioned in the announcement about what had triggered the investigation.
The Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section is conducting this investigation jointly with the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in the Western, Eastern, Southern and Northern Districts of Texas.
The statement said investigation will be conducted under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Both statutes give the department the authority to investigate systemic violations of the rights of young people in juvenile correctional facilities.
In response to the announcement, Camille Cain, the Executive Director of the TJJD said her agency will cooperate fully with the investigation.
“We all share the same goals for the youth in our care: providing for their safety, their effective rehabilitation, and the best chance for them to lead productive, fulfilling lives. That has been the agency’s mission since I joined TJJD. and it remains our constant focus,” Director Cain said.