Drop in Texas juvenile state jail population coincided with lower youth crime rate, study says

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AUSTIN, Texas — A new study concludes that the Texas juvenile justice system's shift away from housing youths in state-run detention facilities has coincided with a sharp drop in crime committed by young people.

The report commissioned by Texas and compiled by the Justice Center at the nonpartisan Council of State Governments is being unveiled Thursday in Austin. It tracked 1.3 million case records between 2007 and 2011.

In 2008, lawmakers overhauled the system after pervasive reports of physical and sexual abuse.

That helped the number of youths confined to state facilities fall by 65 percent between 2007 and 2012. Many were shifted to community-based, county programs.

But the study found that, over the same period, crimes committed by youths declined 33 percent.

It also says smaller state-facility populations saved Texas $150 million.

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