The investigation will examine whether Texas provides children confined in the facilities reasonable protection from physical and sexual abuse by staff and other residents. The investigation will also look into excessive use of chemical restraints and excessive use of isolation, says the Justice Department.
The DOJ will also examine whether Texas provides adequate mental health care.
The TJJD runs five correctional facilities in the state: Evins Regional Juvenile Center, Gainesville State School, Giddings State School, the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility, and the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex.
TJJD executive director Camille Cain later issued a statement on the investigation:
"The Texas Juvenile Justice Department will cooperate fully with the United States Department of Justice. 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."
The Justice Department says it has not reached any conclusions regarding the allegations in this matter and the investigation will be conducted under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The department says that both statutes give it the authority to investigate systemic violations of the rights of young people in juvenile correctional facilities.
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.
Anyone with any information concerning this is encouraged to contact the department via phone at 1-866-432-0438 or by email at TX.Juveniles@usdoj.gov.
Additional information about the Civil Rights Division’s work regarding juvenile correctional facilities and the administration of juvenile justice is available online.