The Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Facility is in the process of being converted to an all-female school and will house all of the Texas Youth Commission’s female general population students, the TYC said.
TYC spokesman Jim Hurley said the Brownwood school has been transferring male students to other facilities and had about 80 males as of Thursday. The school had 228 female students, Hurley said.
He said the Brownwood school has received about 20 female students from Marlin and about 11 from Giddings.
The TYC is working to segregate its juvenile detention centers by gender for the first time in more than a decade, and the co-ed Giddings Sate School is being converted to house only males, the Associated Press reported.
“There are inherent problems with having teenage boys and teenage girls in the same facility,” Hurley said.
Hurley said having the girls at one facility would allow for better, more specialized programming, and provide a better environment for rehabilitation, the AP reported.
“We have 125 sex offenders at Giddings, so why would you want to have girls exposed to them?” the AP quoted Hurley as saying.
Hurley said it’s possible the Brownwood school will also become the TYC’s psychiatric center for girls, which is currently at the Corsicana facility.
The plans would bring the Brownwood facility full circle, because when it was opened in 1970, it held juvenile females exclusively and was known as the Brownwood State Home and School for Girls.
The TYC incarcerates about 3,300 offenders ages 10 to 21 who are considered the most dangerous, incorrigible or chronic, the AP reported. The commission operates 15 prisons, nine halfway houses and numerous treatment and counseling centers.
According to the AP:
As of early May, about 395 of the 3,300 youths in the lockups were girls. Seventeen girls were among 240 youths in halfway houses. Forty-one were among 425 in contract centers. Three hundred were among 3,600 on parole.
The details of the switch were contained in a confidential report sent to legislative leaders, the AP reported. The report by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project also said that system intake for girls will be done at the Brownwood unit and for boys at a youth prison in Mart.
The ACLU urged that girls in TYC custody be provided specialized programs, the AP reported.
“Girls who are in TYC custody need, but are not receiving, individualized counseling necessary to cope with childhood disadvantages, familial abuse and psychological damage,” the AP quoted the report as stating. “Major aspects of TYC, including its range of available placement for girls, its institutional culture and its rehabilitative programming, fall short of meeting the needs of girls.”