Inadequate Security in Juvenile Courts

Harris County commissioners are confronted with an issue of inadequate security at the county’s Juvenile Justice Center. Judges say there aren’t enough bailiffs on duty to maintain order and safety in the courtrooms. Houston Public Radio’s Laurie Johnson reports.

Judges at the Harris County Juvenile Justice Center say there aren’t enough law enforcement officers on site to keep things safe.

There are only two deputies on duty on each floor of the building. The other bailiffs are occupied with transferring people back and forth between detention and courtrooms.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says he expects to get a report on the security needs within the next two to four weeks.

“A lot of times family courts aren’t seen as having quite the hardened criminal element and so they get treated a little differently. But you have a lot of raw emotions over there and things can happen and the judges have expressed a concern and I think it’s something we need to look at.”

Emmett says there wasn’t any particular incident that prompted the request for additional security.

“As in all security issues, you want to take action before there’s an incident because if there’s any incident then everybody goes well why didn’t you know that was coming. And I think that’s the judges’ concern.”

Emmett says it may be a simple case of contracting for more sheriff’s deputies. The Commissioners Court heard about the issue in their regular meeting.

On a separate matter, they also approved a nearly $13 million contract for the planning and engineering stage of the Hempstead Tollway. That tollway will run along Hempstead Road.
It’s parallel to US 290 and is anticipated to relieve traffic congestion n the northwest corridor.
Construction could start within two years.

Laurie Johnson. Houston Public Radio News.

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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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