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Lawmakers Expect To Focus On Juvenile Justice Reform In Upcoming Legislative Session

The U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating some of the juvenile courts in Harris County, according to the Houston Chronicle.


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Appearing on TV 8's Red, White, and Blue, Houston Democratic State Representative Gene Wu pointed to figures showing that Harris County sends more kids into the state juvenile justice system than any other county in the state.

Wu called for early intervention on the county level.

"A lot of the kids in the juvenile justice system are in the CPS system and we want to take care of the kids that have been abused or neglected," said Wu.

Republican State Senator Paul Bettencourt agreed. He thinks counties could do a better job of providing mental health care and that could help lower the rate of recidivism.

"We need to do the right economic thing, which is to get in early with a better treatment program that costs less," Bettencourt explained.

Both Wu and Bettencourt said they view the juvenile justice as a bipartisan issue where lawmakers could reach across the aisle to find solutions. As for other big issues in the new legislative session, Wu and Bettencourt also mentioned school finance, health care and property tax reform.

Lawmakers are now pre-filing bills for the upcoming session, which begins January 8.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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