FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2019
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
RIGHTS OF YOUTH IN JUVENILE JUSTICE FACILITIES FURTHER PROTECTED THROUGH GUILLEN BILL
AUSTIN - Legislation authored by State Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rural South Texas) that would help to protect the rights of youth in post-adjudication facilities, has advanced to the Senate after successfully passing in the House earlier this session.
"Under direction of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the Office of Independent Ombudsman is charged with the responsibility of investigating juvenile justice facilities when a complaint is filed," Guillen informed. "However, current statute is unclear regarding the power of ombudsman and therefore limits their ability to successfully carry out these investigations."
In an effort to reform Texas' juvenile justice system, legislation was passed in 2015 during the 84th session that expanded the authority of the Office of Independent Ombudsman for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to inspect private-run and other residential facilities in which a youth adjudicated delinquent is placed by a court order. However, the statute is unclear as to what records and information the ombudsman have access to when conducting oversight of post-adjudication facilities. HB 3648 would amend statute to clarify that the ombudsman can work directly with the facility during an investigation to access the information and records needed.
"Through this measure, we will further strengthen the Office of Independent Ombudsman's ability to protect the rights of youth in juvenile justice facilities," concluded Guillen.
Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at ryanguillen.com, facebook.com/representative.guillen, and twitter.com/ryanguillen