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A Cost Analysis for Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility in Texas

| March 14, 2017

Texas’ House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues recently heard testimony from stakeholders and the public on House Bill 122, a bill which would “raise the age” of criminal responsibility in Texas—from 17 to 18 years old.

In attempting to model potential costs borne by state and local governments in implementing such policies, it is not altogether uncommon for government agencies to overestimate the fiscal impact of “raise the age” legislation. In two recent states which had done so—Illinois and Connecticut—anticipated cost increases were far less than expected.

In Texas, the Legislative Budget Board is constrained in using their estimated uniform cost report for each relevant system. While such estimates provide a helpful snapshot of the impact of broad, system-wide policy changes, they can also contain a great deal of fixed costs not germane to every policy proposal. This memo, shown below, provides an alternate cost estimate of raising the age of criminal responsibility in Texas for consideration by the legislature:


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