Yesterday was a good day for justice in Texas. Governor Abbott signed into law measures that will increase attendance at schools, decrease the number of students and their families being charged with truancy, and keep more youths near their families and communities while they work toward second chances. These measures will lower the number of children becoming entangled in the justice system as well as lower the return rate as more successfully perform their sentences and reintegrate in a more seamless manner.

House Bill 2398 realized that many students and their families experience financial difficulties, preventing them from attending school. The changes that the bill brings would allow judges to find the root of the problem, and provide a judicial trust fund through which that root can be addressed, without involving the long arm of the correctional system. Additionally, students who have received a conviction on charges of truancy are entitled to have that conviction expunged, preventing that conviction from following them onward, possibly preventing them from finding gainful employment and becoming contributing members of society.

Senate Bill 1630 realized that families are usually the best places for children. It allows more juveniles to serve their sentences in their communities, or local areas, as opposed to being shipped–at the State’s expense–to large rural facilities. Policies like this have been proven to lower rates of recidivism, protect the public, and bringing hope into the lives of youthful offenders.

Right on Crime congratulates Governor Abbott for bringing Texas closer to being a state that is truly smart on crime.