Taking a Second Look at Juvenile Sentencing
Texas’ laws governing juvenile parole eligibility require an update to reflect the advancement of credible research around adolescent development. Given the majority of incarcerated individuals will eventually be released, in order to ensure public safety, Texas must implement meaningful rehabilitation programs to prepare juvenile offenders to successfully reenter society.
- Data show that juvenile offenders have a greater capacity for rehabilitation as they continue to reach developmental maturity and develop skills to rebuild their lives and become contributing members to society.
- Research concerning recidivism and adolescent development supports that juvenile offenders are often rehabilitated well before their parole eligibility, which in Texas is 40 years, the longest of any state.
- Most states have adjusted parole eligibility for juvenile offenders by considering research on adolescents’ ability to mature and successfully integrate into parole proceedings and society.
- Research shows significantly lower rearrest rates among adult juvenile offenders in comparison to adult offenders released into communities.