Texas has long been known for being tough on juvenile crime. According to a 2007 study performed by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice examining the effect of harsh sentencing practices on juvenile offenders for nonviolent crimes, Texas increased the number of juveniles under the age of 18 incarcerated between 1995 and 2006 by a whopping 48 percent.
The data also revealed that 18 percent of the youth incarcerated were under the age of 15. In addition, the study also revealed a 22 percent increase in whites imprisoned during this span, a 5 percent increase in Latinos imprisoned and a 13 percent decrease in African-Americans imprisoned during the same time frame. Perhaps somewhat surprising, the study also revealed a 57 percent increase in females being incarcerated.
The statistics are alarming. They show that Texas has cracked down on juvenile crime, and prosecutors will want to send a message to other juveniles if your child is convicted of a crime. These crimes do not even need to be violent crimes. Drug crimes, such as possession of narcotics or distribution of marijuana, and theft crimes, such as shoplifting or burglary, can mean a stiff jail sentence for your child, regardless of race or gender.
Because juveniles charged with a crime in Texas, even a nonviolent crime, have a very good possibility of going to jail, it is important that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure your child has the zealous representation needed to protect his or her rights and freedom.