BROWNWOOD – Texas juvenile justice officials think they might have found a solution to some of their incarcerated youths’ behavior problems: putting them to work.
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department has developed a pilot program to place young offenders in jobs if they have already earned a high school diploma or GED. Normally, youths have to keep up a 16-hour day that includes going to classes even if they have completed their required education.
But under the two-tier program Capstone Program, being tested throughout the system, some youths who excel in their rehabilitation can take jobs away from their facilities, while others still dealing with behavioral issues are given jobs at their facilities.
The program was developed through the agency’s involvement in the Youth In Custody Certificate Program with the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University.
The juvenile justice agency currently serves 1,713 youth, with 1,075 in five secure facilities, and the rest 140 halfway houses, contract care facilities or on parole.
So far seven youths have entered the jobs program: five with on-campus jobs at the Gainesville State School – such as working in the cafeteria, waxing and stripping floors and maintaining grounds – and two allowed to work off campus…