AUSTIN (KXAN) — Five secure juvenile correctional facilities in Texas, including one in Lee County, are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for the possible abuse of children being held there.
These facilities are run by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. According to the DOJ, they are:
- Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg (south Texas near McAllen)
- Gainesville State School in Gainesville (north of Fort Worth)
- Giddings State School in Giddings (Lee County, east of Bastrop)
- McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart (outside of Waco)
- Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood (in between San Angelo and Waco)
The DOJ says it will determine whether the state of Texas protects children in these facilities “from physical and sexual abuse by staff and other residents, excessive use of chemical restraints and excessive use of isolation.” Investigators will also look at whether Texas provides enough mental health care.
In a statement Wednesday, Press Secretary Renae Eze with Gov. Greg Abbott’s Office says the state will cooperate with the DOJ’s investigation.
“In July, Governor Abbott directed the Texas Rangers to investigate reports of certain TJJD staff engaging in potentially illegal behavior. Throughout his time serving the people of Texas, Governor Abbott has always prioritized the safety and well-being of all Texas children, including those in the state’s care. The State of Texas will cooperate fully with the Department of Justice’s investigation,” Eze said.
The DOJ says it hasn’t reached any conclusions about allegations connected to these issues. The investigation will be done under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act — both of which allow the DOJ to investigate violations in juvenile correctional facilities.
Individuals with relevant details to the investigation should contact the DOJ by phone at 1 (866) 432-0438 or by email at TX.Juveniles@usdoj.gov.