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Justice Department investigating juvenile facility in McLennan County, 4 others in Texas

McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility.JPG
Posted at 3:02 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 16:35:03-04

MART, Texas — The Justice Department opened a statewide investigation into the conditions at a juvenile facility in McLennan County and four others in Texas.

The five juvenile correctional facilities – including the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart -- are run by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

The DOJ said the investigation will look at whether the TJJD provides children confined in the facilities:

  • reasonable protection from physical and sexual abuse by staff and other residents
  • excessive use of chemical restraints
  • excessive use of isolation

The investigation will also look at whether the state provides adequate mental health care at these facilities.

“Too often children held in juvenile detention facilities are subject to abuse and mistreatment, and deprived of their constitutional rights,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The DOJ did not release any specifics about the allegations.

“Young people, even though they are confined in a juvenile facility, should not be abused, mistreated or deprived of essential services,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery of the Southern District of Texas.

Anyone with information about abuse or the conditions at any of the five facilities is asked to contact the DOJ by calling 866-432-0438 or emailing TX.Juveniles@usdoj.gov.

Camille Cain, executive director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, said the department will cooperate fully with the United States Department of Justice.

"We all share the same goals for the youth in our care: providing for their safety, their effective rehabilitation, and the best chance for them to lead productive, fulfilling lives," Cain said. "That has been the agency’s mission since I joined TJJD, and it remains our constant focus."