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Filed by Texas Appleseed and Disability Rights Texas. OPENING PARAGRAPH: Dear Mr. Rosenbaum, We are writing to inform you of recurrent, systemic problems in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department’s (TJJD) five state secure facilities that violate federal Constitutional standards as well as jeopardize the health, safety, and rehabilitation of young people. We are aware of these problems through visits to the facilities, reports from the Office of the Independent Ombudsman (OIO), open records requests to TJJD and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and direct communication with TJJD-involved young people and families. This complaint details the following issues: ● Inability to ensure safety of young people (ex. staff turnover, reports of safety issues, and excessive restraints); ● Abuse, including sexual victimization, within the facilities (sex abuse, inappropriate use of force, etc.); ● Inadequate mental health care; and ● Over-reliance on short-term security and lack of programming for youth in security (segregation).
Opening paragraph: With cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) increasing daily, we can expect the virus to enter Texas’ juvenile facilities and detention centers, if it has not already. We are writing to share our concerns about the impact of COVID-19 virus on incarcerated and detained youth. As Texas takes steps to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, closing schools, canceling events, and shifting to supporting children in their homes and communities, we are writing about one group of young people that has the potential to be left behind: youth in custody in Texas.

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