Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and other county leaders announced a new $4 million initiative May 5 to help reduce crime and address racial disparities in juvenile detention. According to a news release, the program will prioritize investment in communities with high rates of juvenile justice referrals.
In April, county commissioners approved the Youth Justice Community Reinvestment Fund—a program officials said will prevent crime before it happens by supporting local organizations that engage at-risk youth.
This initiative is funded by dollars initially earmarked for juvenile probation as well as the county’s general fund, officials said.
Change Happens, a local nonprofit that serves at-risk youth, will be the fund’s administrator. This group will partner with other community organizations to work with the county to invest in programming, according to a news release.
“Addressing the root causes associated with juvenile justice involvement is necessary to ensure that the young people in our communities grow into productive young adults, free from system involvement,” said Henry Gonzales, executive director of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, in a statement. “When possible, young people should remain in their community, maintain a connection with their family, and be supported by local, community-based services.”
I’m so proud of the County’s $4M Youth Community Reinvestment Fund—the first of its kind in Texas—which funds programs for at-risk youth, to keep them from turning to crime. Decades of research shows this works and it’s high time we increased support for these kinds of programs.
— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) May 5, 2022