District 83 Representative Dustin Burrows hailed as champion by - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

District 83 Representative Dustin Burrows hailed as champion by director of Lubbock juvenile justice center


Dustin Burrows, the district 83 representative is gaining high praises from a local juvenile justice official. This comes after Burrows spoke out against House Bill 122 Thursday, before the bill was to be passed.

The bill would raise the age of criminal responsibility in Texas, from 17 to 18 years-old. 

William Carter, the director of the juvenile detention center in Lubbock, said without appropriate funding by the state, the money to fund this program would come from taxpayer's pockets.

"(The) raise the Age Bill, which is going to raise the age of when we determine somebody is a minor, or an adult for a conviction from 17 to 18," says Representative Burrows. 

The Bill, if passed by the Senate, would go into effect in 2021.

"The legislative budget board did an analysis on this and they said that for the state it would cost $45 million dollars in 2020, $35 million by 2022, because of what we were actually doing in this the increase on our juvenile justice courts, increased detention facilities. Also, it notes that our counties would have to pick up a lot of this tab, which is not budgeted for," Burrows said. 

But, Representative Harold Dutton said that isn't the case.

"We took a look at the 44, 45 other states. One of the things that jumped out at us, everyone of those inquiries we made, is they all started out with somebody like a Burrows saying it's gonna cost a whole lot of money, we can't do it," Dutton said. "But we took a more special look, a lot harder look at the state of Illinois, the state of Illinois came back and said, wait a minute, what we found was that we actually had a savings as a result from moving from 17 to 18."

The goal of this bill is to help teens before it's too late, he said.

"What happens on the juvenile side is we have what's called deferred prosecution for most of those, where now what they'll do, is they'll get at least a probation officer, someone looking at them trying to help address the underlying problems that's causing that juvenile to get in trouble," Dutton said.

Burrows said he is more than happy to find a way to help those juveniles create a better life for themselves, but the uncertainty of this bill isn't the way to go about it.

"Once we have some hard numbers, let's make sure that we appropriate that, so that we can make this transition happen if that's the policy that we want to have as a state, but until we know what the costs are, I don't think it's time to vote on policy like that," Burrows said. 

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