St. Mary's Law Journal


The consolidation of the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) into the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) in 2011, produced a unified state juvenile justice agency to promote public safety first and to produce positive outcomes for youth, families, and communities second. As Professor Metze’s second paper discussing ways to effect a change in the School-to-Prison Pipeline, he first highlights the progress of TJJD’s use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in the Texas juvenile correctional context as continued evidence that such techniques, if effective in the correctional setting, will certainly work in the public schools. PBIS continues to show itself as an effective behavioral modification technique that should be mandated by the Legislature to be used in all Texas Public Schools on a local level. The creation of the TJJD though has created a constitutional intrusion into a core judicial function of the courts that have jurisdiction over juveniles on a local level. This paper will address these seemingly unrelated topics that both relate to efforts to plug the school-to-prison pipeline: (1) by increasing the ability of local public schools to deal with behavioral problems with the concomitant benefit of educating more of our youth who otherwise would be excluded from a public education and (2) by preserving the constitutional authority of local courts in the supervision and rehabilitation of those under its jurisdiction by removing even a threat to the local court’s power to divert juveniles from the pipeline by meaningful community-based rehabilitation.


St. Mary's University School of Law