Texas Legislature: Creating the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center

The proposal to create the Center for the Study and Prevention of Juvenile Crime and Delinquency was conceptualized by former PVAMU President Charles A. Hines and Mr. Ronald Jones, former Vice-President for Student Services in 1998. Mr. Frank Jackson, at that time Special Assistant to President Hines, and Mr. Jones sought advice from Senator Rodney Ellis on how to proceed in getting the creation of the Center into a bill. With the assistance of Mr. Jeff Archer of the Legislative Council for both Houses, along with Ms. Denise Davis, a draft of the bill was formulated for the various committees. It went to the conference committee where former Representative Sylvester Turner of Houston undertook the task of describing it to committee members. Due to the fiscal note attached, however, it could not move through the committees until staff member Lawana Burton of Senator Royce West’s office, identified a juvenile bill being sponsored by former Representative Toby Goodman, which was on its way to the Conference Committee. Through the influence of Representative Senfronia Thompson and Senator Royce West, Representative Toby Goodman added a rider to his bill while Representative Garnett Coleman also willingly agreed to add the rider in the Appropriations Bill. In a quick decision, Lawana Burton decided that the fiscal note could be fulfilled if $.25 of each dollar of certain court fees could translate into approximately $600,000. With token funds of $50,000 put forward by President Hines, the bill passed in May 1997. With tremendous support from Representatives Glen Lewis, Tommy Williams, Garnett Coleman, and Senator Steve Ogden, they persuaded Governor George Bush to sign the bill. (Excerpt from Five Years of Firsts: A History of the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center and the Evolution of the School of Juvenile Justice and Psychology by H. Elaine Rodney.)

House Bill 1550

SECTION 70.

(a) The Prairie View A&M University Center for 82-23 the Study and Prevention of Juvenile Crime and Delinquency shall 82-24 study the relationship of the juvenile justice system to special 82-25 categories of juveniles, including: 82-26

(1) minorities; 82-27
(2) female offenders; and 83-1
(3) sex offenders. 83-2

(b) The center shall cooperate with the Criminal Justice 83-3 Policy Council, the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, and the 83-4 Texas Youth Commission in conducting those studies. 83-5

(c) The center shall report its findings and recommendations 83-6 to the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of 83-7 representatives, and the governor by December 1, 2002.