By Janet Jacobs
Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus has sent a letter to Scott Fisher, chairman of the the Texas Juvenile Justice Department stating that he doesn’t support closing the Corsicana Residential Treatment Center.
“I believe we can find a solution that will not require closure of this facility,” Straus states. “In this regard, I look forward to working with you and your staff to develop alternatives, and ensure that the TJJD has the resources it needs to accomplish its mission.”
In the letter, Straus acknowledges that the state budget calls for closing one of the six TJJD facilities, and that in late August the TJJD board recommended closing the Corsicana center.
However, he also states that it won’t save money, and doesn’t take into account things like proximity to a hospital and the care the boys receive in Corsicana.
“Further, I do not see the closure of the CRTC as addressing longer term issues such as the need for an acute care mental health facility, or the challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified mental health professionals,” his letter states.
The closure still has to be approved by the Legislative Budget Board, which is co-chaired by Straus and the Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. It was a senate proposal that put the clause into the budget about closing one of the facilities.
Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, said this doesn’t answer the question yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.
“It’s apparent that the House doesn’t support closure, now we’re hoping the Senate will join the House in moving forward in the best interests of the State of Texas and the offenders incarcerated there.
“I know this is really significant,” Cook added.