HB 1205

84(R) - 2015
House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues
House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues
Criminal Procedure

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive


Harold Dutton Jr.

Bill Caption

Relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.

Fiscal Notes

Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB 1205,

Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($6,725,951) through the biennium ending August 31, 2017. The negative fiscal implications are estimated to increase in subsequent years. Additional costs potentially associated with increased demand on juvenile probation programming are not included in this analysis and could be significant. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.

Bill Analysis

This makes numerous procedural and substantive updates, not all of which need to be listed in detail here in order to understand the basic affect this bill would have if enacted; namely to raise the age at which a person may be tried as an adult rather than as a juvenile in the state of Texas.

For most purposes under Texas law a person is considered to have moved into the age of adulthood at 18 years of age. However, for the purposes of the criminal justice system a person may be considered an adult at the age of 17. This means that people still considered children for most purposes may be tried as adults and housed in adult correctional facilities. The purpose of this legislation is to rectify that inconsistency. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

Under a system of limited government with a justice system that is fair, effective, and balanced toward the due process rights of the individual, children do not serve time in adult prisons. Sending children to adult prisons violates the principle of limited government. 

A government that is limited will seek to make its justice system effective. One way to do this is to take steps to reduce recidivism. Studies have shown that treating children as adults in the justice system actually increases recidivism which in turn burdens the taxpayers further. 

Preventing people from being treated as adults by the criminal justice system until they are actually adults is a proper role for a limited government and benefits individual liberty by increasing the chances for the child to successfully reenter society. For these reasons we support HB 1205.