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South Texas faces juvenile jail overcrowding

Published On: Nov 17 2013 01:01:35 PM CST


(AP) - A South Texas county that is the poorest in the nation and faces a booming population of young people is also struggling with overcrowding at its juvenile jail facility.
Most recently on Halloween children at Hidalgo County's juvenile jail again slept on the floor after the detention center exceeded its 96 beds.
The McAllen Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/1ahoA5j) the $16.7 million, 137,000-square-foot Ramirez Juvenile Justice Center opened in December 2007, replacing a previous facility that had 28 beds. But with a rapidly growing, relatively young population, the county has quickly outgrown the new 96-bed facility.
The Texas Administrative Code forbids the center from holding more than 96 juveniles. But District Court Judge Jesse Contreras says the alternative, releasing the offenders back out into the community, would be worse.