The Juvenile Justice System in Texas (2023)

Common Terms & Acronyms

Definitions for Common TJJD Terms & Acronyms

Definitions for Common TJJD Terms & Acronyms

Adjudicated – a term used in the juvenile system that’s equivalent to “convicted” in the adultcommitted the charged violation.

Adjudication Hearing - a fact-finding hearing that determines whether or not a youth engaged in delinquent conduct or in conduct indicating a need for supervision.

Administrative, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) - committee responsible for making the educational decisions for students in special education. Parents, teachers, and other facility staff are members of the ARD committee. An ARD is needed for initial placement or any time the school staff or parents believe a change is needed in a student’s special education program.

Agency Performance Measures - an indicator of agency efforts and accomplishments. Measures indicate agency accomplishments already achieved, planned, or required by legislative directive.

All Funds Budget - includes General Revenue Funds, General Revenue-Dedicated Funds, Federal Funds, and Other Funds.

Alleged Mistreatment Investigation (AMI) - investigations conducted by the Office of the Inspector General when anyone (parents, youth, staff, volunteers) voices concern that there is reason to believe a youth is being abused, neglected, or exploited.

American Correctional Association (ACA) - conducts research and evaluation activities and provides training and technical assistance to members. ACA has programs for correctional institutions and implementation of an accreditation program to meet comprehensive national standards measures.

Appropriations - refers to the dollars or associated full-time equivalent positions authorized for specific fiscal years, and to the provisions for spending authority.

Average Daily Population - daily average of the number of youth within a facility.

Biennium - a two-year period. In Texas, as used in fiscal terms, it is the two-year period beginning on September 1, and ending on August 31 of odd-numbered years, for which general state appropriations are made. A biennium is identified by the two fiscal years of which it consists, e.g., 2010 - 2011 biennium.

Bill - a proposed new law, or amendment to existing law, that is introduced for legislative consideration. A bill which is enrolled by the legislature and approved by the governor becomes a law.

Budgeted - refers to the planned level of expenditures, performance, or number of full-time equivalent positions for a particular fiscal year.

Capital Budget - portion of an agency’s appropriation that is restricted to expenditures for designated capital construction projects and certain Information Resource acquisitions.

Capital Offender - a youth committed to TJJD for an offense that could be punishable by death in the adult criminal justice system.

Capital and Serious Violent Offender Program (CSVOP) - specialized treatment for youth who have committed a capital offense or a serious violent offense. This treatment is offered at the Giddings State School.

Career and Technology Education (CATE) - previously called vocational classes, a CATE class teaches youth skills or trades and offers professional certifications.

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Caseworker - the primary contact between a youth’s parent or guardian and TJJD. A caseworker monitors a youth’s program and advises him/her.

Certification – this occurs when a court “certifies” a youth for trial as an adult, based on circumstances around a crime, thereby waiving the juvenile court jurisdiction and transferring the youth to the appropriate criminal court.

Chemical Dependency (CD) - a compulsive use of alcohol or other drugs to the point that stopping is difficult and causes physical and mental reactions.

Chemical Dependency (CD) Treatment - specialized treatment program for youth who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.>

Chronic Serious Offender - a youth whose TJJD classifying offense is a felony and who has been found to have committed at least one felony in each of at least three separate and distinct due process hearings.

Classification - process for determining the needs and requirements of youth whohave been ordered to confinement in a juvenile justice facility and for assigning them to housing units and programs according to their needs and existing resources.

Classifying Offense - the offense for which a youth is classified at TJJD, and is the most serious offense of the relevant offenses documented in the youth’s record.

Clinical Services - health care services administered to offenders in a clinic setting by persons qualified to practice in one of the health care disciplines.

Committing Offense - the most serious of the offenses found “true” at the youth’s most recent judicial proceeding.

Conduct Indicating a Need for Supervision (CINS) Probation - defined by the Texas Family Code; covers certain non-criminal or status offenses and less serious law violations, including (1) three or more fineable misdemeanor offenses or ordinance violations, (2) truancy, (3) runaway, (4) the first or second DWI, and (5) violation of any city ordinance or state law prohibiting inhalant abuse.

Contingency Appropriations - appropriations contingent upon passage of legislation or upon certain conditions being met.

Contract Care - facilities operated by private nonprofit or for-profit corporations or organizations in which the employees working daily in the facilities and directly with the residents are employees of the private corporation or organization.

Controlled Substances Dealer - a youth whose classifying offense is any felony grade offense defined as a manufacture or delivery offense under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code.

Correctional Care Form (CCF) - CCF are the forms TJJD uses to document a variety of youth-related events and services.

Correctional Care System (CCS) - a mainframe database application used to store information on all youth committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Everything that happens to a youth in TJJD custody is reflected in the system, beginning at intake and continuing until discharge after completion of parole, or transfer to Texas Department of Criminal Justice. This information can only be accessed by authorized TJJD employees.

Correctional Facility - houses incarcerated youth accused of or convicted of criminal activity

Delinquent Conduct - defined by the Juvenile Justice Code as conduct, other than a traffic offense, which violates a penal law of the state of Texas and is punishable by imprisonment or by confinement in jail; or a violation of a reasonable and lawful order which was entered by a juvenile court. In general, juvenile delinquency under Texas law results from either violation of the Texas Penal Code or violation of conditions of probation.

Determinate Sentenced Offender (DSO) - a youth committed to TJJD with a determinate sentence of up to 40 years for offenses specified in section 54.04(d)(3) or 54.05(f) of the Family Code. The sentence may be completed in the adult prison system depending on the youth's behavior while at TJJD.

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Determinate Sentencing - a blended sentencing system for the most serious offenses that provides for a youth to start in the juvenile system and receive a juvenile court transfer, as early as age 16, into the adult system to complete his or her sentence.

Director of Security (DOS) - TJJD administrator who oversees the security unit where youth are placed for aggressive behavior, serious rule violations, or when they need one-to-one supervision.

Director of Clinical Services (DOCS) - TJJD administrator who oversees medical and psychological treatment provided to TJJD youth.

Expended - refers to the actual dollars or positions used by an agency or institution during a completed fiscal year.

Faith-based Initiatives - programs offered by congregations and faith-based organizations that address the issues of crime and violence, drug use, poor education and access to meaningful employment.

Firearms Offender - a youth whose TJJD classifying offense involved a finding by the juvenile court or a TJJD hearings examiner that the youth possessed a firearm during the offense; classifying offenses for this classification is not limited to offenses specified in Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code.

Fiscal Notes on Pending Legislation - accompanies a bill and provides a synopsis of the estimated financial effect of enacting the bill -- including cost, revenue, and staffing impacts. Required for every bill by senate rules; required for select bills in the house when the chair of the committee hearing the bill determines it will have fiscal effects.

Fiscal Size-up - a biennial document prepared by Legislative Budget Board (LBB) staff that describes state agency operation and summarizes the appropriations made during the preceding legislative session.

Fiscal Year - the funding year for the State of Texas runs from September 1 through August 31 of the following year; for example, Fiscal Year 2009 runs from September 2008 through August 2009.

Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) - units of measure that represent the monthly average number of state personnel working 40 hours a week.

General Administrative Policies (GAP) - administrative policies that detail expectations related to TJJD staff and facilities.

General Appropriations Act - law that appropriates biennial funding to state agencies for specific fiscal years and sets provisions for spending authority.

General Educational Development (GED) – refers to a set of tests that a student takes to earn the equivalent of a high school degree. The student must meet all of the requirements as outlined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). It is an alternative way of completing high school instead of earning a diploma.

General Offender - a nonviolent offender.

Halfway House (HWH) - a residential center or home where drug users, sex offenders, the mentally ill, or convicted felons are placed immediately after their release from a primary institution such as a prison, hospital or rehabilitation facility. The purpose of a halfway house is to allow these individuals to begin the process of reintegration with society, while still providing monitoring and support; this is generally believed to reduce the risk of recidivism or relapse when compared to a release directly into society.

Indeterminate Sentencing - commits a youth to TJJD for an indefinite period of time, not to exceed his/her 19th birthday.

Individual Case Plan (ICP) - youth’s individualized plan for treatment and education, based on his or her specific strengths and risks.

Infirmary -TJJD facility on-campus medical clinic.

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Institution - facilities used for the lawful custody and/or treatment of youth.

Juvenile Correctional Officer (JCO)- TJJD staff who receive special training and work in all areas of a campus to help TJJD youth make positive changes in his or her behavior. (To learn more about a career as a JCO, visit our Careers page.)

Juvenile Probation - a mechanism used by juvenile justice agencies that serves as a sanction for juveniles adjudicated in court, and in many cases as a way of diverting status offenders or first-time juvenile offenders from the court system. Some communities may even use probationto informally monitor at-risk youth and prevent their progression into more serious problem behavior.

Key Performance Measure - a measure that indicates the extent to which an agency is achieving its goals or objectives and that is identified in the General Appropriations Act along with targeted performance objectives for each year of the biennium. These can be outcome, output, efficiency, or input/explanatory measures.

Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) - a formal request for funding made by each state agency and institution. This request is in accordance with instructions developed by the Legislative Budget Board and Governor’s Office of Budget, Policy, and Planning.

Legislative Budget Board (LBB) - a legislative agency consisting of the lieutenant governor, speaker of the house, and eight members of the legislature who initiate state budget policy and who have specific charges to direct the expenditure and appropriation of state funds. Also refers to the staff members of the Legislative Budget Board.

Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) - person licensed in Texas to provide specialized chemical dependency treatment.

Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider (LSOTP) - person licensed in Texas to provide specialized sexual behavior treatment to youth who have committed sex offenses.

Line-Item - an element of spending authority granted to an agency or institution in an appropriations bill. Literally, a line in the General Appropriations Act specifying an agency’s appropriations for a specific designated use. The governor may veto a line-item.

Markup - the period of time during which the Senate Finance Committee or the House Appropriations Committee makes changes to the general appropriations bill.

Method of Finance - a descriptor for the sources and amounts authorized for financing certain expenditures or appropriations made in the General Appropriations Act. A source is either a “fund” or “account” established by the comptroller, or a category of revenues or receipts.

Minimum Length of Stay (MLOS) - minimum period of time an indeterminate sentenced youth must stay in TJJD. This is set by TJJD policy and based on the youth’s treatment needs and other factors.

Minimum Period of Confinement (MPC) - minimum period of time a determinate sentenced youth must be held in a TJJD facility before being eligible for parole. This is set in state law.

Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) - consists of staff members at TJJD facilities who meet monthly to discuss the progress a child has made. Parents are valuable team members and are encouraged to participate in MDT meetings.

Object of Expense - an expense category used in an agency’s Legislative Appropriation Request (LAR) covering payments for a time or class of items. For example, “personnel” covers salaries and benefits for the services of agency employees.

Office of Inspector General (OIG) - an independent law enforcement division within TJJD created in June 2007 to investigate criminal allegations involving the agency, its staff or youth and to file criminal charges when appropriate.

Office of Independent Ombudsman (OIO) - a state agency established for the purpose of investigating, evaluating, and securing the rights of the children committed to TJJD, including youth on TJJD parole supervision.

Outcome Measures - one of four types of performance measures used in strategic planning to assess the effectiveness of the agency. An outcome measure indicates the actual effect upon a stated condition or problem. The other three categories of measurements are “efficiency” which gauges outcomes against effort of agency services; “output” factors, which typically measure the number of people receiving a service and “explanatory/input” measures, which counts services and accomplishments of an agency.

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Performance-based Standards (PbS) – a program for youth correctional and detention facilities <s a system for agencies and facilities> to identify, monitor and improve conditions and treatment services provided to incarcerated youths by using national standards and outcome measures.

Parole - period of TJJD supervision beginning after release from a residential program and ending with discharge.

Parole Officer (PO) - officer assigned to a youth while he or she is on parole.

Primary Service Worker (PSW) - TJJD staff members who work closely with TJJD youth - usually his or her caseworker or parole officer.

Probation - one of the dispositional options available to a juvenile court judge after a youth is adjudicated as delinquent; this community-based corrections approach presents the youth with a set of rules and addresses the needs of the youth and the family.

Progressive Sanctions - a model to be used by the juvenile court to ensure that delinquent youth receive the punishment and treatment most appropriate to their crime; youth progress from less restrictive to more restrictive dispositions depending on offense history, type of offense, and previous sanction level.

Psychotropic Medication - prescription medications that affect the psychic function, behavior, or experience of the person for whom they are prescribed.

Quarterly/Annual Report on Performance (Performance Measures Report) - reports submitted by state agencies showing planned and actual performance in terms of outcome and explanatory measures (reported annually) and output and efficiency measures (reported quarterly).

Reentry – refers to the efforts at helping offenders transition back to the community after release from secure facilities; involves a variety of programs, such as work release, substance abuse therapy, vocational and education training, to help offenders acquire the skills they need to succeed as law-abiding citizens

Release Review Panel - group of TJJD staff who determine whether release to the community is appropriate based on a youth’s recent behavior, academic achievement, response to treatment and individual risk and protective factors.

Revocation Hearing - a hearing before the parole authority at which it is determined whether revocation of parole should be made final.

Rider - a legislative directive or appropriation inserted in the General Appropriations Act following appropriation line-items for an agency or in the special or general provisions of an act. A rider provides direction, expansion, restriction, legislative intent, or an appropriation. The term also applies to special provisions at the end of each article and general provisions in the General Appropriations Act.

Secure Facility - facility designed and operated to ensure that all entrances and exits are under the exclusive control of the facility's staff and do not allow a youth to leave unsupervised or without permission.

Senate Bill 103 (SB 103) - enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2007 to define and guide major reforms for improving TJJD.

Sentenced Offender - a youth committed to TJJD with a determinate sentence of up to 40 years for offenses specified in section 54.04(d)(3) or 54.05(f) of the Family Code. The sentence may be completed in the adult prison system depending on the youth's behavior while at TJJD.

Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) - specialized treatment for youth who have committed sex offenses and who are in need of intensive services.

Special Prosecution Unit (SPU) - created by SB 103, to assist district attorney’soffice.

Videos

1. Lawmaker files bill to dissolve, replace Texas juvenile justice system
(FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth)
2. Some information on the Juvenile Justice System in Texas
(ATX Legal)
3. Lawmakers call Texas Juvenile Justice Department ‘woefully underfunded’
(KXAN)
4. Texas juvenile detention facilities halting youth intake due to 'critical staffing shortage'
(WFAA)
5. Texas juvenile detention facilities halting youth intake due to 'critical staffing shortage'
(KHOU 11)
6. Expert Discusses Juvenile Justice Policy in Texas
(txsystemofcare)
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