Texas Counties Deliver – learn how county government serves you

Christi Gonzales

Jessica Harrison, M.Ed.,LPC
Therapeutic services for youth

401 South Pine
P.O. BOX 882
KERMIT, TX 79745
KERMIT, TX 79745

Phone: (432) 586-3088
FAX: (432) 586-2319

A child who breaks the law may enter a complex world of procedures, places and people called the Juvenile Justice System. In Texas, the ages of juvenile justice jurisdiction are 10 through 16.

 The Juvenile Department will provide services through the use of the least restrictive environment for rehabilitation of the child and public safety


Texas Juvenile Justice

For minor violations, the police may simply warn the child and parents. However, when further action is needed to protect the public, or to prevent further offenses, the case is forwarded to the Juvenile Probation Department.

Intake is the process where juvenile probation officials review the facts of the case and determine the appropriate action to take based on the law.

Juvenile probation officials have several options when handling a juvenile referral. A juvenile case may be resolved through a supervisory caution, deferred prosecution, or by formal juvenile court action. When a juvenile is taken into custody, the juvenile officials decide where the juvenile will stay pending juvenile court proceedings. If juveniles are not released to the custody of parents or guardians, they are detained in a secure juvenile detention center.

All cases involving a felony or a misdemeanor offense involving violence to a person or use or possession of a weapon are immediately sent to the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office either handles the case, or refers it back to juvenile probation.


If a juvenile is placed in a detention facility, the juvenile court must hold a hearing on the matter within two working days. If the juvenile is detained on a Friday or Saturday, the detention hearing must be held on the first working day after the detention. At this initial hearing, and subsequent hearings held every ten working days, the judge must determine if there are sufficient grounds or good causes for continued detention.

Victims have the right to have their safety taken into consideration before a juvenile is released. However, detention hearings may take place before the victim has been contacted. You may call the crime victim assistance coordinator for the status of the case and information about victim's rights.


Descriptive term for a wide variety of summary, nonjudicial dispositions that intake may make of a case.  This may include referral of the child to a social agency or a community based first offender program run by law enforcement, contacting parents to inform them of the child's activities, or simply warning the child about his or her activities.

Some of the youngest, least serious (Class A and Class B Misdemeanor) offenders get a second chance to prove that no further action is needed to prevent future illegal activity. Those who succeed  Deferred Prosecution program avoid a formal court hearing and continued involvement with authorities. During that time, the Juvenile must meet certain terms or the case could be referred to the prosecutor's office for subsequent court action. Making restitution to the victim or performing community service may be included in the juvenile's deferred prosecution program.
Source: Texas Juvenile Probation Statistical Report, 1998
After going to court for an adjudication hearing on the facts, a judge may order this form of community-based supervision for a specified period of time, based on such reasonable and lawful terms as the court may determine.  While on adjudicated probation, the offender may be required to participate in any program deemed appropriate, such as an intensive supervision program or residential placement.
An extraordinary writ ordering a public officer holding a person in confinement to bring the person before the Court.  This is used to secure the release from custody of minors or adults being held illegally.