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Gov. Greg Abbott asks Texas Rangers to investigate Texas Juvenile Justice Department

Abbott wrote the Texas Department of Public Safety asking for an investigation into TJJD after “reports of illegal behavior” with youth in a letter on Monday.

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott is asking the Texas Rangers to investigate “reports of illegal behavior” with youth at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD).

On Monday, Abbott wrote in a letter to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) that the Office of the Inspector General for TJJD and TJJD’s Independent Ombudsmen are reporting potentially illegal behavior from certain staff members.

Abbott asked DPS Director Colonel Steven C. McCraw to have the Texas Rangers begin an investigation in the letter. He also asked for a report on the allegations following the investigation to move forward with appropriate action.

Executive Director of TJJD Camille Cain said in a statement on Monday she is thankful the Texas Rangers are assisting with the investigation per Abbott's request to McCraw. 

"Prior to today's announcement, our agency had already begun a review of cases going back to 2017 regardless of the investigative outcome, in an effort to ensure that we are as vigilant as possible in identifying potential illegal conduct and isolating any patterns of behavior that could help remove staff members before they can prey on the youth in our care," Cain said in the statement. "In addition, we continue to work to implement our Texas Model Plan for Reform, which focuses on these critical issues and served as the basis for our Legislative Appropriations Request for the 2021 session."

Cain said on Monday TJJD will cooperate "in an effort to ensure that our facilities are as safe as possible for our youth and that any criminal behavior is identified and punished appropriately." 

RELATED: Gov. Abbott to join KVUE Monday to discuss special session

TJJD works with county juvenile probation departments to improve and manage the juvenile justice system. The agency is “caring for the youth in our system and promoting the public safety of all Texans,” according to its website.

KVUE reached out to the DPS for comment. This story will be updated if received.

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