David Finn Asked For His Thoughts on State Investigation into Dallas County Juvenile Probation Department

by Jacob Vaughn / Dallas Observer

The Office of the Inspector General for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department Governing Board has launched an investigation into the Dallas County Juvenile Probation Department. In a letter last week, the office notified the department that the investigation was based on “complaints and inspection findings by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department’s Monitoring and Inspections Division.”

The investigation comes just weeks after The Dallas Morning News reported on conditions of Dallas’ Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center. According to the News, parents said their children were being left in their cells for a majority of the day, they’re not getting fed enough and some have not received needed medical care.

David Finn, a local attorney who works juvenile cases, told the Observer that he’s had clients held in isolation for extended periods of time. “The juvenile system is broken in Dallas,” Finn said. “It’s been bad, but it hasn’t been this bad in a long time.”

Finn said one current client has been in custody for about four months for calling in a bogus bomb threat at a school. He wouldn’t give his client’s name but said, “It’s like pulling hen’s teeth” trying to get anything done on the case. “He has been in isolation on and off for three and a half months,” Finn said. “No sunshine. They don’t really seem to let him out for any rec time. Especially with my mentally ill people, and he’s one of them, it’s not really good for anxiety, depression, and their mental health just goes south, and it’s really sad to watch.”

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