Harlingen Attorney Ricardo Barrera Applauds Texas Effort to Help Juveniles Avoid Adult Criminal Court

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Many youth are troubled, not habitual criminals, and need assistance rather than harsh punishment says local attorney

Ricardo Barrera presenting at the Juvenile Justice Association of Texas Fall Conference last October

Ricardo Barrera presenting at the Juvenile Justice Association of Texas Fall Conference last October

Compassion and understanding for the situation that put youth there in the first place is necessary... It takes a village to raise a child.

Harlingen attorney Ricardo Barrera comments in an article just published on his website entitled "Should Juveniles Be Treated as Adults in Criminal Court?" that it is a good thing that the Texas Legislature is now considering raising the age a youth can be tried as an adult from 17 to 18 years old. Barrera provides guidance on youth justice issues and was a presenter at the Juvenile Justice Association of Texas Fall Conference held in Cameron County last October.

“The majority of juveniles get in trouble for some minor offense – a fight, possession of marijuana or even truancy which is a criminal offense in Texas – truancy isn’t a criminal offense in 48 other states,” writes Barrera. “These are not necessarily hardened and habitual criminals from which society needs to be protected. They are kids and young adults that have problems and they need help with those problems.”

Currently, there are a number of bills before the Texas House and Senate that will raise the age a youth can be tried in adult court. Barrera points to a recent article in the Dallas Morning News about how a softer approach is working in Dallas and has lowered the recidivism rate (the number of people who re-offend after going to jail) there. He feels this should be done more broadly across the state and that raising the adult age is a good start.

“We do not need more kids in the justice system. We need less. We need to stress the importance of family support, how additional tools in the class room can help, and how kids need a moral compass of their own rather than the threat of punishment to keep them on the right side of the law,” he writes.

Barrera even recommends The Way to Happiness, a booklet that has been successfully used to provide non-religious moral guidance for more than three decades to both youth and adults.

“Compassion and understanding for the situation that put youth there in the first place is necessary... It takes a village to raise a child. So I applaud the Texas Legislature for moving ahead and being tough on crime by being understanding of our youth,” Barrera concludes.

About Ricardo Barrera
Ricardo A. Barrera is a South Texas attorney that currently practices law in the Rio Grande Valley. Mr. Barrera graduated with honors from Texas A&M University-Kingsville where he was also elected student body president. Mr. Barrera went on to graduate from Texas Tech University School of Law where he won a national championship on moot court. Mr. Barrera has been commended by both the Texas House of Representatives and his U.S. Congressman for working above and beyond to help others in defending their rights. He is a recipient of the Texas Tech Law School G.O.L.D. Award as well the 2014 Pro-Bono Award, presented by the Cameron County Bar Association.

Barrera has appeared on KGBT Action 4 News.

For more information, contact:
Ricardo Barrera
The Barrera Law Firm, PC
1314 E. Harrison Street
Harlingen, TX 78550
(956) 428-2822

http://www.barrera-lawfirm.com

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