A report from the organization Evident Change found that Dallas County is handing minors more punitive judgments than are some other big Texas counties and that the county is locking up minors for months longer than national standards recommend. The report was commissioned by Dallas County, reports the Dallas Morning News. Victoria Halstead and parents from nine other families of minors in detention in Dallas County said children are being left in locked cells for the majority of the day, have not been adequately fed and some have not received medical care. They said kids have been reporting to investigators, county officials and reporters as far back as 2016 that they haven’t been allowed to go outside.
“If we didn’t feed our kids or bathe them, someone would call [authorities],” Halstead said. “Why do they not get in trouble for these things?” Darryl Beatty, director of the county's Juvenile Department, said he was unaware until recently of the allegations about conditions at the detention center. Beatty said the current guard shortage could be a factor in some complaints. One employee said he has worked in corrections for more than 10 years and has never seen a worse facility than the Henry Wade detention center. Parents say their children are locked up in conditions worse than those under which adults are jailed because inmates in the general adult jail population leave their cells more often and go outside. State standards do not require that children get time outside.