Texas agency takes emergency steps on discharges

DALLAS (AP) - The Texas Youth Commission is seeking to ensure better care and supervision for mentally ill juvenile offenders it must release under a state law.
An emergency measure adopted by the commission last month requires every offender discharged under the law to receive court-ordered psychiatric treatment. It also states that no such releases can be made without the approval of Executive Director Cherie Townsend.
Agency spokesman Jim Hurley said the commission plans to make the measure permanent.
The 13-year-old law states that the commission must discharge offenders whose mental illnesses can't be treated in custody.
The law generated controversy last year when a 16-year-old boy was accused in the fatal stabbing of a high school teacher in Tyler two months after his release by the commission for mental health reasons.

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