Juveniles busted on drug related charges could receive substance abuse educational classes instead of a harsher penalty.
State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has proposed House Bill 462.
It's an effort to help juveniles battling with drug related offenses.
"There TMs currently nothing in the code that requires a juvenile offender to take a class such as [the one] we would be mandating," Canales said. "There TMs a lack of a follow through in the juvenile justice system when it comes to educating the defendant instead of rehabilitating them, we're only punishing them."
Juvenile Judge Jesse Contreras agrees with this piece of legislation.
Contreras made changes to how his court handles teens arrested on drug related charges.
"We have life classes already established for first time offenders," Contreras said.
Since 2009, repeat offenders have dropped from 39% to 25%, according to Contreras.
"The whole premises of the juvenile court that we've established is to rehabilitate kids. We're not here to punish them," Contreras said.
Instead, they have counselors and probation officers who work closely with the teens and their families.
If passed, it would provide much need support to go along with their current programs, he said.
"Right now, a juvenile coming before the court with minor charges that needs rehabilitation, we send them away to outside Hidalgo County because we lack programs for those minor offences that these kids have been charged with," Contreras said.
Canales is confident the bill will pass.