AUSTIN -- Youth offenders were put in solitary confinement in Texas juvenile centers more than 35,000 times last year, according to state records.
Records obtained by a civil rights group called the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition show the disciplinary practice has become widespread in detention facilities designed for those 16 and younger. A hearing on a bill that would restrict the practice is scheduled in the Texas Legislature on Tuesday.
The reasons for long "disciplinary seclusions" include sexual misconduct or attempting to escape. But in some counties, offense leading to solitary confinement can include failure to attend school or horseplay.
State officials describe solitary confinement as an important disciplinary tool.
But supporters of the bill say the practice can cause extreme anxiety or depression in young offenders.