|Melissa Weiss appointed by Perry to Texas Juvenile Justice post|
|Thursday, 10 May 2012 10:00|
Melissa Weiss, chief juvenile probation officer of Austin County, has been appointed by Governor Rick Perry to serve on a 13-member board that oversees operations and policy development of the newly created Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Weiss began her tenure as a board member Dec. 1, 2011 with the creation of the new juvenile justice agency by the 82nd Legislature. Due to budgetary constraints faced by the past legislative session, legislators led by Senator John Whitmire of Houston and Representative Jerry Madden of Plano drafted legislation that ultimately combined the two state juvenile justice agencies – the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and the Texas Youth Commission. As a result, the new state agency was created.
The merger of the two former state agencies transfers the powers and duties of both agencies to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). The new agency has been tasked with maximizing community-based programs and lays the framework for shifting state dollars to local rehabilitation and treatment programs with the emphasis to continue to divert hundreds of additional youth from state lock-up facilities.
As a result of the 82nd legislation and merger, three of the state’s correctional juvenile facilities have been closed.
The facilities that have been closed include the Al Price Juvenile Correctional Facility in Beaumont, Crockett State School, and Unit II of the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood. The Mart facilities in McClennan County, Unit 1 for orientation and assessment and Unit 2, the treatment unit, have been consolidated into one unit.
TJJD currently houses juveniles committed to the state correctional department at facilities in Giddings, Gainesville, Corsicana, Ron Jackson and Evins.
Weiss fulfills the role on the board as a chief JPO representing approximately 114 small counties across the state.
Weiss has been commissioned by the Secretary of State as a member of the Texas Juvenile Justice Board for a term expiring February 1, 2015.
In addition to Weiss’ role as a board member of TJJD, she was recently selected by the Texas Probation Association of the State of Texas as the recipient of the agency’s President’s Award during ceremonies held in Houston in March at the annual Texas Probation Association Conference. Weiss was recognized for her unselfish service and contributions to the field of community corrections by peers of both the Juvenile and Adult Disciplines of the Probation Association.
Weiss has served at the local level as chief of the Austin County Juvenile Probation Department for 23 years. She has served Austin County for a total of 37 years beginning her career with the county at an early age of 15 as a dispatcher for the sheriff’s department. Weiss received her bachelor of administration degree from Sam Houston State University in December 1980 and two days later began working as the administrative assistant to the sheriff. She served in that capacity until her appointment as chief juvenile probation officer in July 1989. Currently, in addition to her role as a state board member, Weiss is co-chair of the Texas Probation Association Juvenile Legislative Committee, president of the Southeast Texas Juvenile Chief’s Association and chairs the Houston-Galveston Area Council Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. She previously served on the Texas Advisory Council on Juvenile Services.
Professionally, Weiss is a member of the American Probation and Parole Association, Texas Corrections Association, and the Juvenile Justice Association of Texas. Locally she is a member of the Bluebonnet Society of Austin County, Raising Academic Performance Advisory Board, and FEMA for Austin County.