I'm sure if everyone's districts weren't ridiculously gerrymandered the public would be more likely to issue no confidence votes against the Legislature, too!
Anyway, to skip the introductory niceties and get to the good stuff, I'd suggest starting at the 1 hour and 11 minute mark where the committee begins to question the Attorney General's representative.
As I mentioned in the comments over at BurkaBlog, I remember sitting in a Senate hearing in 2005 when then-TYC director Dwight Harris mentioned, at the end of a long meeting, that he wanted to provide information about allegations of sexual abuse in West Texas. The Houston Chronicle found the video and described the meeting thusly:
Whitmire presided over a March 15, 2005, meeting of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee at which Harris attempted to update him and other committee members about an investigation "about sexual impropriety between staff and youth" at the Pyote facility.
Whitmire dismissed the comment, saying, "You can brief us at an additional time."I thought at the time, 'somebody oughtta file an open records request to see what that's about.' But I did not. And the Senate committee did not, nor did their staff. Nor anyone present in the quite-full room. Nor anyone listening on webcast.
For that each of us, in our own way, are culpable. I regret now not just shooting an open records request off. My only reason: I was employed at the time by ACLU of Texas to work on different issues, knew little about the juvie system, and had my hands full with other topics. I'm sure everyone in the room who heard that had their own reason for not acting.
But there was one reason nobody felt it was urgent: We were given the impression that Harris was on top of it. Even if we didn't know the details, HE knew, and it was his job to take care of it. After all, he was speaking up volitionally to inform the senate committee. That was almost two years ago!
I think legislators and the TYC board should have been more aggressive overseeing the agency, and they must be in the future, not just regarding sexual but also physical abuse, and retaliation against students and staff who file complaints. (They need to look at the same problems at TDCJ, while they're at it.) Legislators also need to be held accountable for the causal relationship between understaffing and abuse.
But they aren't culpable like TYC's Dwight Harris, Joy Anderson, or Ray Worsham, or Wade County DA Randy Reynolds. They demonstrably knew the details and apparently looked the other way. Before it's over, those folks are going to have some serious 'splaining to do.
UPDATE: Pegasus News reports that Ray Worsham was suspended this morning. "Apparently Worsham changed documents in the West Texas State School Inquiry." More on Worsham from the Dallas News. Vince analyzes TYC's board minutes for discussions of abuse.
See full Grits coverage of yesterday's hearing: