Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reflections on a weird day

What a weird day yesterday was on the political front for Texas criminal justice issues!

First the House votes 131 to 10 to postpone consideration of "Jessica's Law," which most folks thought was a slam dunk to pass, and which appeared well on its way to doing so. Paul Burka rightly said it was a "great day for the Texas House of Representatives." The final chapter of the story, though, has yet to be written.

Then the Senate basically un-adjourned yesterday evening for a single purpose: To pass a resolution by Sen. John Whitmire calling for the board of the troubled Texas Youth Commission to be abolished and for the agency to be placed under a "conservator."

Meanwhile Governor Perry appointed Ed Owens, husband of Board of Pardons and Parole Chair Rissie Owens, as the new executive director of TYC. I thought TYC's board did that, but like I said, it was a weird day.

Perhaps later, looking back with hindsight, we'll see yesterday as a turning point, when abuses at TYC began to be cleaned up, a significant conflict of interest at TDCJ was eliminated with the parole board, and the tough on crime juggernaut that caused Texas' prison boom began to be seriously reconsidered.

Or perhaps yesterday was simply an odd blip in a long session from which no conclusions may be drawn; to quote Homer Simpson, "Maybe there is no moral to the story ... maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happened."

Whichever turns out to be the case, it certainly goes to show there will never need to be a tremendous effort to "Keep Austin Weird" so long as the Texas Legislature continues to meet here every two years.


Anonymous said...

Well done, Governor!!

Move the second in command of TDCJ, a state organization know for cover-ups of sexual misconduct, lenient sentencing of their own who commit sex offenses (see Sammy Buentello) and frequent promotions of perpetrators of such crimes. These things happened on Ed Owen's watch, now they can continue at TYC.....practice makes perfect!! And last but not least, Rissie is safe in her position on the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Texas must be like living in Paradise for the Owens Family. Just one appointment after another kind of make you wonder??

Anonymous said...

How could someone like Rissie retain her job after screwing up the BPP so badly? Would it not have been better to do the "out with the old, in with the new", and give someone who cares about people and their lives and the lives of their loved ones a chance to try to straighten out the BPP. There are some very good people who sit on the BPP, but with her in charge, they feel threatened and letting her make the calls of who gets to go home and who does not, does not seem fair, well it just is not fair.

Simply moving husband Ed to another top position shows such favortism it smells.

If Texas truly wants to clean up it's act, then remove those who have messed up the sytem by either not caring or not knowing what they are doing. I think Rissie and Ed fall into both of those categories, not knowing and certainly not caring.

If you are going to do something Mr. Perry, do the right thing for a change!!