Playing 'Gotcha' With Employees
The Dallas News analyzed TYC employees' criminal and grievance records and determined that "employees with criminal backgrounds were twice as likely as other staffers to be accused of abusing young inmates." (To be fair to the employees, I wish they'd focused the analysis on sustained complaints - lots of kids file grievances, some more justified than others.) A commenter correctly suggests this story proves TYC had already run criminal background checks on its employees when it demanded they all report past criminal convictions. That means the agency is playing "gotcha," hoping to catch employees who lie or erroneously omit past criminal convictions so they can be terminated along with the others.
Even Dick Armey Knew
Capitol Annex has obtained the correspondence former Congressman Dick Armey sent to Gov. Rick Perry in 2001 alleging abuse at TYC. Check it out.
Fixing TYC will cost $100 million
The Lege says it will cost an addition $100 mil to fix TYC, from boosting staffing to reconfiguring facilities to expanding probation and interim sanction beds, reports the Austin Statesman. That's a 20% increase over TYC's budget last biennium.
Al Price employees say TYC retaliates
At the Al Price Unit in Beaumont, 30 employees were fired in the last two years for 59 offenses, but most prosecutions have focused on youth, not staff, say county prosecutors. Staff there "say they are victims of retaliation by supervisors for complaining about insufficient staff, low morale and on-going abuse of inmates at TYC facilities across the state." See more from a local TV station.
Forget what Perry knew; what is he thinking?
The Austin Statesman examines how Governor Rick Perry has bungled through the aftermath of the TYC scandal revelations.
What about aftercare for TYC kids?
KCEN-TV quoted TYC case manager Anthony Mikulastik (whose recent op/ed I linked to on Monday) questioning whether TYC was adequately providing aftercare for kids who are released. He said that:
292 inmates will leave because TYC shortened the length of their rehabilitation treatment, which includes intensive counseling.Adding fuel to his concerns, KCEN reported that "TYC officials said once the inmates are released the commission is no longer responsible for any additional counseling the parolees may need."
That decision has Marlin TYC Case Manager Anthony Mikulastik worried.
"We’re going to put them right back in the same environment where they've failed previously, so they can fail again because we haven't provided anything for them to succeed," Mikulastik said.
Kimbrough: 'All the kids who have completed their sentences need to be out'
See the Washington Post coverage of TYC releases this morning.
What impact would closing facilities have on rural communities?
Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego pled this week for the Pyote facility in West Texas to remain open, reported the Austin Statesman, declaring,
"These facilities are tremendously important to those local communities, but, in politics, the guys running the state have to have a scapegoat, and Pyote is it," said Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who represents the town and several larger ones close by that would also lose jobs if the lockup closes.What better place? Uh ... how about smaller facilities designed for youth rehabilitation located near urban areas where the kids can be near their families? How about someplace with enough population density to staff the facilities? How about someplace where prosecuting crime isn't a part-time job? Here's a map indicating where TYC facilities are located.
"The small, rural communities put a lot into supporting these TYC facilities, support you couldn't get in an urban area. It's a good place for a school like this. It gives those kids a change of scenery, a chance to ponder their future, and what better place to do that than under the clear West Texas sky?"