Friday, May 25, 2007

A Blueprint for Meeting the Needs of Girls at TYC

The Texas Youth Commission has announced they'll begin to gender segregate youth inmates, but will that solve any of the problems identified at the agency? The ACLU this week released a report (pdf) commissioned by TYC conservator Jay Kimbrough analyzing the status of girls in TYC. Said the press release:
“Although TYC's legal duty is to rehabilitate delinquent children, in reality TYC facilities look and feel like prisons,” said principal researcher Mie Lewis, an ACLU Women’s Rights Project attorney and human rights researcher. “Girls in particular are hurt, not helped, by a system that puts punishment before treatment.”

"We are concerned about the current shortfalls in TYC's provision of services to girls, and we will be monitoring the implementation of reforms closely to ensure our concerns are addressed," said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas. "TYC has a unique opportunity to transform from a statewide embarrassent to a national model, and we are encouraged by the interest officials have shown in receiving information and assistance from advocacy groups like Texas Coalition Advocating Justice for Juveniles, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, and the ACLU."

ACLU researchers made the following broad recommendations:
  1. Girls in TYC custody are very likely to have experienced abuse prior to their placement; they need, but are not receiving, the individualized counseling necessary to cope with childhood disadvantage, familial abuse, and psychological damage.
  2. Major aspects of TYC, including its range of available placements for girls, its institutional culture, and its rehabilitative programming, fall short of meeting the needs of girls.
  3. The ongoing disadvantage experienced by girls in TYC custody calls for the immediate appointment of a girls’ advocate within the agency.
The investigation was undertaken at the behest of Conservator Kimbrough by Mie Lewis, ACLU Women’s Rights Project attorney and human rights researcher, and her assistant Michele Batiste, a former TYC inmate and participant on the Conservator Case Review Panel. Lenora Lapidus, Director of the ACLU Women's Rights Project, contributed to and edited the report, and the ACLU of Texas participated in the research.
See the full 13-page document for more details. Hopefully other ACLU-related headlines this week won't drown out discussion of this new report - it addresses an important topic, particularly for the 800 or so girls in TYC and their families.

I've been honored to have quite a few TYC staff commenters visiting Grits in the last couple of months, so I'll be particularly interested to hear what TYC folks think of the recommendations, plus any other thoughts you have on the topic in the comments.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess what TYC has failed to realize is that girls are different than boys in every way, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Girls do not respond the same way that boys do, and they need different behavioral expectations. TYC needs to have develop programs that are adapted to the special needs of female offenders instead of using the same ones that they use on boys. I don't think the current Resocialization program even took gender into consideration when they developed it. It needs to be thrown out the window, because many TYC children were never "socialized" to begin with, so how can they be "resocialized".

Anonymous said...

Get ready to rock and roll at Brownwood! My best wishes to all those staff - girls are meaner, dirtier and more manipulative than boys.

Manipulative is the key word here. It takes a very special staff to work with the girls and my hat is off to all those dedicated people who have chosen this particular work.

And by the way, I would just like to know where in the world all of these ACLU folks, juvenile justice advocates, and the like have been for the past 11 years? I only say 11 years because that is how long I have been with TYC and in that time I have never had one inquiry, one phone call or one e-mail from any of these people before February 2007. Just wondering if this been the experience of others or is it just me?

almost outta here said...

I want to be the ADED for Girls' Issues. I've only been harping on all the ways girls are shortchanged in our programs for the entire decade I've been with the agency...without anyone really listening I might add.

and to anon at 2:50pm...I'm with ya. All these people seem so interested, and yet to date none of them have bothered to contact me or any other staff member I know.

almost outta here said...

It was also interesting how one of the first issues in the report was that girls are too much seperated from their families by being put in centralized locations far from metropolitcn areas...and yet we're exacerbating that problem by putting them all in ONE location far from EVERY metropolitan area. Apparently someone at TYC wasn't paying attention to that part.

Anonymous said...

Grits, just read this report, and was so blown away by it that I need to retract my earlier skepticism. This report makes an overwhelming case that girl inmates have a host of special needs that are not being met. And many of its observations apply to boys and girls alike.

At times I felt like I was reading text from my book manuscript... so many of the problems documented here have been identified in the past, almost word for word.

As early as 1920, for example, the director of the first training school for delinquent girls in Texas reported that most of the girls had been sexually abused by adult males, often relatives, prior to being committed to state custody. This same director bitterly denounced the legislature for not funding the school adequately so that she could hire trained social workers, educators, and psych staff.

The Morales case, in the 1970s, exposed a host of similar problems to those mentioned in the ACLU report that had existed throughout the 50s and 60s, and possibly earlier.

For example, it showed that psychotropic drugs were routinely prescribed without adequate diagnosis... TYC had been using part-time psychiatrists who visited from off-site once or twice a week.

An observer in the early 70s stated that the sex education and family planning classes for girls back then essentially consisted of girls reading outdated materials in silence while the "teacher" read the newspaper.

Girls reportedly were prevented from spending much time together in groups, even prohibited from sitting together in groups of more than four during meals.

The overuse and misuse of isolation was also a subject of much concern back then. Many of the "offenses" listed in the ACLU report appeared in discipline records in the 60s and 70s, although back then, there was also a policy against speaking Spanish.

Really, I was stunned by the report. If true, it portrays conditions and problems that seem little changed from the 1960s, or even the 1920s.
Bill Bush, UNLV

Anonymous said...

"The investigation was undertaken at the behest of Conservator Kimbrough by Mie Lewis, ACLU Women’s Rights Project attorney and human rights researcher, and her assistant Michele Batiste, a former TYC inmate and participant on the Conservator Case Review Panel."

Another one of those pesky felons has gotten into the program! Go get her Jay! Oh, you invited her! I thought NO FELON would be working in TYC or for a contract holder.

Looks like if Jay wants a person with a felony record in TYC it is OK! Everybody remember the first to go was an ex-TYC guy in a contract facility. Not a lot of difference in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Just another opportunity for Kimbrough to grandstand and rehash what many of us have known that are professionals in this field. You would think Kimbrough just invented the internet with this release he is so proud of.

People, all Jay Kimbrough is here to do is take the focus off of the real problem; which is that the governor knew about West Texas and did not want it out before the election. Kimbrough cannot be as stupid as he is acting, at least I hope not. All the crazy stuff he is doing is to draw us all away from the real problems.

To fix the numerous problems at TYC will cost big money. I doubt Texas taxpayers are willing to spend Big Bucks on TYC children. When this is all over I think the TYC children will be worse off than now. Notice the lack of funding for the regional facilities this session? I am willing to bet it does not happen in 2 years either.

I agree with the comments about where were all of these people who are desperate to help the poor TYC children. I have been with TYC for many years and I never saw them or herd of them until this year. The legislature kept cutting our money at TYC year after year. Where was their concern for the needs of the children these past years? So many of these people are out to grab headlines and beat their chest and say how good I am! Again my question is where have you been until now? I find it hard to believe all of these people are so concerned based on their past performance.

If I seem to have a negative attitude it is because I have worked for TYC and the State of Texas too long! Yes that is the middle finger on both of my hands as I walk away Jay Kimbrough. This was my last day! I am headed back to Franklin, Texas where I grew up. It will be so good to be gone from the New TYC and Jay Kimbrough!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:06

Weren't the two primary authors of the Resocialization program women?

Anonymous said...

As a TYC psychologist I would like to add that every one of the young men I have in individual counseling are victims of past physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Many of them also suffer from PTSD after experiencing gang violence, domestic violence and neglect.

I will be very upset if I learn that the girls begin receiving specialized trauma treatment where the boys do not.

Anonymous said...

let me guess the new high level administrator advocating for the female offenders will be Isela Guttierez

Anonymous said...

to Anon 4:17

I am a case manager and I have implemented abuse issues into my resocilization core groups since I started. I was amazed that EVERY single male on my caseload experienced some sort of abuse at some point in their lives and had never been asked (in a therapeudic way) to discuss what happened to them. I am at a great advantage because I worked for a Victim Service Provider (Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse) prior to my employment with TYC, but many of our workers have not been trained in these areas. I proposed to our administration that one of the local non-profits should present to the case managers how to identify, counsel and heal abused individuals. There was "never any time" before but under the new bill, ALL staff must be trained in at least one aspect (sexual abuse).

These kids have been victims throughout their lives and it is time EVERYONE is able to encourage them to work through these issues. Just like the Cycle of Violence, this abuse will continue until someone stops it!

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely dead on, anon 6:32. Here's hoping someone in CO actually listens to you.

Anonymous said...

We just did. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are listening and a proposal has been made for the development of an academy for professional caseworkers and psychologist who are new to TYC to be trained in specific areas such as the one you mention, as well other areas. It's OK to bring forth any other ideas here as well because we are developing the plan this weekend....

Anonymous said...

From Anon 6:32

I hope anon 6:52 is REALLY in a position to make these changes! It is long overdue!

If we focus on the abuse these kids have suffered, they become less angry and assaultive and become more trusting of adults. It really is AMAZING the difference in the kids that have completed my "program!" Also, I give referrals to the families including victim service providers in their areas and I make follow-up calls throughout the month to check progress and to ensure that the family is doing their part. It becomes something that son and mother/father/sister/brother can discuss as they all travel down their own road to recovery! (really touching to see!)

Once again...CO, PLEASE LISTEN this one time! We all can benefit from this!

Anonymous said...

I can assure you we’re listening. You liked the professional development idea I assume? What other areas of training in the areas of social services do you think our current employees need?

I'd personally like to test the kid with parent furloughs, off campus, once a kid reaches a certain "level" with mandatory family reintegration therapy sessions so that the boy/girl doesn't go into "shock" when they went from being behind a barbed wired fence to the "free world."

People change, and thus communities change. We need the counties funded; otherwise, they'll come back to TYC as felons which will impact their lives forever.

I, for one, really appreciate employees like you. We’re rejoicing that we can now be forthcoming with innovative ideas that help the kid, the parents, and the community, and we’ve eliminated those who then stood in our way of making it all “realistic.” Be a progressive thinker.

Anonymous said...

To 7:01 and 6:52 from Central Office who are listening. I was just about to give up. Keep listening...this is a great website!

Anonymous said...

Hey Marlin and John Shero...anyone still there??? When is TDCJ moving in?

Anonymous said...

While Central Office is listening, what about the idea of getting the General Population kids off the same campus as the Mental Health Treatment Program kids? It is a horrible mix that creates all kinds of problems for kids, staff, and volunteers alike. Different facilities for each of these two groups is a must for so many reasons in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Having the Caseworkers attend a professional academy for specialized training is fantastic, as is reducing the crazy amount of paperwork that they have to do so that they can do more counseling. I also love the idea of fewer kids per staff. What scares me is making us all "at will" employees. I thought fear and intimidation are supposed to be things of the past?!! Now we can be fired at will? I seriously doubt that such a move will help the mood on any campus.

Anonymous said...

If Central Office really wants to help us in the field, please restore Blu Nicholson to duty ASAP. Enough is enough. We need someone at the top here in Crockett that cares and has been tried by fire and came out shining like gold. Blu is a man of conviction, compassion, and integrity. We need him back now!

Anonymous said...

Can we please keep Crockett staffing issues out of at least one of these strings? Go back to the other ones.

Anonymous said...

The academy of professional development for Children in Need of Service (CINS kids) is coming back, and I'd hope we push this initiative. Those of us who've been there know why we need this restored. We are listening, and we are learning... just keep the ideas flowing...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Actually I'd second that request about the Crockett staffing conversation. Anybody have other thoughts about the topic of the actual post, or the subject the CO folks said they're interested in?

Glad to see the CO folks lurking, btw. Welcome back anytime.

Anonymous said...

I agree that mixing GP and MHTP programs on the same campus is a bad idea. With all of our facilities, surely these programs could and should be separated.

Anonymous said...

While girls certainly have different needs I am glad to see some of the same reactions as my own to this document. I agree with many aspects of what the ACLU special project has written but they sure did complicate things by using a former TYC youth to collect most of the data. I was surprised to see a complete lack of reference to any psychology services provided at facilities and the report when so far as to say there are no individual therapy services available. Is this true? Are TYC psychologists providing ANY group or individualized therapy to address
mental health issues, trauma and abuse, anger management, outside of specialized treatment programming?

I have to agree with the previous comment about providing males with individual counseling, not just females.

Anonymous said...

Be assured -- there are lots of CO folks who are regular Grits readers. Your ideas are being heard. Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

As I said, the professional training for caseworkers, less paperwork and more counseling time, etc. are outstanding ideas. I do think that the comments from the pyschologist are on the money as well. By far, most of the boys in the system have been just as abused as the girls. While the girls may well benefit from separate facility and program, the boys need that specialized treatment just as much as the girls, especially abused boys are more likely than abused girls to abuse kids themselves.

Anonymous said...

Had you CO guys walked in the door with this attitude it would have made all the difference 7:45. Forgive me if I don't buy your line of bull at this late date. Is the treat TYC employees like dirt period over? Now you be all nice to make us feel like we are special now that all the bad people are gone. Our opinions are now so important to CO, I thought you guys had all the answers. How stupid do you CO people think we are? Playing mind games will not help you with many of us. You might try apologizing for your unacceptable behavior and try making an honest effort to make amends with the ones of who are left to pick up the pieces. Do you have Ms. Pope’s permission to make the statements you did above 7:45? If you do, it tells us a lot of how desperate things are at CO.

Anonymous said...

7:45....You inspire me! Now that I know CO staff read Grits, my thinking cap on tight...I'll be back and I hope you will too.

Anonymous said...

9:33...you are NOT a progressive thinker. Stop whining...it solves NOTHING!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

well, I'm sorry 9:33. You're kinda "behind the curve." My best wishes...

Anonymous said...

I hope that more things are planned for all the kids to help them when they get home. Yes they need their education, but that also need to know how to run a calculator, cash register, balance their checkbooks, basically skills they are missing in good old home ec that isn't taught much anymore. They need more horticulture projects and learn how to basically cook and clean. They won't live at home with momma forever.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope the central office management of TYC is "listening" very carefully to information found on this blog. I also hope the next step will be to listen to what all employees have to offer as a part of the everyday culture at TYC.

Anonymous said...

Bingo 10:48

Why do young adults do better in independent living programs than they do returning to the environment they were committed to TYC to begin with?

Enough said. They simply don't recidivate at the rate those who return to the communities they were referred to us to begin with.

Why?

Simple.

We teach them to become adults in an adult environment. The kids we’re preparing are now making more money than we are helping them get there... and that’s BS… sorry, but I’m a Christian man, but the ledge has simply overlooked our bleeding hearts once again.

"Chuy" said...

Lets see what we could do to help TYC:

1) Get rid of the CCF-225 as a tool to keep youth stay extended.

2) offer programs for youth that have their GED's and stop making them sit in class (they already have their GED's).

3) Open up a Vocational campus just for youth that have their GED or High School diploma. Give the youth a skill and quit trying to send these youth to college. Yes while they are incarcerated they will take college courses but what about when they leave, the majority will not based upon lack of support.

4) Treat staff with honesty and dignity, it is not happening now. Those staff that continue to abuse sick leave get rid of them so the staff that do show up to work are rewarded.

5) Take the staff grievance system completely off campus and have only trained investigators handle them

6)Create a campus or program for those youth that assault staff. Get them immediately away from the campus as so as the assault occurs.

7) Train all staff in pepper spray. We have too many comp claims based upon wrestling with 17 and 18 year young men.

8) Raise the retirement multiplier to the same scale as TDCJ. Currently TYC uses 2.25% where law enforcement receive 2.75%. They can retire sooner with allot more money than TYC folks. Quit talking about a pay raise and start talking about the multiplier.

9)Offer incentives for those staff that go over the call of duty. Money (merit), time off, gift.

10) Have all facilities equipped with time swipe cards for time keeping purposes. This signing in and out is outdated and not reliable which creates enormous fraud and time (auditing).

I could go on but stopped here for anyones responses?

whitsfoe said...

Let's reward those with credentials accordingly. Let's strive to keep them. Start there.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:32 and 7:01 here...

To Anon 10:48:

We (Case Managers) have Independent Living Modules that deal with balancing checkbooks, how to fill out a job application, apply for a SSN, parenting skills, etc. The book is huge and it take about 3 hours a week for several months to get through with the kids. The problem is that only certain kids are chosen to receive this privilege. (I would also like to see a sexual education module incorporated to teach these kids about safe sex and how to avoid pregnancy!)

CO...a program that includes the Life story material mixed with abuse issues (which if done right, should come out in Life Story) and life skills preparation would be beneficial. I am trying to enocurage maturity from our kids through expectations of leadership and decision making. This comes after making progress with them dealing with their pasts.

While I work with a "special" population of aggressive kids, these expectations do work and benefit my group. It takes a consistent and firm approach, but in the end, it is meaningful for change.

With kids who are aggressive, it is extremely important to go through their life story with a fine tooth comb to uncover where their feelings of distrust, sadness, abandonment, etc. come from. From that point, it is easier to trace their behavior and provide skills for deaing with their anger and pain. Utilizing the Life Story as a MEANINGFUL tool has been key to evoking change in my caseload. This means that investigations into family life, criminal activities, etc. must be done by the staff member to ensure honesty. With a smaller case load, a CM would be much more likely to take the time to do the required research and focus on the individual's issues. Once these Life Stories are complete, a group can be formed (like Core Group) to explore the different types of abuse, examples of each, feelings of the victim, feelings of the perpetrator, etc. It is beneficial to allow the youth to give "free world examples" first, before associating the abuse to themselves. The group can then begin to form a trust between them and then are more likely to invest the time in one another to encourage them to stay focused and work the program with staff.

I could ramble for hours, but I hope you get the point. Thanks for taking the time to ask the questions and get input from those of us who work the "front line." I appreciate the effort and hope to speak with someone more in depth about this issue face-to-face.

Central Office Anon (for now) said...

TO Chuy, Whitsfoe, Anon at 7:47

You guys have some great suggestions. I know some of these ideas are already in the mix for consideration. I'll do what I can to get the rest in front of the decision-makers.

Anonymous said...

We don't need behavior group every day. The 16 hour schedule is prohibitive to flexibility for professional services. Take the paperwork out of the JCO's hands... no more incident reports on non-security referrals. Allow dorms that are shut down for behavioral reasons to still be counted in the ADA as long as teachers are going to the dorms to teach, recognize that TYC is an alternative educational experience as opposed to holding us to the standards of a public school, give kids 17 and over a choice of obtaining their GED and offer more CATE programs, enhance outside security by mandating that at a minimum of eight outside security officers patrolling campus on any shift, screw phases, do levels and make that decision with a multidisciplinary team (education, dorm life, casework, security, administration and parental involvement), do family therapy, transition kids from facilities by allowing weekend furloughs, mandate a 1:8 caseworker to kid ratio, drug test your employees throughout their employment with TYC, identify supervisors who put hurdles in front of common sense and eliminate them, provide new professional staff (especially caseworkers and psychologist) with the proper training prior to their service, pay for the credentials they have in an effort to retain them, and so on, and so on... See what comes out when we listen?

very close to leaving said...

Well, to go back to Grits' request for comments on the actual post. Most of us found this report disappointing, for the most part. Those who work with girls have been asking for these types of special programs for years to no avail. Of course almost all the girls have been abused, so have most of the boys. All would benefit by more nurturing and a less correctional approach, but what were facilities supposed to do with such limited staffing except try to keep them under control with the 16 hour schedule?

This report gave no credit for the things that the agency was doing to help girls- both in regular treatment and education programming and in contract programs like the WINGS program, which allows girls to live with their children.

Additionally, the report's point that there is only one halfway house for girls and eight for boys failed to note that those numbers are proportional to the overall gender breakdown of youth. The report had no information to support the conclusion that girls ever waited for community placements, and I think Willoughby House has not regularly had a waiting list in the past few years, but that it was easier to move girls there than it was to move males who were registered sex offenders or needed SO treatment. Also, they must not have realized that the agency can never put a halfway house in Houston.

Hopefully, the agency can concentrate resources for girls in Brownwood, and provide the employees with training needed for their manipulative ways, and especially for those with the most serious mental disorders, who've been hurting themselves at Corsicana. Maybe whoever is reading from Central Office can suggest similar services for boys if there is more staffing, and can help the Crockett people further separate the emotionally disturbed population from the general population kids, who shouldn't be mixed togeter anywhere.

So, most of the suggestions were obvious and the programs suggested have been requested by those working with girls for years. It certainly shouldn't take another high level executive to implement if there are resources to increase staff ratios, and facilities work to use volunteers to supplement counseling and mentoring programs.

Anonymous said...

All of these wonderful plans will cost money. Make a list and submit it in 2009 and see how much of it gets funded. Don't be too surprised when the final budget does not fund a big chunk of the much talked about TYC projects.

Many of the ideas brought up here are great ideas that have merit. Just don't be disappointed when the funding gets jerked out from under your favorite program for no good reason.

Look at the pay raises for state employees and school teachers. Maybe a $50 pay raise each year which will not even buy a tank of gas. The school teachers were supposed to get a major raise and all they got was $450 for the year.

Guys and girls it is all about funding!

iptutnl said...

Central office staff, I hope you really are reading Grits and you hear what your employees have to say.


Chuy- I second, third and forth that suggestion for staff to be trained in pepper spray- and to actually be ABLE TO USE IT. The lack of the use of pepper spray over physical force has just dumbfounded me. It makes NO SENSE.
It is absolutely absurd to me that TYC has selected physical restraints and cell extractions over pepper spray usage. I have worked for TYC in many capacities for many years. I have been to many campuses. No matter where you go, when you have the need to use a non-lethal means to stop aggression, almost 90% of the time, it's going to happen in a surrounding of concrete, tile, steel, brick or some other hard surface that is virtually guaranteed to cause injury. WHY has physical force been the preferred method of dealing with this rather than allowing someone to NOT put their hands on anyone? Yes, I have been trained in and have used pepper spray. In order to use it, I had to be sprayed. IT'S NOT PLEASANT. But, you know what? I lived through it and an hour or two later, I was back to normal. I have used it to quell youth aggression too. And, guess what- NO broken bones, no cuts, no bruises- not for me or the youth involved. I have also been involved in many restraints. I and the youth involved NEVER walked away without being hurt in some way.
It has never made sense to me why I or anyone else should walk into a cell in security and do a "cell extraction"- which is literally physically restraining an out of control youth in their security cell. Guess what you do after you manage to get them down? Put them in restraints if necessary or just cuff them and tell them to lie on the floor- in the same cell they were causing problems in. Does that make sense? The only reason they aren't out of control now is because NOW they're hurt from everyone jumping on them to get them to the floor. Now they are hurt, the staff are most likely hurt and for what?
Wouldn't it make more sense to give the youth his/her warnings to stop the aggressive/self-harming behaviors and if they don't, pepper spray them at a safe distance and never have to touch them- even when it's time to get them to a shower to wash it off? Who gets hurt? NO ONE! Sure, the youth will sure have an uncomfortable burning sensation for a while, but there is one less case of broken bones, cuts, bruises, level hearing for assaulting staff, staff injury, staff surgery, sick leave, FMLA, workman's comp, staff shortage from dorms due to work injuries, etc....
Why doesn't this make sense to anyone? The only reason against it that I've heard cried in the past was the staff misuse of the spray. Uh, what about staff misuse of restraints? Staff misuse that form all the time but no one puts a halt on restraints?! If there is a staff misusing spray- retrain them or fire them! Don't reduce the tool that works, keeps youth and staff from serious injuries and in the long run- becomes a very effective bluff to students who have had experience with pepper spray. I know first hand that many youth are quick to curtail their violent or aggressive behavior when they thought pepper spray was an option.
Yes, there are some youth who appear to be "immune" to the effects of the spray- but if anyone takes the time to look at what actually happens to these youth- despite not being completely under the effect, their behaviors are still redirected from what they were doing before. They may not be asking for the nearest shower, but at least now they can't focus on what their aggression was being taken out on before.
Is pepper spray perfect? No. But, its benefits FAR outweigh that of physical restraints. Yes, there should be exceptions to its use on mentally ill youth and asthmatics, but for the vast majority of the youth population, its benefits outweigh the negatives.
Am I saying to stop all physical restraints? NO. Some cannot be avoided. But, when you have the option to either spray a youth, stand back and let him/her realize the consequences to their behavior all by them self or the alternative of physically restraining them at great risk hurting the youth and yourself (along with the chain of events when that happens)- isn't pepper spray a no brainer?
IPTUTNL

Anonymous said...

BRILLIANT! Pepper spray has to be part of the blueprint for meeting the needs of TYC girls.

Anonymous said...

Wow 12:54- I've never actually heard it broken down like that. Now that you mention it, it doesn't really make sense to restrain someone and get people hurt if pepper spray can be used to stop the offender. I've seen it used and you're right, there's no need for staff to jump in there. Once the offender is sprayed, you just sit back and wait. I didn't have to jump in and wrestle anyone, hell I didn't want to touch the kid because I didn't want the spray on me. That would sure keep staff's hands off of them! It really doesn't make sense to make all these people get injured when just one person can get sprayed and just wash it off later. Why haven't we been doing this all along?

Anonymous said...

Pepper spray should be in the chain of steps to deal with behaviors. First a verbal counseling, then redirection to better options/choices, then a warning to stop or spray will be used, next is spray and if that doesn't work, then a restraint. Restraints should be the last option. Sort of like a police officer- their gun is the last choice. I know staff aren't always going to be able to go through the steps depending on what's happening, but staff should be trained on doing the least harmful first with whatever situation they are dealing with. For themselves and the students. I know I'm tired of seeing my friends and coworkers out from being hurt and having surgery from doing restraints.

Anonymous said...

We don't use pepper spray because it's cruel! That stuff burns like crazy!

Anonymous said...

10:53- it's people like you that drive me nuts! Pepper spray is CRUEL? Uh, hello? I guess it's better to break the student's arms, chip their teeth, give them concussions, bruise them from head to toe, etc??? All that stuff happens when staff aren't even TRYING to hurt the kids! So guess what happens when a staff finally loses it and decides he's/she's had enough? And, how about the staff getting hurt? Why should they get hurt just because two gang bangers want to beat the hell out of each other or little Betsy decides to stab little Jackie with her broken off spork because she looked at her funny? Pepper spray only hurts the one causing the problem and that pain is only temporary and washes off! Jesus H. Christ! Pepper spray cruel? You need to get in the middle of a restraint and see what you'd rather do!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering- what does the H. stand for in "Jesus H. Christ"?

Anonymous said...

Jesus "Homeboy" Christ...what else could it mean these days??

Anonymous said...

CO if you are still listening, are you talking about allowing furloughs? The agency use to do furloughs a long time ago. What happened? Why did they stop? That was a good thing if the youth returned, but I think the escapes increased. I'm sure you are working hard in Austin to correct these issues.

CO said...

I don't know if furloughs are being discussed yet or not...but they could be. What do you think the primary advantages are? Besides escape, what are the biggest disadvantages? If you'll let me know your thoughts, I'll try to add them to the mix.

no jailbird said...

How sad it is when you call CO directly and ask to speak to someone about a problem they don't have time to talk to you, but they sit and read grits so they can claim that all these ideas comeing forth was theirs at sometime in the future. CO will not give you credit for anything. They are just hunting..

Anonymous said...

Yes, girls are different than boys. They are meaner and more manipulative. They are also nastier and act out sexually with each other much more openly than do boys. I always admired the staff and caseworkers in Marlin that were willing to work with them. I don't know how it was at other facilities, but I do know for a fact that the girls in Marlin have a wonderful caseworker who gives those girls way more than is required of her. They also had some of the very best staff. They are special people and deserve to be commended for for their work.
I worked as a caseworker in Marlin for 10 years so I know I'm talking about. No one from the ACLU or any youth rights advocates ever offered to spend time on the girls dorm or the boys dorms. They managed to criticize from afar, without knowing what they were talking about. What is tragic is that Marlin is closing and most of you will never know any of the dedicated individuals that worked there or how much good they/we accomplished. We worked with the worst of the worst and did so with compassion, patience and understanding. Yes there were some bad apples, but they were the exception, not the rule.
The staff in Marlin received official notice today that August 31st would be the last day. The acting Superintendent, Melvin Haisler is afraid to face the employees and doesn't know what to say. He is a weak, cowardly, yes man who sold his sold many years ago. He doesn't care about the lives of the employees, or the impact the closing of the facility is going to have on the community. Until Marlin became a victim of gross mismanagement it was a great place to work. We had an excellent program and I know we were making a difference in the lives of the children committed to our care. That was the happiest, most rewarding time of my life. I loved working with those boys and felt it was a higher calling. I believe most of us did. It was hard for those of us who opened Marlin watch it fall victim to special interest groups and spineless, incompetent management. We were blessed to have worked under Jack Patton for a short time, one of the wisest, kindest honorable man I've ever known. He was a great manager and teacher.
I will always share a special bond with those people.
The only people who understand TYC are the employees. Why don't all of you at the ACLU, special interest groups and youth rights advocates volunteer to take over since you believe we were all abusive perverts.

Anonymous said...

Did it ever occur to you that none of the management at any of the facilities were told about closure dates? They knew as much as you did. Which is NOTTA. They were all left in the dark. So before you start throwing accusatory remarks about people and thier character make sure you have your facts straight bud. Walk a mile in the shoes you are criticizing and I think then you might have a different outlook. Everyone is upset about the secrecy involved in the closures. If you are going to start throwing darts maybe they should be pointed toward Austin. Seems to me that someone as spineless would throw these slanderous remarks under the heading of anonymous. I think your stone has turned around and hit you right back in the face... instead of anonymous just sign your name as stupid.

shaheed said...

AUGUST 14, 2007


RE: ST.GABRIEL POLICE DEPARTMENT ARREST FILE # 2005001418- " CHIEF OF POLICE KEVIN AMBROUS" (225) 642-9600
IBERVILLE PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY OFFICE- SCOTT STASSY- (225) 687-5210



TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:



As having spoken with Christi 13th day of August 2007 at the office of Gov. Blanco in the state of Louisiana, I was asked to write a brief summary of the acts that transpired.

During the incarceration at LCIW from Feb. 2005 to Feb. 2006, Miss Wendi Hayward was continuously molested by the Captain Patrick Cochran. In November 2005 this sexual misconduct was reported and investigated by staff, Department of Corrections, and the St. Gabriel Police Department. As a result he was relieved of his duties and arrested.

Due to the repeated threats by this officer, upon Miss Hayward release parole officer Jay Posse issued a pass for Miss Hayward to return to her home Fort Worth, Texas. Her safety was an issue at that time. Reason being Cochran had direct contact with Baton Rouge police officers, and other state employees.

Attorney Keith Nordyke represented Miss Hayward in this matter and was paid a cash settlement of $185,000,000. Parole H.D. was aware of the situation as Miss Hayward made arrangements to be supervised in Tarrant County Parole Division however, days after the settlement a E-MAIL was sent demanded her unprepared return to B.R. with Cochran out on bond. The parole department did not accept reporting arrangements in Shreveport for our Client. Therefore a unexplained warrant was issued. Which caused the terminated counseling, etc. for Miss Hayward. The state Declared that Miss Hayward is mentally disabled as a result of these events. But not allowed to seek treatment.

Miss Hayward is now in your state living in fear and without support of family and friends that are in her home of Texas.

Our research has revealed that the DNA provided as proof that these events took place were enough to arrest and provide a substantial cash settlement. Although now it was not enough to preceed with the charges against Patrick Cochran. As of to date he has been allowed to return to work as a state employee in the prison for women. Also our research reveals this is not the only sexual misconduct allegation against Cochran.

Therefore it leaves as with no other choice but to believe that the Corrections Department has great reason to prevent this sexual preditor prosecuted. Reason being that a conviction would give all the other victoms including juvenile male and female inmates to step forward with claim of this same misconduct. Which could ultimately be a major problem the d o c .

It truly alarms our community that persons are in position to continue to allow such misconduct. We truly believe that it is our responsibility to afford opportunity for ex-offenders to be rehabilitated, yet in this case it is clear your systems actions has caused a life long number of injury to the mental and emotional state of a woman that committed a crime of forgery in the year of 1997. And the fact that Miss Hayward was a victim of sexual assault in a complete separate incarceration which lead to the conception and birth of a child by another correctional officer Shannon Bradley, of Caldwell Parish and it went unanswered by the Department of Corrections clearly shows that there is a major problem in your offender program.

As the evidence shows it is clear that this is CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION MATTER for et,al due to the violation of the UNITED STATE CONSTITUTION UNDER THE 8TH AND 14TH AMENDMENT SECTION 2201 AND 2202. Therefore we ask that the Honorable Gov. Blanco will and must intervene in this matter of grave importance.

We must add that we are seeking for discovering of evidence, relating to this matter.

Our investigator has been informed that charges were refused due to DNA was not #1 enough in quantity and #2 DNA was not a match to the accused, therefore we must inform you that a challenge has and will be presented. Moreover upon request this victim is able to provide a second sample of the DNA that belongs to MR. Cochran, should you need it.

We have ask prior to this date that Miss Hayward be released of any and all parole obligations to your state on the scheduled release date of August 24, 2007 as this matter and a PROPER AND FULL INVESTIGATION BE CONDUCTED AND FINALIZED WITH THE DISMISSAL WITH THE PROPER CHARGE AND TRAIL PROCEDURES OF THE CAPTAIN PATRICK COCHRAN.

We hope that you will treat this matter with urgency and priority due to prior contact with state official have gone completely ignored while you continue to employee this custodial official Patrick Cochran.

We must inform you that a copy of all information related to this matter has and will continued to be forwarded to the United States Department of Justice-CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, Federal Breau of Investigation.

We look forward to your response and collaboration in this matter.

Respectfully submitted by


The Humanity of God's Word
Pastor R.U. Shaheed

Anonymous said...

DNA IS GOOD ENOUGH TO ARREST
DNA IS GOOD ENOUGH TO PROVIDE CASH SETTLEMENT

BUT DNA WAS NOT ENOUGH FOR THE IBERVILLE PARISH TO ACCEPT CHARGES OF RAPE BY AN CORRECTIONAL OFFICER PLEASE EXPLAIN.

http://www.usome.com said...

Yes, girls are different than boys.

Anonymous said...

The white woman comment by Demetria seems odd-Dwight Harris sunk the ship long before PhD's could.
Many employees have worked for years to help the 'broken youth'-these people have never abused the youth, mistreated them in any way. Yet the smear adheres
When a parent sued TYC-why didn't TYC countersue the parents? Parents, friends and communities 'broke' these kids long before TYC got them-SUE THEM!
Governor Perry should have immediately returned from Iowa and removed his buddy Demetria from office-being a fool is one thing, being a racist is quite another. BOOOO on Perry

bob netx said...

HELP - DAUGHTER NEEDS LEGAL ASSISTANCE: My daughter is in mid to late stage of Huntington's Disease. She has a CAG count of 43 and is 44 years old. It is now apparent that Hd has been attacking Deb’s brain for 10-20 years. In the early stage Deb was arrested for drinking and driving; this began in 199?. Her mental deterioration perhaps began in ?198-; she is a degreed Computer Scientist - data base analyst.
She went through a series of suspended license; driving to and from work (Weatherford - Dallas)only during specified hours. She was returning to Weatherford later than her specified driving hours (her husband admitted to calling the police twice). They stopped her, and she was charged with driving without a license.
Jerry Buckner, her paid attorney, agreed to 60-days in jail; ten-years probation; an interlock device; court costs; fines and fees. Previously a prosecution attorney, he is now a local judge. Year was 2000. Average probation is two years - some states max it out at five.
Between 2000 and 2003, when she was officially diagnosed with Huntington’s, she could not hold a job that would support her fanily.

Administration of her probation was changed to Greenville, Tx. She continued with an interlock device.

In July 2007, an ?anonymous phone call reported to Jennifer Santana, Deb’s administrative probation officer in Greenville, Tx that Deb was having the kids blow in the device and driving them drunk; that was not true, but neither Santana nor Alex Emms tried to verify the truth. Alex Emms, Deb’s probation officer in Weatherford, Tx, and Kathleen Catania, the assistant D/A to Tim Curry, took Deb to court (called it an administrative review). Judge Chrestman mandated that Deb have a leg monitor. Deb had no legal representation; Judge Chrestman would not listen to anything Deb presented; their decision had already been made. Deb also asked that Judge Chrestman set aside her probation since she had already served six years for questionable dui’s; she was told in 2000 that in five years she could apply for ?mitigation of probation. Catania told the judge he could not reduce the ten years. They had no qualms about adding $380 a month for a leg monitor to a disabled mother supporting three kids; her only income being SS and SSI.
On July 17, 2007 Judge Chrestman issued an administrative modification of conditions mandating that Deb wear the SCRAM for at least 180 days and thereafter until relased by the supervising community supervisor. This placed Deb into a hospital for a couple of weeks.
On 1/25/08, 192 days after Judge Chrestman's order for 180 days, after I asked when they would, Emms said did I not understand he had told me about Deb bringing everything into compliance - I asked Emms and his supervisor for specifics. He did not have anything else except Deb owing the Weatherford $800 and $1000 to the leg monitor people. I help manage Deb's finances; on 1/25/08, she had $3 in the bank with payday 8 days away. On 12/27 Emms sent Deb a letter stating they might issue an arrest warrant.
On 1/25/08, I questioned the legality of the whole issue of taking Deb before a judge based on an annonymous phone call they did not even attempt to authenticate. On 1/25/08 they will not admit to there ever having been a phone call. Emms and Vessels stated that DEB HAD ADMITTED TO SANTANA TO DRIVING A VEHICLE WITHOUT AN INTERLOCK DEVICE ON JUNE 27 AND THAT WAS SUFFICIENT to call for an administrative hearing a month later. Deb told Santana she drove the car to pick up her Huntington's meds since her son had her car McKinney area - no kids were in the car. Emms and Vessels are shuffling. That was when Emms and his supervisor Chad Vessels stated that Deb had virtually no rights, and it was not their policy to release people like that even thouigh theJudge signed the authorization. They did agree to a 19 February 2008 adnministrative review. Chad Vessels stated he did not think the judge would favorably consider Deb's case.

bob netx said...

HELP: My HD daughter Deb received 10-yrs probation in year 2000 in PARKER COUNTY Texas (Weatherford)for Felony DUI- NO ACCIDENTS OR INCIDENTS. FOR HER 10 MARRIAGE, SHE WAS THE SOLE WAGE EARNER, YET HER HUSBAND AdMITS TO CALLING THE POLICE TWICE.
Jerry Buckner, her paid attorney, stated she could apply for ? mitigation? of probation after half time.
The assistant DA Catania is now telling Judge Chrestman, he can not...probation people say the same thing...is that tRue? Would that not violate our US Constitution concerning retroactive laws? Bob

bobnetx said...

Texas: Are there precedents for Tx judges reducing length of felony dui probatiion since the MADD law took effect?

bobnetx said...

HELP: My daughter received 10-yrs probation in year 2000 in PARKER COUNTY Texas (Weatherford)for questionable (since she has Huntington's Disease)_Felony DUI - NO ACCIDENTS OR INCIDENTS - one dui was in 1995. Jerry Buckner, her paid attorney, stated she could apply for ? mitigation? of probation after half time.
The assistant DA Catania is now telling Judge Chrestman, he can not...probation people say the same thing...is that true? Would that not violate our US Constitution concerning retroactive laws? Bob

Texas: Are there precedents for Tx judges reducing length of felony dui probatiion since the MADD law took effect?

bob netx said...

Apparently I had a problem with my email address, so I will reenter the following:
Texas: Is there a precedent for Tx judges reducing length of felony dui probatiion since the MADD law took effect?