Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Texas Criminal Justice News Roundup

As I've been focused on the Texas Lege, I haven't followed criminal justice stories from around the state as closely as I'd like, but here are a few items that might make longer blog posts if I had the time:

Fired TYC supervisor may be related to Perry
Lydia Barnard, the Texas Youth Commission supervisor who allegedly ignored allegations of sexual abuse at the West Texas state school in Pyote, was finally fired yesterday. In comments to Monday's Grits post on TYC, a couple of TYC employees insisted that Barnard is actually related to Governor Rick Perry - a cousin, supposedly - and in January directly reached out to the Governor to protect her. Another source described her as an "old family acquaintance" of Perry's. I can't confirm either rumor, but if correct it casts a different light on why Governor Perry's appointees took so long to release her - more than 55 others, most of whom had nothing to do with the scandal, were terminated or forced to resign before they got around to the supervisor who actually failed her duties! Then, instead of telling her, she found out in the Dallas Morning News. What a fiasco.

Private Prison Problems Prompt Warden's Departure
A warden has resigned at the private prison in Dickens County following allegations of abuse against out of state prisoners when an inspection team of Idaho Corrections officials found conditions and prisoner treatment inadequate.

Re-entry Struggles Dictate Recidivism or Success
The Statesman ran a good story on Monday detailing barriers to successful re-entry faced by those returning from prison. I've been disappointed this session that more legislation hasn't been proposed to address some of these problems, though a few good re-entry bills are moving that I'll detail soon.

Jesus in the Jailhouse
The Dallas Observer ran an interesting feature last week on Texas' participation with Chuck Colson's Inner Change Freedom Ministries, and had this followup on their blog Unfair Park.

TDCJ Undercover
TDCJ officials and the Officer of Inspector General ran an undercover operation in Palestine over the weekend where an unarmed suspect was shot. The sting targeted someone believed to be attempting to smuggle marijuana and crack cocaine to an inmate. The case leads me to wonder two things: Are TDCJ and OIG officials really trained and equipped for outside-world undercover work, or should they have let DPS or another agency handle it? Given the botched outcome you have to raise the question. Second, it's interesting to me that a sting on the outside world targeted non-TDJC employees. I wonder if the agency applies similar undercover resources at TDJC to discovering corrupt guards?

Militarizing Both Sides of the Border
As the Texas House prepares to hear the Governor's homeland security bill (HB 13) tomorrow on the floor, the feds have announced that "The U.S. government is giving [Mexico] a computer system to spy on people using telephones, e-mail, chat rooms and other communications technology, to thwart terrorists and drug traffickers." Because we all know that such high tech gadgetry and attacks on civil liberties have virtually eliminated drug sales in the United States.


TJDO said...

TDCJ's OIG department is definitely the Keystone Kops. We have recently witnessed their handiwork at TYC. Yes, there are a few good ones there but that's the exception rather than the rule. They're not what one would consider a professional corps like DPS or the Rangers. They need to concentrate their minimal skills at the prison units and quit wandering outside their field of expertise, whatever that may be.

Anonymous said...

amen TJDO, amen. They are driving those tyc employees crazy over there. They are now starting to write poety on the who ordeal. Some of it's pretty funny. Go see for yourself, there's like 56 comments or so. These people are pretty vocal.

sunray's wench said...

OK, now I'm REALLY confused! I thought TDCJ were there to lock up criminals and keep them away from the rest of society. I didnt realise they were also police officers. So they actually have the official sanction of being allowed to shoot a member of the public? No wonder they think they can tell me what to wear ~ they'll be wanting to see my bank statements and know what I had for breakfast next!

Anonymous said...

Tell you what to wear? Hugh?

Anonymous said...

Gee Grits, do you think any of the MSM will look into the Barnard/Perry connection?

sunray's wench said...

@ anon 4.04 ~ yes, when I visit my hubby, they tell me I cannot wear sleeveless tops or open-toe shoes or sandals.

Anonymous said...

Why not look into the Barnard/Perry relationship. This would explain a lot of things that Perry knew but did not divulge and said he did not know.

This would not be the first time Mr. Perry got caught with his head in the commode and this needs to be looked into.

You do not hire family members to do high quality jobs and that should be removed from the governer's office. I don't think the Governor should even be allowed to appoint judges. They all should have to be voted for and not connected to a party, they are supposed to be neutral, but look at CCA 1 & 14 they are mostly all from the Houston area therefore no one from Harris County gets an appeal. Stinks doesn't it?

Our forefathers would turn over in their graves if they knew what was going on in Washington and in Texas. At least we have a Legislature who stands up to the Governor and he does not get his way all the time. He is no George W. Bush, thank the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Perry may not be George Bush, but take a good look at the picture the paper ran of him. From the nose down, they are almost twins. Maybe their's Bush blood in the Perry family?

Anonymous said...

Tell me about the underpaid, overwork parole officers. We are the ones that protect the community, but yet no one recognize how important parole officers really are. The most we make is 33,000.00 a year after 3 years, lets make some changes for parole officer, legislation really is trying.

Anonymous said...

Tell legislation to approve a pay increase for parole officer. We are degreed people who get a salary that qualify for govenment assistant. It is time to give parole officer a pay increase.