Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What did the Lege really do on TYC now that the dust has cleared? Part I

After a discussion over the weekend with Grits commenters about whether it was appropriate for legislators to claim to have "fixed" the Texas Youth Commission, I thought I'd take a closer look at what WAS done in SB 103, the main TYC reform legislation..

One commenter said what the Lege did to TYC started with "f" and ended with "ed" but it wasn't "fixed." :) That may overstate the case, but what was approved leaves a lot of unanswered questions and unfinished work for the 81st Legislature in 2009, or all this will have been naught but a media circus.

For those with a particular interest, read the final text of SB 103 yourself. I adapted this summary from Isela Gutierrez's committee testimony on behalf of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, altering it to account for changes in the final bill. SB 103:
  • Requires TYC to provide 300 hours of training to guards before they begin their duties at facilities and to maintain a ratio at least 1 guard for every 12 youth committed to the facility.
  • Creates an appeals process for sentence extension orders.
  • Requires annual inspections of county juvenile facilities by local judges and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission.
  • Reimburses counties for certain expenditures associated with new procedures.
  • Requires TYC to establish a Special Prosecutor as well as an Office of Inspector General for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting criminal acts among TYC youth, guards, and other TYC employees.
  • Establishes an independent ombudsman
  • Enhances criminal penalties for sexual offenses against TYC inmates
  • Prohibits TYC from assigning a child younger than 15 years of age to the same dormitory as a youth at least 17 years of age.
  • Requires the Texas Rangers to make monthly unannounced visits to TYC facilities and to submit reports to the Texas Sunset Commission for inclusion in TYC’s Sunset review evaluation.
  • Requires a chaplain be appointed for each TYC institution.
  • Mandates internal and external audits.
Those are not insignificant changes but neither are they fundamental; they address at most the investigation of misconduct, not the underlying dynamics of geography, architecture, labor markets, scarce treatment resources and indeterminate sentencing practices.

The most important change would be the mandate for a 12-1 inmate to JCO staffing ratio, reducing it from the current rate of 24-1. But such prescriptions may be meaningless for an agency with a 48% annual employee turnover and a bunch of facilities located in rural areas with notoriously small labor pools. You can't legislate away economic reality.

Otherwise, the main accountability reforms widely discussed all session will be studied, not implemented in SB 103, which mandated studies on the topics of:
  • Transitioning toward regionalized juvenile corrections
  • TYC governance and organizational structure
These are bureaucratic code for moving facilities closer to urban areas where more people live and figuring out how the agency can be accountably managed given all its complex moving parts. IOW, we're studying the main reforms legislators spent the '07 session (seemingly endlessly) talking about. Reducing guard ratios was always portrayed as a function of creating smaller urban facilities - at current wages and with facilities where they are, I'm not sure anybody thinks the statutory staffing goals can be met.

SB 103's full impact won't be felt for a year or two, and by that time perhaps the Sunset Review process will have revealed more clearly what direction TYC needs to take to fix what ails it. But it ain't fixed yet, even if in this writer's opinion it's too early to tell if it's otherwise f'ed.

STAY TUNED: Later this week I'll take a look at budget provisions for TYC and juvenile justice programming, and the author of ACLU's Blueprint for Girls has asked to submit a guest post answering some of the questions raised by Grits commenters and soliciting further input.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Question- if TYC is in the process of regionalization by moving youth closer to their homes how will they accomplish this goal by moving all the TYC Girls to the Brownwood Unit. Is this not discriminatory in nature by having just the girls at Brownwood and the parents living in Houston having to drive 4 hours one way to see their child? I would like to see these parents file numerous lawsuits against the State to rectify this situation. I know we would all hate for these youths parents not to have an opportunity to see their child why are the girls different than the boys?

Anonymous said...

SB103 has not addressed in any way at all the leadership failures that are occurring right now.

Employees at John Shero, for example, still have not been given official word the facility is closing but there are red flags everywhere that give us good reason to believe the carpet will be pulled from beneath us at the last minute. Talk about dirty dealings.

This "leadership" team is not overwhelmed by all the changes as I used to think. Instead they are downright dirty, leaving all the employees standing on the platform waiting to be hanged...when the "leadership" team is ready to pull the lever.

My prediction is that by the end of the year, 48% turnover in staff is going to look like the good ole days. Who wants to work for a "leadership" team that treats employees like crap?

Anonymous said...

@12:28 TYC students, both boys and girls, are serious behavioral problems that cost the state an enormous amount of money. Where does that money come from? Your pocket. Why do you want the parents of the behavioral problems to take more money out of your pocket with lawsuits? The only people who win are the lawyers. The real solution is for voters to become more informed, and take action against government waste. By the way, I'm not as republican as I might sound. You're on the right track reading this blog, because it is very informative. But remember YOUR the state.

Anonymous said...

2:41, you mean red flags like today's Austin American-Statesman article?

Anonymous said...

The Leadership out of Austin has not spoken a word about closures, who, what, when, etc. This comes down to basic communication or the inability based upon fears the staff might walk out and leave all these youth to fend for themselves.

I agree that no one in the field has a clue about the next step. What about the plan to close Sheffield, then Victor Field, then West Texas, those plans are also out there but no will say a thing.

Anonymous said...

If there is anyone out there visiting this blogsite who knows the actual fate of the facilities in question (for closure)...what harm could there be in leaving an anonymous tip here for some desparate employees of TYC? Many people I've talked to have stated they aren't leaving until are forced out the gate, but how nice it would be for the San Saba, John Shero and Victory Field employees to have a some type of timeframe so they could begin to prepare for what is about to happen (or not happen)....is there anyone out there listening who cares about us and is brave enough to do this anonomously? You would be a hero to many!!!

disgusted said...

This whole scenario makes me think of cheap sex. The lege and media caused a big ruckus....everyone was hot and bothered - trying to get what they want. Juvenile corrections got a royal screwing. The lege and media basically got their rocks off and TYC is left holding the baby now that the good old boys have moved on to greener pastures.

Anonymous said...

'The Marlin and San Saba units were both built as adult units to start with, and since they were transferred to TYC in 1995, they haven't proven to be their best use — so they'll be coming back to that now," said Madden, R-Richardson.'

John Shero - there is your answer. Wonder when the 'POWERS' will have b@lls enough to give you a time line.

A compound expurlative that starts with Chicken and ends in "T" comes to mind. They are afraid of a massive staff walk out and trying to figure out how to manage the darlings is the only thing that is keeping that announcement from coming from CO.

You guys ought to beat them to the punch. I mean isn't that what seems to be the Austin name of the game - "Every man for himself"?

Anonymous said...

Right on, Grits. As these early comments suggest, it is way too early for anyone to glibly state that the lege has "fixed" anything.

Even if the mandated changes had been far-reaching (they aren't) and had adequate funding in place (seem not to), it is the development of daily practices and routines over time that will really tell the tale. Changing the way an entire agency / institution operates can't happen overnight.

I hate to keep harping on the history, but it's what I do and really, it can't be said often enough. Historically, when it comes to juvenile justice reform, talk is cheap. Even lawmaking is cheap. Over the years, lots of great-sounding laws and judicial decisions have been handed down with little or no effect.

Let's see how things look a year from now. Why isn't anyone thinking in those terms? Isn't that what policymakers are supposed to do?

In order for real change to take place, it will require a major cultural shift in thinking, a large investment of dollars, and most key, a sustained commitment to doing things a certain way.

Texas is in this spot despite nearly 2 decades of movement toward smaller and community based programs, and that was in response to abuse scandals in the 70s that resembled today's in some respects.

Sorry to be so polemical. Comments like Rep Pena's really get under my skin... the root problem is not going away b/c of a few firings and resignations, and some facility closures.
Bill Bush, UNLV

Anonymous said...

The good ol' boys have not left yet.

The appropriations act requires TYC to transfer John Shero and Marlin to TDCJ by March of '08.

The training and staff ratios are both great ideas - which is why the agency wanted the ratio. The problem still remains that we can't get the staff to come work for us. Honestly, it's even harder to get people to work for the agency because of the publicity, prohibiting the employment of people with misdemeanor convictions, the liklihood of being assaulted or hauled off to jail if you make a wrong move and the total chaos that is TYC. Moving closer to urban areas will not help these problems - especially at the same pay rate - and it won't make anyone want to work for an administration that cares even less about its employees.

We had an appeal process for extension orders. There is now only one way for a youth's length of stay to be extended, regardless of his behavior.

The special prosecution unit and OIG are just as likely to investigate youth as staff. That, combined with the difficulty of holding youth accountable within the TYC system, may well lead to a serious fast-track to TDCJ for many of these kids.

What we have now is a system that is practically designed to fail not only the youth but the public safety. What we have now is the blueprint for creating the juvenile division of TDCJ. If those things happen, the lege will declare it all the fault of the people at TYC and pretend, once again, like they weren't the ones that created the monster. Good luck to everyone involved in this system - we will need it.

Anonymous said...

C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
BILL ANALYSIS
C.S.S.B. 103
By: Hinojosa
Corrections
Committee Report (Substituted)
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Although the most notorious cases of abuse have been at the West Texas facility of the Texas
Youth Commission (TYC), the rape, abuse, and mistreatment of inmates at facilities across the
state has been prevalent for many years. The abuse of many of these youth has recently come to
lawmakers' attention and has warranted immediate legislative action to remedy the long-term and
extensive problems at TYC.
CSSB 103 adds TYC inspectors general to the list of persons considered peace officers and
requires the TYC to establish an office of inspector general. The bill also requires the state to
reimburse counties for expenses related to the prosecution of crimes committed on property
owned or operated by or under contract with the TYC, gives counties the authority to request that
the Special Prosecution Unit prosecute offenses that are committed on TYC property, and
establishes an Office of Independent Ombudsman to make available third party, confidential
reporting for TYC youth and employees. This bill also aims to reduce the number of youth
committed to the TYC by prohibiting placement of misdemeanants in the TYC and reducing the
age limitation from 21 to 19 years of age.
This bill provides that Juvenile Correctional Officers shall receive 300 hours of training before
they undertake guarding duties and will face more rigorous criminal background checks before
employment. The TYC will have one guard supervising every 12 youths, and age will be a
significant factor when assigning officers to supervise youths.
Under CSSB 103, courts will no longer send children to the TYC for misdemeanors. A minimum
length of stay shall be given to each youth admitted to the TYC with an indeterminate sentence.
Long-term rehabilitation plans, reviewed at least every six months, will be created for each youth
and a quarterly report will be sent to the youths' parents or guardians. For the first time, the TYC
will be required to create a Parent's Bill of Rights.
Independent of this bill, the TYC is scheduled to be under review by the Sunset Advisory
Commission in 2009.
RULEMAKING AUTHORITY
It is the committee's opinion that rulemaking authority is expressly granted to the Texas Youth
Commission in SECTION 23, 30, 34, of this bill.
ANALYSIS
Office of Inspector General (OIG)
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code, to establish an Office of Inspector General
(OIG) at the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) for the purpose of investigating crimes committed
at a facility operated by the TYC or at a residential facility operated by another entity under a
contract with the TYC and fraud committed by TYC employees, including parole officers
employed by or under a contract with the TYC. The bill provides that the OIG shall prepare and
deliver a report concerning the results of these investigations, outlines what the report must
include, and requires the OIG to deliver the report to certain individuals and agencies. Such
reports are public information under Chapter 552, Government Code.
CSSB 103 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure by adding inspectors general commissioned
by the TYC as officers to the list of those that are peace officers under Article 2.12, Code of
Criminal Procedure. The bill also amends the Government Code to provide that, for retirement
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
purposes, these commissioned peace officers are considered law enforcement officers and are
eligible to retire and receive a service retirement annuity. This bill provides for the associated
certification of names to the retirement system.
CSSB 103 allows the OIG to employ and commission inspectors general as peace officers, and
outlines their certification and continuing education requirements. The bill also requires the
TYC board to select a commissioned peace officer as chief inspector general, who may only be
discharged for cause. The Chief Inspector General is required to submit a quarterly report
concerning the operations of the OIG to entities enumerated in the bill. The quarterly reports are
considered public information under Chapter 552, Government Code, and shall be published on
the TYC's website. The bill requires that the reports be both aggregated and disaggregated by
individual facility and describes the type of information that must be included in the reports.
The bill lays out further OIG reporting requirements regarding any serious problem concerning
the administration of a TYC program or operation, or any interference by the board or an
employee of the TYC with an investigation conducted by the office. Additionally, the TYC is
required to establish and maintain a permanent, prominently displayed toll-free number at each
facility that can be accessed by the children in the TYC's custody and by TYC employees for the
purpose of reporting abuse, neglect, or exploitation of children in the custody of the TYC.
CSSB 103 provides that the state auditor, upon OIG request, may provide assistance, share
information, and plan an investigation with the OIG. Additionally, the state auditor has the
authority to access all information maintained by the OIG and the information obtained by the
state auditor is confidential and is not subject to disclosure. The bill also provides that any
provision of Chapter 61, Human Resources Code, relating to the operations of the OIG does not
supersede the authority of nor prohibit the auditor from conducting an audit, investigation, or
other review or from having full access to information concerning the TYC.
Current law provides that the financial transactions of the TYC are subject to audit by the state
auditor. This bill omits language specifying "financial transactions", and simply provides that
the TYC is subject to audit by the state auditor.
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code to require the OIG to prepare and deliver a
quarterly report concerning any alleged criminal offense or delinquent conduct concerning the
TYC and described by Article 104.003(a), Code of Criminal Procedure, that occurred during the
proceeding quarter, as well as the disposition of any case involving a criminal offense or
delinquent conduct concerning the TYC that occurred in the preceding quarter, and deliver it to
the board of directors of the special prosecution unit. Notwithstanding the OIG's basic quarterly
reporting obligations, the OIG shall immediately provide the special prosecution unit (SPU) with
a report concerning an alleged criminal offense or delinquent conduct concerning the TYC and
described by Article 104.003(a), Code of Criminal Procedure, if the chief inspector general
reasonably believes the conduct or offense is particularly serious or egregious.
CSSB 103 lays out under what circumstances the chief inspector general, under the direction of
the board of directors of the SPU, shall notify the foreman of the appropriate grand jury. The bill
also requires the TYC executive director to immediately file a complaint with the appropriate
law enforcement agency if the executive director has reasonable cause to believe that a child in
the TYC’s custody is the victim of a crime committed at a TYC facility.
Office of Independent Ombudsman
CSSB 103 establishes an Office of Independent Ombudsman of the Texas Youth Commission
("office") by adding Chapter 64 to Subtitle A, Title 3, Human Resources Code. Chapter 64 lays
out definitions of terms and provides that the office of independent ombudsman is a state agency
established for the purpose of investigating, evaluating, and securing the rights of the children
committed to the TYC, including a child released under supervision before final discharge.
Chapter 64 also establishes the independence of the ombudsman from the TYC, and provides
that funding for the independent ombudsman is appropriated separately from funding of the
TYC.
This bill provides that the governor shall appoint the independent ombudsman with the advice
and consent of the senate for a term of two years, expiring February 1 of odd-numbered years,
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
and that the independent ombudsman may not serve more than three terms in that capacity.
Additionally, the independent ombudsman may hire assistants to perform, under the direction of
the independent ombudsman, the same duties and exercise the same powers as the independent
ombudsman. The bill also lays out what situations constitute a conflict of interest, which would
prevent an individual from serving as independent ombudsman or assistant to the independent
ombudsman.
The bill provides that the office of independent ombudsman is subject to review under the Texas
Sunset Act, but is not abolished under that chapter. The office shall be reviewed during the
periods in which state agencies abolished in 2009 and every 12th year after 2009 are reviewed.
CSSB 103 describes what must be included in the quarterly report that the ombudsman shall
submit to the governor, lieutenant governor, and each member of the legislature, and describes
what serious or flagrant instances must be immediately reported to the governor, lieutenant
governor, speaker of the house of representatives, state auditor, and TYC OIG.
TYC is required to allow any child committed to it to communicate with the independent
ombudsman or an assistant to the ombudsman. Communication may be made in person, by mail,
or by any other means, and is confidential and privileged. The bill notes that the records of the
independent ombudsman are confidential, except that the independent ombudsman shall share a
communication with a child that may involve the child's abuse or neglect to the OIG and disclose
its nonprivileged records if required by a court order on a showing of good cause. The
independent ombudsman may also make reports relating to an investigation public after the
investigation is complete, and after redacting certain personally- identifying information.
The bill provides that certain information filed with the office of independent ombudsman,
obtained by the office of independent ombudsman, or generated in the course of investigations is
confidential and not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code. However,
certain information and records may be disclosed to the appropriate person if the office
determines that disclosure is in the general public interest, necessary to enable the office to
perform the responsibilities provided in law, or necessary to identify, prevent, or treat the abuse
or neglect of a child.
CSSB 103 provides that the independent ombudsman shall promote awareness among the public
and the children committed to the commission regarding how the office may be contacted, the
purpose of the office, and the services the office provides. CSSB 103 also grants rulemaking
authority to the office of independent ombudsman and provides that the office is subject to audit
by the state auditor in accordance with Chapter 321, Government Code.
The bill lays out the specific duties of the independent ombudsman, emphasizes that the
independent ombudsman shall not investigate alleged criminal behavior, provides requirements
related to training curriculum, and notes that the TYC may not discharge, discriminate, or
retaliate against an employee who in good faith makes a complaint or cooperates in an
investigation with the office of the independent ombudsman. To assess if a child's rights have
been violated, the independent ombudsman may, in any manner that does not involve alleged
criminal behavior, contact or consult with an administrator, employee, child, parent, expert, or
any other individual in the course of its investigation or to secure information. Additionally, the
independent ombudsman may apprise persons who are interested in a child's welfare of the rights
of the child.
CSSB 103 requires that the TYC and local law enforcement agencies allow the independent
ombudsman to access records related to children committed to the TYC, and requires tha t DPS
allow the independent ombudsman access to the juvenile justice information system established
under Subchapter B, Chapter 58, Family Code. The independent ombudsman shall also have
access to the records of a private entity that relate to a child committed to the TYC. The bill
amends the list of entities that may have access to information contained in the juvenile justice
information system by omitting the Criminal Justice Policy Council and adding the office of
independent ombudsman of the TYC.
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
Prosecution of Certain Offenses and Delinquent Conduct
CSSB 103 amends Chapter 41 of the Government Code, codifying the Special Prosecution Unit
(SPU) as an independent unit that cooperates with and supports prosecuting attorneys in
prosecuting criminal offenses or delinquent conduct committed on property owned or operated
by or under contract with the TYC or Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), or those
committed by or against a person in the custody of the TYC or TDCJ while the person is
performing a duty away from TYC or TDCJ property. The bill defines "unit" to mean the special
prosecution unit, "board of directors" to mean the board of directors of the unit, "executive
board" to mean the executive board governing the board of directors of the unit, and "prosecuting
attorney" to mean a district attorney, a criminal district attorney, or a county attorney
representing the state in criminal matters before the district or inferior courts of the county.
CSSB 103 describes, as appropriate, the composition, eligibility requirements, reporting
requirements, duties, procedures, and terms relevant to the board of directors and executive
board for the SPU, as well as for the board's presiding officer and assistant presiding officer, the
chief of the unit, and elected counsellor. It also states that membership on either the board of
directors or executive board may not be construed to be a civil office of emolument for any
purpose, and provides that while board members are not entitled to compensation, they are
entitled to reimbursement for necessary expenses incurred in carrying out their duties as
provided by the General Appropriations Act, if applicable.
In addition, the bill requires the inspector general of the TYC to deliver on a quarterly basis to
the board of directors of the SPU a report concerning any alleged criminal offense or delinquent
conduct concerning TYC and described by Article 104.003(a), Code of Criminal Procedure, that
occurred during the preceding quarter, including the disposition of the cases. The bill also
requires the inspector general of the TDCJ to a report to the board of directors of the SPU
concerning any alleged criminal offense or delinquent conduct concerning TDCJ and described
by Article 104.003(a) that occurred during the preceding quarter.
Currently, the state is required to reimburse counties for expenses incurred as a result of
prosecution of a felony committed while the actor was a prisoner in the custody of TDCJ or the
prosecution of other specific offenses committed in TDCJ which relate to controlled substances
and contraband. CSSB 103 amends this provision to require the state to reimburse counties for
certain expenses related to the prosecution of criminal offenses or delinquent conduct committed
on property owned or operated by or under contract with the TDCJ or TYC, or those committed
by or against a person in the custody of the TDCJ or TYC while the person is performing a duty
away from TDCJ or TYC property.
The bill amends the Human Resources Code by providing that the district attorney, criminal
district attorney, or county attorney representing the state in criminal matters before the district
or inferior courts of the county who would otherwise represent the state in the prosecution of an
offense or delinque nt conduct concerning the commission and described by Article 104.003(a),
Code of Criminal Procedure, may request that the special prosecution unit prosecute the offense
or delinquent conduct.
CSSB 103 amends the Government Code to provide that the attorney general may offer to assist
a prosecuting attorney in the prosecution of criminal offenses concerning the TYC.
TYC Facilities
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code by providing that not later than September 1,
2007, the TYC shall adopt a plan for and begin the process of receiving accreditation by the
American Correctional Association for each correctional facility operated by or under contract
with the TYC.
The bill amends Chapter 325 of the Government Code by adding a section that requires the
sunset advisory commission (commission), in consultation with the TYC, texas juvenile
probation commission, governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house of
representatives, to appoint a nine-member advisory committee to develop a practicable plan to
move the TYC toward a regionalized structure of smaller facilities and more diversified
treatment and placement options, taking into consideration the likely effects on recidivism,
juvenile and family access to services, and costs to this state and counties. The commission shall
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
take these results into consideration when it submits its review of the TYC, which is set for
review this interim.
The nine members of the advisory committee must include at least three nationally recognized
juvenile justice experts, and at least one recognized child advocate, as well as a presiding officer
designated by the commission chairman. The bill provides that the advisory committee convenes
at the call of the presiding officer, and that a member of the advisory committee may not receive
compensation, but may receive reimbursement for certain expenses. The commission must
appoint an advisory committee not later than December 1, 2007, and the advisory committee
must report its findings and recommendations to the commission not later than December 1,
2008. The section of this bill relating to the advisory committee on regionally-based TYC
facilities expires September 1, 2009.
CSSB 103 also amends the Human Resources Code by requiring the TYC to regularly conduct
internal audits of correctional facilities operated by and under contract with the TYC and medical
services provided to children in its custody. The bill also requires the TYC to submit a quarterly
report of the audits to the committees of the senate and house of representative with primary
jurisdiction over matters concerning correctional facilities as well as to the state auditor, and
requires that reports concerning the progress of the TYC in complying with the requirements of
the bill, be provided to the joint select committee on the operation and management of the TYC.
The TYC shall prepare and deliver the first report to the joint select committee on December 1,
2007, the second report on June 1, 2008 and the final report on December 1, 2008. This section
of the bill regarding internal audits and reports expires January 1, 2009.
Juvenile Corrections Officers and TYC Staff
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code, to provide for at-will employment of TYC
employees as well as to require the TYC to establish procedures and practices governing
employment-related grievances submitted by TYC employees and disciplinary actions within the
TYC. This includes a procedure allowing a TYC employee who is recommended for dismissal to
elect to participate in an independent dismissal mediation.
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code by establishing training and other guidelines
related to juvenile correctional officers. The bill requires the TYC to provide at least 300 hours
of training, which must include on the job training, before an officer independently commences
duties at the facility. The training must provide information and instruction related to the officer's
duties, and this bill specifically lists the topics that the training must cover. CSSB 103 also
allows for part-time employment of juvenile correction officers and subjects them to the same
training requirements listed above.
The bill requires that in each correctional facility operated by the TYC that has a dormitory,
including open-bay dormitories, the TYC must maintain a ratio of no less than one juvenile
correctional officer performing direct supervisory duties for every 12 committed persons. The
TYC shall also, to the extent practicable, place juvenile correctional officers in a facility where
they are no more than three years older than a child they are supervising. The TYC shall also
rotate the assignment of each juvenile correctional officer at an interval determined by the TYC
so that a juvenile correctional officer is not assigned to the same statio n for an extended period of
time, and shall ensure that at least one juvenile correctional officer is assigned to supervise in or
near a classroom or other location while children receive education or training. The TYC shall
adopt necessary rules to administer section 61.0356, Human Resources Code, the above
provisions related to juvenile corrections officers .
The bill amends Chapter 110 of the Occupations Code to prohibit the TYC from exempting any
of its employees from a licensing requirement imposed by Section 110.302, Occupations Code
(Council on Sex Offender Treatment licensure requirements) for any reason.
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code to require the TYC executive director (or
designee) to review the national criminal history record and state criminal history record
information maintained by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), and previous and current
employment references of each person who is an employee, contractor, volunteer, ombudsman,
or advocate working for the TYC or working in a TYC facility or a facility under contract with
the TYC, a person who directly delivers services to children in TYC custody, or a person with
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
access to records in TYC facilities or offices. TYC is also required to adopt rules requiring these
persons to electronically provide DPS a complete set of fingerprints in a form and of a quality
acceptable to the DPS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The TYC by rule may
require these people to pay a fee related to the national criminal history record information
review, but the fee may not exceed the administrative costs incurred by the TYC in conducting
the review, including the costs of obtaining the person's fingerprints. Additionally, the executive
director (or designee) is required to annually review the above mentioned person's national
criminal history record information.
CSSB 103 amends the list of persons established in the Government Code that the TYC is
authorized to obtain criminal history record information on. The current list is omitted and
replaced with persons described by Section 61.0357(b), Human Resources Code: an employee,
contractor, volunteer, ombudsman, or advocate working for the TYC or working in a TYC
facility or a facility under contract with the TYC, a person who directly delivers services to
children in TYC custody, or a person with access to records in TYC facilities or offices.
This bill requires TYC to ensure that the system used to check state criminal history record
information maintained by the DPS is capable of providing real time arrest information. The bill
also provides a definition for "national criminal history record information" to mean criminal
history record information obtained from DPS under Subchapter F, Chapter 411, Government
Code, and from the FBI under Section 411.087, Government Code, and provides that TYC shall
adopt rules necessary to administer Section 61.0357, Human Resources Code (Required
Background and Criminal History Checks).
TYC Youth: Safety, Placement, & Care
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code to prohibit the TYC from assigning a child
younger than 15 years of age to the same correctional facility dormitory as a person who is at
least 17 years of age unless the TYC determines that the placement is necessary to ensure the
safety of children in the custody of the TYC. This does not apply to a dormitory that is used
exclusively for short-term assessment and orientation purposes. The bill provides that the TYC
by rule shall adopt various procedures, which must address the age, physical condition, and
treatment needs of a child as well as any other relevant factor, to protect vulnerable children in
the custody of TYC. The TYC shall also consider the proximity of the child's family's residence
in determining the appropriate commission facility in which to place a child.
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code to require an initial examination and study of
each child committed to the TYC, which includes long-term planning for the child and
consideration of the child's medical, substance abuse and treatment history, including the child's
psychiatric and substance abuse history. The bill also lists a number of documents, in addition to
those provided under Section 61.065, that a court committing a child to the TYC shall provide to
the TYC. If the minimum length of stay is set for one year or longer, the initial exam must
include a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. Otherwise, the TYC must administer a
comprehensive psychological assessment to a child as part of the initial examination and if the
results indicate the need, conduct a psychiatric evaluation as soon as practicable. CSSB 103 also
establishes a reexamination process to determine whether a child's rehabilitation plan should be
modified or continued. The examination must include a study of all current circumstances of a
child's personal and family situation and an evaluation of the progress made by the child since
the child's last examination. These assessments must occur at least every 6 months. The bill also
requires the TYC to integrate the provision of medical care, behavioral care, and rehabilitative
services in an integrated comprehensive delivery system, and lists what medical, behavioral
health, or rehabilitative services may be provided to a child in the TYC through this delivery
system.
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code to require the TYC to allow advocacy and
support groups whose primary functions are to benefit children, inmates, girls and women, the
mentally ill, and the victims of sexual assault to provide on-site information, support, and other
services for children confined in TYC facilities. The bill requires the TYC to adopt security and
privacy procedures for these groups, but explicitly notes that these security policies may not be
designed to deny an advocacy or support group access to the children in TYC facilities. The
TYC shall also adopt standards consistent with those adopted by the TDCJ regarding
confidential correspondence of children confined in TYC facilities with external entities,
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
includ ing advocacy and support groups. The bill also requires the TYC to ensure that a chaplain
is employed or formally designated for each TYC correctional facility that is an institution.
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code by providing that the TYC, in consultation with
advocacy and support groups, shall develop a parent’s bill of rights for distribution to a parent or
guardian of a child under 18 years of age committed to the TYC. The provision describes what
must be included in the parent’s bill of rights, and requires that not later than 48 hours after a
child is admitted to a TYC facility, the TYC must mail the child’s parent or guardian the parent’s
bill of rights and the contact information of the TYC caseworker assigned to the child. The bill
also provides that the TYC shall, on a quarterly basis, provide a progress report to the parent,
guardian, or designated advocate of a child committed to the TYC. The bill outlines what must
be in the progress report and requires the TYC to ensure that the written information provided to
a parent or guardian regarding the rights of a child in custody of the TYC, or the rights of the
parent or guardian, is clear and easy to understand.
CSSB 103 requires TYC to assign a caseworker to each youth and lays out the duties and
responsibilities of the caseworker assigned to a child committed to the TYC, including guidelines
for contacting and communicating with the child’s parent or guardian by phone. Additionally,
the bill amends the Human Resources Code to require the TYC to develop and adopt a statement
regarding the role and mission of the TYC.
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code, by adding a subsection allowing the TYC to
disclose to a peace officer or law enforcement agency images of children recorded by an
electronic recording device and incident reporting and investigation documents containing the
names of children if the information is relevant to the investigation of an alleged criminal offense
at a TYC facility.
Sentencing Youth to TYC
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code to require the TYC to establish a minimum
length of stay for each child committed to the TYC without a determinate sentence, taking into
consideration the nature and seriousness of the child's conduct and the danger the child poses to
the community.
By amending Chapter 54 of the Family Code, the bill also provides that the judge of the court in
which a child under a determinate sentence is adjudicated shall give credit on a child's sentence
for the time spent in a secure detention facility before the child's transfer to the TYC, and for
time spent in a secure detention facility pending disposition of the child's appeal. The court shall
endorse on both the commitment and the mandate from the appellate court all credit given the
child, and the TYC shall grant any credit under Section 54.052, Family Code, in computing the
child's eligibility for parole and discharge. The bill also amends the Human Resources Code to
require TDCJ to grant credit for sentence time served by a person at the TYC and in a juvenile
detention facility in computing the person's eligibility for parole and discharge from the
department.
The bill amends Section 54.04, Family Code by deleting the existing provision authorizing the
court to commit a child to TYC without a determinate sentence if the court or jury found that the
child engaged in delinquent conduct, if the requirements of Subsection (s) or (t) are met, of the
grade of misdemeanor. This bill also provides that delinquent conduct that violates a pena l law
of this state of the grade of felony, rather than the grade of felony or misdemeanor, does not
include conduct that violates a lawful order of a county, municipal, justice, or juvenile court
under circumstance that would constitute contempt of that court, for the purposes of disposition
under Subsection (d)(2), Section 54.04, Family Code.
CSSB 103 amends Section 54.05(f) (Hearing to Modify Disposition), Family Code, to delete the
grade of misdemeanor, if the requirements of Subsection (k) are met, from existing text
authorizing a disposition based on a finding that the child engaged in delinquent conduct that
violates a penal law of this state or the United States of the grade of felony to be modified so as
to commit the child to TYC if the court after a hearing to modify disposition finds by a
preponderance of the evidence that the child violated a reasonable and lawful order of the court.
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code, to authorize TYC, after a child sentenced to
commitment under Section 54.04(d)(3), 54.04(m), or 54.05(f), Family Code, becomes 16 years
of age but before the child becomes 19 years of age, rather than 21, to refer a child to the juvenile
court that entered the order of commitment for approval of the child's transfer to TDCJ, rather
than institutional division of the TDCJ, for confinement if the child has not completed the
sentence and the child's conduct, regardless of whether the child was released under supervision
under Section 61.081, Human Resources Code, indicates that the welfare of the community
requires the transfer.
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Codes to provide for the evaluation of certain children
serving determinate sentences. When a child who is sentenced to commitment under Section
54.04(d)(3), 54.04(m), or 54.05(f), Family Code, becomes 18 years of age, the TYC shall
evaluate whether the child needs additional services that can be completed in the six-month
period following the child's 18th birthday in order to prepare the child for release from the TYC’s
custody or for transfer to the TDCJ. The bill notes that this requirement does not apply to a child
released from TYC custody or who is transferred to the TDCJ before the child’s 18th birthday.
The bill amends Section 61.084, Human Resources Code to require TYC to discharge from its
custody a person not already discharged on the person's 19th, rather than 21st, birthday, except
as provided by Subsection (g), rather than (f) or (g). The bill also requires TYC to transfer a
person who has been sentenced under a determinate sentence to commitment under Section
54.04(d)(3), 54.04(m), or 54.05(f), Family Code, or who has been returned to TYC under Section
54.11(i)(1), Family Code, to the custody of TDCJ, rather than the pardons and paroles division of
TDCJ, on the person's 19th, rather than 21st, birthday, if the person has not already been
discharged or transferred, to serve the remainder of the person's sentence on parole as provided
by Section 508.156, Government Code.
CSSB 103 amends Section 61.0841(a), Human Resources Code, to make conforming changes.
The bill includes any written comments or information provided by TYC, local officials, family
members of the person, victims of the offense, or the general public, among the pertinent
information relating to the person required to be submitted by TYC to TDCJ.
The bill amends Section 508.156(a), Government Code to provide that before the release of a
person who is transferred under Section 61.081(f) or 61.084(g), rather than 61.081(f), 61.084 (f)
or (g), Human Resources Code, to the division for release on parole, a parole panel shall review
the person's records and may interview that person or any other person the panel considers
necessary to determine the conditions of parole, and may then impose any reasonable condition
on the person's parole that the panel may impose on an adult inmate.
CSSB 103 amends the Penal Code to provide that a person commits a felony of the second
degree if the person is an official or employee of a correctional facility, a volunteer at
correctional facility, or a peace officer and intentionally employs authorizes, or induces and
individual in the custody of the TYC to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance. The
bill also amends the Penal Code to provide that "sexual conduct" and "performance" have the
meanings assigned by Section 43.25, and that "sexual performance" means any performance or
part thereof that includes sexual conduct by an individual.
The bill also repeals Sections 54.04 (s) and (t), Family Code, which describe the circumstances
under which a court may make a disposition and commit a child to the TYC without a
determinate sentence for misdemeanant conduct.
The bill repeals Section 54.05 (k) Family Code, which describes the circumstances under which
a court may modify a disposition and commit a child to the TYC based on an adjudication of a
misdemeanor.
The bill repeals Section 61.084 (f), Human Resources Code, which requires the TYC to transfer
certain persons who are released under supervision after becoming 19 years of age to the custody
of the pardons and paroles division of TDCJ to serve the remainder of the person's sentence on
parole.
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
The bill provides that a person committed to the TYC on the basis of conduct constituting the
commission of an offense of the grade of misdemeanor under Section 54.04(d)(2), Family Code,
as it existed before the effective date of this Act, must be discharged from the TYC not later than
the person's 19th birthday.
The bill makes conforming changes to the Family Code, deleting "institutional division or the
pardons and paroles division of the" TDCJ.
Reentry and Reintegration Plan
The bill amends the Human Resources Code to require the TYC to develop a reentry and
reintegration plan for each child committed to the custody of the TYC. The bill lays out what
must be included in the plan, and stipulates that the plan must be designed to ensure that the
child receives an extensive continuity of care in services from the time the child is committed to
the time of the child's final discharge from the TYC. It also requires the TYC to find a suitable
alternative program or service if a program or service in the child's reentry or reintegration plan
is not available at the time the child is to be released so that the child's release is not postponed.
The TYC Board shall appoint persons to serve as members of the panel, and shall determine its
size and the length of the members’ terms of service on the panel. The bill provides that the
panel must consist of an odd number of members and lays out instructions related to the
members’ terms, panel policies, and explicitly notes that a person appointed to the panel is an
employee of the TYC who works at the TYC's central office and may not be involved in any
supervisory decisions concerning the children in the TYC’s custody.
The bill also provides that after a child who is committed to the TYC without a determinate
sentence completes the minimum length of stay the TYC shall: discharge the child from custody,
release the child under supervision under Section 61.081, Human Resources Code, or extend the
length of the child’s stay in the custody of the TYC. The TYC by rule shall establish a panel
whose function is to review and determine which of these options should be applied to a child
who has completed their minimum length of stay. The panel may only extend the length of a
child’s stay if it determines by majority vote and on the basis of clear and convincing evidence
that the child is in need of additional rehabilitation and that the TYC will provide the most
suitable environment for rehabilitation. In extending the child’s stay, the panel must specify the
additional period of time, and must conduct an additional review and determination on the
child’s completion of the additional term of stay. CSSB 103 also provides that the TYC must
maintain statistics on the number of extensions granted by the panel, and specifies what
aggregated information must be included. The bill also provides that this information is public,
and shall be posted on the TYC’s website. The TYC shall prepare and deliver a report
concerning the statistics to the standing committees of the senate and house of representatives
with primary jurisdiction over matters concerning correctional facilities.
CSSB 103 requires the TYC to offer or make available programs for the rehabilitation and
reestablishment in society of children committed to the TYC, including programs for sex
offenders, capital offenders, children who are chemically dependent, and those who are
emotionally disturbed, in an adequate manner so that a child in the custody of the TYC receives
appropriate rehabilitation services recommended for the child by the court committing the child
to the TYC. If such programs are unavailable, the TYC shall provide to the standing committees
of the senate and house of representatives with primary jurisdiction over matters concerning
correctional facilities a report explaining which programs are not offered or are unavailable, and
the reason the programs are not offered or are unavailable. Such a report that be made no later
than January 10 of each odd-numbered year.
The TYC shall also provide a report to the parent, guardian, or designated advocate of a child
whose length of stay is extended explaining the panel’s reason for the extension, and the TYC by
rule shall establish a process to request the reconsideration of an extension order issued by the
panel. The bill elaborates on what the request for reconsideration process shall entail, provides
that the request form shall be clear and easy to understand, and requires TYC to ensure that a
child may request assistance in completing the form. The bill further stipulates that the TYC
shall maintain statistics on the number of requests for reconsideration of an extension order that
are submitted and the action taken on reconsideration of the extension order. The bill also lays
out what aggregated information must be included and provides that the statistics are considered
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
public information and shall be posted on the TYC website. Additionally, the bill requires the
TYC to prepare and deliver a report concerning the statistics to the standing committees of the
senate and house of representatives with primary jurisdiction over matters concerning
correctional facilities.
TYC Governing Structure
CSSB 103 amends the Human Resources Code to address composition of the governing board of
the TYC ("board"). The bill provides that the board shall be comprised of at least one physician,
an experienced member of a victim's advocacy organization, a mental health professional, and a
current or former prosecutor or judge. Additionally, a majority of the members of the board
must be qualified, by experience or education, in the development and administration of
programs for the rehabilitation and reestablishment in society of children in the custody of
agencies similar in mission and scope to the commission.
CSSB 103 provides that any power, duty, or function of the commission or of the board that is
not assigned by statute to the office of inspector general may be exercised and performed by the
executive director or any member or employee designated or assigned by the board or by the
executive director.
Additional Provisions
CSSB 103 describes the retroactive effects and implementation dates related to certain amended
sections and added provisions, and sets forth the effective date on which various new
requirements will apply, including those related to training of juvenile corrections officers,
appointments of various new officers, background checks, juvenile corrections officer ratios,
placement of youth in facilities, enrollment of new employees in the Employees Retirement
System, development and adoption of a mission statement, and board appointments.
This bill also updates statutory changes to reflect the name changes of the Texas Medical Board,
Department of State Health Services, Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Texas Private
Security Board.
EFFECTIVE DATE
Upon passage, or, if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September
1, 2007.
COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE
The caption of SB 103 is, "relating to the Texas Youth Commission; providing penalties." The
caption of CSSB 103 is, "relating to the Texas Youth Commission and the prosecution of certain
offenses and delinquent conduct in the Texas Youth Commission and certain other criminal
justice agencies; providing penalties."
SB 103 requires the state to reimburse counties for the prosecution of: felonies committed while
the actor was a prisoner in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ);
offenses committed in the TDCJ by any person under Section 38.11, Penal Code, Chapter 481,
Health and Safety Code, or Sections 485.031 through 485.035, Health and Safety Code; and
criminal offenses or delinquent conduct committed on property owned or operated by or under
contract with the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) or by or against a person in the custody of
TYC while performing a duty away from TYC property. CSSB 103 requires the state to
reimburse counties for expenses related to the prosecution of criminal offenses or delinquent
conduct committed on property owned or operated by or under contract with the TDCJ or TYC,
or those committed by or against a person in the custody of the TDCJ or TYC while the person is
performing a duty away from TDCJ or TYC property.
The original bill changed the governing structure of the TYC by replacing the existing structure
of a governing board and executive director with a new structure consisting of an executive
commissioner and an advisory board. The original bill, in various sections, makes conforming
changes accordingly. The substitute does not replace the governing board and executive director
and therefore does not make these conforming changes.
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
SB 103 contains language describing the appointment and terms of the executive commissioner;
CSSB 103 removes this language. SB 103 contains provisions regarding the qualifications for
the executive commissioner and advisory board; CSSB 103 removes these provisions. SB 103
contains language regarding the removal from office of the executive commissioner; CSSB 103
removes this language. SB 103 contains language regarding the composition, qualifications,
duties, powers and functions of the advisory board, as well as provisions for the removal from
office of the advisory board; CSSB 103 removes this language.
SB 103 prohibits a child adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct violating a penal
law of this state or the United States of the grade of misdemeanor, under any circumstances,
from being committed to TYC for that conduct. CSSB 103 deletes this language from the
original bill.
The substitute contains language not in the original bill which provides that the judge of the court
in which a child under a determinate sentence is adjudicated shall give credit on a child's
sentence for the time spent in a secure detention facility before the child's transfer to the TYC,
and for time spent in a secure detention facility pending disposition of the child's appeal. The
court shall endorse on both the commitment and the mandate from the appellate court all credit
given the child, and the TYC shall grant any credit under this section in computing the child's
eligibility for parole and discharge. The original bill does not contain this language.
The substitute contains language not in the original bill which allows the office of the
independent ombudsman of the Texas Youth Commission access to confidential information in
the juvenile justice information system.
CSSB 103 codifies in statute the Special Prosecution Unit (SPU) as an independent unit that
cooperates with and supports prosecuting attorneys in prosecuting criminal offenses or
delinquent conduct committed on property owned or operated by or under contract with the
TDCJ or TYC, or those committed by or against a person in the custody of the TDCJ or TYC
while the person is performing a duty away from TDCJ or TYC property. The substitute
describes the composition, duties, procedures, and terms relevant to a Board of Directors and
Executive Board for the SPU, as well as for the board's presiding officer and assistant presiding
officer, a chief of the unit, and an elected counsellor. It also states that membership on either the
board of directors or executive board may not be construed to be a civil office of emolument for
any purpose, and provides that while board members are not entitled to compensation, they are
entitled to reimbursement for necessary expenses incurred in carrying out their duties as
provided by the General Appropriations Act, if applicable.
SB 103 requires the special prosecution unit, on a quarterly basis, to prepare a report concerning
offenses or delinquent conduct prosecuted, to be provided to the executive commissioner and the
legislative committees with primary jurisdiction as well as posted on TYC's website. CSSB 103
requires the counsellor elected by the executive board governing the board of directors of the
special prosecution unit to prepare a report concerning offenses or delinquent conduct prosecuted
or a request for assistance otherwise from a prosecuting attorney, to be provided to the board of
directors of the special prosecution unit and the legislative committees with primary jurisdiction
as well as posted on TYC's website. SB 103 requires TYC to publish this report on TYC's
website; CSSB 103 requires the board of directors of the special prosecution unit to request that
TYC publish the report on TYC's website. SB 103 requires that this report include information
relating to: the number of requests for assistance received under Section 61.098, Human
Resources Code; the number of cases investigated and the number of cases prosecuted on
receiving a request for assistance under Section 61.098, Human Resources Code; the types and
outcomes of cases prosecuted by the special prosecution unit on receiving a request for
assistance, such as whether the case concerned narcotics or an alleged incident of sexual abuse;
and the relationship of a victim to a perpetrator, if applicable. CSSB 103 requires that the report
include information relating to: the number of requests for assistance received under Section
61.098, Human Resources Code, and requests for assistance otherwise received from prosecuting
attorneys; the number of cases investigated and the number of cases prosecuted; the types and
outcomes of cases prosecuted such as whether the case concerned narcotics or an alleged
incident of sexual abuse; and the relationship of a victim to a perpetrator, if applicable.
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
The substitute also contains language not in the original bill requiring the counsellor, in
consultation with the board of directors of the special prosecution unit, to notify the foreman of
the appropriate grand jury if: the counsellor receives credible evidence of illegal or improper
conduct by commission officers, employees, or contractors that the counsellor reasonably
believes jeopardizes the health, safety, and welfare of children in the custody of TYC, the
counsellor reasonably believes the conduct could constitute an offense under Article 104.003(a),
Code of Criminal Procedure, and involves the alleged physical or sexual abuse of a child in the
custody of a TYC facility or an investigation related to the alleged abuse and the counsellor has a
reason to believe that information concerning the conduct has not previously been presented to
the appropriate grand jury.
CSSB 103 updates the lists of persons for whom the TYC is entitled to obtain criminal history
record information maintained by the Department of Public Safety.
In addition, the substitute adds language not in the original bill obligating the inspector general
of the TDCJ to deliver, on a quarterly basis, a report to the board of directors of the special
prosecution unit concerning any alleged criminal offense concerning TDCJ and described by
Article 104.003(a), Code of Criminal Procedure, that occurred during the preceding quarter. The
substitute also adds language not in the original bill requiring the inspector general of TYC to
deliver, on a quarterly basis, a report to the board of directors of the special prosecution unit
concerning any alleged criminal offense or disposition of any case involving a criminal offense
or delinquent conduct concerning TYC and described by Article 104.003(a), Code of Criminal
Procedure, that occurred during the preceding quarter.
SB 103 removes a statutory requirement that the members of the governing board of the TYC be
citizens who are recognized within their communities for their interest in youth. CSSB 103 does
not remove this requirement from statute. The substitute adds language requiring that the
governing board of the TYC be comprised of at least one physician, a mental health professional,
and a current or former prosecutor or judge and that a majority of the members of the board be
qualified, by experience or education, in the development and administration of programs for the
rehabilitation and reestablishment in society of children in the custody of agencies similar in
scope and mission to the TYC.
SB 103 provides that any power, duty, or function of the TYC that is not assigned by the statute
to the advisory board, the chief inspector general of the office of inspector general, or the chief
ombudsman of the office of ombudsman may be exercised and performed by the executive
commissioner. CSSB 103 provides that any power, duty, or function of the TYC or of the
governing board of TYC that is not assigned by statute to the office of inspector general may be
exercised and performed by the executive director of TYC or any member or employee
designated or assigned by the governing board of TYC or by the executive director of TYC.
SB 103 provides that the state auditor may access all information maintained by the office of the
inspector general, such as vouchers, electronic data, and internal records, including information
that is otherwise confidential under law. CSSB 103 provides that the state auditor may access all
information maintained by the office of the inspector general, such as vouchers, electronic data,
and internal records, including information that is otherwise confidential under state law. CSSB
103 also makes a statutory change not made by SB 103: the substitute provides that the TYC,
not only its financial transactions, is subject to audit by the state auditor.
Instead of eliminating the governing board of the TYC, as done by the original bill, CSSB 103
provides requirements for its membership.
SB 103 provides for an advisory board of the TYC and describes its composition, functions and
procedures for the removal of its members. CSSB 103 does not contain this language.
CSSB 103 contains language not in the original bill which requires the TYC to, not later than
September 1, 2007, adopt a plan for and begin the process of receiving accreditation by the
American Correctional Association for each facility operated by or under contract with the TYC.
CSSB 103 contains language not in the original bill which provides that the TYC shall make
available or offer programs for the rehabilitation and reestablishment in society of children
committed to the TYC, including programs for sex offenders, capital offenders, children who are
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
chemically dependent, and those who are emotionally disturbed, in an adequate manner so that a
child in the custody of the TYC receives appropriate rehabilitation services recommended for the
child by the court committing the child to the TYC. If such programs are unavailable, the TYC
shall report to the legislature by January 10 of each odd-numbered year.
CSSB 103 contains language not in the original bill which provides that the TYC shall develop
and adopt a statement regarding the role and mission of the TYC.
CSSB 103 contains language not in the original bill which requires the TYC to establish
procedures and practices governing employment-related grievances submitted by TYC
employees and disciplinary actions within the TYC. This includes a procedure allowing a TYC
employee who is recommended for dismissal to elect to participate in an independent dismissal
mediation.
SB 103 provides that juvenile correctional officers shall receive 300 hours of training before they
undertake duties. CSSB 103 adds that this training must include on-the-job training. The
substitute also adds that the TYC shall rotate the assignment of each juvenile correctional officer
at an interval determined by the TYC so that a juvenile correctional officer is not assigned to the
same station for an extended period of time. CSSB 103 also adds that the TYC sha ll ensure that
at least one juvenile correctional officer is assigned to supervise in or near a location in which
children are receiving education services or training.
SB 103 requires the executive director of TYC to adopt rules necessary to administer Section
61.0356, Human Resources Code. CSSB requires the TYC to adopt rules necessary to
administer Section 61.0356, Human Resources Code.
SB 103 requires the executive commissioner of the TYC to review the national criminal history
record information of any person who applies for employment with TYC, is employed by TYC,
or volunteers with or provides direct delivery of services to children in the custody of the TYC.
CSSB 103 requires the executive director or the executive director's designee to review the
national criminal history record information, state criminal history record information
maintained by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), and previous and current employment
references of each person who is an employee, contractor, volunteer, ombudsman, or advocate
working for the TYC or in a TYC facility or a facility under contract with the TYC, a person
who directly delivers services to children in TYC custody, or a person with access to records in
TYC facilities or offices. Additionally, the bill requires the executive commissioner of the TYC
to review on an annual basis, the aforementioned persons' national criminal history record
information and on a continuing basis not less than once every three months, their state criminal
history record information. The substitute requires the executive director or the executive
director's designee to review on an annual basis their national criminal history record information
and requires TYC to ensure that the system used to check state criminal history record
information is capable of providing real time arrest information. SB 103 provides that the
executive commissioner of TYC may by rule require a person whose national criminal history
record information must be reviewed to pay a fee related to the first national criminal history
record information review conducted. The substitute removes the word “first” from this
provision. SB 103 requires the executive director of TYC to adopt rules necessary to administer
Section 61.0357, Human Resources Code; CSSB 103 requires the TYC to do so.
SB 103 requires the chief inspector general of the TYC to prepare and deliver certain reports.
CSSB 103 removes the requirement in the original bill that these reports be provided to the joint
select committee on the operation and management of TYC.
CSSB 103 adds language not in the original bill requiring the TYC to establish a permanent, tollfree
number for the purpose of receiving any information concerning the abuse, neglect, or
exploitation of children in TYC custody and charges the office of inspector general with ensuring
its prominent display and access by children and employees.
CSSB 103 adds a requirement not in the original bill that TYC ensure that a chaplain is
employed or formally designated for each commission correctional facility that is an institution.
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
SB 103 provides that the TYC may not assign a male child younger than 15 years of age to the
same correctional facility dormitory as a person who is at least 17 years of age unless the TYC
determines that the placement is necessary to ensure the safety of children in the custody of the
TYC. CSSB 103 deletes "male" from this provision. CSSB 103 also includes language not in the
original bill that requires the TYC to consider the proximity of the residence of a child’s family
in determining the appropriate commission facility in which to place the child.
The substitute contains a list of documents, not in the original bill, that a committing court must
provide to the TYC.
SB 103 requires an initial examination of each child committed to the TYC, which includes longterm
planning for the child and consideration of the child's medical and treatment history. CSSB
103 requires an initial examination of each child committed to the TYC, which includes longterm
planning for the child and consideration of the child's medical, substance abuse and
treatment history, including the child's psychiatric and substance abuse history.
The substitute contains language not in the original bill which requires the TYC to integrate the
provision of medical care, behavioral care, and rehabilitative services in an integrated
comprehensive delivery system, and lists what medical, behavioral health, or rehabilitative
services may be provided to a child in the TYC through this delivery system.
Both the original bill and the substitute contain a requirement that the TYC develop a parent's
bill of rights. The substitute deletes one of the required pieces of information to be included in
the bill of rights. Additionally, both the original bill and the substitute require the TYC to
provide a quarterly report to the parent, guardian, or designated advocate of the child. The
substitute deletes one of the requirements of this report. The substitute also adds a provision not
in the original bill which requires the TYC to ensure that written information provided to a
parent or guardian regarding the rights of a child in custody of TYC or the rights of a child's
parent or guardian is clear and easy to understand. The substitute adds that the bill of rights must
be developed by TYC in consultation with advocacy and support groups and that TYC is only
required to distribute it to the parent or guardian of a child under 18 years of age. The substitute
also requires that the bill of rights include the contact information for the office of independent
ombudsman.
SB 103 requires a caseworker or other facility administrator to attempt to communicate with a
parent or guardian who does not speak English in the native language of the parent or guardian.
CSSB 103 requires a caseworker or other facility administrator to attempt to communicate with a
parent or guardian who does not speak English in the language of choice of the parent or
guardian.
The substitute amends Section 508.156(a), Go vernment Code to provide that before the release
of a person who is transferred under Section 61.081(f) or 61.084(g), rather than 61.081(f), 61.084
(f) or (g), Human Resources Code, to the division for release on parole, a parole panel shall
review the person's records and may interview that person or any other person the panel
considers necessary to determine the conditions of parole, and may then impose any reasonable
condition on the person's parole that the panel may impose on an adult inmate. The original bill
does not do this.
Both the original bill and the substitute require the TYC to develop a reentry and reintegration
plan for each child committed to the custody of the TYC and lay out what must be included in
the plan. SB 103 requires the TYC to develop the plan in a timely manner so that it is available
when a child is reviewed under Section 61.0815, Human Resources Code, after completion of a
child’s minimum length of stay. CSSB 103 replaces this language with the requirement that the
plan must be designed to ensure that the child receives an extensive continuity of care in services
from the time the child is committed to the time of the child's final discharge from the TYC. The
substitute contains an additional provision, not in the original bill, which provides that the TYC
shall find a suitable alternative program or service if a program or service in the child's reentry or
reintegration plan is not available at the time of the child's release.
Both the original bill and the substitute require the establishment of a panel whose function is to
review and determine whether a child who has completed the minimum length of stay should be
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
discharged, released or remain in TYC custody, and both require the TYC to provide a report to
the parent, guardian, or designated advocate of a child whose length of stay is extended by the
panel. The substitute contains requirements related to this report not in the original bill and
requires TYC to allow parents, guardians and designated advocates access to certain documents
upon request. SB 103 also provides that a member of the panel is an employee of the TYC;
CSSB 103 does not.
SB 103 requires the TYC to maintain statistics of the number of requests for reconsideration of
an extension order that are submitted and requires that these statistics include aggregated
information concerning the race, age, sex, offense committed, specialized treatment needs, and
country of origin for each child for whom a request for reconsideration of an extension order is
submitted. CSSB 103 removes "age" and "offense committed" from this requirement.
The substitute contains language not in the original bill requiring TDCJ to grant credit for
sentence time served by a person at the TYC and in a juvenile detention facility in computing
eligibility for parole and discharge from TDCJ.
CSSB 103 does not contain a requirement in the original bill that the governing board of the
Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and the executive commissioner of the TYC adopt a
coordinated strategic plan.
SB 103 contains language which permits the Texas Board of Criminal Justice or the executive
commissioner of TYC to decide to exempt employees of the TDCJ or TYC from specific
licensing requirements. CSSB changes this to grant permission to the Texas Board of Criminal
Justice to vote to exempt employees of TDCJ from specific licensing requirements and to
prohibit TYC from exempting any employee from a licensing requirement imposed by
Section110.302, Occupations Code.
SB 103 provides that an official, employee, volunteer, peace officer, or person other than an
employee who works for compensation at a correctional facility commits a second degree felony
offense if the person engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse
with an individual in the custody of the TYC. CSSB 103 changes this to provide that an official,
employee, volunteer, peace officer, or person other than an employee who works for
compensation at a correctional facility commits a second degree felony offense if the person
engages in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with an individual in
custody or, in the case of an individual in the custody of the TYC, employs authorizes, or
induces the individual to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance. The original bill
contained language which allowed the attorney general concurrent jurisdiction with law
enforcement agencies to investigate any violation of this statute involving an individual in TYC
custody; the substitute removes this language. The substitute changes contains definitions not in
the original bill, for the terms "sexual conduct" and "performance" and changes the definition of
"sexual performance" from the original bill's definition. The substitute remo ves a definition of
"child" from the original bill. The original bill contains language providing that the affirmative
defense to prosecution provided by Subsection (f)(3), Section 43.25, Penal Code, does not apply
to the prosecution of an alleged offense involving a child in the custody of TYC. The substitute
does not contain this language and deletes references in the original bill to the age of the child as
it pertains to sexual conduct and sexual performance.
SB 103 provides that the attorney general shall have concurrent jurisdiction with law
enforcement agencies to investigate any violation of Section 39.04, Penal Code, involving an
individual in the custody of the TYC; CSSB 103 does not contain this provision.
The original bill repeals Sections 54.04 (s) and (t), and 54.05 (k), Family Code, as well as 61.001
(3), 61.0122, 61.014, 61.015, 61.0151, 61.017, and 61.084 (f), Human resources Code. The
substitute repeals Sections 54.04 (s) and (t), and 54.05 (k), Family Code, as well as 61.084 (f),
Human Resources Code.
The original bill established an office of the ombudsman in TYC. The substitute changes this to
an independent ombudsman and provides related definitions. According to the substitute, the
office of independent ombudsman is a state agency established for the purpose of investigating,
evaluating, and securing the rights of the children committed to TYC including a child released
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
to supervision before final discharge. The substitute establishes the independence of the
ombudsman from the TYC, and provides for the ombudsman to be funded separately from the
TYC. The substitute provides that the governor shall appoint the independent ombudsman with
the advice and consent of the senate for a term of two years, expiring February 1 of oddnumbered
years, and may serve a maximum number of three terms in that capacity. The
substitute also lays out the possible reasons for removal of the ombudsman as well as what
situations may constitute a conflict of interest, which would prevent an individual from serving
as independent ombudsman, and necessary qualifications of the independent ombudsman, who
must be qualified by training and by at least five years' experience. It also provides that the
ombudsman may hire assistants to perform under the independent ombudsman’s direction. The
substitute provides that the office of independent ombudsman is subject to review under the
Texas Sunset Act, but is not abolished under that chapter. The office shall be reviewed during the
periods in which state agencies abolished in 2009 and every 12th year after 2009 are reviewed.
CSSB 103 describes what must be included in the quarterly report that the ombudsman shall
submit to the governor, lieutenant governor, and each member of the legislature, and describes
what serious or flagrant instances must be immediately reported to the governor, lieutenant
governor, speaker of the house of representatives, state auditor, and OIG. The TYC shall allow
any child committed to it to communicate with the independent ombudsman or an assistant to the
ombudsman; the communication may be made in person, by mail, or by any other means, and is
confidential and privileged. The substitute notes that the records of the independent ombudsman
are confidential, except that the independent ombudsman shall share a communication with a
child that may involve the child's abuse or neglect to the OIG and disclose its nonprivileged
records if required by a court order on a showing of good cause. The independent ombudsman
may also make reports relating to an investigation public after redacting certain personallyidentifying
information of those involved in a claim. The substitute provides that information
within and generated by investigations of the independent ombudsman are not subject to
disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, except if the office determines that disclosure
is in the general public interest, necessary to enable the office to perform the responsibilities
provided under this section, or necessary to identify, prevent, or treat the abuse or neglect of a
child. CSSB 103 lays out what information the independent ombudsman should promote
awareness of to the public and to the children committed to the TYC.
CSSB 103 grants rulemaking authority to the office of independent ombudsman. The substitute
also provides that the office of independent ombudsman is subject to audit in accordance with
Chapter 321, Government Code. The substitute lays out the specific duties of the independent
ombudsman, emphasizes that the ombudsman shall not perform duties relating to the
investigation of alleged criminal behavior, provides information related to training curriculum,
and notes that the TYC may not discharge, discriminate, or retaliate against an employee filing a
good faith complaint or cooperating in an investigation with the office of the independent
ombudsman. The substitute provides that the TYC, the DPS, and local law enforcement agencies
shall allow the independent ombudsman to access records related to children committed to the
TYC. The independent ombudsman shall have access to the records of any private entity that
relate to a child committed to the TYC.
CSSB 103 defines "special prosecution unit" as the special prosecution unit established under
Subchapter E, Chapter 41, Government Code. The substitute also changes the language
regarding who may request that the special prosecution unit prosecute an offense or delinquent
conduct. CSSB 103 adds a requirement, not in the original bill, that the office of inspector
general immediately provide the special prosecution unit with a report concerning an alleged
criminal offense or delinquent conduct concerning the TYC and described by Article 104.003(a),
Code of Criminal Procedure, if the chief inspector general reasonably believes the offense or
conduct is particularly serious and egregious. The substitute also contains language not in the
original bill requiring the chief inspector general, at the direction of the board of directors of the
special prosecution unit, to notify the foreman of the appropriate grand jury if: the chief inspector
general receives credible evidence of illegal or improper conduct by commission officers,
employees, or contractors that the inspector general reasonably believes jeopardizes the health,
safety, and welfare of children in the custody of TYC, the chief inspector general reasonably
believes the conduct could constitute an offense under Article 104.003(a), Code of Criminal
Procedure, and involves the alleged physical or sexual abuse of a child in the custody of a
commission facility or an investigation related to the alleged abuse and the chief inspector
general has a reason to believe that information concerning the conduct has not previously been
C.S.S.B. 103 80(R)
presented to the appropriate grand jury. The substitute also contains a requirement not in the
original bill that the executive director of TYC file an immediate complaint with the appropriate
law enforcement agency if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that a child in the custody of
the TYC is the victim of a crime committed at a TYC facility.
Both CSSB 103 and SB 103 describe the effective dates of certain amended sections and added
provisions. The original bill provides that a rule adopted by the TYC before the effective date of
this Act is a rule of the execut ive director of the TYC until superseded, modified, or repealed by
the executive director. The substitute deletes this language on rules and adds language, not in the
original bill, which requires the TYC to develop and adopt a mission statement by on or before
October 1, 2007. CSSB 103 also deletes language from the original bill requiring the governor
to appoint an executive commissioner and advisory board of TYC and adds language, not in the
original bill, requiring the governor to appoint the independent ombudsman of TYC and
specifying the ombudsman's term of office. The substitute also adds language directing the
board of directors of the special prosecution unit to elect the initial members of the executive
board of the board of directors and setting out requirements they must follow in doing so. CSSB
103 also adds language requiring the board of directors of the special prosecution unit to elect the
presiding officer, assistant presiding officer, and executive board of the board of directors and
setting out requirements they must follow in doing so. The substitute also requires the executive
board of the board of directors of the special prosecution unit to elect the counselor as soon as
possible after the effective date of the Act.

Anonymous said...

For 3:51pm- If the money to pay staff at Marlin and San Saba ends on August 31, and are not funded after that date ..then why would they wait and be open until March 2008? That is not what I heard.Sorry

Anonymous said...

Are there any bloggers out there who worked at TYC's Hamilton State School facility when they closed? Perhaps you could enlighten Grits readers as to how that was handled. Did they give you a week's notice, a day's notice, or no notice at all? For those of us worried about keeping our jobs, it would be quite interesting to know the specifics of how that closure transpired.

Anonymous said...

If I am correct, they went into Hamilton, told them it was being transfered to TDCJ, told them the job openings around TYC, froze all positions until the folks at Hamilton chose, then gave them some money to move I think, could be wrong. Some could apply for TDCJ, if they wanted I think.

Anonymous said...

Hey, what ever happen to the lady from McFadden Ranch? Also, the guy from ERJC? What was the outcome of the suspensions on all four of those folks?

Anonymous said...

anon at 9:35, how about a link or web address. please.

Anonymous said...

The only TYC lawyer who knows anything got mad and is leaving on Friday so it will take until March for the TYC lawyers to figure out what to do.

Anonymous said...

What attorney is that?

Anonymous said...

Howard Hickman - very good attorney.
Also, Dr. Nance, the Supt. of Education resigned. She is the one who was chiefly responsible for the significant improvement in educational services at TYC over the past few years.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Somebody pass on to Nance and Hickman that I'd love to do exit interviews or something along those lines on Grits, if they're willing. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I can not believe Gov. Perry appointed Ed Owens to be over TYC! This man has caused Texas a lot of money over a law suite to help hide a sexual act and now he is going to be over children? This is a sorry picture of trying to fix things that are broken. Mr. Perry had better stop acting as if he is a dictator, and remove Ed from this position. What does he owe anyone to be able to go from high paying job to higher paying jobs when he causes nothing but trouble wherever he goes?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am sad to Dr Nance go. She has done alot for the education department. She helped improved the educational programs through out the state. She stood up for what she believes in. Howard Hickman will also be missed. I can not blame either one of them for moving on. Good luck to them both. Just two more casualities of this unholy war in TYC.

Anonymous said...

Grits,
the dust may have cleared in the capitol but things remain in complete chaos in TYC and after the dust settles in Central office the bullsh*t will stink for months, if not years, to come.

One thing the legislature did was sneak in a provision to eliminate TYC's ability (and not TDCJ)to exempt it's employees from the state licensure requirements to be sex offender treatment providers.
This will essentially be the end of TYC providing treatment for sex offenders and these services will have to be contracted out.

Now I am all for licensure requirements but very few of the TYC staff who provide sex offender treatment services are licensed. They have great experience and run effective programs. There are less than 500 licensed sex offender treatment providers in the state of Texas and it appears the ones who work for TYC are leaving to pursue other avenues. The whole reason for the exemption in the first place was because it is nearly impossible to get LSOTP's to work for measly salaries.

There was absolutely no need to change these policies. Even if they wanted TYC sex offender treatment providers to be licensed they should have exempted current employees and funded the necessary training and licensure.

This is clearly a case of political payback and I wonder who is going to benefit from getting sex offender treatment contracts for TYC youth and how much money they gave in order to get this accomplished.

Now, not only did Kimbrough successfully distract attention from who knew what about the sexual abuse in TYC and when but now we have blatant dismantling of effective treatment programs for the financial benefit of friends of legislators.

The other thing that has been accomplished is to elimate the opportunity for girls to participate in TYC's Capitol and Violent Offenders treatment program by moving them to Brownwood. If you are not familiar with this program you should read The Last Chance in Texas by John Hubner. WIth the histories of abuse, neglect, and serious delinquency, the girls in TYC need access to all the specialized treatment they can get.

It sounds to me that what is happening in TYC, in the name of the Missouri Model, is essentially a sham. Treatment services will be contracted out and TYC will turn into a warehouse for those youth who demonstrate an inability to succeed in underfunded and less effective contract treatment programs.

If there is any question about the ability to provide effective treatment programming to these type of youth, take a look at the research out of Mendota in Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

You must remember that Nance was the Sup of Education and that she was over the Principal that is now in jail/out on bond??? for his sex abuse aganist students. She may have successfully made education better, but she is also known for turning her head when you complained about an adminstrator under her rule.
Rule of thumb is that adminstrators watch each others back especially if someone on the front lines is complaining. She was good at that,also. I am not bashing her and I hate that anyone has to loose their job. They have needs and families also. But she has already retired and is drawing a check. It is not like she is out in the cold like the front line people without a paycheck every month. Retire, probably not really, more like she quit before the pink slip got printed. Just remember she has her insurance, retirement check and will probably get another highpaying job somewhere. If you are really feeling bad for her think about this if she had of done her job and fired that man helped send his butt to jail alot of people might still have their jobs and their retirement and insurance for their families. The good people that work for TYC could hold their heads up high instead of being ashamed of where they work.If your in education, no one wants to touch you as far as hiring you. You are tanted and will be for a long time to come. By the way has CO announced that Nance is leaving? Has anyone seen a email that states she is gone or leaving? Isn't that strange that they have not told that to the front line staff either? More of that keeping us informed! You go CO, doing a great job!

Anonymous said...

OK, theyhave brought the hiring standards up to that of TDCJ. Look at were we are at..... it aint enough.

17 yr. TDCJ veteran employee.

www.thebackgate.com

staff member

Anonymous said...

Wow.. Our new Boss is now official.. Ed Owens ..accepted. Per the News Station....Now we have him for 2 years. and guess who took his old job???? Pope, yes.... Pope!! God Help us all.
And with Dr. Novy taking over Rehab and all of Education.. God Help us all.
Yes, he is letting Venita take over Special Ed.. but, remember..he is a Micro Manager..so it really does not matter who he appts, he is still really in charge!! God Help us all

Anonymous said...

How's this for a time line?

John Shero and Marlin closing 08/31/07.

Sheffield Boot Camp, Victory Field and West Texas closing by the end of FY '09.

Anonymous said...

Or earlier... if they get through with transitioning the youths early.

Anonymous said...

Grits:
Howard is "on vacation" until the end of July. He would probably be willing to comment after that.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone with good sense want to go to work for the TYC? The staff at the Marlin unit just recently received official notification that the unit would be closing. The Mart staff were told months ago that Marlin would be moving to their facility. No one would tell the Marlin staff anything. They still have no idea who will stay and who will go.
The youth are now in control. They are burning that hotline up with false accusations and everyone is under investigation. What a fun place place to be! I am ashamed of our elected officials. They are inhumane, corrupt, obtuse individuals who are motivated by self interest. They have no sense of true north because they have no moral compass to guide them.

Anonymous said...

I think you are going to find that budget analysis very interesting when you compare the requirements of SB103 to the money actually allocated to accomplish the changes. Particularly due to the fact that SB103 went into effect immediately upon the Governor's signing, whereas the money, what there is of it, won't be available until Sept. 1. Look for the money for the new trainers needed to accomplish the 300 hours of mandated training for JCOs, plus the money for the LEOs on every campus.

Anonymous said...

One more way that the Lege has "fixed" TYC: The K-9 Officers were notified today that they had been "decommissioned" and were instructed to send their badges in to Central Office. Wonderful - the one real deterent we had to contraband and our brilliant legislators forgot to include them in their list of commissioned peace officers - so they have to lose their commissions. I just keeps getting better and better!

Anonymous said...

Hey Grits,

When are you going to do part II - the budget analysis?

Anonymous said...

While you are looking at TYC, take a look at Pegasus School in Lockhart!! Just as bad because they are for profit as well.

Anonymous said...

TYC medical leaves alot to be desired my son broke his ankle and we were told for three months it was sprained. He finally had surgery to fix it after he was on parole status. They refuse to pay for his medical if he comes home. Cosidering that, it looks like they can keep him in their custody for several more months. Sadly, the orthapedic doctor says he may never walk on his foot again due to their negligence.