Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Grits commenter questions may get answered in TYC FAQ

I can see why Texas Youth Commission employees who've commented about the "State of the Agency" briefings by TYC brass called the events "dog and pony shows" that left them feeling underwhelmed. After more than two hours of presentations by various division heads (a majority of whom worked for TDJC not very long ago), the Q&A session in Austin today was tepid, particularly considering that I regularly see TYC employees' more harsh opinions and poignant questions in Grits' comments.

I'll write up my notes from the event soon, but I wanted to mention it was announced the TYC Central Office would compile a list of all the questions asked at these State of the Agency events and create an FAQ document to answer common employee queries.

Serendipitously, in this post yesterday I compiled questions from Grits commenters that TYC employees wanted management to answer; only a few of the subjects were addressed today.

So after the event I went and found Jim Hurley, the new public relations chieftan for TYC. I told him that Grits readers had suggested quite a few questions on the blog that people were fearful to publicly ask, or that they felt weren't answered to their satisfaction. Would it be possible, I suggested, for those questions to be included in the FAQ document TYC will create? He thought that was a good idea and asked me to forward him the the blog post, which I did when I got home.

So here's what I sent Mr. Hurley today: if there are any glaring omissions let me know in the comments and maybe he'll let us sneak a few more in. I can't promise they'll answer every one, or any at all; I'm sure in the end that's not Hurley's call. But it's better to have asked, at least the the questions are out there.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grits...YOU RULE!! I am very grateful that you were able to attend today's briefing in Austin and report on it in such a timely manner. This blog string is sure to generate a zillion comments. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication. You are appreciated more than you'll ever know.

Answers and Solutions Wanted said...

Right on Grits! Thank you for being a voice we can count on!

In all my years in Juvenile Corrections I can honestly say that things have never been more unstable or unsafe on our campuses.

The sad thing is STILL - that those not on the front lines do not want to acknowledge the Pandora's box that they have allowed to be opened. The youth are in control and TYC staff hands are tied - more like bound and mouths gagged.

Campuses are out of control. These juveniles are rioting, tearing up state property and assaulting staff and each other at a rate that is escalating daily.

Consequently there is no reform. They get little or no consequences and are learning absolutely nothing - only to be released that way into society. And upon release this criminal mentality will be reinforced - and this behavior will continue. Our wives, sons and daughters - elderly - no one will be safe. TYC is a joke now to these young offenders...most of which - if not for age should have been in TDCJ. And that is where many will end up.

Who is going to answer for that? Staff are dropping like flies all over the agency - it is an impossible job.

Again - thank you for your support in our quest for answers.

Anonymous said...

We do need answers - the right answers. Before a TYC staff or incarcerated youth is killed or seriously maimed due to the current environment. Believe me it is only a matter of time.

Al Price is shutting down. All because youth are out of control. Why? Because the current superintendent wants to be kid friendly. You can not DO THAT. Not to this extent. It puts everyone else at risk - kids, staff on campus. We all need rules and consequences. Kids need it - crave it...of course as the father of teenagers - they don't like it. But they do not have the capability to call the shots.

Anonymous said...

Grits,how much do you want to bet that the FAQ never gets done or sent to a committee?

Anonymous said...

No they don't want to hear the truth. Crockett campus - once a safe place (and I was not a Freeman and Nicholson supporter - not til now I guess)...is ready to explode. Get ready for the headlines. The current acting administrator is completely ineffective. Everyone on our campus is saying be careful what you wish for. I know other campuses are feeling the strain of potential major violence every day.

Anonymous said...

First off I'd like to say that I appreciate the fact that someone from outside of TYC took the time to go and listen to what Dimitria and her TDCJ department heads had to say. It's a shame that few, if any, members of the MSM have any interest in reporting to the public the travesty that TYC has been transformed into by this bunch of inexperienced, uninformed ego maniacs.

I for one am not suprised at the "tepid" atmosphere you encountered in Austin. As has been stated on numerous previous ocassions, the executive administration has changed personnel, but not tactics. You damn skippy that people are going to watch what they say around Dimitria and her crew. The fear tactics of the old regime- intimidation, retaliation and threats are alive and well and being used remove anyone who dares to suggest that Ms. Pope is incapable of running this agency.

Conditions on the campuses around the state are deteriorating rapidly. John Shero has 72 kids and still can't seem to make coverage without having to rely on 12-hours shifts. A large number of Marlin staff are seriously considering not making the transition to Mart. Most staff that still come to work regularly at both facilities are simply trying to hang on in the (false) hope that their executive administration will wake up and take care of them and their families. They are at their wits' end, as am I. Reminds me of a a line from a song by The Talking Heads..."we're on the road to nowhere."

I saw the list you forwarded to Jim "I'm important now so you TYC pukes better not hassle me" Hurley. I'd be surprised if any of these questions and even answered, let alone find their way onto the proposed FAQ. Besides, if things work as they have for the last several months, we won't see it (the FAQ) any time soon. Hell, we're still waiting for the definitive "plan" for reorganization and the "new policies that were supposed to be out in late March or early April. Had the word of the closures of John Shero and Marlin not been made public, we'd still be in the dark on that issue as well.

A comment was made in the comments that TYC is a joke. I don't think so. A joke is funny and makes you laugh. The only people I hear laughing are Ed, Dimitria and the boys and girls they brought over from TDCJ. And they're laughing at us...

I look forward to reading more of your comments and views on the state of the agency. But be careful, you may end up on one of Dimitria's infamous committees!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@5:51 and 6:13 - cynicism never gained anyone anything in politics but missed opportunities. Why not at least ask? Maybe they'll answer!

There will be time enough to treat management as the enemy once they've definitively proven themselves thus. And I'm conceding they might.:) But I honestly think it helps if employees at least nominally, conditionally, temporarily, give the new folks the benefit of the doubt, at least for a few months now that the Lege is out of town (and they're not, really - two TYCers grumpily told me today that Jerry Madden was still breathing down their necks!).

That said, I've got a few criticisms of what I heard that I won't write up until tomorrow. Some of what was said was a little disingenuous. But folks, none of this is easy, decisions have to get made, and it's worth trying to work with the new folks instead of thwart them.

I'd have different advice if it was a new Governor, for example, where appointees would have incentives to oust current staff. But I think EO and DP are just trying to keep the ship from sinking, and they could use yall's help in that.

Also, thanks to 4:54 and 5:20 for the kind words. I needed an uplifting message or two today, believe me.

As for me getting on a TYC committee, if they want to pay a consulting fee that's one thing, but IMO I give out enough freebies with my work on the blog. ;) best,

Anonymous said...

LISTEN TYC FRONT LINE"

I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS WORTH - BUT ACTIVATE YOUR COMMUNITY ABOUT THE MENTALITY THESE TYC YOUT BEING RELEASED. NOTIFY YOUR LOCAL MEDIA ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS OF UNREHABILTATED JUVENILE CRIMINALS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. ENCOURAGE THEM TO CALL AND WRITE LEGISLATURE, CALL LOCAL COURTS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ABOUT YOUR CONCERNS.

PUT IT ON THEIR HEADS - THAT IS WHAT THEY WANTED TO DO WITH US. PUT IT OUT THERE.

THEY WANTED TO LISTEN AND CRY WITH THESE KIDS. MAKE THEM TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

HAS ANYONE READ THE PAPERS IN AUSTIN... LOOK AT THE PAPERS FILLED WITH CRIME THAT THESE "KIDS" COMMITT AGAINST SOCIETY. THERE MUST BE LAW AND CONSEQUENCE WHEN PARENTS AND GUARDIANS CAN NOT INTERVENE. WE ARE NOT A DAYCARE.

Anonymous said...

I am tending to agree with the post about notification of the community etc. Hopefully we will be as proactive about safely of the community, staff and these incarcerated youth.

I say that because many of these youth are falling victim to the negative peer pressure and acting out taking place on these campuses. They do not feel safe anymore - no more than we. I am hoping that CO sees that we can't hold hands, promise early releases and rewards to these youth just to get them to comply with rules. I hate cliches - but it is true - give an inch and they take a mile....but at the expense of whom.

We need firm answers from CO - we want to believe in them...but actions speak louder than words.

Thank you for your support.

Anonymous said...

Is Al Price really shutting down or was that just an exaggeration?

Thanks Grits for keeping us all informed as the TYC saga continues to churn (along w/ my stomach).

Anonymous said...

Not shutting down as in closing. Shutting down movement etc due to violence threat, unrest etc.

Sorry for any confusion.

Whitsfoe said...

You know today reminded me of what my dad always said.... don't judge others on what you perceive or hear, but rather what you see and know. I totally thought that this Isela Gutierrez lady was some old, bitter, mean ass woman, hell bent on taking out TYC all together. When she asked the questions she asked the panel today, I heard and saw a different person than I originally thought she was going be. I guess we thought that way of Will too, but for some reason I can't explain, they are turning out to be... well, a hell'uva lot different than most of us thought they would.... so with that, welcome Isela….that was a nice surprise.

But here's a thought fellas, just imagine this for a moment... do you think the kids would be acting up so bad if they knew their parents were on our side? If they knew their parents were still able to discipline them by saying "newp, you aint coming home until you get your ---- together in that facility." If we took out the “me vs. them thinking that exists today?” Wonder what that might look like? I remember when I was in the field telling kids all the time… “OK, I’ll be calling your mother on that behavior tonight.” Man those kids would beg me not too. Bringing back the family involvement caseworker is HUGE. Just a thought :?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the pissant ranting and raving that goes on here. I went to Richardson.

Unlike all but one, I was noted as a troublemaker for standing up to them, using their own political BS words against them, and even worse, asking "Sweet Demetria" the questions that she didn't want to hear or answer.

I endeavored to persevere 3 horrendous facial scowels that only a woman who truely hates a man can project.

That's right. for any attendees of the richardson meeting it's the trouble maker in the back in the green shirt.

Ya'll need to grow a pair. If I'm going down it is a sinking that is going to be one hell of a fight. I asked a direct and poignant 4 part single question that truely brought Demetria's true colors to light.

The rest of you kissed so much a$$ I thought it was a TYC BKing donkey convention.

For you and your believing self Mr. Henson!

Copied from the lbb website:

The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) is a permanent joint committee of the Texas Legislature that develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations for all agencies of state government, as well as completes fiscal analyses for proposed legislation. The LBB also conducts evaluations and reviews for the purpose of identifying and recommending changes that improve the efficiency and performance of state and local operations and finances.

Translated as: We tell you what we thought it meant, how it is, how it will be, and how we will use your money to make it so!

We have the power! Thundercats HOE!

http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Bill_80/7_Conference/80-7_Conference_Summary_0507.pdf

The official Texas legislative Budget Board's conference summary:

In other words: This is what will happen!

Pages 139-140 of summary.

YOUTH COMMISSION
Residential Services
Reduced funding of $9.4 million in All Funds (an increase of
$3.8 million in General Revenue Funds, a decrease of $7.9
Million in Federal Funds, and a decrease of $5.2 million in
Other Funds) for the operation of Texas Youth Commission
(TYC) facilities and contracted services, including
Healthcare and treatment of youth. The projected average
daily residential population is 3,151 in each fiscal year of
the biennium and reflects implementation of the agency’s
rehabilitation plan and anticipated statute changes that
would remove misdemeanants and offenders greater than
19 years of age from the TYC population. This will result in
the transfer of two facilities to the Department of Criminal
Justice, and the anticipated closure of three additional
facilities. In addition, the agency’s rehabilitation plan
includes reducing the size of existing facilities, enhanced
video surveillance systems, implementation of a Juvenile
Correctional Officer staffing ratio of 1:12; an integrated
healthcare and psychiatric services delivery syste

!!!THIS IS NOT AN EXCERPT BUT A COMPLETE AND DIRECT--COPY AND PASTE FROM THE LEGISLATIVE BUDGET BOARD WEBSITE!!!!!

It is absolutely absurd, amazing, and inconceivable to my ignorant redneck mind that the same mistake of specific facility closure could be mentioned in no less than 3 bills or fiscal notes with the continued excuse of "that was a mistake" and you still have people that trust you when you tow the same line as the CO people we are now faced with!

The mistake that occurred was displaying your loyalties, heart and intentions. The mistake was not in the listing of who would close BUT in who was informed of closure!!!!!

Knowledge and deception can be vary powerful tools if used correctly!!!!!!!!


The new TDCJ administration INVOKED on the actual TYC working staff is very tightly interwoven with the SCUMBAGS like Madden in Austin.

Mr. Henson,

Your desire to follow the BS Line of TDCJ's Mini Me, pre invasion, POPE Sauron, Butt Kissing String Puppet Idiot Conglomeration leads me to believe that perhaps you are a Madden's Maiden, Perry's Piss-ant, or Pope's Pimp juice.

I really don't know and when I first signed on I had a lot of respect for your opinions.

However, at this time I find your statements, reactions to others statements, interpretation of stated
God bless and I hope you see and feel Gods mercy some day Henson. Honesty would be a good first step for you!
laws, and investigation of facts, to be highly suspect of political collusion with Austin elitists and more specifically of a butt kissing nature to the new goddess of TYC!!!

Your bias is really worrying me dude. I do believe it is time for a nut check!!!


Either way, all I see at work is a CLUSTERF__K of non-existent rules that seriously erode every ones rights and safety. This includes all students and staff to the point of no back down and no safety.

I walked in and I will walk out. to hell with the rest!

You have obviously never worked in the constant "peril of safety" environment described and constructed by our new CO.

The closest constant stress occurrence that I have seen or can even imagine is Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Afghanistan. The enemy over there may have destroyed me but at least that was their stated goal.

Those enemies had the decency to state their game.

They did not: PISS DOWN MY LEG AND TELL ME IT WAS RAINING.

Please don't give me some flak stating that I don’t know this because I have personally been down two of those roads and am a 30 % service connected disabled VETERAN.

God has blessed me since these events.

If he continues to bless me I believe it will be in new employment at another location with supervisors that don't know what the slang prison term "BOSS" really means.

If you don't know or aren't sure what I'm talking about then the least I can say is : Have a nice day boss.

Anonymous said...

Same in Crockett. Hell we had 3 kids on a roof today for ever. With the acting supt trying to negotiate and wheel and deal with them...you can not run a campus like this. All the kids were thinking they were heros. We may have 12 more up there tomorrow. Does anyone think about this being a diversion for other violent outcomes on the campus? One of these kids are so off the hook he has no business getting out...but what are we doing? Williams promising him the moon to get him down. That has gotten all over campus to kids - so I expect to be sitting in a lawn chair tomorrow - watching a roof while another comedy takes place.

Anonymous said...

These folks in CO need to put on casual clothes. Don a neon JCO vest and anonomously hit a dorm or security unit and work it. For a week!!!!!!! We will see how their attitudes change.

Anonymous said...

6:48 has PTSD... please refer yourself to the EAP - A.S.A.P.

I just got back from Iraq as well... you know those debriefing sessions help.

Anonymous said...

zThe only thing that came out of today's meeting was WIll Harrell telling Ms. Pope that no matter how Ms. Pope asks, orders or demands, he is not cutting his hair. I have been trying to find a reason not to leave TYC, but after today I am writing up my resume and looking for other work. Instead of issuing the name tags they should have given hip boots because the sh-- was awfully deep in there today.

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:54... we're coming... I always encourage CO staff to at least work an 8 hour day picking up referrals to the security unit. The past administration resisted - this one isn’t. Pope said she’s coming to work a shift herself and I always hang on the dorms when I come out there, because I know what you're going through.... I came from the field, starting as a JCO at 19 years of age. Now, think I don't know? CO sucks… I’d rather be in the sac…. But just waiting on my kids to get older so I can leave them safe and off to school (college), then I’m getting out of there! I miss Institutions. Man the days were good back then compared to now, but there is a lot of uncertainty in CO…. you look at someone wrong and you’re gone. It’s a heck of a lot safer in the field (job wise) than in ATX bro….

Anonymous said...

I want someone to actually hear this...the policy makers - those running our working lives, and ultimately affecting our private lives.

We have been waiting - for months. We have had interim leadership that is ineffective. Waiting on change for the better that is just being talked about.

In this environment you can't just talk. You can not empower the youth and the families that couldn't control them in the first place.

We are clinging to those in power to give a decision and try to abide with it and keep our mouths shut - because the psychological limbo of nothingness has led us to cling to leadership - even though we know it isn't effective.

This is not working. You can not negotiate and empower these juveniles and that is what is being done. I agree with the give an inch take a mile comment above.

I tell my kids home at midnight. They may fuss and raise Cain about it. But that is not negotiable. I AS AN ADULT KNOW BEST. And I know that I will not bend. Why are we bending for teenagers that rape, rob, kill and sell drugs? This is mad. And were not stopped by the parents that were charged with raising them in the free world?

Anonymous said...

Thank you brother. I just hope that their is no forwarning...so that when CO comes down current ineffective leaders can't warn staff and kids. The CO need to see the real deal. Not do their hair - just look like a good working stiff like the rest of us that are trying to do right. Bet if DM is told to "bend over an I'll F$#% you - you b!tch" when she tries to call down behavior, she might think twice.

Anonymous said...

Meant DP

Anonymous said...

I agree the disrespect to authority and especially to the women at TYC is autrocious. What are these kids learning - nothing. If I had begun to say and act as disrespectful to women as I see now, my father would have had a field day with me.

We are teaching these kids absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

Well then we need to bring in N.O.W. (National Organization of Women) to bitch slap those boys down. Do they still exist or am I over the hill?

Anonymous said...

You don't know the half - women being verbally sexually assaulted on daily basis...pinched, groped. And the wonderful 225 that the lege wanted to focus on not meaning CRAP. Cat 1 and 2's being down graded to nothing. Its a no win situation if you want to keep your job and the numbers look good for local administration. They don't want to red flag local facilities for CO.

Men are being told the same thing.
I agree with 6:44. Parents need to be told of little boy's behavior. If they will support and not try to blame the staff that are trying to control them.

Anonymous said...

Man, I wouldn't put anything past Pope if some kid said that to her. See, they think like TDCJ, so, verbally downing a male is like the norm. She'll hang - she aint afraid I can tell you that much. She works out quit a bit and is in shape. Like not the former regime. Dwight ran when we cracked Giddings a way back with our STAR unit.

Someone told me she's going to AP to work a dorm this weekend. That's the hot spot. What's up with Crockett?

Oh my gosh said...

Ok - dear Lord! I am new to the blogging thing. Only got on here because I am so tired of the chaos on these campuses in the last several months and someone told me I should realize we are not alone in our frustrations.

Does CO actually read this - and if so - do they not see the agony involved in the lives of those trying to work in TYC??? Are they that blind? Is TDCJ that intent on taking TYC at the expense of control and safety.

Grits - does the legislature and their aides read this? Do they really care? Or is it true that they were just trying to get free publicity during the session?

Please give an optimist - or former optimist some hope. Because it has been fading fast!

Anonymous said...

Al Price - who knows. We hear rumors like we do of most campuses - that there is no control, or very little. You can't talk two kids down at the expense of hundreds.

That is what is going on in Crockett. You tie up all these staff trying to negotiate with gangsters that are only out for what they want. Then leave all the others to see what the outcome will be - so that these kids can step up their game. That leads to planning for riots, organized on campus crime etc. CSS is out of control and has been for a couple months. There people are just trying to go along to get along becuase of the self proclaimed CO connections of the current acting superintendent. I am ready to hang up my vest and let them have it.

I know we aren't the only campus with these issues.

Anonymous said...

Before working a dorm, I thought you had to have some training. Does anyone believe DP is going to be on the dorm at anytime by herself?

Anonymous said...

But more importantly than that....will there be anonymity? No forewarning of staff or youth? If that is not the case then that act is nothing more than the ploy it is intended to be - publicity and a means to justify CO's actions.

These kids aren't dumb. They won't screw up if they know that someone that might butter their bread is coming in the dorm. They will be the poor little abused angels that we all wanted to puke about during the lege session.

Anonymous said...

Nah no time for training... I think it's going down this weekend. She'll have to be with someone.

Hey Crockett, just a thought here... mobile phone family on-line before intervention.

How were they able to get up there to begin with? Let's start with that... why wasn't that addressed by the current leadership, Williams, maybe because he has no JC experience?

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:58-

Sounds like someone wasn't paying attention when CO came & did the behavior management training. So climb up on that roof and call a huddle up. Or better yet, hold behavior group!!! HAAAAAAAA

To 8:06-

I'd be surprised if DP even shows up at AP...

Anonymous said...

Nah the acting supt just sat in a chair and gave these kids the positive reinforcement - which is truly negative reinforcement and promised all kinds of wheel and deal for release if they came down. All the staff out there heard it with our mouths hanging open. But who can say a damn thing - we have to feed our families! They are in security now promising a replay at the next chance if they don't get their wishes. Hope no one falls and breaks their necks. What a headline that would make. Think I will call in sick for a month or two. Nah - work ethic - damn it. Wish my parents hadn't instilled responsibility in me. I might be in TYC negotiating for a prostitute.

Anonymous said...

New to blogging - from comment above. Try to keep some optimism. But be a realist too. Watch your back.

whitsfoe said...

Do you see the shit we have to deal with here Henson? I mean, reading these posts... man oh man... Institutions are rocking right now. We expected this.... even predicted it. These aren't old kids either; many of these are the new ones. The kids we kept used to keep them in check, but that's no longer available. It's like the unintended consequence of a mass release. Sometimes it sends a good message, and sometimes not. We are living in a world that’s not in tune with the moment.

But I still think if staff just tattle tell to their parents and start building relationships with those families, something may change.... ‘foe.

Anonymous said...

TYC Management doesn't seem to have much in the way of options. Ed Owens approach to the TYC problem was to take everything away, then everyone will be grateful when something is given back.

At the time I thought he should be careful because he mighy discover he does not have anything to give back.

Looks like he doesn't have much time left to find something to give the workers in the field. If much more time passes, there won't be anyone left to receive his "gift".

These problems will be solved because they have to be solved, I sure hope the current management doesn't get the credit!!!

Anonymous said...

Whitsfoe. Your logic is great. And I agree in many cases that will help tremendously. We do have instances - however - where the kids tell a tale of woe for me "they are setting me up." and the parents buy it. Call CO and investigations happen and the all innocent youth are vindicated - unjustly.

I don't know - not to sound cynical. It is really not my nature...but that has been the climate - Kids are right and staff is wrong. Sad by lately so true.

Anonymous said...

Corsicana is with you too.

Gainesville had a staff hurt really badly jaw and facial bones broken a couple months or so ago - by a youth. Did the media or anyone bring this to light? Nope. Sad.

Staff there is really upset about that.

whitsfoe said...

And you know the funny thing about that is? The OIG folks have been keen to tell me who these people are. They're catching abuse of the system (hotline) before they bring concerns to our leaders. So, it's developing, I can say that much...

Anonymous said...

Yep! Kid beat the hell out of that staff with a garbage can we heard.

"Chuy" said...

Staff will not intervene based upon the fact they do not want to loose their job (isn't this ironic).


When you have folks arrested for over usage of postal stamps????

I have worked on a campus for quit a few years and yes some parents (maybe 10%) will jump their kids ass if they get out of line. But what generally happens the youth tells Mom or Dad that the JCO got in his face and the JCO becomes the focus not the youth.

What is needed is clear precise direction and leadership. Not committees not fear tactics, not telling folks what they want to hear, but truth and honesty.

At some point you have to take responsibility when you lead, get in front, make staff believe in your actions and stay away from sound bites and grandstanding for the media.

When you do a good deed you dot have to climb on top of the building and announce it, just take the satisfaction that you did the right thing, HUMBLE.

Anonymous said...

Chuy you are right on!

Humble that noun,verb,adjective- Chuy? That is not in the CO dictionary. Nor is it in the vocabulary or mindset of those that they are sticking on campuses as interim administrators. They are CO wanna be's hoping to keep their job and make a mark - while riding on the coat tails of experienced TYC staff. The staff that are the fall guys in case mindless, ill thought of tactics do not work.

Crockett coming to mind for me as that is where I am employed. But we are just part of the poor defeated TYC team. As friends and other coworkers correspond with me regarding the idiocy on their campuses, I can , we can all relate. Damn - where is General Patton?

Anonymous said...

I know. Lets just make these kids write the graffiti on the over pass 100 times that they will not commit their crime again. Then send them on home to Mama. That will probably be just as effective as TYC is right now.

What is wrong with these people? said...

You can not reason with or negotiate with a criminal, sociopathic mind. Many of these youth are in that category. This can not be done.

Anonymous said...

I think you are all just bitter unhappy people that made the wrong career choices.

Anonymous said...

Scott Henson, I was informed that the Al Price Unit had a major riot with nearly half of the youth placed in the security unit. They tore up the campus and STAR Teams (Riot control) had to be dispatched.

Where is the MSM on this, who is controlling the news?

Could it be that since the youth did this and not the staff to the youth this is not news worthy?

Anonymous said...

9:46. Go to hell.

whitsfoe said...

Well Chuy, the ship is out to sea, and you’re stuck on shore bro, you might want to get on the stick at some point!

10% of parents getting on their kids ass is 90% short of the goal. That kid belongs to someone else, not us, and we need to recognize that in the Parents Bill of Rights.

You know we can't lose having their involvement. Getting parents involved in the rehabilitation plan is something we've been missing in the last 14 years. They cut the budget - Bush ran on a platform in his first election of Governor and played this "getting tough on juvenile crime," and ever since we've been stuck in this paradigm of "we have custody."

You go cowboy... it worked for a while, but then the link I sent on an earlier post regarding the Stanford Prison Study - it got weird.

When you have top administrators performing sexual acts on juvenile offenders……… uh, we have a problem.

I'm a parent. You're a parent too. Let's put ourselves in the situations these parents face now that we are older and can relate. These are someone else’s children and not ours bro….

"Chuy" said...

Whit, I agree and I welcome any intervention but you cant force parents to be parents!!!!!!!!

If your on this ship, it sank it's called the Titanic.

The ship I have always been on treats people with respect (it's a two way street),

allow parents and staff (co-workers) the chance to take part in the system (don't tell them,(if you have too their most likely not on board or don't give a Rats Ass),

Dont assume you know where the other person is coming from (you need to get on the ship)walk in their shoes. All these youth come from different backgrounds.

You see I hear all about these theories and all this is, is someone generally full of shit who never actually practiced or took part but made a proposal. Kinda like a Professor who teaches but never actually experienced what they are teaching.

When we get to the point where we can dictate to parents how to be parents the world will be a better place, but then whose rules or points of view will be forced upon these parents?? Left, Right, Independent??

If your looking for a magic answer go find the yellow brick road or come back to reality.

"Chuy" said...

And by the way, the two administrators you refer to are still free but there are a helluva lot of folks once employed that had nothing to do with this that are unemployed.

I wont point fingers at the previous administration because it is pointless, hell their drawing off their $130,000 retirement. But, the system came down to legislators cutting the budget 10% every year and the youth population kept climbing.

When you have one JCO staff dealing with 26 youth on a open bay dorm, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out we had a problem.

Even today, the issue is not hiring more JCO staff, it is getting the youth population down, doing away with open bay dorms, and having leadership.

Anonymous said...

9:52. The MSM is nowhere to be found is because no one cares about these kids enough for them to read about it, especially in Texas. Grits has posted this state's dismal record in funding mental health and juvenile justice issues

whitsfoe said...

OK ...This statement... "When we get to the point where we can dictate to parents how to be parents the world will be a better place." Can you compare and contrast how this is not an example of Marxism?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@6:48 - leaving your name calling aside, I'll just repeat exactly what I said when you brought up the LBB summary before:

"HB 1 is the LAW. The summary is just a summary, and it doesn't track what the law says. It's in error."

It doesn't matter if the language you quote comes from the LBB website. The "summary" does not accurately describe the law it's summarizing, which is linked in a pdf file just above it on the same page. Look for yourself and tell me where are the closures IN THE BUDGET, not the summary.

Otherwise, I don't know what else to say. I just think the summary you're quoting is inaccurate on its face when you read what's really in the budget. I'm not sure why that makes you mad. I'd think you'd consider it good news. best,

Chica said...

Hey, Scott --

In the interest of accuracy, I'd like to offer a correction to your comment about the presenters at the forum -- "a majority of whom worked for TDJC not very long ago."

Of the presenters listed on the agenda, I believe only one (Ms. Pope) has previously worked at TDCJ.

The new superintendent of education (not listed on the agenda, but did present) has some TDCJ experience, but it sounded like she had lots of other experience as well.

For the most part, the rest of the presenters were homegrown TYC staff. Steve Foster and Will Harrell are the exceptions -- and neither of them came from TDCJ.

"Chuy" said...

Whit, I dont need to compare and contrast, I believe your the one who has this magical "Parents Bill of Rights" that according to you will cure all the youth.

My point is "Hogwash", you cant make folks do what they have never done or magically teach them how to be better parents (and this does not apply only to TYC youth and parents).

Get your head out of the clouds or please share whatever your smoking with the rest of us so we can live (temporarily) in this world your in.

Anonymous said...

Grits...Does it take the total dissolution of TYC to show that the current administration has been and continues to be totally ineffective? How many more months should be given before we begin to see real, meaningful changes? How many incompetants will be put in key positions before the whole thing blows up in our faces? You're right, there have been many missed opportunities and there's nothing wrong with giving the new administration the benefit of the doubt. But at some point they have to do more than posture and play to the cameras. We need to see progress. As far as being cynical, you're right, I'm cynical. And I'll remain that way as long as the powers-that-be continue to demonstrate the total lack of concern for the youth and staff of TYC, and for the agency itself. There is a mandate to fix TYC. Wish they'd get started!

Anonymous said...

Somebody print his blogs and fax them to the MSM. They can have a field day investigating - and a hell of a story - if they gave a damn.

Anonymous said...

Chuy 9:22
Amen, I am glad that no one has forgot about the administrator who was suspended for supposedly using stamps. I am her relative and have seen her work with youth for the past 30 years, 15 with TYC. She is fighting for her job over a couple of UPS packages and supposedly 1 letter, or copy of one. Her HWH was the top one, little if no escapes, no restraints in over 6 years, families happy with the treatment, youth happy. She does not tolerate abuse of any kind and the kids and staff know it. What did she do wrong, she made staff do their job, and she did not tolerate a supervisor who was negative, belittled her subordinates. So, her supervisor decided to retaliate. Thus,she went through a grueling hours of being questioned by CO and OIG, was honest, and where did it get her. Her supervisor is now trying to recommend her termination for all of that and training. If her staff was not trained well, sorry, did not do the full 8 hours in one sitting for one topic, however, she needs to be terminated. How is it that there have been no injuries to youth or kids, most youth went home on time, and if they didn't, full communication with the parents or families were underway so they understood, and the family helped work with the youth. In fact, her philosphy was to get the family involved from the beginning, so if a youth started to act up, they work together to help the youth get back on the right track. Her work with family members is commendable. She started as a YAS and worked her way up. So we wonder why TYC employees are afraid, well if they can allow this woman is being treated this way and the new CO administration is allowing it, than we can see where the paranoia comes from.

Anonymous said...

I am gone from TYC and glad of it! I have been in this business for too many years to not know all of this crap was coming. The Legislature fixed nothing! The truth of what was really going on at West Texas and for how long got covered up. This entire show was created to get the focus off of the real high up players. You need only look to Rick Perry, friends, and family to see who was protected at the cost of all others. The entire show was a political smoke and mirrors operation put in play by Rick and company. The politicans don't care about safety of youth or staff. The people put in charge have a different job than most of you think. They were selected to creat the crap they have to get people off of the political wrong doing in the TYC story. Good luck to all of the TYC staff still at risk. I hope you think about yourself and your love ones and get work some where safer. God Bless all of you and I hope He protects you.

Nurit said...

I'm not sure why the line about a majority of those leading the State of the Agency meetings was stricken in your osting. At last count the following positions were appointed, with no interview or job posting: Executive Director, General Counsel, Training Director, HR director, Chief of Staff, Superintendent of Education. These folks either came from TDCJ or are friends and associates of Dimitria Pope. The internal appointees include Deputy Director of Rehabilitation Services, Deputy Director of Corrections, Institution superintendents (who knows the last count of those who have vanished?), The Director of Rehabilitation Services is responsible for overseeing treatment, education, and workforce development programs. his qualifications? He has a doctorate in communications disorders and certification in generic special education. But he is "connected" and attractive. Two of the institution superintendents appointed by Ms. Pope have not had any training in management or public administration. Both come from a get-tough security services background, but grant them that their heart is in the right place in advocating for kids.

In all of this hullabaloo, the staff who have worked hard on behalf of the youth in TYC have been cast aside and continue to be intimidated by threat of losing their jobs. I mentioned that the top management positions were appointed...those below that level may be required to reapply for their own jobs because they are being re-written. No possibility of a promotion, no umbrance given to their good work and perseverence.

As for the plan? Everything is supposed to start in September, but the new treatment program isn't in place (the report from the Blue Ribbon Panel never arrived), short timelines have been given to develop job descriptions for positions that are being changed after almost four and a half months of negotiating with Ms. Pope. I guess they finally came up with the right answer!

The scuttlebutt is that the mediation program required under SB103 is for "show" and will in all likelihood not be used. The General Counsel is reported to have told some staffers to be cautious around the Ombudsman because "he has made many enemies around the Capitol."

I, for one, who have been with this agency (by choice!) for quite a while and am reaching the time when I am fully vested in the retirement plan, have concerns that the decision about whether or not I have a job in September will happen just prior to my anniversary date ala private industries such as Enron, Firestone, and Kemper.

The faces have changed but the fiefdom continues. The agency is in chaos except for the jovenes d'oro,

almost outta here said...

Some of the previous posters were dead on about the disrespect the kids show to staff...particularly women. My CO job has taken me out into the field a lot, and earlier this week, for the first time in 10 years, I had a youth say something disrespectful to me. Very sexually inappropriate. The kids right now feel like they can get away with anything.

Oh...and I'm no longer "almost outta here"...I start a new job in another state in a month. But I will still be checking in to see how everyone is doing. I wish you all luck whether you chose to stay with TYC or leave it.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the basis for the program starts on 9/1. SB 103 went into immediate effect with a few exceptions on 6/8. Why wasn't there a plan in effect on 6/8?????

Gritsforbreakfast said...

nurit, I struck tha line because Chuy said the majority of speakers at the event were homegrown, and I mistakenly though the new Counsel was from TDCJ. Of those new slots you named, can you tell me the names that go with them who transferred from TDCJ? I'd still like to nail that down, and y'all are the ones who know. best,

Anonymous said...

The TDCJ folks include:
Conservator Ed Owens
Acting Executive Director D. Pope
Chief of Staff Mickey Neel (she came from AZ but was a former employee of Pope and the RED group at TDCJ)
Training Director Marty Martin (she was Pope's assistant director at the RED group)
Inspector General Bruce Toney
HR Director Mary Wood.

I think that may be all the "direct" folks that came from TDCJ. Of course, many of the new folks all have very tight ties to Pope. Anyone else have someone to add to the list.

Thanks Grits!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling some uneasy deja vu. During the Vietnam debacle the Generals followed lamely behind the political leadership, esp. General Westmoreland who continuously painted a rosy picture. WHen the public turned against the war, the politicians followed suit and everyone turned on the servicemen (and women) who served. Morale went in the toilet, and it took years for the military to recover. I am a veteran of that abuse, and now find myself in an analogous position vis a vis the TYC. The politicians created a mess in TYC and the leadership, like the top military leadership during Vietnam, did not have the cajones to resign and go public - so here we are. All those top TYC generals got their big pensions, the politicians have "fixed" the mess they created, some of the newer "generals" who were trying to fix the mess got fired, and the troops are left in the trenches maligned and dejected. Don't you just love the morality of it all?

Anonymous said...

To Anon 7/12/10:50 AM: How could I have forgotten about the RED Team! All the millions, that's right, millions of dollars wasted on that group. One of the many failure to produce (except use up scarce funds from the tight, tight budget) groups TDCJ ever initiated. I was amazed at the updates we received from that group at upper level management meetings. Simply stated there was no significant progress presented but the "presentors" wanted you to believe the solution was almost in their grasp.

Retired 2004

Nurit said...

All of the new staff that were appointed, not interviewed of which I am aware include:
-Conservator (formerly Executive Director) Ed Owen *TDCJ
-Executive Director (formerly Assistant Executive Director) Dimitria Pope *TDCJ
-Chief of Staff Mickey Neel *TDCJ
-Training Director Marty Martin *TDCJ
-Inspector General Bruce Toney *TDCJ
-HR Director Mary Wood *TDCJ
-Superintendent of Education - Judi Benestante *TDCJ through 2005
-General Counsel Steve Foster (Administrative Law practice in Austin)
-Ombudsman Will Harrell (ACLU, still working with a class B felony)

With the exception of Dr. Benestante, none of these appointees has direct experience in working with adolescent populations.

There are many other faces to whom I've never been introduced.

If the latest version of the organizational charts for regions is implemented, most of central office staff will not have direct experience in juvenile facilities.

In addition to the appointed staff, consultants have included Dr. Dan Murrie from Sam Houston State (has worked on projects with Ms. Pope) and Judi Benestante, who is now the Superintendent of Education. There are probably others that I am not privy to.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thanks, guys, keep 'em coming if there are other TDCJ refugees over there, especially at admin levels.

But y'all, now you've GOT to tell me more about the Red Group! What was it? What was Pope's role? How did it end? Come on, folks, dish!

Anonymous said...

CO needs to do something about Crockett before it blows up. Williams has no clue how to run a facility. Please send him back to CO and get someone down here that knows what they are doing. At least Freeman and Nicholson knew how to run the campus so that the youth were not out of control.

Anonymous said...

The new head of Youth Care Investigations just came over from TDCJ. Not sure of her name, Mary something. Worked on the RED team with Ms Pope.

All the IG positions were filled from TDCJ except possibly 2 Rangers may have been hired.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I think RED stands for Research and Evaluation Department or something like that.

OMG... Nancy is Back? said...

Uhph. Maybe RED stands for:

Rid
Emeritt (like Nancy)
Dimitria!

How in the hell did this one get past you? Start asking about Nancy Emeritt.... she was a done bun, but found way back in with the help of Terry Graham??? If you ever needed an excuse to fire the CFO (sorry Robin), here's your chance. You brought back old, and I mean OLD school TYC in the mist of reform? Wow. She is as corrupt as anyone in the former administration. And to add insult to injury, she can't even spell.... run along Nancy...

The contacts awarded for youth services in this agency now need to be scrutinized.

We held a big ole’ retirement party for you Nancy, thinking she’s gone forever. Dwight blocked you from coming back which was wise. But we see now that Terry played his hand on Robin, and got you back – then Terry retired again. You finance guys are NuTz taking this one back. ---- Good luck Robin!

Anonymous said...

Add another appointment from TDCJ-

I am pleased to announce the selection of Billy S. Humphrey as the Deputy Director of Residential Services (formerly Director of Juvenile Corrections position). In this capacity, Mr. Humphrey will be responsible for the supervision and oversight of all Texas Youth Commission institutions and halfway houses, and all contract care facilities.



Prior to his employment with TYC, Mr. Humphrey served as the Senior Warden at Hospital Galveston/Carol S. Young Medical Facility. He has also served as the Senior Warden at the Rufus Duncan Unit for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division, and as the Director of Correctional Training and Staff Development for TDCJ-ID. Mr. Humphrey earned a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Management from Sam Houston State University (2000) and is a doctoral student at SHSU. He therefore brings to our agency outstanding credentials and experience.



Please join me in welcoming Billy to the Texas Youth Commission family.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. you are quick on this one. I just read it in my e-mail from work. It was mailed out late tonight.

oldsalty said...

Prepare for sunset! The way things are going, in two years, there will be no TYC - TDCJ will have completely subsumed all of TYC. I sure am glad I am vested by the rule of 80 for retirement! This is all very sad. Whitmire has been looking for a cheap way out for a long time - that's why he forced the open bay dorms on us, that's why he insisted on understaffing - all so he could have an excuse to dismantle the TYC and turn it over to TDCJ and contract care. What an incredible hypocrite he is!

Anonymous said...

the transitional treatment program, approved by dr. novy is really resocialization, minus the subobjectives in correctional therapy and renameing the titles of 2 main objectives. now they have different names. there is such dislike of r!@#$%^&*()!@#$, however, most of that program is still being done. i don't think Dr. Novey or dp even realize this. so the reason it is dead is because they renamed it and put most of the subobjectives under the main objectives. so now the cracked foundation has been fixed with another coat of paint. we don't do it because it is renamed and reorganized? pretty sad. the blue ribbon panel, where is that report. grits is this public record? can you get it? or is it a secret? there is little if no internal communication at tyc. g.m.o.

Anonymous said...

The Blue Ribbon report is not out yet, but a final draft is being circulated.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@ Oh My Gosh - The legislators, staff etc. definitely read Grits - some of them, anyway. Whether they care is a person to person, moment to moment thing. Some more than others, some none at all. But this stuff does get read

Anonymous said...

An what of the future TYC facility closures? If I recall correctly, in the original offer on the table if you will included Marlin, John Shero, West Texas, Victory Field and Sheffield Boot Camp. From recent Methods Of Operations of current administration, my gut tells me that WTXSS, VFCA & Sheffield need to prepare by next FY'08 which begins Sept 1, 2007.
DP and her team never told Marlin or John Shero or any other facility for that matter of possible closure. An after reading the Waco Tribune and quotes from EY, Dir of HR "they" are not going to tell you. EY himself is the biggest liar out there and I am AMAZED he is still employed. I guess beggin' Kimbrough for his job worked. What a sleeze, not to mention he was a main character in the old clique regiem. Bottom line be prepared WTXSS, VFCA & Sheffield.

oldsalty said...

Back to the comment of enlisting the parents as allies. It works most of the time if the caseworker attempts to establish a relationship with them when the youth first arrives. Many of these parents suffer from frustration, fear and guilt about their kids, and caseworkers need to be sensitive about that. Of course there are the parents who do not give a damn, or who have raised their youth intentionally to be criminals, but they are not the majority. I know, I have been at this for a very long time, through several TYC administrations.

oldsalty said...

I would like to add that I am just one of hundreds and hundreds of employees of TYC who chose to work for TYC out of a sense of responsibility to try to do something good for our society. For most long-term employees working with the youth is not just a job, it is a calling. That is why so many of us are so discouraged and demoralized with what is going on right now.

best qualified said...

All those new staff from TDCJ have something else in common-- None of them had to apply for their jobs.

Their main qualification was knowing Pope.

I don't know them, so maybe they are the most qualified. But shouldn't there have been an application and interview process to find out?

Is this even legal?

I thought the State had to post positions for a min of 14 days and were required to hire the most qualified person interviewed, or provide a darn good reason why not. (At least that is what I had to do back when I was allowed to hire my own staff at CO).

These are not entry level positions, most commanding a pretty nice salary.

Why haven't the MSM jumped on this?

Nurit said...

RED stands for Research, Evaluation and Development. If you Google "Dimitria Pope" you will find several of her published reports while Assistant to Ed Ownen and as the "Head of RED".

Anonymous said...

While you are researching the "RED" Group you might want to check out the new legal staff. Let's see---Steve Foster, family friend of Jay Kimbrough even calls him Uncle Jay, Wade Phillips went to school with Steve, and then two new attorneys that were old law school buddies that no one has bothered to introduced to anyone. What do they have in common---they are friends, no juvenile justice experience, they didn't have to apply or interview for their job, and they are all making big money. Now doesn't that sound like a new and improved TYC!