Friday, July 13, 2007

More embarrassing errors by new TYC management

Increasingly Texas Youth Commission management resembles the Keystone Cops, or perhaps the Border Patrol officer in this video. They aren't releasing misdemeanants as fast as the Legislature would like, and now they've been forced to cancel 150 parole releases when it turned out many of the kids they planned to let go were violent felons with recent disciplinary histories - two kids proposed for release on parole are current escapees. How embarrassing!

The agency also had to backtrack and re-invite volunteers with criminal records, many of them long-rehabilitated folks who've been working with kids through prison ministry groups for decades - another "mistake" say TYC PR flacks, in an excuse-making pattern that's becoming increasingly tiresome.

See also the Waco Tribune Herald article today about TYC employees at Marlin who must now choose to work at a new facility or lose their jobs.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

At some point the Maddens, and Whitmires of the world have to figure out that if you have an agency in dire straights you don't select just anybody to run it, unless your purpose for doing so is failure.

Please take a long hard look at TYC NOW before your faced with another scandal that cannot be fixed.

Anonymous said...

That's what happens when your only criteria for the job is color.

Anonymous said...

Parole in absentia is nothing new but paroling escapees certaintly gives the term new meaning.

Anonymous said...

In Crockett alone we have these offenders fighting, assaulting staff and each other, tearing up state property. Not to mention just the sickening verbage that spews from their mouths....and they are being released right back into society. Going straight from security cells and onto the streets of Texas.

How about a big round of applause!!! Lets thank our legislation, MSM and current TDCJ CO for that one.

So now society - they are all yours. Scary, but true.

You are Kidding, Right? said...

Ok, wait. Can someone please explain the thinking of Whitmire, Madden, et al.?

A juvenile in TYC - who has broken the law on multiple occasions (generally) to get there in the first place - reaches his original confinement sentence. But while there he has not tried to reform and is acting like an animal. These jokers in Austin STILL want us to release him back into society irregardless.

That is the most irresponsible thing I have hever heard. What message are they conveying?

Anonymous said...

Just this week there was a hue and cry because not all 19 year olds have been released from TYC yet. Just another example of an ill-thought-out law put into implementation.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, Madden looks purty foolish when you put those two Mike Ward articles together. First, release them. Then, no, nevermind, don't release them.

Rambo said...

Grits:

What are your thoughts about TYC asking the volunteers with criminal records to return? Hurley says, "There are volunteers who have a checkered past who have turned their lives around, and they're able to minister to our folks," Mr. Hurley said. "We want to come up with a policy that not only allows them to participate in TYC activities, but also protects the safety of our youth." He also goes on to say this "decision doesn't change the agency's policy about not hiring felons in paid posts." WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

This is just another example of how the gov, lege, and TYC brass "diverted the focus" (a thinking error used by kids in TYC) from the real issue of covering up sexual abuse of kids. Many employees, myself included, were fired because of felony records. Do they not realize that employees with felony records from long ago have "turned their lives around" and are able to "minister" to youth in TYC?

Frankly, this does nothing more than to again stir my anger and frustration with TYC!

How do I contact you?

Anonymous said...

Classic quote from Madden from the Statesman article:

"Some of these crimes were horrendous. There's no way these offenders should be on the street," said House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, after reviewing the first list Thursday. He demanded all the cases be sent back to the Youth Commission for review, and officials there quickly complied.

"It's incredulous to me that this could happen. After all the work the Legislature did last spring to clean up this agency, and now I see this, it's clear the Legislature has not gotten what it wanted."

Well gee Madden, WTF did you expect? These kids aren't in TYC for missing cutting class. TYC was doing what the leg wanted - release all 19 & 20 year olds. Now all of a sudden Madden realizes, "hey, these kids did some pretty bad things."

It just reinforces the fact that these legislators and executive leadership of TYC don't have a clue what they're doing.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Rambo, I agree there's a lot of hypocrisy in the decision about volunteers given what happened to employees. I'm not sure how I can help, but you can email me at shenson AT austin.rr.com. best,

oldsalty said...

Notice how Mr. Hurley's response in both cases attempts to absolve the TDCJ leaders of TYC from any responsibility. He has obviously never been in the military.

oldsalty said...

Please note: SB103 specifically allows judges to continue to send misdemeanants as long as they committed their misdemeanor prior to Sept 1, 2007. That means we will continue to get them well into AY 2008.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. When will the results of the independent investigations of the 3000+ ALLEGATIONS of abuse at TYC be made public? Investigators have long since left our unit. I've asked this question of staff in the offices of my Senator and my Representative, and neither has a clue. So, I repeat, WHEN will we know just exactly how many of the ALLEGATIONS have been confirmed to be true? I suspect that those in the Lege who wrote and who voted for the "reform" bill don't want to know the truth at this point.

WAR said...

Ditto Anonymous
Likewise when are we going to get the investigation results of the alleged cover up?

Anonymous said...

I doubt we'll ever hear. They spent a small fortune sending in the cavalry, only to discover that almost all of the allegations were pure BS, and that the in-house investigators were, for the most part, on top of things. That is not what those legislative heroes want to have get out to the public.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Mr. Hurley and TYC CO would do if all of the volunteers that threatened to descend on Austin and all of the terminated employees got together and wanted to "Discuss" the matters at hand? If memory serves me, Mr. Whitmire stated that they didn't want "anyone with a felony around those kids". I didn't hear them mention that it was OK as long as the state was not paying them. Can you say “Double Standard”? How about "Hypocrite"?

Anonymous said...

Hurley's comment about a problemmatic policy is lot of BS. Policy requires that all of these youth be approved for release by either the deputy executive director or the executive director. It does not sound like the policy is the problem, but rather the problem is the current leadership's willingness to follow policy. My hunch is that the executive administration approved the guidelines for releases and gave the go ahead. Now another director is on suspension, taking the fall for an inept acting executive director and conservator.

Anonymous said...

you can best believe the fall guys for these recent publicity nightmares will be long time long tenured employees, not new management

Anonymous said...

we should set up a blog to discuss a report card for the consevator, put his initiatives and them grade them on criteria like creativity, implementation, results driven outcomes. that would be interesting discussion.

Anonymous said...

anon at 7:20pm you state another director is gone, who?? There is only one left and that is Murdoch. How can she be blamed when she does not approve releases, that comes from just a little higher up.

Or could this just be another publicity stunt to blame someone like Murdoch because she can retire in August and the ones who are to blame look like they punished someone for this terrible misdeed while retaining power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Were I a volunteer, I would strongly encourage Mr. Hurley, Mr. Owens, Ms. Pope and the rest of their self-righteous TDCJ cohorts to consider an astronautical intercourse at a progressing piece of pastry.

As for Mr. Hurley defending Mr. Owens and Ms. Pope in the 150 TDCJ parolees debacle... How do you absolve the people running a state agency of the responsibility for running that agency? Next, you'll be issuing a fervent plea to the two escapees to please come back so we can release you!

To all of the indignant legislators...you put them in charge, either fix it or live with it!

Anonymous said...

To 2:54, 4:28, and 4:47: I agree. I have maintained that when the dust settles, this "TYC mess" will be much ado about very little. No organization or population segment is perfect, but TYC was more perfect than the public has been led to believe. Politics and money, money and politics. Many, many staff members are on alternate duty or are suspended now for MONTHS while investigations for sex-related allegations are going on. It's hard to know which of the entities is investigating -- local police, AG-IGs, Rangers, TYC-IG, all of the above, maybe none of the above. Meanwhile, these staff members aren't available for their shifts and they live under a cloud created by a child who is often mentally ill, vindictive, or attention-seeking. I have listened to some of them describe it, but still can't imagine what it's like. Marriages, careers, and physical health have been ruined. It's depressing. There has to be a faster, better way to do business.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely about the legislators putting up a premptive wall to avoid being hit with the sh*t when it starts flying after all these poor innocent violent nineteen+ year old offenders, who were all kept unjustly beyond their minimum length of stay (as we've been led to believe by previous articles written by Mr. Ward of the Statesman), hit the streets and start slinging it. Nice too of the conservator and Ms. Pope to already deflect responsiblity to the lowest possible link in the chain.

Didn't the Statesman (and you too Grits i might add) pitch a little fit just a few days ago about why all these 19+ year old offenders are still in TYC. Well, now you know. Institutions staff have been arguing with Central Office demands that most of these youth be paroled. Mr. Ward is right that casemanagers, psychologists, and superintendents are supposed to be heavily involved in release decision making, or at least they are supposed to be by policy. Since the legislature fixed TYC and the Gov. instantaneously signed the bill into law, these folks have had little to do with release decisions. It won't take too much investigative journalism to figure out what has been going on.

Ugh.

And a former TDCJ staffer was announced today as Deputy Director of whatever...used to be called Corrections. I believe this was Dr. Brantley's old position. This is a shame.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Didn't the Statesman (and you too Grits i might add) pitch a little fit just a few days ago about why all these 19+ year old offenders are still in TYC."

Actually the only reference I can find to this was in the questions I took from commenters to propose to TYC. I don't think I pitched a fit over that one, though if I'm mistaken please point to where.

Anonymous said...

Likely an overreaction on my part.
Sorry...I was frustrated by Mr. Wards poor writing and lack of investigation in his previous article on TYC and 19 year olds. It must have just carried over when I read your question. Maybe your including that question was prompted by the Statesman article. I don't know.

By the way I am not bashing him in general, he has been on the front of many of the stories about TYC and honestly we learn more from him than we do central office.

Anonymous said...

TYC staff in the institutions begged central office for time to better process these 19 year olds. The law requires that if a kid is being recommended for transfer to TDCJ-ID, the kid has to be scheduled for a court hearing - we have to get him on the docket of the committing court. That is the law - not some old TYC policy. SO, when CO demands no excuses, get them out now, what options are available? IF it is true that Marie Murdoch was suspended over this, that has to be one of the greatest injustices of all the many that have been perpetrated by these totally immoral, unethical TDCJ clowns. oldsalty

Anonymous said...

oh my god! I cannot believe that they want all of the "volunteers" back!! Do you have any idea how long it took us as staff to have these people removed from our halfway house? The men that came to see our kids had ulterior motives, because after we told them they were unable to have any physical contact with the boys, most left. MOST had crimes on thier records! As a parent, I would not allow these peoplw within 100 yards of my own child...and I would assume that most of the TYC parents wouldn't want a grown man with a criminal background touching thier child either...just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

So what’s the deal with Hurley?

A Dallas Morning News article describes TYC's backtracking of its policy of excluding felons from volunteer positions. (“Tyc asks volunteers with criminal records to return”, Dallas Morning News website, July 13, 2007).

It seems like Hurley must have granted Emily Ramshaw, author of that and many other TYC-related stories, some sort of exclusive-access pass to breaking TYC news. She was the one who posted stories, within hours of their occurrence, on the Dallas News website. Under-informed employees would have to consult her stories for explanations of agency actions as they got little information directly from the headmasters. (How’s THAT for transparency? An explanation can make it all the way up to Dallas much faster than it can make it down the halls of Central Office. Damn those sluggish email servers!)

I’ve always wondered what kind of reciprocal accommodation existed between Hurley and Ramshaw. Certainly Ramshaw profited by being the first writer to break the story. Hurley must have profited by being able to put his particular spin on those releases. I guess that’s why they pay him the big bucks (Savoy, take a lesson! Take your paltry $69K per annum and be a good assistant to Mr. Hurley...lest Senator Whitmire admonish you yet again in front of a butt-load of video cameras).

But today, Ramshaw turned against Hurley by showing him to be a fool, at best, or a liar, at worst. Caught in a contradiction regarding the policy toward felons volunteer at TYC, Hurley cast the blame elsewhere: Hurley said, "...a staffer down the line [came up with the policy], but not a top agency official."

Yeah, Right! Surely a member of the rank-and-file came up with this policy on his own. Oh no, Kimbrough and Owens had nothing to do with it.

It’s funny to watch this comedy of errors unfold. This is reminiscent of Kimbrough’s reversal of the policy toward employees with misdemeanors (in his effort to legitimate the appointment of Harrell as Ombudsman). Said Kimbrough, "That was not the policy I asked for, and we're going to change that policy...It was my intention that our policy follow that of (the Texas Department of Criminal Justice), that people who had Class A and B misdemeanors in the past five years not be allowed to work in correctional positions."

Uhh...Mr. Kimbrough, didn’t you have a shitload of TDJC personal sitting right next to you? Couldn’t you have asked them to clarify the policies from their agency before you issued them
and before you suspended all those hard-working, loyal employees?

So back to Hurley: Dear Mr. Hurley, Stop Lying already. And don’t they miss you at the Texas Department of Insurance? If you can be absent from that gig for these many months, are you really that effective?

Signed,
ReVamp

Anonymous said...

Sure enough, Marie Murdoch took the fall for following orders... a month away from retirement. Look at the Human Resource Code regarding sentenced offenders. Substitute age 21 for age 19. Once sentenced offenders hit age 19, if they haven't been already been transferred to TDCJ-ID, then on their 19th birthday, they go on TDCJ-PD status. Marie was suspended for following the law....nice.

Anonymous said...

This is the first I have heard of Marie Murdock getting suspended. I suppose it is true since there are no announcements via interagency means. Legislators, transparency is just not there.

I think the style of leadership is dictator style.

p.r.a.t.r.

Anonymous said...

anon 7/13 @ 9:36pm .....are you aware that the new TDCJ guy has decided that TYC Staff will no longer "put their hands on kids" and will resort to using OC Pepper Spray - but not the current spray. This one apparently is not hot enough and he wants to move to oil based, hotter stuff?? Guess rehabilitation is no longer a part of the TYC mission. But, it's not much of a mission for TDCJ, either and the agency is now a mini-TDCJ. Just take a look at all the new staffers who didn't apply for their new positions.

Anonymous said...

The Department of Justice has had a problem with the use of pepper spray on juveniles. The new administration really needs to do some research on juvenile justice and review the recent DOJ lawsuits. This is a good example about why it is important to hire staff with juvenile justice experience. The new admin is taking the agency into an area that will lead to a DOJ lawsuit. Maybe that will be a good thing because the DOJ will insist that they do things right.

Anonymous said...

Aw, come on, the DOJ is run by a Texas politician. Do you think he will turn on his pals?

Anonymous said...

WHITMIRE, MADE THE YOUTH COMMISSION A JOKE IN THE TEXAS JUSTCE SYSTEM. THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS ARE NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY COME ELECTION TIME. TEXANS WILL SUFFER IN THE LONG RUN.....

Anonymous said...

Well, as one happy former TYC employee I want to commend the hapless legislators - especially that bald headed moron that looks like he is perpetually stepping barefoot into dog poo - and TDCJ flunkies who made life so miserable I decided to get out. Today, I make a lot more money, doing a much more enjoyable job in a far better place. Who would have guessed that two pedophiles in Pyote and a couple of clueless self serving morons in the Texas legislature could advance such good fortune for little old me....?

Happy Ex TYC Adminstrator

Anonymous said...

One more thing - is it just me or does D. Pope seem to be suffering from a never ending bowel problem? I swear, I have never seen anyone with such a permanent look of exasperation and hysteria. It is amusing the way TDCJ was able to rid themselves of so many morons at the expense of TYC. I didn't think anyone could make D. Harris look brilliant, but, by God these folks take stupid to new heights.

Anonymous said...

I met the guy who replaced Dr. Brantley. This guy does not have a clue! He was touting his hands-off policy and the use of high-powered pepper spray. How are we going to use the damn stuff on kids who are attacking staff? How about the emotionally disturbed kid who is engaged in self-harm? That s--- may work on adult felons, but someone needs to tell this moron that kids are not just small-sized adults. This is the 21st century, not the 19th. Queen Victoria died over a hundred years ago!

Anonymous said...

They need to close all the units - these new folks are complete idiots. It is hopeless, and they are making a difficult situation worse. D. POope and the rest of the hapless rejects from TDCJ couldn't find their collective ass with all hands engaged. In my professional life which spans education, oilfield, working in the courts and working at TYC I can honestly say I have never witnessed such incompetence. Given the invertebrates and teeth gnashers in the Texas state senate, I am not surprised at the accelerated pace of outright stupidity. Whitmire should be impeached for his role. The guy openly told new administrators to ignore the law and let the lawyers sort things out later. He should be held accountable for such childish reactionary babblings.

Intrepid Critic said...

A kid in my classroom is 20 years old and was paroled. That is until The SHTF. his parole was pulled and he is still here. 20 years old seems an odd age for 19 max.

Anonymous said...

Is he a Sentenced Offender?

Anonymous said...

MM and the people in the Sentenced Offender division tried in vain to explain the law and the process to our new TDCJ handlers. They would not listen and provided a list (hand delivered by Hurley) of youth over 19 who Ms Pope wanted out immediately. The paperwork was rushed through and sent on to the TDCJ parole division, because the Human Resources Code states that those Sentenced Offenders who have met their majority, and have not been transferred to TDCJ Institutional Division, must be transferred to TDCJ Parole Division. In order to transfer a Sentenced Offender to the Institutional Division, a court hearing has to be set with the court which originally sentenced the youth. It normally takes 3-6 months to get on the dockett. What reward did MM get for following the law? She's gone. Everyone above her played Pontius Pilate. Fun place to work, this TDCJ- Jr Division.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Hurley would be gone if he weren't one of the Kimbrough/Pope appointees. Any bets if any of those will ever be fired?

Kenny Love said...

Not sure if anyone has heard of me or my situation with the TYC, but I believe a few of my actions with my former employer, both while I was employed, and since, have been giving it the blues and making it see red, of which I hope will result in it expending green that it rightfully owes its staff.

I have two interviews with notable Texas newspapers at the below links:

My "African American News & Issues" Interview

My "Austin Chronicle" Interview

I also have upcoming interviews scheduled to appear in the "Dallas Morning News" as well as interview with news/talk radio stations and television stations nationwide. So, stay tuned...

A Houston attorney is reviewing my case on several fronts now, which include my being terminated while I was out on six weeks of medical leave (usually, a no-no move), and the fact that I had been "whistleblowing" for two years on the TYC.

There is an incredible amount of history that I have with this agency, including its wrongful denial of my employment for almost two years based on false information that it acquired regarding be during its initial background investigation, of which I disproved with my local police department, the FBI, and the DPS (TYC never did get over the fact that I brought these agencies into the investigation and beat them).

Anyway, I left as a JCO V, although over two years ago, I qualified for the JCO VI position and applied and interviewed for it a number of times.

There be some real idiocrats running that hell hole, and it would take a miracle to even bring it up to a sub-standard level. Hell, a vampire would have better luck surviving on a 107-degree summer day in Texas in August.