Grits had reported earlier this month here, here, and here that the Texas Youth Commission was far along in the process of analyzing bids from private contract facilities to house 10-13 year olds, who make up about 20% of TYC's inmate population. But in a story yesterday, the Dallas Morning News reported that:
just days after detailed questioning by The News, TYC canceled bid requests for new contract facilities. Bidders included contractors currently operating facilities in Texas that had a history of problems in other states.I confirmed via email correspondence with one of the writers, Holly Becka, that the bidding process for housing 10-13 year olds was one of those that was canceled: "there were three RFPs that TYC canceled out of the blue," she wrote in an email. "One was for the 10- to 13-year-old kids; two were for older male inmates."
For now at least, then, plans are on hold to farm out more TYC inmates to private youth prisons. So what will happen instead? Since the agency's budget was cut by the Legislature based on assumptions about inmate population reductions, does this decision affect other plans for reforming the agency and how? Maybe some time soon we'll get another conservator's report that will let us know more about what's going on. None of these questions were answered in TYC administrators' recent State of the Agency tour.