Monday, July 16, 2007

Will TDCJ take over TYC by stealth? Have they already?

Will the Texas Youth Commission solve problems with the state's juvenile corrections system by handing it over to the people who turned Texas' adult system into an international disgrace? That's what the Governor and new TYC Czar Ed Owens appear to be banking on, and it seems like a bad bet.

Here's a Grits post generated entirely from intelligence provided by intrepid commenters on the subject of why it's a bad idea to oust senior TYC managers with juvenile justice experience and replace them with people who know nothing about kids. According to Grits commenter Dr. Bill Bush, a juvenile justice historian from UNLV, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice may have finally accomplished through stealth what it could not achieve over many decades in the political process: Taking over the Texas Youth Commission. Wrote Bush:
Twice in TYC's history - in the 1950s and the late 60s / early 70s - there were serious proposals on the table to place youth facilities under the direct supervision of TDCJ (then TDC).

So it is ironic that this has now been accomplished in a de facto fashion - by simply appointing TDCJ people to the most important leadership positions over TYC.

Also bizarre: if the root problem was a perceived overdependence on prison-like features, why would anyone think bringing in TDCJ people was a good solution?

Like the Kimbrough report's recommendations, this privatization scheme smacks of a concern with short term maintenance (and appearance) of order. And it seems arbitrary and unrelated to the well being of the kids - as many posters have already pointed out.

There is no clear reason to farm out any of TYC's functions to private providers. It doesn't demonstrably save money or improve the treatment of kids. In the past, private facilities have been mostly disasters. Why do this, and especially why now?
Here are the top agency individuals identified by TYC employees in Grits comments as TDCJ transplants, most of whom were hired with no job posting or job interview so TYC employees or others with experience in the field couldn't even compete for the positions:
  • Conservator Ed Owens
  • Executive Director Dimitria Pope
  • Chief of Staff Mickey Neel - came from AZ but was a former employee of Pope and the Research and Evaluation Department (RED) at TDCJ
  • Training Director Marty Martin - he was Pope's assistant director at the RED group
  • Inspector General Bruce Toney
  • Human Resources Director Mary Wood.
  • Superintendent of Education - Judi Benestante *TDCJ through 2005
  • Deputy Director of Residential Services Billy S. Humphrey - former TDCJ training director, past warden at the Galveston prison hospital and before that TDCJ's Rufus Duncan unit.
Another commenter from TYC central office identifies another alleged cadre of cronyism that didn't directly come from TDCJ, but which resulted in people with no juvenile justice background filling important top management slots at the troubled agency:
[New TYC General Counsel] 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.
I should caveat that I've not confirmed these each individually, but several TYC employees have doublechecked each other's recollections on this score and from what I can tell the above list accurate. It's no wonder they want to privatize huge chunks of TYC's various functions - they likely don't have the first clue how to operate such programs themselves.

Juvie corrections and running adult prisons are completely different animals, and at this point most of the people leading Texas' youth prison agency don't have the first bit of experience dealing with the subject. The Governor's appointees as conservator - first Jay Kimbrough and now Ed Owens - both seem to feel TYC should simply model itself on adult corrections models (as Dr. Bush pointed out, the opposite of what's needed). In this writer's view that's a recipe for catastrophe.

Please let me know in the comments a) who else at TYC recently transferred from TDCJ in managerial positions, and b) what you think about stacking TYC managment with adult corrections professionals and will that benefit or harm the agency and the kids?

By replacing top managers with cronies from TDCJ, the new TYC brass clearly hopes legislators, the press and the public will confuse activity for achievement. For my money, I think their actions so far are likely making things worse, not better, for kids and staff at the facilities where the really important work gets done.

RELATED RECENT TYC COVERAGE:

100 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary, Dwight and his group needed to go and student to staff ratios needed to improve but the complete hatchett job done on the agency by Perry, the lege, and TDCJ personel is making the agency far less capable and compentent than it was. Problem was not the agency and its systems itself it was poor management and lack of funding. In other words the car ran fine, just needed a new driver and some gas!

Anonymous said...

BTW, Marty Martin is a man, not a woman.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Fixed it - thanks for the copyedit

Anonymous said...

The next round to watch is the appointment of new superintendents to replace those who left. These positions are currently being filled by interim superintendents from within TYC. Let's see if the permanent replacements come over from TDCJ.

When they start calling the superintendents, "wardens" and the JCO VIs, "Captain", then we will all know that the takeover is complete.

Nurit said...

Of the large numbr of RFPs currently out there, a number of them are to establish an available core of contractors for as-needed services such as speech and hearing therapy, individul counseling, and diagnosticians. There are some hopefully positive new ones being contemplated such as general counsel for youth with need of legal services or advocacy. On moving TYC under TDCJ, the model program being used as justification (and the basis of the wording of SB103) is the Missouri system which has all correctional programs under one roof. Not necessarily the best plan, but one that has been tried cyclically over the years.

TJDO said...

I noticed that Ohio's department of youth services send it's children under 12 to privatized facilities. Here's a link to their flow chart: http://www.dys.ohio.gov/dysweb/JJOMain.aspx

Some of this guidance may be coming from Thomas Stickrath, the director of OYS who, if you recall, testified with Owens to the senate/house standing committee on TYC.

TJDO said...

Grits, what do you make of the following taken from the LBB site regarding TYC appropriations for 2008-2009?

"Appropriations Prohibited for Purposes of Payment to Certain Employees. None of the
appropriations made by this Act to the Youth Commission (TYC) may be distributed to or
used to pay an employee of TYC who is required to register as a sex offender under Chapter
62, Code of Criminal Procedure, or has been convicted of an offense described in Article
42.12, Section 3g, Code of Criminal Procedure."

Seems to me that some felons would be allowed to work for TYC. Am I reading too much into this?

Anonymous said...

The sad thing about all of this are the remaining Central Office are falling right in line with this new management team.

I guess they need a job as well but at what cost? They know we are heading down the wrong road with these current decisions and say nothing in fear of getting their walking papers.

It amazes me that in todays society we can sit back and allow this to happen.

I would hate to see my child locked up in todays TYC.

Our politicians just thought the old regime was unsafe they have not shown up lately to a campus and talked with staff, have they?

Anonymous said...

What makes it worse is that TYC is getting the cast-offs of TDCJ. A little research shows that Dr. Judi Benestante was the Interim Superintendent of TDCJ - Windham Schools, but then was fired in early 2006 and replaced by the current Windham Superintendent, Debbie Roberts. No exact reason was given for her termination. Does TYC no longer do reference checks? Apparently past employment history does not matter if you are chummy with Ed and Dimitria.

Anonymous said...

MINUTES OF THE WINDHAM SCHOOL DISTRICT
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
235th MEETING
The Windham School District Board of Trustees met in session on Thursday, April 13, 2006, at the
Omni Austin Hotel in Austin, Texas.. Rescind Finalist for the Position of Superintendent

Melinda Bozarth, TDCJ General Counsel, stated that on February 27, 2006, the Board convened
in regular session and immediately adjourned into executive session to interview three
candidates for the position of Superintendent. The Board reconvened and named Dr. Judi
Benestante as the finalist for that position and that final action would be taken on April 13th, after
the 21-day posting period. Pursuant to state law, notice was posted of Dr. Benestante’s selection
as finalist for the superintendent position and ran for 21 days in order to receive public comment.
On March 29, 2006, the Board convened in regular session and again immediately adjourned
into executive session to consider the public comments that were received.
Chairman Crain asked if there was a motion on this agenda item.
Adrian Arriaga moved that the Board rescind the selection of Dr. Judi Benestante as
finalist for the position of Superintendent of the Windham School District.
Greg Coleman seconded the motion, which prevailed unanimously when called to
a vote.
Chairman Crain stated that it would be appropriate at this time for the Board to take up the item
of reposting the Superintendent’s position.
4. Approval to Repost the Position of Superintendent
Chairman Crain asked if there was a motion.
Tom Mechler moved that the Board repost the position for the Windham School District
Superintendent.
Mr. Arriaga seconded the motion, which prevailed unanimously when called to a
vote.

It apppears the public had some interesting 'comments' concerning this appointment...wonder what they were????

Anonymous said...

Thery didn't know Debbie wanted the job.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any confirmation to the rumor that they made Marie Murdock take the fall for 19 y.o. release fiasco?

Anonymous said...

Two more bite the dust! Marie Murdoch was suspended to wait out her retirement and Tammy Vega was fired. These people running TYC are wrong, wrong, wrong! They have found an excuse to systematically remove all of the most talented and dedicated youth care professionals from the agency. I halfway expect them to bring back Chester and Lydia! After all, they had the "corrections" mentality!

outspoken woman said...

While jobs are bring distributed and the good ole boy guard is installing itself perhaps Ed would bring Rissie over to the TYC staff so we can get someone running the BPP that would release some of our prisoners. Of course, this action would result in most of our kids staying in TYC until it is time for them to collect social security..oops, we would have to transfer them to TDCJ at some point, wouldn't we? Of course, now that we have some former TDCJ staff running the show these kids should be accustomed to the abuse that our TDCJ prisoners live with everyday. Its just a matter of conditioning them so they aren't in shock when they reach the gates of a local prison.
One of the things that worries me terribly is that we now have a good man working for TDCJ, Nathaniel Quarterman. He will try to make the changes needed to clean up the corrupt and often brutal standards that those before him have allowed to fester, but I fear they will run him off before the good can be seen.
Thanks, Grits, for keeping us abreast of movement within TYC. It should serve to prove that the old guard is still alive and well in Texas.
If we want it fixed we need to vote in someone capable of running this state. Damn, we just did that with the lowest election percentages in history......

Anonymous said...

Thanks Grits for the updated list of TYC leaders who are from TDCJ. Isn't it amazing how the list keeps getting longer? It makes me wonder when the metamorphosis will be complete. Is it just me, or is it starting to look like TYC is to TDCJ as junior high is to high school in public school?

MO said...

Couple more...

Christine McCormick, now over Research, previously (I think) with the RED group.

and

Gerald Garrett, now over Parole/Reentry, previously over the Board of Pardons and Paroles...

Anonymous said...

Will TDCJ take over TYC by stealth? NO they are doing it in the open or havent you noticed! The people in charge have this all mapped out. The younger kids go feed the cash cow and to hell with the rest. If you think for one minute your Legislature Members didn't know how this was going down then you need a reality check. Again Whitmire's law firm helps to secure state contracts for their clients - duh! Money Money Money!!!!

Anonymous said...

What's the old saying? Money talks and BS walks! The new people don't need to know anything about junior criminals they have a different mission. I have seen video tape of Whitmire being told by Harris about West Texas and Whitmire blew it off. I wonder who got the West TX story in th emedia and what was their true motivation for doing so. It was time for some big money contracts to be awared to the right people. Hope you all keep up the discussion on TYC, who knows it might start something the big boys can't stop. Good luck to all of you I hope you can make things right for the youth and the people who work with them. It is going to be a long hard battle against some big money.

Anonymous said...

Grits,
Thanks for this website. I found it quite interesting that the ones in power clam up when you mention something they don't want you to know.
Keep us informed as this is our only tool to prepare for our future.
They know your telling us what they don't want us to know. They just don't know who all reads Grits.

Anonymous said...

They fired the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and the director of security late this afternoon. More details to come...

Anonymous said...

@Al Price... sorry

Anonymous said...

And put an idiot in charge.

Anonymous said...

These firings are just wrong. Regardless of whether these firings are “proper” under today's personnel policy (whatever it may be), these actions are simply unjust.

It seems that a remaining employee is safe from termination only to the extent that the new management does not fancy his job for one of its own cronies. So, dear reader, ask yourself: Are your salary and rank low enough to keep you sufficiently "under the radar?" (It does make you wonder why some members of the old regime have not yet been fired. Ass-kissers extraordinaires? Certainly. But I also have a feeling that their time is coming as soon as they are no longer useful to the new guys).

As a prior commentator stated, there is no stealth about the takeover. The appointments are done with impunity. Don’t these new employees have any shame in accepting these appointments? How do they look themselves in the mirror everyday? I guess the paycheck makes it easier. These gleeful acceptances also suggest that TDCJ must be a complete shit-hole to work for.

When I was growing up, my parents taught me to work for everything. It was not an accomplishment to be handed something based solely on my connections. Maybe these new guys shouldn’t strut around so much as if they had actually worked their way up to the top.

Grits, thank you for this forum. It is nice to vent. Unfortunately, I think nobody of consequence is reading our stuff, and if he does, he isn’t coming to our rescue.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, the upper management does read GRITS. But here's a quote from Dr. Novy, "That guy (Henson) is just someone out there who decided he was an expert on us (TYC). Who even knows where he comes from. I wouldn't pay attention to anything he says or those disgruntled employees who keep telling him stuff they know nothing about."

Anonymous said...

Would this be the same Dr. Novy who is the communications disorders ph.d. and now heads up the former rehabilitation department? Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?

Anonymous said...

Guys, this is a takeover, plain and simple, and TDCJ doesn't care who knows or how they feel about it. I used to think the only TYC CO personnel in peril of losing their jobs were top management and those with felonies. After Tammy Vega, however, it's all becoming clear and I have to strongly agree with 7:19am-if you haven't been replaced yet it's because they still need things to get done while they make their plans. As soon as you complete the tasks or they know which of their friends would like your job, you're going to be fired. Doesn't matter what department you're in, education-treatment-training-corrections, I predict there won't be more than a handful of original CO left by the end of the year if not sooner.

As for Dr. Novy, well that man has never had an original idea in his life. He's a chameleon and will change his opinions depending on who is talking or who is in charge. He was ineffective in the education dept. so he must be a real loser heading up treatment!

Being out in the field is miserable but being in CO must be worse, never knowing who or when the ax is going to fall on next. Good luck to us all, we're gonna need it.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Regarding Dr. Novy's comments, just to have said it, anyone who reads Grits knows I've never claimed to be a juvenile justice expert - quite the opposite. I started tracking the issue when the feds began investigating TYC last year, and have no direct expertise at all.

That said, Dr. Novy and others should ignore Grits at their peril. Since he doesn't know who I am, I got my first job as an investigative reporter at age 23, then worked for 12 years as an oppo researcher for candidate campaigns all over the state. In fact, Nate Blakeslee, the reporter who broke the TYC WTX scandal in the Texas Observer, got his start as an investigative reporter taking a seminar I taught in the early 90s. I've worked as both a volunteer and paid criminal justice advocate since 1995.

So I may not have a TYC background - neither do the Dallas News reporters covering the story - but only a fool would ignore a blog that generates information from primary sources, is read by the relevant legislative offices, and receives so many dozens of comments from TYC employees. My guess is Novy is not a fool - he may dismiss Grits to others around him, but I'll bet he's a reader.

almost outta here said...

Hate to disagree with you, Grits, but after having worked with the man repeatedly over the course of the last few years, I can state unequivocally that Dr. Novy is a fool.

Someone might want to explain to Forest (in very small words) that the people whose asses he's currently kissing aren't experts on juvenile justice or TYC either.

My last day at TYC is this Friday. After that, I may have a lot more to say. :)

Anonymous said...

Somebody should tell Dr. Novy to ask the people at Texas' defunct regional narcotics task forces whether it's smart to ignore Grits!! See what it got them?

Robert Michels said...

"Who says organization, says oligarchy."
here: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/michels/polipart.pdf
p. 241

You were expecting maybe chopped liver?

Anonymous said...

Numerous comments have been made about Whitmire's lawfirm and state contracts. Seems like looking into that would be a good investigative exercise.

Anonymous said...

To Dr. Novy - I have been reading this blog for several months now & while it is obvious that there are some malcontents posting here, I know some of the posters, and I can assure you that while they are upset over what is going on in TYC right now, they are not your classic "disgruntled employees," who are so easy to dismiss when you don't like what they say. Although I know many of the Central Office players, past and present, I do not know you, Dr. Novy, so I can only judge you by what you do from this point forward. I hope you do some good for this agency.

Anonymous said...

Grits - your 9:42AM comment today:

Do those on the legislative payroll read this blog - and can you elaborate on how you know this? If so - why don't those who seem to care (in the media of course) - not step in and say enough! Why is the TDCJ castoffs that are now TYC "Royals" not get put in 'check' - before a real juvenile justice disaster strikes?

Anonymous said...

I have to post on the "appointing of acting superintendents". They have idiots in place that have never run campuses before. Are absolutely egomaniacal and grandiose. Tooting their own horns to CO on the way they have things under control, in a famous Freudian superego style. While everyone on the campuses know that they are completely ineffective - but fear enough for their own jobs to stay quiet. Things are going to blow!

Anonymous said...

Appointments will continue and this will be based upon how you approach the New upper management and if you carry the New company line-

"Everything is OK, the plan looks great, can I get you a glass of water, oh excuse me for asking such a stupid question, I will get you a glass of water". Is that chair comfortable, please take mine.

Credentials and juvenile experience is no longer relevant. Look at the field and see who they are placing into Acting Superintendent positions and the future is quite clear, they want this whole agency to fail.

Anonymous said...

They ousted the Al Price superintendent - a good choice. She went from PA to superintendent on the good old boy prinicipal - who she kissed ass for. Made a shambles of our place. I wonder what the good old boy/girl system under TDCJ will set up in her stead? Couldn't be much worse....but it might. Where is the experience and leadership with trial under fire heading. There is none for juvenile corrections, at least as far as many can see.

Anonymous said...

To anon 10:04...I hope you WILL have a lot more to say about TYC after your last day on Friday. I am looking forward to that!!!! I also hope others who have left, or are about to leave, will do the same. Obviously the ones hanging in there will be reading what you have to say and commenting about it here. It's time for a revolution folks (no gang-related pun intended.)

Grits...providing this website is a wonderful thing you are doing. I don't care what this Novy dude says...you have a lot more respect from TYC employees statewide than he'll ever know.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7:08Pm. We have got to announce our concerns to the media, the ledge, whomever will listen with the same facts that we post on this blog. We are not the kind of people that should just roll over. When there is injustice on the campuses from CO - call them. When there is staff abuse from situations that we are put in CALL THEM. When kids are released to homeless shelters because there is no one there that wants them at home - CALL them. Before we are the laughing stock of America.

Anonymous said...

All we know in Crockett - and listening to you all about interim appointed folks -

The acting superintendent is going to destroy our campus...unless he can continue to ride on the coattails of the existing PA's and JCO 6's that are currently there.

Pray for us.

Anonymous said...

8:25...we already are the laughing stock of america.I can't go anywhere these days without people asking me about that "horrible" place i work. TYC is still VERY corrupt and it is a shame that they are letting people who should have been removed LONG ago, come back into our facilities. I heard that Faith Campbell is back, and those two old women that were working at that halfway house in Roanoke and having sex with the boys there are back.That Martinez guy who didn't report a kid being raped is back...I have no faith in the system these days at all.

Anonymous said...

he was a FU in Central Office.... we had to pan out a little...

Anonymous said...

To Anon 8:40pm,

If you people at Crockett don't stand up and tell the folks in CO about the problems, the Acting Supt. will continue to destroy the Campus. Word has it that most of the PAs and JCO VIs are sucking up to him and when something goes wrong, he will blame it on those that didn't suck up. So get your lips ready and pucker up or stand up and tell the folks in Austin about the problems that have been going on since they got rid of the Supt and Asst. Supt. I guarantee you that if Freeman and Blu were still there, and these problems were going on, most of the staff would be screaming to anyone in a position of authority to do something about them. But everyone knows that these problems did not exist prior to Freeman and Blu getting the boot.

Anonymous said...

It is just getting so tiring. Those without degrees to fall on just try to maintain. I have a teaching degree and am alone. I could move on. But have been in Crockett and worked with these people for a number of years. For the last 5 or six years it was a good place to be. I didn't feel unsafe. Now - it is dog eat dog. We are trying to cling to someone for hope on our campus. We rely on each other and know that the guy that they placed here is just a kiss ass that wants to please CO and brag on himself. Hell we all know that and are to Chickensh!t to say anything else. We had CO visitors today - we all wanted to tell them to what a cluster $#@% it is. Did we? No! fear of retaliation from the TDCJ regime that is running everything and the tie in that our acting wants to reinforce that he has. How messed up is this?

Anyone else in the agency as messed up as us? Well - AP I guess....but any others? Give a brother some hope.

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:25pm-

Who from CO was there? If I know any of them I'll tell you what I know and if they've proved to be trustworthy.

Anonymous said...

10:04am,

Congratulations on Friday being your last day with TYC. I'm sure all of Grits readers will be interested in what you have to say.

Anonymous said...

Crockett, I hate to tell you that if you think the acting superintendent is bad news wait until you get your TDCJ replacement. You may have someone who is third rate but at least that person was a long time TYC employee and isn't likely to replace your VI's with TDCJ friends.

Anonymous said...

Grits - I have read the above comments on your blog, It truly is disheartening to read the state of the agency. There is no trust at all among the workers - from top to bottom. How in the world are youth going to have a chance of being rehabilitated (or at least attempt to toe the line), when the workers are being ramrodded and mistreated in this fashion? I am neither in Beaumont nor Crockett nor Marlin nor San Saba, But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the legislature and CO have turned a deaf ear - and are doing underhanded tactics for a paycheck and notoriety. What is your comment?

Yankees Fan said...

Of course we didn't get to meet them. They were all too busy being wined and dined with goodies set up by staff courtesy of our acting superintendent. Mr Brownie Points himself - Sweet Jerome. The few of us who did see them got the "How is he treating you" question. Well what the hell do you say. Stan G, superintendents from other schools were there that know what an ineffective kiss ass Williams is, the Humphreys guy...just another political play. ThinK I will go watch some baseball.

Waiting on the lack of movtivation so I can use my sick time and take a VERY LONG and much needed Stress Vacation. But what would mother say?

Anonymous said...

I too am waiting on "the last day report" by our very lucky short timer! Spill your beans, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Does Perry ever even have a comment. I never see one in the media. Not that anyone would probably give a damn.

Texas Proud said...

Well - all these senators and representatives need to realize that a host of their constituents are TYC, their immediate family, extended family and friends. Personally I will make it my duty to actively campaign against them in the future for the disgrace that they have caused me. The anguish that they have caused my coworkers, and the injustice that they have catalyzed in the state of Texas.

Anonymous said...

If we honestly believe that the lege cares what we say or will do anything about any of this, I believe your living in a dream world. Nothing will be done and your time will be wasted. You will get a we will look into the matter.
But do you honestly believe that they would stop something that they did or take the blame for putting these people in the places they are in now?
Did they take the blame for the mess in the begining? No they blamed it all on TYC.
News media is the place to go. Get it out to the public and let them know what is Really Going On in TYC now. News papers(Dallas Morning News, Austin Hearld, anyone that will print the stories here) You will get their attention in the lege then. There will be a hero out there wanting re-election that will stir the pot with the spoons that whipped up this mess!
There are many working in TYC that do not have a clue what is happening. Just like the farming out the little guys. We need the media on ourside now. We need to take back our good name and what most of us stood for in TYC.
We need to let the public know that good people worked and works at TYC and we are the Real ones that are taking care of the children not the CO people. It time we take a stand. Grits, help us get it to the news media. Please. We need our stories told in the paper, the real stories.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 11:02,

Newsflash: None of the TDCJ transplants to TYC care about the rehabilitation of the youth!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@12:08 - I wish I knew how to get some of this in the news media. Jim Hurley said a Dallas news reporter spoke to him last week about moving the "little guys" into contract care, but there's been no coverage outside Grits. I don't know why the MSM hasn't picked it up.

Anonymous said...

I have been working at Crockett a couple of years and know the difference from leadership and fronting. What we have now is called fronting. The man has no clue what he is doing and yes he relies on others for answers based upon his limited knowledge.

I was also told if we do not speak this week the actor in charge now will most likely stay because he is making it appear that he is doing a good job. Heck if all you have to do is front have limited skills I might put in for the Executive Directors job it pays better.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Sorry, I didn't see 5:55's question. I talk to lege staffers all the time who tell me they and their bosses read the blog, and not infrequently I receive emails from staffers and elected officials about things I've written. What they do with the information I cannot say.

Anonymous said...

Grits & all --
I don't know if I'm the "news media" in the sense you are thinking of, but I am working on a documentary film about TYC, and am always looking for folks to talk to, especially employees. In some ways, staff are the hardest sources to find -- probably cause ya'll have to worry about job security if you DO talk. Anyway, if there is any interest, and with Grits' permission, I will post my contact information.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To the filmmaker: By all means, post away.

Rambo said...

@ 7:48 AM

Post it!

Anonymous said...

TYC Parole Director is also ex TDCJ Last name Garrett.

Anonymous said...

OK, then. TYC staff and interested parties can contact me at tycmovie@yahoo.com.

This is a temporary address, and will change when we launch our website on or around August 15. I'll update.

A little about our project: we are an independent production company, and the film is supported entirely by public and private grant money.

So far we have mainly been visiting and interviewing kids who are currently at TYC or have been recently released, and their families.

We also eagerly seek the perspective of TYC staff, especially the folks in the field. In some instances we will be able to offer some identity protection to sources, but our preference is people who are able and willing to talk on camera about their experiences at TYC.

However, if you prefer not to be on camera but want to pass on information or perspective, feel free to e-mail me.

The film is planned for release in January, 2009. In the meantime, our site will be up in August...I'll post about it then and hope ya'll stop by.

Anonymous said...

Who was put in charge of Al Price?

Anonymous said...

The last count for Superintendent Positions and Assistant jobs are as follows:

Giddings- Superintendent Vacant
Crockett- Both Vacant
West Texas- Superintendent
Mart I (Marlin)- Superintendent
Evins- Assistant
Tamayo- Superintendent
Al Price- Both Vacant
Sheffield- Assistant

Anonymous said...

Did Michelle Pruneda get the ax at Evins? This is the first I have heard of an Asst. opening at Evins. Are you sure your information is correct?

Anonymous said...

A couple of days ago, in talking with a religious volunteer, I had a kind of epiphany. The pols really fear the voluteers - especially those who are someway connected with a pulpit. We TYC employees are small potatoes when it comes to voting - most of us don't even live in the districts of those who are calling the shots. However, these politicians do not want to get on the wrong side of a bunch of preachers!

Answer for those who want to make the politicians do right - get with your voluteers, (and former volunteers) get the word out to them. They, as a group, have tremendous clout. Why else do you think TYC did the backflip on firing all those volunteers with spotty pasts? Old Salty

Anonymous said...

TYC spokesman Jim Hurley tells KFDM News Kimberly Fowler was suspended with pay either Monday or early Tuesday.
He says Chuck Jones has been named acting superintendent. He moved to the Al Price school from another TYC facility.
Hurley says the assistant superintendent and director of security at the Al Price school have also been suspended with pay.

We have no Chuck Jones listed in TYC. But, we do have a Charles Jones Prog Spec II-DirofSec TYC_System - John Shero State School. Could this be the man that is taking over Al Price????

Al Price people.. is this your new Superintendent?

Last week, KFDM News reported on several detainees sitting or standing on the roof of the Al Price facility.
At that time, "Kimberly Fowler told us it's not uncommon for young people to go onto the roof, as a form of protest, or simply to cause problems. She said officers are instructed not to go up after the detainees because it could be dangerous for all parties involved.
Hurley confirmed that fact, and said it isn't unusual for young detainees to do the same thing at TYC centers in other parts of Texas. " He is acting like this is no big deal!

Is this because of our new leaders and not wanting them to look bad????

Anonymous said...

I am suprised that Kim Fowler lasted this long under the new leadership. She brown-nosed her way to the top under the old administration, mainly because of knowing Don Brantley. I would venture to say that it was his decision to promote her from PA to Supt. last year. It would have worked out fine but no one saw this whole West Texas thing coming. I am not taking up for anyone, but I still don't know why they booted Don Brantley when he was only in Central Office like 6 months before the scandal broke. I don't think he had a big part to play in the whole original cover-up. I am sure that he was being groomed to take over the agency one day, but those plans are down the drain.

Anonymous said...

I do not think it was Mr. Owens original intention to purge all the folks that got purged. I watched the video of him trying to explain his rehab plan to Sen Whitmire. The good dean began shouting and pounding his fist on the table, saying "You sir do not understand. I want heads to roll! Heads to roll!"

2 days later Don Brantley and a host of others were given their walking papers. Justice had nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

After the dust clears and the lawsuits are settled, maybe a few of the "good" people will get their jobs back. Don Brantley for one.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that the fine folks in Austin are going to start bringing back many of the Administrators both in the field and in Austin that we thought were gone. It seems that quite a few of them were only on suspension and not terminated or retired. Think they figured out that they did not have a clue about juvenile corrections and had to swallow a little of their pride, or did the potential lawsuits scare them?

Anonymous said...

They have already started to bring them back.McFadden and Evins got back their Super's.

What I want to know is what happened at the Parole meetings that just ended yesterday.

We are all hearing that the Parole Supervisors that went back to their District Officers today were not Happy Campers!

But, are very tight lipped.

Anybody have any insider information????

What is their new name going to be? Are they going to get rid of Contract Parole? Since the caseloads are very small for MOST of the PO's. or are we getting rid of PO's?

Those questions were answered at these meetings, but, PO Sups are very tight lipped until next week when they will meet with their staff.

Help.. Anyone know??

Inquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

Bart Caldwell is back? That really surprises me!

Anonymous said...

Anyone know why Tammy Vega was fired? For "erroneously" thinking TYC couldn't have felon volunteers if it couldn't have felon employees?

Anonymous said...

Not Bart... Eddie (Eduardo) Martinez is back at Evins as Superintendent. and Tammy Vega was not fired, she is on Vacation ( a real vacation) not one forced on her!

Anonymous said...

I heard Faith Campbell was back and Emily Helm was not fired. Any word on Don Freeman and Blu Nicholson? Rumor is that both will be brought back to try and fix some of the screwed up facilities.

Anonymous said...

Good God, They put Lisa Cooke back in charge of McFadden? Well, I hope CO knows that they are opening up a huge can of worms with that mistake!So how much money will this cost the state of Texas in lawsuits? She is BAD news, but they will discover that when they have to start writing checks because of all the crap she allows to go on in that place.We have a nickname for McFadden around here...Pedophile Plaza, if you are a pervert COME ON IN!

Anonymous said...

To 1:46 p.m. do you really believe that adding a few more lawsuits to the hundreds that have already been potentially created is something that concerns Pope? The new management hasn't hesitated in creating a target rich environment for trial lawyers.

Anonymous said...

3:25, I agree.Pope is going to make employment lawyers very wealthy if she keep's it up.

Anonymous said...

I personally would love to know why CO is protecting all of these people that they are removing and then reinstating back into their positions. It would seem to me where there is smoke, there is fire. Maybe just "damage control"?I hope the state has deep pockets if thats the case.

Anonymous said...

As a disclaimer, I am no fan of JW. However, let's be real. About 6 years ago DF came roaring onto Crockett campus and declared that people "living behind the pine curtain" did not have a clue what TYC was all about. He then proceded to systematically remove incumbents from positions and replace them with his cronies. Sure, some of the folks back then needed to go, but many others were replaced who had been doing a good job. Sound familiar? I get a kick out of reading all posts about how wonderful things were under the Freeman administration. Look back at the postings from just a few months ago. My how time heals our collective memories!

Anonymous said...

7:20, I hope that all of these administrators hold themselves accountable when the state starts shelling out the money for mistakes, but I doubt that will be the case. Blame will be shifted once again, and the guilty will continue to be left in place.

Anonymous said...

3:34 PM you are right. It is the same type of thing going on, but this time it is statewide instead of just at Crockett. It seems that Ed and Dimitria are turning out to be more like DF every day. No one likes to be booted without any explanation but that is exactly what is happening to a lot of good folks. But that is no reason for people to wish that Freeman and Blu come back to Crockett. Why do that? It is time now to move forward and stop looking back.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I took your advice and visited those blogs you listed. The Back Gate has some interesting stuff about Mr. Humphrey. Looks like Ms Pope may have rescued him by pulling him over to TYC to run the institutions and half-way houses. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

The people who want Freeman back are the ones who were brought in to replace the ones he ran off or demoted. The folks now running TYC are cut from the same mold as Freeman. Egos as big as Texas, and just as arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Don't too much care about Freeman's ego or how arrogant he was...The campus was SAFE, which it hasn't been since he left. Like him or not..you know that is the truth.

Anonymous said...

Freeman ruled with arrogance, fear, and intimidation. Unfortunately, this mentality only reinforces the street mentality that you gain power through fear and intimidation and might makes right. If I've been getting my head cracked every time I went to security then you bet any youth, or especially ones who are emotionally disturbed are going to act out now that the "bully" is gone.

With Freeman gone it is no surprise that the "Angels" incarcerated at crockett are acting out. They smell the blood in the water...and are "acting" as they have had behavior modeled for them.

Control is an "illusion" that can be maintained without force through development of good peer culture. This is facilitated by staff who are "fair, firm, and consistent."

Freeman and his cronies are the author of the current problems at the facility. If he was such a great manager then he would of developed a facility with staff and students that would function with or without him!

Freeman is to blame for Crockett just as Dwight, Chester, Lydia etc... are responsible for getting TYC into the condition that it is in now thus allowing people like POPE to come in and destroy a agency that had at its heart a problem with its leadership!

Unfortunately it seems that the new REGIME is as bad or worse than the one they are replacing.

Anonymous said...

Crockett only had the outward appearance of being a safe campus under Freeman. Check out the statistics before and after his regime. Lost time injuries skyrocketed, staff turn-over skyrocketed, youth on staff assaults skyrocketed, confirmed allegations of abuse way up despite active covering up and destroying of evidence before the investigators could get to it... as in "Let me know if you get a little too rough and I will make sure the tape gets lost before it can get to the investigator."

Meanwhile, kids marched better to and from the dorms. Wow! Much safer campus!

Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone knows in order to have a safe campus, you must have marching!! So what kind of ice cream did JW let the kids have, chocolate or vanilla? It gets kinda hot up on the roof so it is good to have some ice cream to cool you down!! Good luck with the new kids from Al Price. They like to climb too.

Anonymous said...

To Central Office Admin & Anon 11:01:

To CO:
11:01 made an EXCELLENT comment that should put in BOLD LETTERS of your currently-under construction, TDCJ inspired policies. It deserves repeating:

Control is an "illusion" that can be maintained without force through development of good peer culture. This is facilitated by staff who are "fair, firm, and consistent."

To 1109:
Mighty powerful words...maybe you should be in charge. CO's new TDCJ- administrators could obviously use a little more fairness and consistency. They got the firmness down when they cleaned house and took over the agency. We are still waiting on the fairness and consistency.

Anonymous said...

Vanilla. And he was acting on orders. He was getting step-by-step instructions from his handlers in CO.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break, I know he cannot make decision without someone telling him what to do, but I do not buy it that JW called CO and said,

"DP I have two/three youth on the roof whats the plan of action"?

DP responds, "Well JW pull out the vanilla from the ice box, and they will come down"!!

Whats next warm milk at night when the youth refuse to go to sleep at night??

Anonymous said...

You godda be freakin kidding me? He actually gave those kids ice cream after they got off the roof? What kind of message does that send????

Anonymous said...

It says we don't know what else to do to get those kids to comply. It also tells me the kids now know if they want to eat good, all they have to do is misbehave. They are probably barbequeing T-bone steaks by now.

Anonymous said...

T-bone my ass!

Negotiate what!

As Ronald Reagan said: we do not negotiate from a point of weakness. How's this; Oh, you want vanilla?

I'll be sure to note that. How about we discuss 6 months or maybe 12. I'm thinking a real longterm stay! Come down right now and it won't be more then 6.

Now that is negotiating!

Anonymous said...

The official line up of Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents is due out today. Any bets on how many TDCJ folks are on the list?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

How many superintendent positions are up total? FWIW, my guess on the over/under is 55% TDCJ people, with most but not all of the rest from within.

Anonymous said...

The new assistant at Crockett is from the RED unit at TDCJ. That is the only one, so far. Giddings still is listed as vacant, as are the positions for both Supt and Assistant Supt at Sheffield. The Supt and Assistant from John Shero were transferred to West Texas, the Assistant at West Texas is now the Supt at Al Price in Beaumont, and the Dir of Sec at John Shero is now the Assistant at Al Price.

Anonymous said...

What does someone from a Research, Evaluation and Development Unit in an adult prison know about operating a juvinile training school? Oh that's right. It's not what you know, it's who you know.

Anonymous said...

She is not only from the RED unit, she was a trainer. So, she not only knows nothing about treating juveniles, she apparently has no experience even running an adult program. We are soooo lucky!

Anonymous said...

I bet that the janitor that worked at the RED with Pope will soon get a top-level management job. How about Assistant Deputy Director of Restroom Sanitation.