Federal watchdogs discreetly collected information and discussed fine legal points as the assaults piled up. More than 2,000 allegations of staff abusing inmates were confirmed by the Texas Youth Commission from January 2003 to December 2006.
The Justice Department ultimately declined to prosecute anyone at TYC or do anything to compel agency-wide reforms.
I can't do the details justice, just go read it all. I think any reasonable person would agree that knowledge of such gruesome events by federal investigators who failed to act "amounts to state-sanctioned child abuse," as one attorney declared. We're not only or even mainly talking about sexual abuse. For example:
Even after that, still it was another two years before anyone in officialdom finally began to pay attention. The sad reality of how much preventable sorrow - both for the kids and those at the agency who legitimately want to help them - reaches more and more profound depths with each new revelation. On Oct. 27, 2004, the nurse manager at Evins told her supervisors: "There are too many injuries resulting from youth restraints [by guards] and altercations." Among the injuries she noted were broken teeth and fractured bones. Less than a week later, Evins inmates rioted.
On Oct. 27, 2004, the nurse manager at Evins told her supervisors: "There are too many injuries resulting from youth restraints [by guards] and altercations." Among the injuries she noted were broken teeth and fractured bones.
Less than a week later, Evins inmates rioted.
Regular readers know I performed opposition research for political candidates in a past life, and there's an old joke about politicians gerrymandered into "safe" districts - that the only scandal that could oust them would be to be found "with a dead girl or a live boy." That's what happened to TYC: Somebody finally got caught with a live boy. Clearly the agency was being mismanaged and massive problems covered up for many years before word finally got out, mostly thanks to Alison Brock a quiet, hard-working advocate whose work is featured prominently in the story. (She was Speaker Pro Tem Sylvester Turner's Chief of Staff during the 80th session.)
The whole nasty mess reminds me of the recent case where it turned out the FBI knew for 30+ years that four innocent men were framed for a murder they didn't commit. The agents knowingly tolerated perjury, did nothing to stop the wrongful convictions, then just let the guys rot in prison for decades, all to protect an informant.
If you know about a crime as a law enforcement official and fail to stop it, after a while don't you become culpable in its commission? It was their job to be a watchdog. Add the US Department of Justice to the list of watchdogs who knew more than enough to start barking about TYC a long time before they did.