Friday, August 17, 2007

Hurley: Mace Me

Texas Youth Commission spokesman Jim Hurley asked to be pepper sprayed this week, reported the Dallas News, so he'd be able to accurately portray its effects.

"Yeah, that's pretty strong," he moaned once the spray took effect after a few seconds. Soon, he was kicking his feet and gritting his teeth. "It's so hot. It's so hot. God that burns."

Mr. Hurley doubled over in pain, squeezing stinging tears out of swollen, bloodshot eyes and falling to his knees as he struggled to keep his balance. An air of charade quickly broke out at the agency's Austin headquarters, with employees popping out of their offices giggling and taking up-close photos to document the spokesman frantically spitting and trying to stop his nose from gushing.

TYC recently announced plans to use pepper spray on youth and Hurley had himself sprayed because he will be the main person defending the policy to the press and wanted to know what it was like.

Damn, Jim! You should have said something! If I'd known you wanted to do that, we could have done a Grits fundraiser and raffled off tickets to TYC employees for the honor! It woulda made a fortune!

Let me know in the comments who else at TYC you'd like to see pepper sprayed.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

How embarrassing:A photo of,I presume an OIG Investigator spraying (with OC?) in the face, as opposed to the proper placement, on the chest.

Jason said...

No sir/ma'am, the face is the proper place for the mace. Well it's really called OC (oleoresin capsicum) spray. That wouldn't have rhymed at all.
I've been sprayed before, right in the eyes. It's not fun.

Anonymous said...

To make it realistic, there should be a dozen men with truncheons, all shouting mutually contradictory commands at him, including commands to stop resisting, and then clubbing him for disobedience.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, thats something I would have paid to see! It hurts like hell when you come into any contact with it, I found out the hard way when responding to riot conditions at a prison I worked for a while back...It's not fun. To use this on youth as a form of control? Unless my life was being threatened..NO WAY! Its just cruel!

Anonymous said...

This'll be the kids new badge of honor. To do something to be sprayed.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the students at TYC get violent. I've been Pepper sprayed, and I found it to be very unpleasent. It wasn't however, as unpleasent as the three stitches I got above my eye when an angry student punched me out the blue during a hearing. Maybe pepper spray isn't the best method for control, but I would like all the critics to tell us what they would prefer to us do instead.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"I would like all the critics to tell us what they would prefer to us do instead."

My suggestion: Operate an agency with sufficient staffing so that staff aren't alone with youth and subject to being sucker punched when they're not looking.

I'm not sure I mind it so much for older kids in out of control situations, depending on how its used and how often. But I'm not sure anybody needs to be macing 10-13 year olds. In most juvie settings nationally, as I understand it, OC isn't used at all. best,

Anonymous said...

Hey, that is exactly how it looks when I spray Riad on a cockroach.

Anonymous said...

To those who whine about what else should they use if not pepper spray, let me ask how you would handle a three-year old terror? Mace? Pepper spray? A truncheon? Buckshot?

If you cannot handle the job without resorting to violence, you need to be fired and jailed.

If you want a model to emulate, look to workers in psychiatric wards. The key to restraint is, well, restraint. Not brutality.

Emily said...

Geez. I spent last week in the State Archives looking at the old Morales V. Turman papers. One of the big "brutality" complaints when that suit was filed was about the use of pepper-spray. One boy claimed he had been sprayed with a massive overdose of tear-gas that made the skin peel off his face.

So it's interesting that TYC is now increasing the use of tear-gas and a humane alternative to what they were doing before.

(By the way, I believe dosage is a big concern with OC. One spray appropriately placed, like Jim got, will hurt a whole bunch and then subside. It's when the spray is over-enthusiastically applied that the damage is done. Then again, that's true for normal physical restraint, too, right?)

Anonymous said...

Emily,
Did you see the part where they ask the TYC director if he'd ever been sprayed with mace before? You can almost feel the tension radiating off the old dusty typed transcript page.

Of course, the problem with that line of reasoning is that even if he had been sprayed with it, it proves nothing about the rightness of using it in TYC for reasons that should be obvious... but apparently aren't, still.
Bill Bush, UNLV

Emily said...

Is that in the depositions, Bill? I haven't cracked those yet. There's 38.6 cubic feet of papers associated with that case. And it all says the same stuff that people are saying now. Remarkable.

Anonymous said...

Governor Perry, the Legislature, Ed Owens, et al need to learn from the past as Emily has.

Many experienced TYC Staff have the knowledge and are kind enough to share it here.

I just hope the power players get up to speed soon. I really am concerned about the fate of Texas' incarcerated youth If they don't.

Anonymous said...

Emily,

It is indeed. TYC director James Turman was absolutely grilled by attorneys representing not just the kids but also the DoJ and the American Psychiatric Association.

The resemblance between what was said during Morales (by all sides) and what is being said now is so close that it's jaw-dropping.

One interesting difference, it seems to me, is in the role of the staff then and now.

In the late 60s / early 70s, when Morales was taking shape, it seems that there was a generational divide within the staff, especially at Gatesville and Mountain View (the two lock-ups for boys). You had old-line people who had been working there since the 1940s and 50s, often with very little education, who participated without hesitation in abuse and cover-ups.

But then you had newer staff, many of whom had received some kind of professional training at the college level, who resisted or even blew the whistle on such activities.

Today, by contrast, if the posts here on Grits are any indication, it is the longer tenured TYC staff who are the most appalled at what has taken place recently. (Old Salty comes to mind here) It is the more seasoned employees who are worried not only about the agency's viability and staff safety, but also the core mission of helping the kids get their acts together - "rehabilitation".

This runs directly opposite to the usual dynamics over the past century, where reformers would come in and try to fix things only to be defeated by entrenched employees who didn't want to do away with corporal punishment, hard labor, or other trappings of prison.

Meanwhile, back in the here and now, a new wave of administrators has come in from TDCJ focused mainly on security, order, and PR (e.g., the pepper spray demo)... not the usual approach of "reform" admins who have come in after an abuse scandal in the past.

Bill Bush, UNLV

Anonymous said...

Grits,
If I could, I would, but I do not know how to do it. I would email that picture of Hurley to every newspaper in the nation. "This is how we handle out of control youth in Texas!!!" "Don't Mess With Texas!!!" My first reaction about this picture and story was you Stuxxx!! Shxx!! Then I realized I would be cursing, and honestly I do not want to do that eithor. I know that we have a difficult situation down here in Texas. I hope that our administrators will try to come up with an answer. The problem is, is, that they only give it about 10 minutes before they do. That is how they do, they observe some conventional aspect of TYC for 10 minutes and then make a decision about it. That is where they mistake decisiveness and their power as decision makers as leadership. Making decisions without knowledge.

I believe that if my life depended on it I could probably do that pepper spray thing, maybe. The problem is, is, that if a youth does not follow a command, like, "Stand Up" and after a 2nd warning, then they could just as easily wind up being a poster child just like Hurley.

We are going to enter the dark ages here and that is what I fear.

I just can't see how we can be a role model for anyone with this. Who would want to copy what this state is doing? We need to reduce ratios, increase training, and decrease fear of intimidation and retailiation from our current administrators. We need to think therapeutically and diagnostically and develop some basic assumptions about the reasons for separate systems of corrections, adult and juvenile.

Presently, the direction we are going is just a small version of a prison.

Anonymous said...

I am not almost gone, I am Gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My name is Peter Allen and I'm gone,

Thank GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today was my last day at TYC.

I feel bad.

Really, really bad.

Not because of all the BS that everyone else quotes.

I'm leaving my friends behind to fight the fight that I'm tired of fighting.

We were told yesterday, that it doesn't matter what they do, they will be let go on their MLOS. If they haven't had time added then they are home on their MLOS.

HHHMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It appears the7y can get away with anything.

Let's tackle 1 issue at a time.

Pepper spray:

One damn good way to put your ass in a sling. Spray may hurt you but it just PO's me. 1

Also, If an individual is an asshole then it will just ignite him. If I am pissed, then I am extraordinarily strengthened by my anger or pain. If I am not pissed, then I will be pisssed when you spray me!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pepper spray = stupid

Physical restraint:

I love a good body rush!!!

I have slammed more men and more students then most of you have met.

WHAT THE FUC#!

Am I suppossed to be scared? I don't think so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You think I'm an idiopt or some anal ass wipe? That's fine with me. The thing is I have respect from the kids and staff. I talk shit and I back it up.

I will miss the people I worked with and I will miss the kids. The thing I won't miss is you f###ing fruitloops and ass kissing shithead wannabees.

You haven't been there and you don't know.

My attitude of you are responsible for your actions and you won't put your hands on me without repurcussions is no longer acceptable. I will not live in this world.

I will miss my friends and I will miss my kids. The kids and I had a mutual respect AND disrespect.

They disrespected me and I disrespected them.

I feel a great loss at what I don't have anymore.

I feel a great loss at not having my friends anymore.

I feel a great loss at losing Diane.

I feel a great loss for the children of texas..

The losses could go on and on. With the current admin, they will!

This is not how you treat children or the people that care for them!











Bill Bush UNLV

Anonymous said...

I agree with a commentor yesterday that the Hurley pepperspray is just a bizarre publicity stunt. I thought this type of media scam went out with the pregnant women picketing the White House carrying signs saying "Nixon's the One" and "I went all the way with LBJ."

A scam is a scam and this is just another TDCJ reaction to adverse press coverage.

whitsfoe said...

Bill,

I have all the respect in the world for what you're saying, but I'd like to point out the Morales kids were much different than kids today. If you take a look at reasons kids were committed to the Texas Youth Council (as known then) vs. now, I think you'll see a much more violent kid today as compared to the 60’s 70’s. Do a violence comparison from then and compare to now and let’s see the results. Most of those kids back then were nothing compared to these kids now (as far as propensity towards violence) is my theory. Do you have any information on that topic? If my theory holds true, my generation is very much to blame because these are my kids’ age. The culture back then was very different from the culture now. The gang culture in the cities started to blossom, rap music preaching violence on cops, white kids beginning to cross the barrier and rap right along with them, prison gangs starting to recruit street gangs, and so on, and so on, are just examples of why I think the juvenile culture deteriorated from then to now. I’d like to hear what your thoughts are on this issue. IMO, it would eventually make a huge difference if we divided and conquered by making facilities smaller and having more pro-social interactions with youth; however, we are not even close. This pepper spray business is a stop gap measure to a current problem and definitely not a long term solution (if I have my way). And I agree with you Henson, don't use this on 10-13 year old babys. That'd piss me off to see something like that go down.

Respectfully,
Whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

Grits,

It appears Mr. Hurley has time for publicity stunts, but not enough time to provide answers to those questions from the TYC state tour. As I recall two weeks ago he was just needing to do some revisions. I personally would prefer to see those answers than Mr. Hurley's picture.


Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Morales vs Turman is going to come back and haunt TYC. The very first time a student calls his lawyer after getting pepper sprayed. The mommies and daddies will be rich after suing TYC. The TDCJ regime is self-destructing as we speak.

Anonymous said...

"Go Howard...Go Howard....Go Howard," as I do the churning of the butter dance! F-this admin. When will the SAO do their survey? Lets compare now v. March 07.

Can we get a non TYC employee to make such a request? The last I saw, we were in worst shape after Elmer and company.

Elmer, I'm staring to think you're a hermaphrodite. Swinging both ways. Just take the carrot Elmer, Bugs won't mind, and be consistent for Heavens sake.

Anonymous said...

Pepper Spray was pulled from a lot of the facilities because they thought it was being abused by staff. Let's step back and remember we are dealing with kids. In a perfect world we would have well educated staff that understand that these kids have no or a warped since of what respect is. Respect is treating others like people no matter what. I have been in corrections for 26 years, and have never had to hit, or restrain someone more than three times. I work with kids all the time, and let me share a secret. Trying talking to them, not at them. Stop with the attitude and name calling. The youth are winning when get your goats. When you go to work it is not a contest to see who can "one up" a kid. Most kids were never aloud to be kids and in the enviorment they are living in they can't afford to loose face with their peers or else they will wind up being abused. I don't know how many times I have seen staff cuss a kid, call the kid all kinds of names, threaten the kid, talk bad about their family, and then staff is confused when the kid goes off. Too many of the staff we have are high school graduates, and low educated. They cannot (or don't want to) deal with an angry kid wihout getting down to that kids level. Don't take this wrong, becuase I work with wonderful staff that really care about kids, and work hard to help these kids out. The bad sad is that these staff are the exception, not the norm. Pepper spray and threatening letters are not going to change these kids. Why don't we start by treating then like humans, and more than that like kids. Teach them basic respect, and teach them to talk things out. I know I am dreaming, but I am going to hang in there because I really believe that one of these days I really think the administration and Leg will get tired of paying for Prison Prep classes under the TYC umbrella.

Nurit said...

How many more days til the next deadline to get the FAQs that Mr. Hurley promised by this week?

Anonymous said...

Grits, you asked who I would like to see get pepper sprayed? Let's start with Brookins and Hernandez. When we are through, let's spray them again, and then let's keep spraying them until they are crying like the two little panzies that they are. When they get through crying, let's send them to the worst prison facility in Texas. I'm SURE they can get plenty of action there.

Talk about despicable human beings. Those two characters are directly responsible for bringing down the entire TYC agency. Many lives have been torn apart because of their actions, including mine. Not only do I hope they have to do some long hard time, I hope they burn in hell.

When I think about all the events that have stemmed from the actions of those two men, and how many peoples lives have been negatively affected, it makes me mad as hell.

Anonymous said...

I idsagree with Whitsfoe. Felonies are felonies. Kids are the same, it's the staff that are dif, admin and direct care. Spraying kids like Hurley is pictured is wrong. I have personally fired staff for for spraying kids as if they were insects. Unless the lege steps in and make some changes and PDQ, Texas is in for a serious black eye in the court of public opinion 9 way worse than what we have already experienced). Please campaign with your local representative to call for a safe resolution. This does not involve party politics or who is registered to vote in your respective area. Cronies bad, quality staff willing and able to work and do the right thing good.

Anonymous said...

To Peter Allen at 6:04:

I feel your pain my friend...You will be missed more than you'll ever know. Not just by me, but by all your friends and colleagues you worked with during the past six years. We will miss your spirit, your kindness, your generosity, your (off the wall) humor, your intelligence, and ESPECIALLY your unwavering devotion to help the TYC kids.

I am sorry the turn of events at TYC drove you away. I am sorry you had to relocate because the future of your job was so uncertain. I am sorry you had to move your sweet wife and four great kids away from their beautiful home. More than anything else, I am sorry the kids who need you the most (TYC) have lost you.

I am so very sad to see you go my friend. I wish you and your family all the best.

Diane

P.S. To all who don't know Peter Allen-- don't let the tone of his message fool you. Anyone who knows him will tell you he is about the nicest person you could ever hope to meet.

HamHead said...

7:20 my point exact. This pepper spray business is bad business if it becomes a long-term solution.

What we need is people in TYC that'll resist that line of thinking, kick off their correctional boots for a moment, and wonder aloud "what does this child need."

If TYC personnel cannot distinguish what a juvenile offender is v. as a bonafide idiot adult, then I'd say we're in bad shape. I don't need TDCJ personnel to tell me that.

TDCJ(oke) has very little, if any, requirements for any educational requirements for any leadership positions within their agency. In other words, you can have a GED and be a Warden in TDCJ.

That is so wrong for our population. We're talking children here v. some piece of shit in TDCJ that should have been served as a child before he/she went there.

Anonymous said...

VERY well said 9:27. I agree with you 100% These are kids, not adults. Why don't they see that? "Kick off the correctional boots" and ask what the kids need is a very good way to put it.

Anonymous said...

Whitsfoe,

I agree with you in part about present vs past juvie offenders. I think we need to distinguish between 2 things you address here:

1. The number of violent juvenile offenders, and;
2. The type of offender; or, the cultural context for offenses.

Are there more violent juvenile offenders than in the 60s/70s? Without having the precise data in front of me (I'm at home, it's in my office), I'm pretty sure the answer is "yes."

In general, violent juvie offenses rose sharply in the 1980s and early 90s, then leveled off and declined somewhat in the late 90s. The best sources for this are the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports and the federal OJJDP bulletins.

There is some disagreement about the meaning of those figures among social scientists and policy types, however, I want to focus on the second question which can't be measured easily.

It's an age old question: are kids worse now than they were before? Practically every generation has thought so. Certainly a lot of criminologists in the 1990s were warning that the "super-predators" of that generation were the worst ever. They had the aforementioned stats to back them up.

This was when gangsta rap blew up, and lurid tales of random brutal murders filled the headlines, and daytime talk shows began running those "help me with my out of control teen" shows with drill sergeants. But was this all worse than ever before?

I think it is a mistake to draw too sharp a line between the past and the present. In fact, as a historian, I tend to think that the past helps to explain the present. Were the kids different? Absolutely. But what can they tell us about what's going on now?

One of the arguments of my book is that most juvie inmates have come from roughly the same social and economic backgrounds over the past century. As far back as the 1910s, stats showed that most juvie inmates came from working-class or poor homes, headed by single parents, a large number of whom had been in trouble with the law themselves. Most of them came from cities and had committed several offenses before finally being sent to an institution. And a disproportionate number of them were black or Latino.

Not surprisingly, maybe, juvie offenders historically have been viewed and treated similar to adult criminals. They were worked as convict laborers until the late 1940s, a practice interrupted only by the Depression when even field labor jobs were reserved for men not boys. They were beaten with leather bats and other blunt instruments. 17 year old murderers were locked up with first time nonviolent offenders as young as 11 in mass custody dorms. Rape and assault were reported as common problems very early on in these institutions' existence.

From 1949 to the early 50s, there was a major attempt to change this system. This was TYC. They planned to break up the large institutions and replace them with smaller, regional facilities located nearer to the kids' families in the cities. They were going to be run by a staff of trained professionals who would work with the kids' parents and local juvenile prevention and parole agencies. The idealism and optimism of the time was unlike anything before or since. It's actually kind of breathtaking to read it now.

But it very quickly fell apart. The legislature wouldn't pay for it, the nation went thru a panic over juvenile delinquency in the 50s, and there were a few brutal juvenile crimes in Texas that spawned a get tough wave. In the 60s, Texas passed a law making it easier to transfer juveniles into adult court and adult facilities after age 18. And the same lege that wouldn't pay for TYC's prevention and rehab programs shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for a shiny new maximum security facility surrounded by layers of high barbed wire fencing - Mountain View, which opened in 1962.

In other words, at a time when the kids were presumably less violent than today, the state expanded its incarceration facilities. This was the immediate precursor for Morales. During the case, a frequent refrain from TYC officials was that the kids could "take apart" any staff member with ease, and that was why they had to be allowed to use physical force, tear gas, hard labor, etc.

In my view, the deeply entrenched history of viewing and treating juvies like adult criminals has formed a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Now a number of the kids actually live up to the portrayals that have been out there for a long time.

Therefore, I won't try to argue with the idea that kids are more violent and dangerous today. It would be disrespectful for me to argue from my armchair while you work with them every day. But it is worth thinking about how things got this way, b/c it may offer us some ideas for what can be done about it and what pitfalls to avoid.

Sorry this has turned into a rambling opus...
Bill Bush, UNLV

Anonymous said...

The reality is the pepper spray will reduce the injuries and workman's comp claims. The people who are in charge now, will move on to some other project. The advocacy groups will succeed in getting the pepper spray discontinued, and we will go back to trying to control the students the best we can with little or no help from any of you or the legislators. What Emily is really pointing out is that we keep going through the same cycles. Lawsuits really only accomplish one thing, and that's make lawyers rich. The students at TYC have committed crimes, and society says they must pay for crimes, so we send them to institutions. We must have institutions there to create the illusion that there is a deterrant for crime. Any given year in Texas we have about 70,000 juvenile offenders. TYC houses 2700 of those. We, at TYC, are trying to take care of those 2700 with staff that are mostly educated in the school of hard knocks that can't even pronounce "resocialization," much less implement it. But they work hard, put in long hours, and care about those kids more than anyone else in this state, including their parents. Yes, we have a few jerks that tend to be brutal, but you, the taxpayers, want to spend all the money and energy on going after those jerks instead of spending the money paying the people who care what they are worth.

Emily said...

Basically it seems like every ten or fifteen years there's a scandal that gets a lot of people excited, and then the Texas Lege promises a bunch of reforms that they never actually fund, and in the end conditions for staff and youth improve only briefly if at all. You have to wonder what it's going to take to enact substantive changes.

By the way, there are so many great staff insights in this post, I have to make my pitch again: If any of you are willing and able to talk with a documentary film crew, send me an e-mail at tycmovie@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Emily, are you the same writer for the DMN?

Anonymous said...

Emily, You need to see if you can get an interview with your namesake who used to work for TYC. Emily Helm was deputy general counsel. She was a workaholic and a tremendous advocate for kids. She was sometimes a pain in the butt with the way she would ask question after question, but you always knew she was trying her best to keep the system honest. I hope she will talk with you. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

I second that Old Salty. I never thought I'd hear my self say it, but I kinda miss those smart-alecky comments she used to make, rolling her eyes and all. I miss Neil too. Neither of those two would put up with the current administrators. The thinking is as different as night and day. What would be funny is if old Don McCullough were still around. He too would be tripping on what this is costing us. I can hear him now, "We aint got dat kinda Money!!!" all the while hot boxing a cig and pacing around.

Todd said...

"To those who whine about what else should they use if not pepper spray, let me ask how you would handle a three-year old terror? Mace? Pepper spray? A truncheon? Buckshot?

If you cannot handle the job without resorting to violence, you need to be fired and jailed"

You're the type of idiot that thinks cops should try to shoot the gun out of a person's hands aren't you? Some of these kinds in TYC are extremely violent. OC spray is a method of control that has no lasting effects and prevents more serious injuries to staff and inmates.

If you want to jump on a kid who's swinging at you, go ahead. Just don't ask other people to be injured because you don't understand use of force.

Todd said...

"I believe that if my life depended on it I could probably do that pepper spray thing, maybe."

If you don't know that you could use pepper spray EVEN IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT, then you have no business trying to tell others how to protect themselves at their job.

I find to pathetic that such pacifists try to impose their views on people in corrections and law enforcement. I hope you work in a very safe job but some of us don't.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

I think the main reason you see the difference between tenured staff now and those of pre-Morales, is that many of us who have 15 - 30 years of service were mentored by those who were the "New folks" in the late 60's and early 70's. Ron Jackson, Neil Nichols, Sandy Burnham are a few that come to mind. They brought in folks like Linda Reyes, Emily Helm and Marie Murdoch, who formed the core of the next generation. Sadly, in the 90's the pendulum swung towards the "get tough" folks, led by Chester Clay. Neil, Linda, Emily and Marie were still around, but they were eclipsed for awhile by Chester's folks. About a year ago, the pendulum started swinging back towards more support for rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Neil and Linda and their team were out before the swing could really take effect. TYC was "reformed" and they are all gone. Some of us who they mentored are still around and hanging on to the hope that we can still make a difference. It may be a vain hope, but it is a hope. Old Salty

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Todd, you may find it pathetic but the folks you're criticizing are IN corrections, so don't get too uppity. They just work with kids, so have a different attitude toward the job than a street cop. That doesn't mean the person is a pacifist - with all respect, your criticisms just show you don't understand their job and how it differs from yours. If you think it's just pacifists who believe it's counterproductive to pepper spray a 10 year old, you've got another think coming.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for that Grits. I was fuming on that one from Todd. People should never claim to own the shoes they've never walked in before.

Anonymous said...

If TYC does such a great job with the kids why do they graduate to TDCJ?

Anonymous said...

To 6:44

Not all of TYC Kids "graduate to TDCJ" as you put it. Don't you think you are over-generalizing just a bit? The kids we help are probably the ones who have family support after their release. The ones who "graduate to TDCJ" are probably just following the family tradition.

It would be interesting to find out.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:44 p.m. It is obvious that you have no childcare experience nor experience raising kids. TYC does a great job, but like any family, you build a foundation for the kids that you hope will give them the values, morals, ethics, responsibility, nurturing, dependability, knowing right from wrong, knowing truth and lies, and a support system. The support system consists of the parents, extended family, friends and religion (if thus chose). All these things figure into a kid becoming a productive member of society and your pride and joy. Some of the TYC kids have never had a support system. Some of them had no one to teach them the above and therefore had no direction. They face situations without knowing how to handle them and then find themselves in trouble. They don't pick the right friends or the right group to hang around with and circumstances lead them to trouble with the law or drugs. This happens in the best and worst of families. So don't be so condescending toward TYC. We do the best with what we have and hope pray we make a difference in someone's life and we turn him/her around for the better. We want them to be productive members of society, we don't want them to fail. We have kids from all socio-econmic levels. So be careful what you say; one of your kids could end up at TYC and you better pray that he gets the caliber of staff that is employed with TYC. The ones that care enough to see the kid through thick and thin. The ones that will never give up in finding ways to reach him. The ones that sit there and listen to the awful home life that sent him to TYC. The ones that tell the kid, well your parent/s did the best they coud with what they had. The ones that listen to the kid cry in bed. We can't save all the kids, but we can sure darn try. Those that end going to TDCJ, make us all sad.

Take your words back and apologize to these folks cause you haven't got a clue.

Anonymous said...

I'm a single parent and my child, now 34 years old, has turned out O.K. I worked hard and did my very best to make sure he was "raised right".

I know the fact that he turned out O.K. invloved a lot of luck along with hard work on my part and his.

Raising children is hard work with no guarantee of success. Staff at TYC deal with that every day.

Anyone who tries to minimize these children and the fact that they deserve the best chance we can give them is a fool!

Anonymous said...

To 7:30
Yes; and I am happy to read I made my point. Many TYC employees' comments portray The youthful offender as sweet little kids who hit a bump in the road. Granted there are a few of them in TYC (I disagree with them taking up space in TYC when these youth could be provided services in community based programs). The general public (also the victims of the youthful offenders) perceives the TYC employees as coddling the violators. If they read most of the TYC Employees comments I believe this same public would be reinforced in their perception.

To 8:02
Until you have walked in my shoes you don't have a clue. I would really like to sit down somewhere with you ; one on one, and discuss these issues. I am a father; One of my daughters is a school teacher; my other daughter was just beginning her college studies (also a teacher) when a product of your system shot and killed her in a drive-by shooting. He missed who he was shooting at. She just happened to be walking down the street. I grew up in an evironment much tougher and earlier than his. I have personal and professional experience "walking in your shoes" and then some.

whitsfoe said...

I'm sorry 8:39 p.m. Big wet kiss on the forehead. I can't imagine losing my daughter like that: I'm so sorry and I for one will always remember the victims. - whit

Anonymous said...

Dear 8:39,

I am so sorry for your loss. I can't begin to imagine your pain. I can imagine how angry you are though, because you seem to be placing your anger on every kid at TYC. Do you really think that is fair? You can't generalize all TYC kids any more than you can generalize all Texans, even though I truly understand why you do.

Please understand that I mean no disrespect, because I can NOT imagine what you have gone through and obviously are still going through. I would only like to share a quote with you:

Time spent in anger is time wasted.

Have you ever thought about sharing your experience with TYC kids through a victim impact panel? It is a moving and powerful way to help you deal with your pain and possibly help to change a troubled young life in the process.

Please don't take this the wrong way. Your story brought tears to my eyes, and I am only offering a suggestion. May God bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

You asked who else I'd like to see sprayed??? How about those in CO who hae authorized this . . . let's start with Scary Lady, herself - DP. Then how about our amazing legal staff who don't understand juvenile law and the differences between them and adults. Then, of course, there are those who have a job to do, but find a way out, thus "refusing to follow a reasonable request". . .what a list that would be.

Anonymous said...

Are mother-in-laws excluded?

Anonymous said...

3:53...I like your humor. In the face of adversity, a little laughter can be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

well if you think that's funny, you should've seen me "man-shopping" for school clothes this weekend. "Man Shopping" equates to getting the little ones in their school clothes while taking advantage of the tax free week-end. My little ones got their first experience of the typical "Man Shopper." We were in and out in less than an hour - no shit. Now we're home praying for our brotha and sista's in the Carribean. How's it going @RJ with your company? Bet those boyz are loving being around those chicas!

Anonymous said...

It will be physically impossible to spray those in CO responsible for this. They'e all gone to DC this week on our dime to play patty cake with the DOJ.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the DOJ's reaction to the new OC spray policy will be.

Anonymous said...

wonder if they'll share that bit of information

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they'll ever share ANY information.

Anonymous said...

I was informed that the TDCJ guards had to spray the youth they were evacuating from Evins on the way to Brownwood (Ron Jackson Unit)because they were rocking the bus during transit.

Has this it the airways yet, probably not.

Anonymous said...

Grits for Breakfast ALWAYS gets the news first. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Just son everyone is clear--We have always had pepper spray, we were eventually were limited on when and how we could use it after boneheads made poor decisions with their "power."

When spray was limited to administrator approval, our staff assaults and youth injuries were through the roof and the behavior problems not only persisted, but increased. I am from the "old school" and pride myself with the ability to talk to the youth without using force. But, when a youth has considered his choices and has decided to hurt himself or someone else, I am thankful that we now have the option to quickly halt a situation using less lethal means (as opposed to falling on concrete or on metal bunks).

No abuse of any kind is needed in TYC--this includes the abuse of OC spray. Spraying a youth for "refusing to stand up" is done by idiots. Those who make those types of decisions, or ones that stroke their own lacking egos using OC are the reasons why TYC gets into trouble and set up litigation.

We are charged with rehabilitating the most violent offenders in the state. Obviously, we would much rather talk all day than using any sort of force; however, that is not always and option. I am glad there is an alternative option to dealing with violence, that when properly allied, washes off in less than 20 minutes. And BTW, I have been sprayed...I wouldn't do it on the weekend for fun, but if it were my kid, I would prefer him to be pepper rather than having his head busted open during the commotion of a restraint! IMO, of course...

spearshaker said...
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Anonymous said...

Give it up Howard, we have to know if this is true or not. What a lesson in history that'd be. I read earlier where Turman testified that he'd never been exposed to mace. Well, TYC doesn't use mace, but pepper spray, and we CAN say our guy Jim got the full effects and then some. If anyone wants to criticize this as a publicity stunt, I can think of a hell'uve lot more alternatives than being sprayed.

Anonymous said...

The issue is not that Jim was sprayed but the media was called because he was being sprayed 'IDIOT"!!! This is sensationalism journalism 101.

Call the media based upon all the heat the agency is receiving and tell them our PR guy is going to get sprayed so he will understand the effects of OC.

Was the media necessary? No, it was not, but it did make the papers and the leadership was able to deflect some criticism over their new policy by doing this. This is the crap we are tired of. Do I believe OC will help? Yes, if used properly, right now TYC does not even have a Use of Force Policy.

So what happens when a youth jumps on you and you have been told the agency no longer employees Handle With Care and a youth becomes injured?

Anonymous said...

I decided I better post this hear rather than on the Kenneth Foster strings (Foster is scheduled to be executed despite serious evidence he did not commit a capital offense)... but, I am concerned... the plan to save Foster requires action by the governor...would you like to reconsider folks? Consider what he has done to TYC... Foster may still have a chance.. the Supremes may still function as the highest court in the land and not the stooge of the neoreactionaries... and, this being Texas, we cannot rule out divine intervention.. hurricane anyone? But please, NOT the gov... after all, the man he replaced went on to accept torture and suspension of the constitution as reasonable. (and yes, I realize this is tasteless regarding a very serious issue... but does anybody really expect this governor to understand any of the concern, much less do something about it? After all, he put TDCJ in charge of young offenders and they couldn't even figure out how to get the older ones out even after they lost jurisdiction?)

Anonymous said...

But they're really good at firing people!

Anonymous said...

548 additional contract beds are needed to reduce open bay dorm pod sizes from 24 to 16 beds, including bed reductions at facilities where construction of individual rooms is not possible. TYC does not have existing capacity to absorb the reduction in pod sizes.

How will you have a 12-1 ratio with this idea?

Anonymous said...

Spearshaker,

Alicia Morales was committed pretty much as you describe, from El Paso, and her legal aid attorney was only allowed to interview her and other plaintiffs at Gainesville with the institution's superintendent in the room, in violation of attorney-client privilege. Attorneys were hindered in all kinds of ways from communicating with their clients.

Kids were still committed for "incorrigibility" back then, a vague category which often encompassed status crimes like curfew violations, truancy, underage drinking or precocious sexuality.

In many cases parents, like Morales' father, just signed what were called "agreed judgments," without a court hearing at all.

This all took place during the rights revolution in juvenile justice, when a series of federal court decision, led by In Re Gault (1967), extended due process protections to juveniles.

Although Morales began as a case about due process rights for El Paso wards, it expanded into a "conditions of confinement" case because lawyers couldn't gain free access to their institutionalized clients. Morales exposed all sorts of practices that were deemed cruel and not conducive to rehabilitation. That's why it is considered relevant today.

But are its conclusions made less relevant because the kids today are more violent? That is the million dollar question.

Bill Bush, UNLV

Anonymous said...

OK Grits, I am sorry to say, but I think you are falling down on the job. I just heard that a youth had to be waited on in the median as he suffered heat stroke on the evacuation bus from the Evins unit. I heard that youth were shackled to the floor and that there were no bathroom breaks resulting in youth peeing on themselves. the new revised 300 hours of training was implemented this week. this was after 2weeks of revisions and no training given to the trainers. The Transitional Treatment Program training schedul ed for this week was cancelled due to lack of 10 participants registered. (when Resocialization was alive it was trained every month for the last several years). What this means is that there virtually, realistically, and practically no real treatment happening at TYC. Only confining (cuffing)and busing, peeing, confusing, rushing, and basically crisis management. One has got to ask himself or herself one question. If my child just got committed at TYC, If my child just got a job at TYC, would I feel confident that they would recieve the kind of treatment; would I feel confident that they would receive the kind of training that would allow them a sense of safety, security, respect and well being. No. Where is the outrage, the media, the leadership, the total outcry for help. Where is the call for common decency and the core values that founded this country? The only news I see is about the 19yos being caught between a new conflicting law.

I need to get out of this, because it is going down so fast. I can't even see it as it disappears on a daily basis.

what are the instructions for signing up for that documentary because as soon as I am able, I will volunteer to say anything that I know about TYC.

whitsfoe said...

Hey Bill, if I come out to Vegas, any chance I can get you to advise me on the Roulette table? We'd make a mint my man! With your history experience, and my stats experience, I'm sure of it! Red 17!

Anonymous said...

I hope Bill makes it out to Vegas Whitsfoe. Maybe ya'll will win BIG $$$ and use it to buy some leadership for the agency... or at least pay the current leadership to leave. Either way, we'd be better off.

Anonymous said...

Oops...I think I got that backwards. Sounds like Bill is already in Vegas and Wihitsfoe needs to make the trip out there. Good luck guys.

Anonymous said...

Whitsfoe,

My favorite games used to be craps and roulette before I became a dad. It wasn't the casinos that cleaned me out, it was the children...:>

Bill Bush

spearshaker said...
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Anonymous said...

Spearshaker,

I agree with you about the right to treatment doctrine, but it had been my understanding that Judge Justice included it in his original ruling and that portion was overturned by the 5th Circuit in NOLA, then sent back to him.

I really regret that I never spoke with Judge Justice personally while researching my project. That was a major oversight.

Bill Bush, UNLV

Gritsforbreakfast said...

He's still around, Bill - you oughtta do it while he's still alive and alert, he's getting on in age.

spearshaker said...
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Anonymous said...

In his opinion of August 31, 1973, at 364 F.Supp. 166, 174-175, Judge Justice made the conclusion of law that juveniles committed to the custody of TYC enjoy a right to treatment guaranteed by two authorities, the federal constitution and state statute. The Fifth Circuit doubted the former; the latter abides in black and white in the Human Resources Code.

Emily said...

Scott, I don't suppose you have any idea how to contact Judge Justice, do you?

spearshaker said...
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Anonymous said...

Emily, please give me your movie email address again. I know, you have posted it many times, but I cannot find it. Thanks

spearshaker said...
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Anonymous said...

The next Hurley publicity stunt...I know several youth that would just love to beat the crap out of him, just so he can say he now knows how that feels, too. No amount of these ridiculous stunts will give Hurley any credibility in TYC.

Anonymous said...

i would like 2 c mcfadden pepper sprayed. every last one of them.