Amid growing controversy over the proposed release on parole of more than 150 youth offenders, a majority of them serving time for violent crimes, a special legislative committee on Tuesday scheduled a public hearing to review ongoing reforms at the scandal-racked Texas Youth Commission.
The Capitol hearing is set for 10 a.m. Aug. 29, committee officials said.
Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, a committee co-chairman, said the panel will hear from Youth Commission officials and members of the public on issues at the agency, which is in charge of incarcerating and rehabilitating teenage offenders in Texas.
Many questions I might pose to the agency and the committee should have already been answered in a FAQ document created from TYC's much-ballyhooed State of the Agency tour. Every time I ask about the FAQ, I'm told it will be released soon - yesterday I was told it would be released "today" - but so far, nada. TYC should release that document immediately so the information can inform testimony at next week's public hearing. Here are a few of my own unanswered questions, offhand:
- Where is the rehabilitation plan?
- Where is the conservator's report?
- Where is the State of the Agency FAQ?
- Where is the agency's use of force policy?
- Does TYC still plan to privatize incarcerating 10-13 year olds?
- If not, how will stated reduction goals for inmate populations be achieved?
- If inmate populations don't go down as much as anticipated, how will the agency address understaffing?
- Why have so many senior staff positions been filled with TDCJ employees instead of juvenile justice experts?