Friday, September 07, 2007

TYC Project Reform Update: First Look

Last month the Texas Youth Commission gave a fat 200+ page "Project Reform Update" to legislators, the Governor and other policymakers that was discussed frequently at last week's joint legislative oversight hearing.

I obtained a copy of this document today under the Public Information Act, though I haven't had a chance to go through it yet (just the bureaucracy flow charts alone will give you a headache). UPDATE: I tried to make the link available a couple of different ways, but I'm afraid the file was too large.

Though I've not read much of this yet, one or two interesting items did jump out at me:

A total 586 employees jobs were effected when the Marlin and John Shero units closed in August. TYC lost a total of 126 of employees who previously worked at those facilities. (Table 1, executive summary)

A chart on p. 46 of the document shows that new monthly commitments to TYC still far outstrip the number of student released, so everyone can expect short-term reductions in the youth inmate population to increase again over time. That's not a tidbit administrators were emphasizing when they insisted JCO-youth staffing levels were at 1-12.

Another tidbit I find somewhat more comforting: "The design of dorms at facilities that currently have open bays are scheduled for reconfiguration. The agency received appropriations of $20 million for remodeling youth dormitories from 24-bed open-bay design into 16-single cell units" (p. 52). That should help reduce violence and make TYC facilities less dangerous for staff and youth alike.

I'll take a closer look at these materials and have more commentary soon.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

You cannot open the pdf site??

Anonymous said...

No.

Anonymous said...

I'm also having no success in opening the .pdf file from the link.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Sorry guys, I tried a couple of different ways and the file's too big for me to upload, apparently. I'll just have to blog more from it.

Anonymous said...

Can the file be split into a part A and part B so it is samll enough to download?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

If anybody knows how to break up a pdf file, let me know; I don't technically know how to do it, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

You could probably just request to have it resent to you broken up into manageable file sizes.

SB 103 said...

"In each correctional facility operated by the commission that has a dormitory, including an open-bay dormitory, the commission must maintain a ratio of not less than one juvenile correctional officer performing direct supervisory duties for every 12 persons committed to the facility."

The bill doesn't say how to calculate the ratio, or how it must be "maintained".

Reading "performing" to mean "who performs" permits the ratio to be calculated as (all JCOs on payroll at the facility) : (all youth committed to that facility); which would work out, even with staff shortages, to greater than 1:12. There are three workshifts of JCOs to one cohort of committed youth.

Didn't the Legislature mean "during the direct supervision of youth no staff may alone supervise more than twelve at a time"?

Did any committee member ask management, "How are you calculating the ratio?"

Anonymous said...

Did you try to scan parts and save them in PDF and send this info out in sections? We would like to read this and this is how I send large files out. I think those who are truly interested could print and then clip the pages together and read the material.

This is the only suggestion I would have for such a large file.

Anonymous said...

Another interesting turn of events that has not seemed to have gone public yet: TYC has decided to reverse course on their plans for what to do with the 19-21yr old offenders (sentenced offenders for sure; not sure if it applies to non-sentenced offenders). TYC was in the process of sending all TYC sentenced offenders to TDC parole or back to court for transfer to TDC for incarceration. Now, they have decided that they can continue to keep them and let them continue on with their treatment until they complete their MOC or they turn 21. So, in effect, all of the "kids" who were there before SB103 are being grandfathered in and do not have to leave.

Anonymous said...

9:52,

Direct supervision in SB 103 means that "correctional officers" (not caseworkers, etc.) must be engaged in "direct supervision" of youth (i.e. a JCO VI is not engaged in direct supervision of youth.)

Since TYC's current administration has shown no inclination toward complying with the law, they are probably counting maintenance and clerical workers in their calculations despite what the law says.

I, personally, would like to read this report. It is probably the greatest work of fiction since the last Harry Potter book. Parrotting what the legislature has directed and saying you are doing it is not much of a plan. Does this report actually say what they have done in the last six months? Or how specifically are they going to implement SB 103?

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Grits,
Try doing a "Save as" to create a copy of the PDF, then play with it. Maybe you can delete pages the way you can from a Word document, if so just dump half the pages and save as again to see how far down the file size drops...

Anonymous said...

"The design of dorms at facilities that currently have open bays are scheduled for reconfiguration. The agency received appropriations of $20 million for remodeling youth dormitories from 24-bed open-bay design into 16-single cell units"

I Have said this before....How Are You Going To Have A 12-1 Ratio With 16 Beds ? ?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Hickman in regards to the staff/student ratio. At my facility, the administration counts the cooks in our ratio along with the caseworkers and themselves. Also, our VI has direct supervision of the youth.

Anonymous said...

If 11:48 is right that they will keep sentenced offenders until they complete thier MPC, that is good for the youth, but another example of TDCJr thinking the laws don't apply to them.

Anonymous said...

A true staffing pattern would only include the JCO supervisors and JCO's. The superintendent and assistant superintendant might be included as well but no one else. These are supposed to be security positions.

Anonymous said...

Howard A. Hickman is probably correct about the report being a major work of fiction. From the information I received from the Mart units recently they are hemorrhaging staff. They tried to use school teachers as caseworkers and most of them found teaching jobs out of the TYC system. What rocket scientist came up with the idea professional people would work out of their area of specialization? Another factor is the case managers at Mart are often used to fill other empty slots such as security officers and JCO. Also the big raise for case managers had some hidden clauses that will disallow most of the current case managers from getting the raise. The case manager “Big” pay raise looks almost like the paid overtime lie handed to Mart employees. Senator Whitmire had to move the intake unit from Marlin to Mart so a relatively stable work force was destroyed in Mart fashion. Don’t worry the National Guard is still an option that may be gaining traction to man TYC. I find it very hard to believe the 1:12 ratio has actually been achieved considering the 19+ are still in TYC and the 10-14 year old youth contract care was temporarily derailed by some Austin Blogger! Can you get the 200 page report on a roll of quilted double layer sheets? Hope so because that is most likely all it’s good for!

By - FTM

Anonymous said...

Texas government would make a great soap opera show! Lets give it a name! How about "As Good Hair Turns"? I know you can come up with a better name, give it a try so we can have a laugh to brighten our day.

Anonymous said...

What sort of hidden clause affecting the case worker raises?

Anonymous said...

I heard HR has new managers. I bet they are from TDCJ. I can't believe EY is still there at least for now. They are losing good staff there. There is a farewell party every week at Central Office. SAD!

Anonymous said...

You're right. They're from TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

How about calling it As the Pope and her Puppies Grow, TYC Dies!

Anonymous said...

FTM (7:58 p.m.) had the correct information regarding Mart. Case Manager's are often used as JCO staff. From the first of March to July the Case Managers had to work every weekend, at least one day of the weekend, as JCO staff. That was on top of the Case Manager's other "assigned" duties (Covering Security in the AM and PM, Visitation, PM Case Managers) of which a Case Manager could expect to have at the MINIMUM 5 duties per month.
Mart is hemorrhaging staff. Everyday there is a new list of staff who have resigned or have never come back to work. Sometimes the list is short, other times it is long. The expected new staff coming to Mart from Marlin and John Shero has not come to pass. True, Mart did get a lot of staff from those two facilities, but not the expected amount. Mart JCO's are still working back to back 12 hours shifts. When the JCO's come to work each day, they do not expect to leave when their shift ends. When they are able to, it is like getting an unexpected present. JCO's are still working a 16:1 staff to student ratio. The staff is tired! Exhausted from all the 12 hours shifts, and not getting breaks. Even restroom break are difficult to get! (By the way, that is not an exageration) How does having tired staff create a safe culture on the dorms? It doesn't.
I will end this on a positive note,though. At least the staff to student ratio is down from 24:1.

Anonymous said...

http://www.pdf-file.com/

pdf. software to make word doc's from pdf.'s

Gritsforbreakfast said...

This massive file ate the trial version of that conversion software's lunch!

Kathy think she can do it later today, or if not I'll just ask TYC for a broken up version on Monday.

Thanks to those who've offered to help. If it'd go over email we'd have it fixed by now.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 12:1 ratio, my facility is close to that requirement - as long as the JCO staff continues to work 12-16 hour shifts, 6-7 days per week. Is there any verification of Pope's claims?

Anonymous said...

Are staff getting paid for overtime on a regular basis?

Anonymous said...

And are case managers being paid overtime?

Anonymous said...

Superintendents have been authorized to pay overtime to casemanagers when they work as JCO staff. Whether the Supts. are actually authorizing the OT pay for casemanagers or not is another story.

Anonymous said...

FTM at 7:58 said: "What rocket scientist came up with the idea professional people would work out of their area of specialization?" . . . . I say the same rocket scientist who put an educator in charge of all rehabilitative services.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Pope made a recent trip to Mart. She gave the superintendent of Mart 1 the option of quitting or being transferred to Giddings. It would appear Ms. Pope was unhappy with the way Mart 1 was being managed by the superintendent. The superintendent of Mart 2 it seems is doing as Ms. Pope expects since he escaped the move to a new unit or hit the door treatment.

I have been told if you refuse to work 12-16 hours a day 6-7 days a week at Mart you will be fired. Sounds like a solid personnel policy to keep people working for TYC at Mart. One individual I talked to was promised cash to work overtime but was then told he would be getting comp time. He immediately resigned from TYC when he learned he had been lied to about the cash overtime payment. The excuse he was given was that TYC didn’t really have the money to pay overtime.

The latest information on the case manager raise is you must have a related degree plus a LCDC license, related Master’s Degree, or be a licensed Associate Psychologist working as a case manager. Case Managers with many years of experience but no LCDC license and related degree will not get the big raise that was promoted by TYC administration. You can expect more highly experienced staff to be leaving TYC due to this slap in the face for case managers. Case Managers got screwed when the JCO got their big raise and are screwed again.

It is easy to see there is deception in almost everything coming out of TYC CO these days. Honesty and integrity are nowhere to be found in TYC CO upper administration. It is clear the numbers were “Adjusted” to make it seem the 1:12 ratio was being met in the recent report by Pope and Owens. I can only wonder how long this administration will be allowed to destroy what is left of TYC. The agency is spiraling downward at a much higher rate than I expected. I only see the destruction of the agency picking up momentum from this point forward. I hope current employees are doing job searches to protect themselves.

I would be interested in hearing how things are going at other TYC units relating to overtime pay vs. comp time. Also how are the staffing levels? Are people being used as JCO plus doing their assigned duties? Are long overtime shifts required with limited rest days?

By - FTM

Anonymous said...

We work at CO and we are also planning to leave.

Just to let everyone who reads this know the mortality rate at TYC continues.

Howard, good to see you are still in the mix.

Any ideas about how to re apply for your same job? can we demand more money?

If they do not offer our new reconfigured jobs to us, can we still file for unemployment?

BTW, these guys are not rocket scientists!

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like the geniuses in the legislature and the geniuses they've appointed to run TYC are running on the same erroneous assumptions.

And they've all forgotten the popular etymology of assume -- ASS-U-ME.

Anonymous said...

FTM, you are incorrect about the Casemanager raises. They were established as targeted raises, but you left out an important group - those with over 2 years and those with over 3 years. Both of these groups represent high-turnover groups and both of them got big raises. Long-term casemanagers were the ones least affected by the raises, unless they were SOTP qualified. Again, just try to find an SOTP qualified casemanager somewhere.

Anonymous said...

FTM - you are treating a transfer to Giddings as some kind of negative. Don't you realize that Giddings is considered the plum assignement for Superintendents? Being moved to Giddings was not a demotion for Chip Walters. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

FTM, where are you getting your information? Curtis Simmons just transferred to Mart II. The Giddings Superintendency comes with a very nice, large house just off-campus. Traditionally, being Supt at Giddings has been a stepping stone to higher office in TYC. I don't think Chip was moved kicking and screaming to Giddings, especially since he was not particularly keen on the idea of running the orientation and assessment center. OS