Friday, September 14, 2007

TYC Retrospective

With a new lawsuit to overturn its pepper spray policy, the Blue Ribbon Panel releasing its report yesterday, plus a lot of other related information on the Texas Youth Commission coming out recently, I thought I'd update this list of significant Grits posts and other resources about TYC for readers' and researchers' convenience. Call it Grits' Red, White and Blue Ribbon Report:

TYC's Longstanding Problems:
New Leadership's Rocky Start
Adult Prison Staff Dominate Administration
New Management's Flaps and Fumbles
What Happened to Abused Kids Identified this Spring?
Ignoring Experts on Pepper Spray Policy
TYC's Secret Privatization Plan: On or off?
SEE ALSO:

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you grits for the blue ribbon panel report. in my view it contradicts the current direction our new tdcj administration is taking. that is why this report is a guarded secret and from what i heard, if shared that person was threatened with their job. i have been advised not to ask for it or i would be putting another target on myself. (probably have about 3 or 4 already). by the way grits, since you shared this, you're fired. too bad the agency does not have the integrity to share it. secrets, lies, deception, power, and control. sounds a whole lot like west texas administrators back in 2005. i do not believe i have ever seen such a messed up place to work. it just keeps getting worse, and we need a lot of help. your post is really helping. Thanks again.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

There's no doubt in my mind TYC is headed the opposite direction from the BRP recommendations - they even say so.

Actually, I used to work someplace as screwed up as TYC, which perhaps is why I empathize with the stalwart employees on this blog whose priority is still the kids. It's no fun to work for a dysfunctional organization, and FWIW I know one when I see it. Good luck,

Anonymous said...

It seems that our elected officials are not doing much to correct the current dysfunctional leadership we have. All TYC employees need to get involved and comment on grits. There is a lot of truth in the "together we stand and divided we'll fall" analogy. We have got to fight for ourselves and the youth in our care. I agree that they are not there because they are the "all american boy/girl next door" but they are still human beings and entitled to a chance at rehabilitation. As previous commentors have stated, we may not change all of them, but we can sure give them the opportunity by being role models and giving them hope for the future. Even though they did not give felons any hope at all!

The chaos the current leadership and our elected politicians have created has now affected all support staff. We are now beginning to lose good support staff as well and no one seems to care. The uncertaintly, and as the commentor at 6:53 a.m. stated, "the lies, secrets, deceptions, power and control;" the very things that got us into trouble when West Texas Scandal broke and is in full swing again.

I am a support staff, but I can clearly see what is going on. I may not work directly with the youth but even I can see that the youth need a structured, caring environment which they failed to get within their real family structure. That's not to say that all families fail their kids because, lord knows, you do the best you can but sometimes, even in the best of families, kids go astray. Either in their teens or as adults, as we witnessed with the two sickos at West Texas that blew the lid off the whole sordid mess. The majority of TYC staff work for TYC because they want to make a difference and turn these youth around, they are special and angels in my eyes. Yes, bad apples appear in every workplace even in the corporate world. It is not unique to TYC but state jobs do nourish a certain kind "political environment." However it should not be allowed to become sytemic and it should never be allowed to be about repaying political favors. I don't know how one could prevent that, but I can sure mention it FWIW. Our elected officials, need to take a look at what they've done! They appointed people to high positions who have no juvenile corrections experience. They in turn have hired their cronies, either because they worked together at TDCJ, at one time or another, and too bad for us, none of them have juvenile corrections experience. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you the elected officals what a mess they've created. Yes, the previous leadership did have juvenile corrections experience and yes some of them were corrupt, but that does not mean you don't go all out and hire the best you can find to reform the agency. You don't use the dollar store bandaids. (I'm not knocking the store okay or people that patronize the store, just trying to make a point.) In some instances there is a difference between the generic and name brand product especially those that are tried and true.

In my opinion, they need to call for heads to roll and start recruiting for a highly qualified leadership. These people may or may not be within our current pool of employees but you wil never know until some kind of action is undertaken to find out. Until then, it's the youth you are hurting. Yes, elected officials, its you that have infested us with a new strain of the system disease, 10 times over.

I am pleading for every single TYC employee to register to vote, engage your family members and friends to do the same and begin a campaign to oust these officals at as their elections come up.

They have hurt the incarcerated youth of Texas and will continue to do so. The current leadership can't fix something they don't have a clue about and it is so obvious that one wonders why our elected officals refuse to open their eyes. You're keeping a weak leadership at the expense of the youth! Not a good thing at all!!!

Thanks!

Nurit said...

I put on my bulletproof outerwear before posting these comments...the long awaited Blue Ribbon Panel's report was a disappointment in that it added nothing to the knowledge base for reforming the agency. But with that said, the agency is taking steps in the right direction in planning the new treatment paradigm. It is based upon practices with demonstrated positive impact for re-integrating incarcerated youth. That does not imply that it will reduce recidivism, however, but that the youth will recognize more choices or options when trying to function within their community settings. There is also a push to involve families and good support for the Ombudsman's efforts to establish avenues for advocacy groups and self-advocacy options.
I believe that a great deal of the problem still lies with the secrecy and overall lack of communication from the top-down. No one knows about these developments except as overheard or inadvertantly shared by someone with privileged communications. Never a day goes by that someone doesn't mention the possibility of being on the street on a whim and the disregard for employee needs grows. But this is hardly new to this agency. The past several top dawgs have had the same philosophy of use 'em, abuse 'em, lose 'em.

Anonymous said...

It's really sad that we have don bulletproof vests, isn't it? The freedom of speech is taken by the leadership as their freedom to fire because they will not lose their employment. It is obvious there is someone protecting them.

I believe we all know wherein lies the coverup!

Anonymous said...

The important fact that most posters are missing is that the current leadership of TYC is doing exactly what the leaders of the legislature wanted them to do. Thus the love-fest at the latest hearing. These people are not incompetent, they are just following orders. Their very jobs depend on them doing exactly that. Things will not change until the political leadership changes.

BTW, I met the Ombudsman recently, and I was really impressed with the guy. He is open to staff input, as well as youth and family input; and he is obviously very bright. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

And what's our ombudsman doing to get anything changed?

Anonymous said...

I know this is a side not but for those of us no longer with the agency can any one give a current list of Superintendents and Assistants. Just curious who retained their jobs?

Anonymous said...

Al Price - Ayo Omoniyi
CRTC - Rebecca Thomas-Cox, Laura Cazabon-Braly
Crockett - Jerome Williams, Debra Gibbs
Evins - Eddie Martinez, Juan Gonzales
Gainesville - Pasul Bartush, Gwam Hawthorne
Giddings - Alan Walters, Jackie Urbach
Mart - Curtis Simmons, Jeff Berry
Ron Jackson - Teresa Stroud, Tom Adamski, Lynda smith
Sheffield - Mike Davis, Deborah Harris
VFCA - Donald Brooks, Wallace Brown
WTSS - Mike Davis, Bill Hollis

Anonymous said...

Mart I: Laura Braly/Jeff Berry
Mart II: Curtis Simmons/Charles Barton

Anonymous said...

Grits, I was anon at 6:53. All I have to say is that because of you we are making a difference regarding the Juvenile Justice System in Texas. Right now I am just trying to hang on. Be a positive supporter for the good, and do the right thing. From what I can tell, the whole system is eroding, and important persons, and supportive personnel are all looking at options, to get out. We have lives too. There is real teeth in this work as it contributes to real social value. I am still reading the BRP report.

I think it is so sad that despite continual efforts to be involved, and getting the brush off, the only way I got the report was via GRITS!!! VIVA GRITS!!!

I learn so much from this site, such as today I learned that the privilege system was or is being discontinued. You would think that persons involved in programing and training would lean this fact internally. Not true, learned it on GRITS.

Did I say, VIVA GRITS!!!

When all of this is over I plan to personally email you my thank you. Bigger than the reforms, I see the values and culture of the CO of TYC as eroded. Gone. I have always believed that the top sets the yardstick measure for the rest of the organization. We rarely hear from the top. Read about it in the paper or on GRITS!!!

Our yardstick is now secrecy, deception, lies, power, control, narcissism, self centerness, personal gain, self effacing, on and on and on and on.

When I was a Juvenile Probation Officer, these were the same type of characteristics that I tried to deal with my probationers.

The difference between them and our leaders is only 3 things: the amount of money they make, their improved vocabulary, and their legal use of power and control.

Otherwise we see the same persons with flawed intentions substituted as decisive actions and values.

Hopefully card houses always do fall.

Signed

Al Hurt

Anonymous said...

You can strike Eddie Martinez off the list for Evins. Bronco Billy ran him off yesterday. Looks like the Chupenacabra's hand picked guy will now be in the driver's seat. Guess that's how real compadres get the nod. Word is all that need's to be said now is, LOOK OUT VALLEY. The drugs and the valley gang are back in control at Evins. The Rangers need to check this out. Drug tests for all staff and youth are called for.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Eddie Martinez, are we talking about the Superintendent at Evins Eddie?

Why would anyone run off a Juvenile professional with over 20 plus years off? I hope this is not true, Mr. Martinez started his career at West Texas State School, then went to Brownwood State School, then as the Assistant and Superintendent at Gainesville State School, then to Giddings State School as the Superintendent, then he was banished to Evins for whatever reason. And now a pink slip? He was within a year of retirement.

Anonymous said...

Because the people in charge are idiots.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Day, who represented two of Mr. Buentello's victims in the
TYC is finding new leaders - in state's troubled prison system

2004 federal sexual discrimination lawsuit that named Mr. Owens and other TDCJ officials as defendants, said the agency's handling of workplace harassment was the worst she had encountered.

"It's a good ol' boy system of retaliation," she said. "And what I found is that the employee system seems to mimic the inmate system of retaliation. If you complain, you are dead meat, and they never forget."


http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/091607dnprotyc.373ccb6.html

Anonymous said...

5:25 a.m., now he's been sent to TYC and he's brought all the gang with him!! Short of a scandal, what's it gonna take to wake up the pols???? If it's true they've run off Martinez from Evins, will Al Price be hit next, or Mart? They still have some supts with limited juvenile corrections experience. They are not going to rest until they have runoff anyone and everyone who knows a little more than they do!! Meanwhile, back at the ranch, both youth and what staff is still hanging on, are both suffering the reeling effects of their unsatiable egos and lack of juvenile justice/corrections experience!!

Anonymous said...

Is SAD but true that Mr. Martinez was handed a pink slip on Friday. Word at the Evins or Valley streets is that Mr. Martrinez right hand secretary was called to Austin for training but ended up being a parrot for what has been going on. I believe that some others will be next. Evins is now in bad shape and thanks to our representatives or central office personnel, who probably haven't spent a day in TYC floors, will find the solutions from behind a desk or computer.
I DARE them to come in a work an entire 8 hour shift to deal with the verbal abuse and see how many will change there mind on how to handle with these youths. Some of the staff there can handle this but our representatives and central office seems to think other wise. Mr. Eddie Martinez was but can be considered TO STILL BE ONE who can handle this.
TYC needs help and help quick.

Anonymous said...

Did Mr. Martinez not get transferred to another facility to take Alan Walters place when he left Mart or maybe at Giddings with Walters?

Also, Wallace Brown, new Supt. of Sheffeld as of Sept. 1

Anonymous said...

He didn't last a tenth of the time the last guy was down there. At least the drugs had gone away and the staff were coming to work on time with Bob driving. Oh well, another one bites the dust. Evins should be closed. It is a total waste and endless sinkhole of OUR TAX dollars.

Anonymous said...

TYC is on the verge of imploding. A state of emergency should be declared and get the JCO's immediate help. Too many staff are too tired to care if Johnny beats up on George. It is all they can do to work their hours and give up their R days and work an 8. Historically, the staff are worked like this and the big pay check comes later, because there is NEVER enough staff for people to take off their overtime hours and TYC pays through the nose. The entire facility budget goes down the drain because of overtime pay checks.

Anonymous said...

a quarter of the OT is bogus. simply stolen because there is no way to account (with real integrity) for time worked or taken in TYC. Gateway is a joke. Talk about criminal, that's a contract that really ought to be put under the scope.

Anonymous said...

Maybe today's articles in the DMN and the HC will get Perry and the lege to start looking closer at the incompetence of these people. And the hypocrisy of bringing in a conservator with a history of covering up sexual harassment.

Anonymous said...

12:40 p.m., TYC can only hope, apparently, that's all they got left. Once again Chuy puts his foot in his mouth, touting that these people are used to dealing with violent adults! In my book, this does not qualify them as juvenile corrections experts! If they managed to fool guv goodhair, well, some things are better left unsaid. Texans/parents of these youth please wake up in time to save TYC and the incarcerated youth they serve, your sons and daughters are entitled to a chance at rehabilitation! Rise up! The employees can always be replaced with more TDCJ cronies, as I'm sure they are used to dealing with violent adults and covering up sexual inappropriateness for higher ups!!!!

Thanks to MSM and Grits, they have brought this mess to light and here's hoping someone is listening for the sake of all juvenile delinquents that might end up at TYC.

Anonymous said...

zalqnhEvins has eaten up just about every Superintendent who has ever been assigned there, with the exception of Butch Held, who promoted up from there to Giddings, from whence he eventually retired. The Valley boys run that place, not TYC. TYC has never been in control down there. Judge Evins is still pulling strings, only from the background now, with Chuy as his gofer. They went to TYC for the money to build their very own Juveninle Justice Center. TYC insisted, that if they provided the money, it would be a TYC institution. It has never been a TYC institution in anything but name. The state needs to cut its losses with that place and turn it over to Hildalgo county. Let them run it officially, since they are already running it unofficially.

Anonymous said...

We can dream of the day another Conservator or Excutive Commissioner is hired and Pope and her incompetent TDCJ cronies are fired as ruthlessly as were the TYC administrators.

Anonymous said...

3:50 - I agree totally. Evins once was a little 96 bed facility serving valley kids. They have more problems down there than Pena and Chuy want to admit. Once that program expanded back in 94-95, it has been a black eye for this agency. Close Evins. Drp a small nuke, whatever. Just get rid of that shit.

Anonymous said...

Big Ed has anounced that he is done with TYC. He rides off into the sunset now. Gov Goodhair now gets to appoint an new conservator. Or not. Given his record, don't expect much from that clown! Another cover-up artist is sure to continue the tradition started with the marvelous Jay Kimbrough.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, remember the original cover up of the WTSS scandal was engineered by his cousin - Lydia Barnard. Gee, do we have a pattern here? I don't care if the Democrats run a chimpanzee against that guy, I will vote for his opponent.

Anonymous said...

How about Sponge Bob? Would you vote for him? he he he

Anonymous said...

I would still like to know why Eddie Martinez the supt at Evins was let go?

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what the status of the investigation is at Mcfadden Ranch. We haven't heard anything from them in a while. I hope they didn't fight till the death...

Anonymous said...

11:06 p.m., call Bronco Billy, he'll tell you!

Anonymous said...

6:59, Tyrant Cooke is still running a tight ship. She is now allowing a person who was terminated for sexual misconduct to "volunteer" at McFadden.

Because of course, Rules are made for other facilities, Not McFadden.

By the way, I do NOT want to hear "did you call the hotline?" Because it never works and it brings heat down on who made the report....The way I see it, the state needs to learn the hard way I guess. They will.

Anonymous said...

Um, 3:40. I believe that was Sen. Hinojosa's point exactly. The TDCJ folks' history working with violent adults makes them dangerously over-reactive when it comes to juvenile corrections. (See Bronco Billy.)

Anonymous said...

Eddie Martinez didn't get fired or let go. He gave his two weeks notice becuase he couldn't work for Billy Humphrey who has absolutely no integrity. When he gave the two weeks notice, he was given 30 minutes to get out by Humphrey.

Anonymous said...

That's a perfect example of how the TDCJrs are not fit for Juvenile Justice. The only way they know how to lead is by intimidation. That's not how you rehabilitate delinquents. Owens, Pope and Bronco Billy should all be fired!

Anonymous said...

Pope decided to pay a visit to Mcfadden Ranch today....anybody know what she did there?

Anonymous said...

Bronco Billy is a piece of work! How on earth did he get as high as he did in TDCJ? Even for that piss-poor agency he is something else!

still@theranchlisa said...

Pope diverted the ranch visit.

A investigator showed up due to an incident that invovled the VI not documenting meds and a kid cheeking meds and giving them out. An "internal" investigation was done by the kids CW and that 225 was found 60+/- days later by the program director on her desk in a pile of paperwork. This was only discovered because a kid called the hotline on it because no consequences were given to the supplying kid. Apparently, the VI is known for not documenting who gets what and is easily fooled into giving out another round. Nice. Her mind must still be on the finger licking incident.

With everything that has happened at McFadden recently, and in past years, one can no longer ask, "Why is Cooke still there?" One needs to ask, "Who does she know?"

Anonymous said...

11:02. Something needs to be done at McFadden NOW!!!!!!! It shouldn't matter "who" she knows, because WHEN a child dies in her care ( notice I didn't say IF) You had better believe NOBODY will be in her corner to help her out! Get rid of Lashbrook and the problems will all be solved ( nobody to "cover-up")
As a resident of the state of Texas...I DEMAND THIS PLACE BE INVESTIGATED!!!!!!! If this is what they are doing AFTER the place has been put on the spot, can you even imagine what has gone on there that nobody knows about???

uhaventrunmeoffcronies said...

When will something be done about McFadden?

Now there's a problem if that question is still being asked.

Whatever happened about the bleach/employees house incident?

Again, why is that question still being asked?

Anonymous said...

You people must not know Billy Humphrey at all. He has more class and integrity than anyone in this agency. Get over yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:
I know for a fact as a TYC employee that there are still many other employees that continue to act with an attitude of entitlement as if rules, law and policies did not apply to them. I know at the halfway house in San Antonio, there are caseworkers that still meet with students behind closed doors and closed window blinds. I know, because, I have see this firsthand and because I was one of them. I was under the impression that they were not allowed to do that anymore. You can't question them either or they will find a way to burn you. Soneone needs to look into this. Why do rules apply to some and not others?

Anonymous said...

TYC is not only hiding the assaults on youths but also the assaults that at MCSJCFII in Mart, Texas a WHITE teacher physically assaulted a BLACK teacher on 3 different occassions where there were several witnesses and the hotline called but according to Cherie Townsend, Matthew Blackstock, Alan Walters and Sentor John Whitmire called the assaults as, continuously discourteous yet the Black teacher was falsely accused of a verbal threat and was suspended then terminated because she was then accused of knowing the youth that ran from a soccer gane in January 2010 was going to run, all of this came about when the BLACK teacher filed a discrimination complaint against TYC officials.
When the BLACK teacher filed assault charges against the WHITE teacher with Mart PD TYC blocked the charge. What the hell is this if ain't RACIAL DISCRIMINATION???????
We at Mart Facility want the truth to be known. All the witnesses to the assaults were never questioned.
Everytime we turned in anything relating to the WHITE teacher there was ALWAYS an excuse for her behavior. She NEVER was disciplined for contraband, stealing or any TYC rules violations.
She still has a job. We are WHITE but we supoort the BLACK teacher and want her back at work. She is a DAMN good teacher.

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