Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More Legislative scrutiny for TYC

Texas Youth Commission conservator Ed Owens may think his job is done, but apparently the Legislature still thinks there's more for the agency to accomplish.

With the Senate Criminal Justice Committee meeting Friday to discuss problems at private youth prisons, tea-leaf readers may be interested to learn that House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden has set a separate hearing for next Wednesday on the subject of the agency's compliance with SB 103.

Then on October 29, the joint House-Senate Committee on TYC management and oversight will meet to address unspecified topics.

One thing I hope legislators will ask at one of these hearings: By statute the conservator must produce a report to the Legislature every two months, but Owens' first report is now more than three months overdue (the last one by former conservator Jay Kimbrough was submitted May 2). Before his job is formally "done," perhaps Mr. Owens can at least provide the Lege with an update on what he's been doing all this time?

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Madden or his staff reads this blog I would encourage him to contact Will Harrell and ask his assessment of the current leadership.

Call the Program Specialists, Assistant Superintendents, and Superintendents, who have over one year or better experience in their positions (pre- TYC/TDCJ). Touch base with the JCO staff that have over on year experience.

Talk to the Assistant Superintendent who was at Mart I but was transferred today without notice.

Talk with the HR Specialist from Central Office who resigned today, effective 10/15/07.

If you really want answers you will need to ask and not expect these answers to come forth without you asking.

Grazing Wonder said...

Ed's out in the pastures dude.

Anonymous said...

i think he gave a report the end of september

Anonymous said...

Let's hope his cronies join him. They can feast on cow patties!
That's what they've been feeding all of us for months! It gets a little old, dude, even coffee won't make them taste good!

Anonymous said...

I am glad there are going to be a lot of meetings.

I am afraid nothing good will come of all the meetings.

It has been said that it is better to do the wrong thing than to do nothing. The wrong thing has been done.

Learn from these mistakes and do the right thing ----- now is a good time to start.

Anonymous said...

who is leaving in HR and where was the Asst transferred?

Anonymous said...

They should also be encouraged to ask Billy Humphreys to explain many of his management decisions. I think if he asked enough direct and difficult questions everyone would see a scene right out of A Few Good Men when Billy begin to shout"you can't handle the truth!!!"

Anonymous said...

I agree with 8:25. Add to that list the persons in the training department that got RIF letters. How come some people are promoted without an interview, some are retained into a new job without an interview, and some are RIF and have to interview. And how about that guy that showed up with no job posting, no interview, but was hired on the spot. I was informed he was a friend of the governor.

I think what they are doing is unethical and illegal. This new transparency does not work.

Anonymous said...

What we commenters need to do is document a true "state of the agency." I work in one location and I see but a small portion of the total goings on within the agency. Folks from other facilities can share their own observations. We can compile these contributions to make one comprehensive, uniform document. Lord knows we aren't getting any information from this current administration (despite increasing the staff of the propaganda dept--err, i mean the "public relations" dept).

We have to figure this out for ourselves!

Signed,
ReVAmp

Anonymous said...

The real issue here is that Ed Owens retired BEFORE his officially set retirement, he never gave a shit about TYC, or youth and never should have placed his long-time accomplice D'Pope in any position of authority.

I seriously doubt the ability of Madden to read, much less hire a fact checker capable of reading. I seriously doubt that there is any real concern about fixing the problem since the previous solution was to make things worse.

What we need to do is vote all of the bastards out.

Anonymous said...

You TYC folks need to wake up to the real world! You are a STATE Agency; not the Mayo Clinic!

Your present approach to the problem will not accomplish much.

Every other year we have a legislative session. The "ledge" dictates what your agency will and will not be able to accomplish.

The majority of Texas voters want criminals (juvenile and adult) taken off the street(the only insurance they have that the criminals will not make them a victim again). They are not interested in rehabilitation as it costs to much and most believe it is not an attainable objective.

Do you really believe any agency will be headed by a person who will do what is good for the state ward but will buck the political system? Of course not!

If you work on a unit the first rule is safety/security. A kid or youth can make you just as dead as an adult. The wards of the state should receive well prepared food and live in safe and sanitary conditions. They need something to keep them busy. Stay safe out there.
Retired 2004

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Uh, Retired 2004 ... "the only insurance they have that the criminals will not make them a victim again."

That's exactly the advice Dimitria Pope gives them. It saddens me to hear criminal justice professionals repeat such nonsense, particularly applying such ideas to juvenile crime. That's why it was wrong to load up TYC with TDCJ refugees. It's like listening to Michael Vick advising a poodle owner on dog training methods.

Virtually all juvie inmates will get out if they survive TYC, and most will re-offend if not rehabilitated. They're gonna get out by 19 - the question is, will the state spend the time and money while they're in TYC to prevent future victims, or just keep them penned up until it's time to let the dogs out?

Anonymous said...

Will Harrell, Texas Youth Commission Ombudsman to Speak

Tuesday, October 16, 5:30pm
TNH 2.137 (UT School of Law)

Harrell will speak about his office's role in the restructuring and oversight
of the Texas Youth Commission, the Texas juvenile prison system.

Come and learn about how Harrell and his office are working to protect the
rights of juveniles incarcerated in the Texas prison system.

Anonymous said...

Scott, that is not advice, that is a fact! When they are incarcerated they will not be on the street committing another criminal act. How many of those in TYC are there for committing a violation for the First time?

My main point of the post: Rehabilitation costs money. TYC is not going to receive any significant amount of additional funding. The juvenile probation departments are not going to receive any significant funding increase. Do you believe Divine Intervention will correct the dilemma?

Most Criminal Justice professionals will agree that violators of the social system incarcerated/committed/ detained or whatever do not re-offend during that time (except for transgressions while incarcerated).

"Nonsense" you say? youth that are 13 years old killing , raping, and committing other heinous acts do not belong in a juvenile justice system ; they didn't just skip school a few times or disobey their guardians; they gave up their "right" to juvenile justice.
But the law is the law; they changed the law to allow certain juveniles to be tried as adults. The need to pass a law to have a special juvenile serious felony sanction facility. Or they need to officially designate TYC as the "not wanted in this community" agency. Yea, I know, more nonsense.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

While Americans are punitive, they do want offenders rehabilitated. Poll after poll has confirmed this.

Anonymous said...

Retired 2004, did you retire from Leavenworth or Portsmouth Naval?

Anonymous said...

Reinaldo Rivera gave notice from HR. He used to be an HRA at Marlin but then transferred to CO.

Also, Amy Johnson (TYC's Master Leave Accountant) has also resigned.

Watch the turnover in HR. It's really sad to see all the good people who have left recently.

Anonymous said...

I expect nothing more to come out of these meetings than came before. Praise for the ones in charge.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Reinaldo and Amy. Many if not most CO employees are looking for another job because of the current leadership.

concerned said...

Just thought you might want to know. Their is a boy in Iceland who is righting a book about the 8 years he spent in TYC. 7 and a half of those years in the giddings state school. From what I here the book is very grafic with detailed back up accounts of physical, sexual, verbal, and mental abuse. I hurd that he left the country after recieving death threats from TYC administrators still in power. Supposivily he type recorded these messages and had his parole officer listen to them before he was discharged. His parole officer inturn called the inspector generals office and they confront this boy with a law suite if he went public. Supposivily the Icelandic Government has him under a protection detail and when the boy was asked if he could come back to speak at some universities and before the texas leg. This boy was told by the US Embassy that he would be arrested and lost. I believe this boys name is aron. He is very famous in Iceland and should not be hard to find. From what I hear he has been through hell. I can´t believe that our society has come to this. I wonder what the USA would do to ensure this childs safety if he was returned...any ideas please respond.....

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Retired, about 60% of TYC kids are in for nonviolent offenses (that may be lower now that they let out many misdemeanants - those stats were from during session). So using the worst examples and applying the stereotype to every kid is wrong. Plus, even those kids (except a small handful) get out when they're 19, so with no rehab, their time at TYC was a major short-term expense that only delayed new crimes, but didn't reduce crime or prevent new victims.

Also, many TYC kids epitomize the truism that victims in turn victimize others. Your concern for "victims" overlooks that, as much of the standard-issue "tuff" rhetoric does.

And yes, your idea that incapacitiation is a primary goal of juvie incarceration at TYC is "nonsense." It's arguably, partially true for some few with determinate sentences, but it's not the driving purpose of the institution. TYC is not TDCJ. Kids aren't sent for a set sentence - they're sent indeterminately until they meet rehabilitation goals, except now the ageny doesn't have such goals anymore, because folks from TDCJ who didn't know the first thing about juvie corrections tossed them out and never replaced them.

So please excuse me, retired, if I don't defer to your assumptions on this, which I think are as poorly informed on this question as the ex-TDCJers running TYC now (though you know I respect your experience at TDCJ). Following your logic creates more crime, it doesn't reduce it.

Finally, TYC is under conservatorship. If Ed Owens chose to, he could order major expensive improvements and just back an 18-wheeler up to the state treasury telling them to pay for it. If they ran out of money halfway through, the Lege told them repeatedly they'd find more.

If they weren't going to do anything but harm, the pols and new admin should have eschewed all the high-blown political rhetoric about the kids' best interest this spring. Now they've made many, sometimes even tearful, public commitments on that score, and I have no compunction about holding them to account for what they promised. best,

Anonymous said...

Whitmire: News is breaking; this Bronco Billy guy has now turned rabid. He really looks like a pig, snorting around looking clueless. But comparing him to a pig would be faulty thinking. Any given pig is smarter than the pug nosed Bronco Billy and his Wild West Show.

We've had enough. If you want your juvenile justice expertise walking out in the State of Texas, or being walked out with the escorts of Bronco Billy and his hoods, keep in mind we are here and just waiting to tell.

It's only a matter of time, Bronco Billy, before we expose you for what your worth, and that's nothing less than the load I deliver every morning after coffee.

Why can't we contact anyone in the old Juvenile Corrections division anymore? They all left. Even the secretaries. Not Stan to blame - it's you Bronco Billy. With all respect - kiss my ass. Field.

Anonymous said...

Retired 2004

NOT REHABILITATING IN JUVENILE CORRECTIONS COSTS MORE MONEY! Longer prison stays, more crime, more police, more arrests, more new trials, more attorneys, more judges, more more more...It has been demonstrated over and over again that while there are some up front costs (Texas can spend 300 million building 3 new prisons) the benefits are immediate and long term...

Anonymous said...

Billy won't survive the end of the month after they find out how he has maintained his position on pepper spray despite a recent settlement. The directive was rescinded but the instructions remain the same.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to imagine they'd fire one of their TDCJ cronies. But I hope you're right.

Anonymous said...

Call me a dreamer, but wouldn't it be nice if we could talk openly in one of these meetings about what's going on in central office and not end up living on the street?

Anonymous said...

I feel for Stan . . .he's charged with making major decisions, but those decisions don't apply to bronco billy. Stan is the only one left with any juvenile justice experience and he's left to direct a den of complete incompetents - starting at the top.When he gets fired, and he will - like Marie for doing the right thing - we will be in a vortex of darkness. Stan, if you're reding, leave now on your terms with your head high! People are starting to lose faith in your ability to turn this ship around and are starting to think you're in charge of bronco billy's idiotic decisions.

Anonymous said...

Concerned - the young man from Iceland was recently in Giddings with a videographer from an Iceland TV station. It appeared the focus of the news story was the difference between juvenile justice systems in Iceland and Texas. The videographer had clearance from TYC CO to film on campus. While the former student did not enter campus, he was greeted warmly by many staff in the parking lot during shift change.
The former student has been in Texas for the last year working with a juvenile justice advocacy organization. I did not see signs that TYC or the US government was hindering him from telling his story.

concerned said...

anonymous: this is in reference to the person who left a response to my message... I saw the news story that aired in Iceland and the way you are talking you didn´t see it. It spoke about being beat and raped while in Giddings State School. It spoke about the problems he has had to deal with since his release. About how he was locked in a cell in security in Giddings for 21 days with no light and a lot of abuse.So their was no reference to the different programs that I saw.
Also after reading your comment I decided to look a little further as I had just herd about this case. I was able to get in contact with this child who now lives in Iceland and he was able to confirm some things for me. Yes despite the attempts from the system to hold him back ´´he was able to start a juvenile advocacy program. Where he was able to talk to people like him who had been abused by TYC.´´
When I asked him about the security issue he said He did go back to Giddings under the watchful eye of a security company called Security Pro USA. They kept their distance because they were armed. He also received a VIP escort back to Iceland were he was with a government official from Iceland at all times. In Boston the US Government almost managed to have him arrested but the could not come aboard and Icelandic aircraft.
He said that he did go to the Giddings State School but was not allowed on campus but was met by one TYC employee named Mr. Stanley who spoke about another youth suing TYC for 5000000.00. Mr. Stanley a supervisor stated that this boy was a loser and that his mother was crazy and that he hoped this time the boy would ''nut on his moms face while she killed him'' that does not sound warm to me.
Also Aron received 7 days to leave Texas or would have to face the consequences. So I have to say I disagree with you..
I hope that this young man can get the support he needs to come back and fight this system. Everyone needs to hear what he has to say.. I agree with his fellow country men. He may have done wrong but he is a national hero. I don´t think I could have handled what he went through and survived.

Anonymous said...

Scott, do you really believe Owens could spend freely?

In theory he could; the reality is he will not(he had his orders as does Pope).

I remember being at Giddings when they erected the fence ( I believe it was 25 or 30 years ago). Some employees believed this physical barrier would "scar the youthful offenders for life". Some believed the fence was long overdue.

I agree with a lot of the theory espoused here; I respectfully disagree on the reality of the theory being applied.

My employment in various positions in numerous criminal justice systems for over 42 years, coupled with formal education (including Grad School) and to much exposure to Federal State and local politics, makes one a little cynical.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

no one has ever bothered to ask the line staff their opinions on anything, not the old regime or the new. The JCO's are the ones who are doing the hardest jobs and no one gives a damn about their opinions.
Any jackass can sit in the ivory tower and hand down new rules and regulations for everyone to follow but they have never worked in a unit with the juveniles.

TYC is going to implode and it will be the fault of the "board", executive administrators and the legislators.

JCO's do not have faith in the administration, from Austin down to every institution. People are being forced to apply for jobs they don't want, take "promotions" they never asked for nor wanted or risk losing their jobs. Some incentive to do a good job huh?

TYC cannot run like TDCJ and if anyone ever bothered to ask a JCO you might find out why.

Everyone has been warned not to question D'pope or anyone in executive positions in Austin TYC or they would be forced into retirement or forced to quit. Don't disagree or you will be out of a job.

Promotions are now being given based on skin color and not ability. Good administrators are being forced out so others can have their jobs. Based solely on skin color. This is a topic on all campuses.

No one on the line trusts the administration or "Austin" any more.

JCO's are being forced to work ungodly hours of overtime with no help or relief from administration staff. God forbid they would enter a dorm and help out, but let someone from "Austin" come on campus and they are all out parading how clean the campus looks and how clean the buildings are. Who made sure that was happening? JCO's that's who. But who takes the credit? Administrators.

What would happen if JCO's got the "blue flu"? Who would be doing child care?

Unrealistic demands are being made on JCO's but who cares...

maybe some of our elected officials need to get off their butts and make the rounds to the institutions and talk to the JCO's, then they would get a realistic picture of the health of TYC and might get some real input from real people! People who actually care about the youth of Texas, people who talk the talk AND walk the walk!

unfortunately I don't know that people would really talk to them for fear of retaliation. We have had "at will" shoved so far down our throats so many times I don't know if anyone could even squeak out a word.

Anonymous said...

I am interested in the statement that TYC is ignoring the court order on pepperspray. Is anyone aware of any conversations where TYC staff were told to ignore the court order? Have there been any spraying incidents that violated the order? The court can hold TYC leadership responsible for any violations.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

In regards to the young man from Iceland, who was the DOS at Giddings when this happened?

concerned said...

I am not sure who it was but from what I understand a man named Mr. Rangle used to question him and participate in the abuse... But that is from some of the research that I have done. It is extremely hard to get a hold of Aron. But I spoke to some kids who were locked up with him and they explained that Mr. Rangle was very aggressive to Aron. He believed that Aron was smuggling contraband into the prison and could not be stopped. From what I have gathered Aron did in his last years smuggle contraband like food and many other things but refused to mess with drugs or alchole. He admits to doing this and has stated that he did what he had to in order to survive. So no I do not know who the director was but who ever it was it did not last long..