Not long ago, the New York Times urged the state of Texas to "raze" TYC and "start over." Now, declaring "TYC Adrift," the Houston Chronicle editorial board yesterday called on the governor to replace the agency's current management with juvenile justice experts:
From your mouth to God's ear, Houston Chronicle, that's exactly the right suggestion. I hope somebody in the Governor's office is paying attention. How much longer will Rick Perry allow this to continue?
Instead of automatically drawing executives from within the state prison system, the governor should push a nationwide search for the best-qualified commissioner and permanent executive director. Every effort should be made to get an experienced and expert governing board in place as soon as possible.
State officials claimed to be caught by surprise by the TYC scandal last winter. If the delays in reforming the agency lead to more problems, they will have no one to blame but themselves.
RELATED: Here's an overview of lowlights from the litany of self-inflicted wounds bedeviling Texas' youth prison system that corroborate the Chronicle's assessment of the agency as "adrift":
- Violating Court Order on Pepper Spray
- Ignoring Expert Advice
- Importing Adult Prison Managers with No Juvie Experience
- Kids' Healthcare Worse at TYC than Before Scandal
- Alleged Cronyism, Possible Corruption in Vendor Choices
- Retaliation by Management Alleged Against Field Staff
- Management Blames Staff For Their Own Failures
- Understaffing Plagues TYC Facilities
- Education Sub-Par for TYC Kids
- TYC Expects New Policies to Increase Recidivism
- JCOs Still Receive 1/2 Amount of Training as Adult Prison Guards
- Overtime Pay Halted, Worsening Understaffing
- Agency Fired Dozens of Experienced Employees Uninvolved with Misconduct
- Management Consultants Called New TYC Chiefs Poor Leaders
- Agency Shifting to Private Prisons for 10-13 Year Olds Despite Bad Problems