Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Perry TBCJ Appointee: My main qualification is that I know nothing about the subject

Gov. Perry just named three new members to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, the governing board for the state prison system. Reports the Houston Chronicle:

A trial lawyer, a businessman and a social worker were appointed by Gov. Rick Perry on Monday to the nine-person Texas Board of Criminal Justice, which oversees the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The appointees are: R. Terrell McCombs of San Antonio, who is vice president of McCombs Enterprises and a nephew of auto magnate B.J. "Red" McCombs; Eric Gambrell of Highland Park, who is a trial partner with the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld; and Janice Harris Lord of Arlington, who is a social worker and national consultant on crime victim issues.

McCombs touted his lack of criminal justice experience as a plus.

"I'm open-minded and business-minded. My hope is to make (the prison agency) run more efficiently."

Janice Harris Lord worked for many years for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (that should make Robert Guest happy) and told the Fort Worth Star Telegram she sees her role on the board as "to present the victims' perspective in criminal justice issues."

One wonders what experience Gambrell, a trial lawyer from Highland Park (an exclusive, wealthy enclave entirely surrounded by the City of Dallas) brings to the table? According to his biography at Akin Gump, he "represents businesses and high-net-worth individuals in aggressively prosecuting their claims and defending their interests." Not a lot of those in TDCJ.

Similarly, I couldn't help but be reminded of Perry's ill-suited appointments to run the Texas Youth Commission when I read that GOP superdonor "Red" McCombs' nephew was one of the picks, telling the Chronicle that the fact that he had no experience at all in corrections was his biggest asset. As at TYC, apparently the Governor sees having zero experience in the area for which they're responsible as a key requirement for his criminal justice appointees. Perhaps that's because people with any experience in the field tend to disagree with his policies.

TDCJ's problems don't stem from a lack of business-like efficiency. They arise from understaffing, low pay, poor working conditions, poor inmate health care, failure to fund programming to reduce recidivism, and a variety of other troubles that need leadership from professionals who know what they're doing.

These appointments suit the Governor's political interests much more than they do the agency's management and oversight needs in the face of looming challenges.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gov Goodhair has no cares or concerns about any people who cannot contribute to his campaign. Since these people have made mistakes (some of them at least) they are only fit to be thrown away.

This is what we should expect in a world of disposable people.

Anonymous said...

Not even worth commenting on!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree, business as usual.

TJDO

sunray's wench said...

janice harris lord has been consistant in her demand sfor all DWI to be imprisoned for life. Nice unbiased group of folks we're now dealing with....

kidd said...

Why should we be surprised? GH Perry has been consistant in his ( Holier Than Thou) choices, plans and please don't forget about his promises. Just another day in Texas with Bubba Bushes good ol' boy.

outlawprincess said...

Where did GH perry come up with this selection?? oh wait a minute, thats about par for the course. It's not like the prisons are overcrowded, or anything. Let's just put a lawyer who probably has a different agenda, the son of a "super donor" and a bitter woman who will fight to keep DWI's in prison forever, no matter if they need help or not! good grief.

Anonymous said...

The world of disposable people!

Anonymous said...

Gambrell knows nothing about criminal justice. He does a thing or two about voter intimidation. He got himself voted "best" lawyer in Dallas under 40 by going door to door at his firm, cajoling and threatening young associates into voting for him, even standing over them until they went online to do so.

Mr. Ethics, he ain't.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if any of them have ties to the concrete business.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if any of them have ties to the concrete business?

Anonymous said...

This is simply horrible. People, first lets stay on track and comment accordingly and professionally. Even though Grits is a "sounding board" people are taking notice of what is written. So, with an eloquent tongue and a focused mind let the pen meet the paper. Governor Perry has been off mark the entire way regarding TYC and the issues. The staff that are hired, never make a tenure, most of the staff are burnt out and get no support, Kimbrough made things worse, Pope isn't making good decisions, Austin lies to the workers in the units, the kids are suffering daily..that one boy is in there until he admits to a charge he says he didn't commit, the other kids at Giddings told Grits, they don't even know how to get into treatment, the new treatment is actually the old treatment with new names, rapes, beatings, the phones on the dorm not working, the overcrowding, the failure to do correct assessments and everything else...why would this little news rattle us? Well, it doesn't. The Gov and his "selected" are not going to do much better. The only truth in his hiring is the fact that its "business ran". The kids are a money ticket for the Republican and they are the one's that suffer. I hope Scott Medlock and his agency and Advocacy Inc are "watchdogs" on that. Let them pay attention to the fact that the treatment program does not address everything or anything rather, the vagueness was intentional, the appointed board will be revisiting a huge scandal AGAIN and the workers and students will be suffering - and yet...another trail of angry and heavily armed parents will beat down the steps of Austin and this time...this march...will be with a vengence....and Perry and his group will be "covered" by the completely ignorant safeguards that the legislatures put in place and the American people will finally realize they have been duped by the devil and be more angry, more wiser and more apt to contend in a violent mannerism and the students will follow. This is ridiculous...Perry is ridiculous....they have their money...don't expect him to run for anything else...hell, they are rich at the hands of TYC and the students and the ignorant people who voted for him and allowed the Board to be picked. Could someone please tap on the grave of Malcolm X and say "BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY?" get this trash out of office?

Anonymous said...

What? My epoquent tongue and focused mind had a lot of trouble following that.

Anonymous said...

When will our gov decide that the high paid people who live in glass houses do not know a thing about what the real world is about. If he wants change he should get people on boards who do not take special intrest groups seriously. The everyday line worker, beat cop, corrections officer, probation officer all of who deal with the daily issues that juveniles AND adults deal with are better to help make decisions than the politicians.