Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Be It Resolved

The missus this morning was fretting that she'd not yet decided on a New Year's resolution, and it occurs to me that for many people these might be an afterthought, perhaps not considered until after a big meal when some football game is on that prevents one's full attention.

Here are some criminal justice related resolutions I wish Texas officials would make for 2008, though I'm not holding my breath on any of them:
  • Everyone at the Texas Youth Commission should resolve to take a deep breath, wish one another Happy New Year, and give the new conservator a little room to breathe while he gets his sea legs under him. He doesn't have long to act, IMO, but he deserves the chance to assess the situation and figure out how to proceed.
  • County commissioners should resolve make sure their county pursues every available opportunity for expanding jail diversion programs and strengthening probation, encouraging low-level offenders to earn their way off supervision through good behavior using evidence-based practices.
  • County commissioners should also resolve to use purse strings as leverage to require Sheriffs and prosecutors to accept HB 2391 citations for low-level misdemeanors. This was the only new tool given to counties by the Lege in 2007 to combat jail overcrowding, and too many pols have refused to use it. A commenter sensibly suggested that counties should require arresting jurisdictions to pay for upkeep and incarceration expenses of HB 2391 offenders unless "there's not an underlying reason for arresting as opposed to cite and summons." That makes a lot of sense to me, and would save the county a lot of money either way, putting the financial onus on the agency exercising its discretion.
  • Finally, for the rest of us, Matthew 25:41-45 reminds us of Christ's dictum to his disciples that he considered failing to visit those in prison an offense as great as if they'd ignored Christ himself incarcerated. So on the off chance the old fellow was on to something, let me encourage Grits readers to themselves resolve to visit someone in prison or jail in 2008. That seems do-able, and not so nebulous as some resolutions you hear, like plans to lose weight. I can think right now of someone who I've long needed to visit up in Huntsville, and perhaps this resolution will provide an excuse for me to get off my butt and do so.
What other resolutions would you like to see from Texas public officials and what if any resolutions have you made this year?


Anonymous said...

May I suggest for those who have made a Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, or Tre Dias to consider volunteering for a Kairos team, or Epiphany team. These are spinoffs from the Cursillo/WTE/Tres Dias that bring spiritual renewal to those incarcerated in TDCJ and TYC respectively. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Scott I am inviting you to come to our first event of PEP at the Cleveland Unit in Cleveland Tx on Jan 10th. The event is a welcome class VIII into the PEP family and our first since moving from the Hamilton Unit. The event starts at 4:00pm and ends at is a long day but you could learn more about PEP and knock off one of your resolutions early in the year....still no word from you

Stephen White

The Evil Dr. Papschmear said...

I am a staunch supporter of giving the new TYC Conservator a chance before judging him. I have to wonder though, why TYC has yet to make his appointment and arrival public. The only word that most of us got was in the MSM. Does Dementia think that if she doesn't issue a public statement or acknowledge his presence that he doesn't exist or that he'll feel bad about being slighted and go back to D.C.? Today, someone noticed that the agency's letterhead had been changed to include Mr. Nedelkopf, but no one sent an email telling us to be sure and use the new version. Evidently Mr. N. may be relegated to the status of white women with PhD's.

Anonymous said...

I for one will give the new (third) Conservator a chance and will reserve any judgement. But, it is obvious to anyone this would include anyone with any sense common or otherwise that the current leadership at TYC for the past 8 to 6 months needs to go back where they came from. And all of the Cockroaches that flocked to them (allowed or approved the spray them all policy, pull the OT from the JCO's, no treatment plan, warehousing, inappropriate comments "white women with PhD's, etc, etc) and threw the youth of this agency overboard without even batting an eye need to go as well. The dumbing down of this agency by placing ill equiped yes men and women into Regional Directors, Superintendents, and Assistant Superintendents, needs to stop before it becomes too late. It would be nice to have staff in leadership roles that actually stand for something rather than kissing all this A_ _ !!!!

Anonymous said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto! 10:49 - I love you.

Anonymous said...

that is so right it is time to get TYC back on track

Anonymous said...

Well, I love you too. Just hope someone is listening?

Anonymous said...

The PEP program is a real breath of fresh air for a rehabilitation starved TDCJ! I sincerely support continued success for this program and any other that recognizes that these prisoners need self esteem and a way to make a living when they are released.

Success for this program will mean more in the future. That is a goal we can all resolve to work for in 2008!

Anonymous said...

welcome aboard Mr. Conservator.

we hope you make it a Happy New Year as TYC prepares for sunset.

He introduced himself today via email.