Let me be the first to issue a hardy "Yee-Haw!" This is a fellow whose open defiance of agency rules and a Travis County district court perhaps did more to discredit new TYC management than any other person. Reported the Dallas News ("Texas Youth Commission Executive Billy Humphrey Abruptly Quits," Jan. 10):
This easily constitutes the most positive move so far by TYC's new conservator. Hopefully it's a harbinger of even more significant change to come.
Mr. Humphrey’s departure was initiated by new TYC conservator Richard Nedelkoff, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in December.
“This was a decision that the new conservator came to after his overview looking into agency operations and management personnel,” said Mr. Hurley.
Mr. Humphrey couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. A person who answered the phone in Mr. Humphrey’s TYC office said: “I can’t give you any information at all, sir.”
Mr. Humphrey, 39, an 18-year veteran of the state’s adult prison system, was hired by Ms. Pope last summer to help reform the troubled agency. As deputy director of residential services, responsible for all TYC institutions, halfway houses and contract-care facilities, he quickly clashed with TYC administrators over his efforts to expand the use of pepper spray and solitary confinement as ways of controlling unruly inmates.
Ms. Pope and Mr. Humphrey have defended the efforts to expand the use of pepper spray against inmates as a means of reducing injuries to TYC staff and inmates.
Within weeks of his hiring, Mr. Humphrey clashed with TYC administrators as he imposed policies that expanded the use of pepper spray and segregation of disruptive inmates, according to Teresa Stroud, superintendent at TYC’s Brownwood juvenile prison, and Jeffrey Berry, an assistant superintendent at the Mart juvenile prison until Mr. Humphrey transferred him to a TYC facility in Vernon - 270 miles away - in October.
“Administrators want to avoid conflict and interaction with Mr. Humphrey for fear he will move them to a remote location and displace their entire family," Ms. Stroud alleged Oct. 11 in her written grievance.
“Administrators are now tendering resignations, avoiding applying for promotions and asking for voluntary demotions just to avoid direct contact with him so they protect their livelihoods and keep their families intact,” she wrote.
MORE: From the Austin Statesman,