Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pope tells Lege Will Harrell's solitary confinement criticisms ill-informed

TYC acting executive director Dimitria Pope claimed today at a legislative hearing that allegations by TYC Ombudsman Will Harrell about overuse of solitary confinement at the agency were simply erroneous, and implied he might have even lied about visiting the Mart facility (he "supposedly" visited the unit, she said). Chair Sylvester Turner interrupted Ms. Pope to ask Harrell to defend his position in the face of her criticisms, and I thought he did a good job.

From what I've seen of the BMP program, where kids are kept in setting that differs little from a straight-up dungeon - Will probably went light on the agency in his report. Perhaps predictably, Ms. Pope blamed her employees for poor record keeping but said no policies were violated.

Given that the federal government named the Behavioral Management Program (the euphemism for solitary confinement) as one of the problems that necessitated the proposed "Agreed Order" announced this week, it seems unlikely that the program is working as well as Ms. Pope portrayed to the committee.

108 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the way that the conservator is tap dancing around the question about whether or not Pope is on the canidate list. Man, that is wonderful. If I was her I would be brusing up my resume.

ferg said...

During this discussion about BMP and Harrell/Pope reports, Turner moved back once again to asking Nedelkoff about the status of a permanent ED. Turner said TYC lacks 1) competent leadership, 2) stability, and 3) sensitivity to youth and staff. Nedelkoff would not say specifically whether Pope was in consideration for the permanent ED job.

Questions back and forth between Turner and Nedelkoff re: whether or not there will be a new ED, but basically, according to Turner, he is pressing the ED hiring issue because he wants to know whether or not Pope will be the permanent ED, because if she's not then there is no need for the Lege to invest any more time in her as the ED.

Turner REALLY wants a Yes or No answer and he's not getting it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Ms. Pope is getting away with lying yet again. I am ready for someone to hold her accountable and make her give some real answers rather than excuses. She's quite adept at tap dancing.

Anonymous said...

she is lying abouther damn allergies.........

Anonymous said...

Pope just said to the committee that she was not on the list for ED, and would not be considered. Thank YOU Mr. Nedekoff

Anonymous said...

Pope said, "I am the stabilizing factor at TYC." She really does not recognize or accept how she is viewed by the TYC staff. If anything, she has led to a significant degradation of morale, a distrust in management decisions/appointments, and has repeatedly lied to staff, youth, and the legislature. I don't expect to see any distress over Ms. Pope's departure. I think staff will be relieved.

Anonymous said...

they will so be relieved and may even have a party for her.....

Anonymous said...

Pope is not a candidate for E.D. She stated this for the committee. "I don't even know if I will be here tomorrow"

Live Feed time 2hrs 40 min.

Check it out!

Anonymous said...

Since watching Ms. Pope's closing remarks all that is running through my head is 'Ding dong the witch is dead, the wicked witch, the wicked witch, ding dong the wicked witch is dead." wasn't her comments about integrity enough to make you want to hurl?

Anonymous said...

It's amazing. They let Pope off easy, feeding her answers and praising her committment to the youth of Texas. They were much harder on Nedelkoff and Harrell. What the heck.

She lied, lied and lied some more.

Then said that her integrity wouldn't let her lie to the legislators about her future. And basically hoisted Nedelkoff up on a pitard.

Nedelkoff had shown integrity saying that personnel decisions needed to be made in private first.

My respect for Nedelkoff and Harrell increases and decreased further (if possible) for Pope.

I just wish the legislators could see though her like the rest of us do.

Anonymous said...

I bet you anything, today was Pope's last day at TYC. :>

Anonymous said...

dang she is clueless. she really doesn't get it. We want her OUT.

Hopefully today was her last day and she won't be able to do any more damage.

Anonymous said...

To 3:47 Would it were so. The collective sigh of relief from TYC staff would out do the winds we have been having recently. Let's hope we need to bring in our outdoor furniture soon.

Anonymous said...

way to go Will! You did a great job defending yourself against her lies. Keep telling the leg things they don't necessarily want to hear, but need to.

You still have a job, and she doesn't :-)

Anonymous said...

You go Will! Finally someone that has a pair willing to stand up to Pope in front of the ledge. Couldn't have done it better myself!

Anonymous said...

AUSTIN – Texas Youth Commission Acting Executive Director Dimitria Pope said Wednesday she has been told she isn’t under consideration for the permanent post – but that she will stay with the agency until she’s forced out.

Her comments came after House lawmakers demanded repeatedly to know whether new conservator Richard Nedelkoff intended to replace Ms. Pope – a line of questioning Mr. Nedelkoff repeatedly deflected.

Anonymous said...

Nedelkoff showed class by not speaking about personnel decisions that haven't yet been made public (or the involved parties told). Pope yet again showed herself to be self-centered and classless.

Now all we need to do is wait for the official announcement that she is out the door.

Anonymous said...

Time for some Pope poems:

Elmer and Pope
Went up a Hill
To have some hanky panky
Silly Elmer forgot his sleeve
Now his shaft is awefully stanky

I'm a barricuda said...

Hey, let's face it... I'm a barricuda and damn proud of it.

Anonymous said...

If implemented properly, a BMP is not just throwing kids in a cell and forgetting them.  I get the feeling that some people think we can manage with NO segregation programs which tends to make some of us nervous. Wouldn't it be great (and a miracle?)if there were a way to keep everyone safe without segregating the most dangerous (and I DO mean dangergous!)students. Some of these kids are so violent that other student's safety is at risk (as well as staff) if they are allowed to remain in general population.  The safety of ALL , not just the most violent students, has to be a prioity. What is the answer?  How do you keep ALL kids and staff safe and NEVER segregate students who want to exploit and hurt others????

Anonymous said...

you can have segregation without extensive isolation. you know that once a kid goes on IDP they are pretty much forgotten by their caseworkers, except for the arbitrary 30 minutes they are supposed to see the. After the 10 business days on IDP and the first week of BMP some kids go a month with highly limited time out of their cells.

Unfortunately the issue again comes to money. Facilities don't have enough money to pay people enough to work at facilities and all departments are understaffed or overworked.

Anonymous said...

But I'd argue that it comes down to the culture of that facilty. Superintendents need to lead. It aint happening.

Anonymous said...

Right, 7:09, IF the program is implemented the way it is supposed to be, kids are not in their cells all day long, unless they are so dangerous that they assault someone everytime they are out, which is unusual, of course. This is why we need to attract professionals with integrity and pay them well. Otherwise you just have a bunch of folks who hate their jobs and the kids don't get the care and treatment they need. Administrators need to get rid of the uniforms for caseworkers, psychologists and teachers (AT LEAST!) and start implementing the Covey principles that were so arrogantly shoved down employee's throats. It would not have tasted so bitter if the administrators EVER led by example.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dimetria,
How does it feel to be an at will employee who can be fired at someone else's whim? I think the committee was a lot nicer to you. you and Kimbro threw decent and honorable people like Dr. Reyes and Neil Nichols to the curb after years of service. Not everyone that was fired a year ago were jerks. THey were decent people doing their best. So when you leave I am sure every one will be thinking "don't let the door slap you on the butt on your way out"

Anonymous said...

Was I the only one brought to tears when Ms. Pope talked about "adopting" a kid.(NOT)

I bet know that she is on her way out she drops that kid like a hot potatoe. She no longer has a vested interest in helping that kid.

Anonymous said...

Enuff of this lady already!

Somebody needs to send this woman to Dr. Phil to get her head shrunk.

Pope, at about 2:40 into the video, says her "integrity" requires her to tell the truth.

Yeah right!

For the first 2+ hours, she tells a bunch of lies. And the ombudsman called her out on a couple of them. She lies about "putting the youth first" and about how "my allergies required a $15K carpet." And about how she's met *all* the mandates of SB103. Cmon! I think she subscribes to that "the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it" theory.

And then she whines about how the press is always negative. Meanwhile, i've never heard a positive thing come out of her own mouth. She's always condescending and laying guilt trips on people.

So why, at 2:40, is she *finally* telling the truth? Specifically, about her not being a candidate for ED? Because she thinks it makes *Nedelkoff* look bad. She's trying to spite him, and she thinks the committee will be sympathetic to her. Pouting baby that she is!

So, she doesn't tell the truth when it would make herself look bad, but she'll tell the truth when she thinks it will make someone else look bad.

At the end of the day, Will Harrell and Richard Nedelkoff are class acts. Pope is spiteful, vindictive, and tacky. Even the committee looked like a bunch of dorks, "Oh you mean there are experts that exist in other states?!" (As if Texas were the paragon of juvenile justice expertise).

Kudos to Will for standing up to Pope, and kudos to Richard for acknowledging the staff as a great asset. Thank you for your *true* integrity and your service to our State.

Anonymous said...

So obvious.

She lied straight to their faces today. They knew she was lying straight to their faces.

But.

a) Whitmire is a member of their 'club', and she is his pet.

Plus.

b) They know she is on her way out.

And.

c) Goodhair sat back and gave them rope. Now, it's his game.

Ergo.

A(B+C)=X

where X = they sit, smile, pander to cameras, the end.

Obvious? Downright predictable.

Just be thankful she's gone soon. And try to clean up the mess.

Anonymous said...

sahlxbShe is so good at helping kids, let her take a casework or JCO or Teacher position and all our problems will be solved.

How about how they fed her those simple little questions that could have been avoided by a 2nd grader and didn't pry enough to get the real truth. Her allergies!!!! Carpeting all C.O.!!! (With expensive rugs like the one in her office???) Listening to her, made me ill. I'm glad I didn't eat lunch and instead watched this fiasco because I would have thrown up for sure.

And, Mr. Turner, the statement "Don't play me for dumb?" Get real. Pope has been doing that forever and you've been taking it hook, line and sinker. She led you by the nose today and if you didn't know it, you're correct, dumb isn't the proper word. You know damn well she spent that money on what was in the newspapers. All you guys sat right there and let her lie and didn't even try to pin her down. Hell, how far is it to C.O. for you anyway?? Couldn't you go in those offices and see for yourself or are you actually that lazy or worse don't want to know the truth?

You people are as bad as Pope and all should be run out of town. Next time, let JCO's, caseworkers, and other staff ask the questions. What a bunch of Dumb Asses you are.

My respect for Richard and Will went way up after today as well. The Pope, well, it couldn't really go lower anyway. It just verified for me that she is the scum bag we all suspected she was. And to try to get Richard to disclose the information about the E.D. was below the belt. They expected him to lay the facts out there and knew that he couldn't do that. He would have been crucified if he had given that information before the hiring had been done.

I've got one question for all you scum bags who were doing all the questioning. Now answer the question truthfully and don't give details just answer the question that is asked.

Are you still having sex with your parent??

I thought so.

Anonymous said...

Turner is right about the fact that TYC lacks competent leadership, stability and sensitivity to youth and staff. This is, without a doubt, the most accurate description of Dementia Pope I have heard to date. I thought I was going to hurl when Turner was chiding Mr. Nedelkoff for bringing in "his" own people to TYC. At least they have a background in juvenile corrections. Did Turner not have a clue that this is exactly what Kimbrough, Owens and Pope did when they came to TYC and replaced experienced professionals with their inexperienced, unqualified TDCJ cronies?

Little Timmy Waterlilly and Bronco Billy walk into a bar. Timmy says to Billy, "Bronco, how can you tell if Dementia is lying?" The 'Roid King looks puzzled, stares blindly into space in his steroid induced euphoria and says, "I dunno Timmy, how do you tell?" "Well hell Bronco, she's in front of a legislative committee and her lips are moving!"

Anonymous said...

I've got one for you. Does Will just represent the youth or is he available to help staff whose rights are being violated?

At least the man has the balls to sit up there and tell the truth and not let them run their little smoke and mirrors tricks. He just brought them back to what he needed to get said. Go Will. You're right, they brought you there so they should hear what you needed to say.

Anonymous said...

Among the hundreds of comments made today, the most amusing to me was when DP said that she was the stabilizing factor that TYC needed. With a 49% turnover rate and 538 vacant JCO positions, how does she come up with that one? Almost all experience has left TYC one by one since she came, but yet she is the stabilizing factor.

As I have said before, politics never ceases to amaze me. 8:17 has it nailed. I want to cry when I think about the very good employees she has fired and humiliated just to make herself look good. Then, she has the gall to suggest that Will Harrell "supposedly" went to Mart. I have a question that was not asked in the hearing. She made statements that she was "unable" to get specific information from Will. Did she ever ask him for it? If so, when? The day the committee set the hearing schedule?

Anonymous said...

Oh well looks like the Pope is at it one more time...Its amazing how stupid our leaders are,, She is a discrase and no one ever touches Her....You cannot even correct Her about Her nice comment about Oh White Females and when someone says anything about it they sweep it under the carpet.....I bet they do nothing to Her !!!! no one in Power has made any attempt to go up agianst her !!! I think they are all scared just like our great Leaders in Austin .....A bunch of wimps.....I say we Fire Her and lets handle the Law Suit later .....

Anonymous said...

Grits, im curious...what did the blue ribbon panel from UT say about the use of BMP in the report that was so tastefully ignored by TYC?

Anonymous said...

DP you are a disgrace. Have some decency and go away. You had no business in that job and you proved it. So take your stable(truly unstable) self and go elsewhere. Maybe TDCJ will take your sorry butt back.

Lets us restore our reputation. By the way, the next time you have allergy problems get some allegra. Just make sure that you use your money to get them.

No we do not want you and your TDCJ croonies are already sucking up to the conservator. Check your girl Wood out. Looser!

Anonymous said...

The Truth?

The Truth?

I can't tell you the Truth because you can't handle the Truth !!

Want to be a politician?

Anonymous said...

Pope's little 'integrity' speech looked planned/staged. She wasn't on the list to testify when the hearing announcement came out last week. But 'suddenly' she was on the list.

What changed was her conversation with Nedelkoff on Mon. Remember Nedelkoff said they didn't finish the conversation.

Anyone else think that Pope left that meeting and ran straight downtown? She told her protectors that she was being forced out and they needed to do something about it.

So they spent the first 5 minutes of Nedelkoff's testimony grilling him about private personnel decisions. He showed class and integrity by not taking the bait.

That left Pope 2 options: 1. the high road- gracefully bowing out and telling the committee that if was a priviledge to serve, but it was time to move on. She would get the praise she craves and save face as well.

2. the low road- reading a prepared speech about her integrity, stabilizing force, care and concern for the youth, allergies and pledging with her dying breath to continue to do what's best for the youth- until her eyes close or she is forced out.

Guess which road she chose? Complete and utter lies, yet what the committee wanted to hear. She tried hard to make Nedelkoff and Harrell look bad and herself look good.

But we know the truth and they gained even more of our respect for how they handled themselves.

Now Nedelkoff, just pull the trigger and make it official please.

Anonymous said...

Richard Nedelkoff showed a lot of class yesterday at the sub-committee meeting, even to his own detriment when repeatedly grilled by Sylvester Turner. As expected, Dimitria Pope did not show that same class. If the legislature will allow Mr. Nedelkoff to do his job, then there is some hope for the Texas Youth Commission.

Anonymous said...

The BMP, if used as designed, could be a good and effective program. I have seldom seen it used as designed. Will is right. Closely monitoring the BMP for full compliance with policy should be a major function of the new Youth Rights Specialists.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Youth Rights Specialists, Pope chose not to fund those positions. She took the funding for those positions and used it to create positions for her friends. The Youth Rights Division was left to rob Youth Care Investigator positions in order to fill the YRS positions. There used to be 23 Youth Care Investigators, now there are 8 (with only 7 of those filled). There are still 2 un-filled YRS positions. Abuse and Neglect cases have not decreased, and the OIG is only investigating a small proportion of them (they have only 8 investigators themselves).

Yeah, Pope, you have done a great job of protecting the kids!

Anonymous said...

So, if someone else at TYC has severe allergies, can they request new carpet in their office and the surrounding offices? Hmm, I think there is probably an ADA Accomodation procedure in place… Did Pope put in an ADA accommodation request???? If Jo Employee had put in such a request, would TYC have spent $15K to make that accommodation?? Was the furniture giving her allergies too?

As for her telling everyone that she is not being considered for the permanent position, I have to agree with a Grits writer who said that she only revealed this to make Nedelkoff look bad in front of her legislative supporters. Don’t cry for DeeDee, those men will take good care of her after she leaves TYC. I’m sure there is a “special project” that needs a well-paid executive

Anonymous said...

That was quite a performance. Good work by Will Harrell.

I think people are missing the boat here on Nedelkoff's reticence re the ED post. This probably had less to do with "tact" or "class" and more to do with politics.

My sense is that Pope's strongest defenders in the lege are Dems like Turner and Whitmire, while Nedelkoff is a Repub appointee. And it is an election year.

It's sickening that either party would play politics with the kids but hardly surprising. This sort of thing has been going on for the better part of the last century. Political and personal alliances that have nothing to do with "the best interests of the child" have often caused great harm in juvenile justice.

Let's hope that's not what is going on here, and that I'm completely wrong.

Bill B.

Anonymous said...

This hearing was just a way for Turner to help his buddy Whitmire fade the heat and wash his hands of Pope.

Anonymous said...

I believe that all the posters are being completely unfair to Ms. Pope on her stabilizing comments.

She HAS been an extremely stable force at TYC.

When she came here, she immediately treated everyone like crap and turned the work environment into a living HOSTILE HELL! She has not waivered one bit and through hard work and extraordinary diligence on her part she continues; to this very second, to keep everyone at TYC miserable. Now, that's what I call stable.

I believe the posters here are just jealous of Ms. Popes achievements! How many staff at TYC can even come close to the skill level she has demonstrated. I have been known to be an Ahole on occasion. However, I can't even imagine trying to match her ability to perform like a master Ahole 24/7 365.

Now that takes skill.

The problem is: staff and students tend to like a stable AND POSITIVE environment. I guess they left that out of her management training.

Anonymous said...

From my own exsperience, the usual recommendation for persons with allergies is NO carpeting, drapes etc that can hold allergens. Wood floors would be nice, but they often have binders, formaldehde and other problems. Question: what kind of carpet was in her TDCJ office? I believe one can get commercial grade berber for about $10/sq yd,not the $48 or so DP got.
Question 2: Is it not against policy for TYC employees to have relationships with students outside of their offical capacity unless they have formally gone through the volunteer process and been approved? Or is this just another example of DP being unaware or abobe TYC rules? Wasn't illicit relationships the basis for the charges against Brookins?

Anonymous said...

Here's the latest message from our beloved conservator. He truly is a class act.

Today’s Date: February 7, 2008


Statement by TYC Conservator Richard Nedelkoff

"Effective immediately, I have resigned my position with Eckerd Youth Alternatives and will be working solely as the conservator of the Texas Youth Commission. I take this action to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

While I valued my job with Eckerd and truly believe in and support the company’s mission, I feel that the Texas Youth Commission needs the type of direction and insight that I can bring to bear. Reforming TYC, and improving the lives of the staff and youth in the agency’s care, will be my solitary goal.

I look forward to working with our state’s leadership to make the Texas Youth Commission a national model in juvenile justice."

Anonymous said...

Grits, doesn't it seem kind of ridiculous that the lege grilled Nedelkoff more than it ever did Pope or Owens this past year? I couldn't quite decipher it... perhaps I misread things.

Then there is the apparently baseless insinuation that a conservator with juvenile justice expertise who consults with outside juvenile justice experts is guilty of some kind of conflict of interest. Who the hell should he talk to, more refugees from the adult prison system? Burger flippers at McDonald's?

As if that weren't enough, then legislators who have presided over all kinds of fraud and mismanagement this past year berate Nedelkoff for a "lack of transparency" b/c he won't declare outright (in front of Pope herself and her strongest champions) that she isn't being considered for a permanent ED post. Misdirected and tardy indignation is not a pretty sight.

This toughness looked even more misplaced alongside Pope's attempt to throw a pity party for herself.

It sickens me to see someone who has done so much to immiserate youth use them as props for her own self-preservation, as Pope did yesterday. What a spectacle.

Bill B.

Anonymous said...

TYC conservator Nedelkoff to resign

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/020808dnmetTYC.9c714174.html

Anonymous said...

Bill B - in regards to your post where you asked Grits about why the Lege grilled Nedelkoff more yesterday than they ever did to Pope... think about it... I'm sure Ms. Pope is feeling the fire under her feet, she has a strong alliance with Whitmire, then in comes Nedelkoff riding his white horse. It's croneyism in the most purest of forms. Unfortunately for Pope and Whitmire, Nedelkoff is genuinely concerned for TYC... Pope was more concerned about her status and position. Don't get me started on the $15K rug due to her allergies... that is the biggest case of fraud, waste and abuse I've seen with the weakest of excuses.

Anonymous said...

2:47; the rest of that headline says "Florida Post"

Anonymous said...

Those of us who support Mr. Nedelkoff need to let him know! He truly impressed me with his refusal to answer Rep. Turner's questions and showed professionalism in doing so. Maybe that's what threw the lege . . . Pope has none. Add to that he has resigned his position at Eckerd so as "to avoid any appearance of impropriety." Pope doesn't know the meaning of the word.

Let Mr. Nedelkoff know he is appreciated - drop him a line and tell him if you appreciate him.

Anonymous said...

The politics are apparent. The conservator's resigination with Eckerd was a signal that he's digging in for a political fight to oust that Pope. If she somehow survives, which looks doubtful, we all have Elmer to blame. If I were a betting man, I'd bet he resigned from Eckerd because Elmer was calling for him to resign as Conservator citing the conflict of interest. He sees Pope for what she is: misplaced.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope that Pope gets displaced!

Anonymous said...

True sociopath will use the kids, hates them , but needs them to fullfill its dreams. They will always say "its all about the kid" they come first. Yea, right.
What comes first is power, ego,personal gain with a sociopath. To see others suffer from its actions.

Anonymous said...

Bill B.,

I'd agree that there are politics at work in the spectacle yesterday. But, not simple Republican/Democrat politics. Things are more complex here. Turner has been far from a Dimitria defender. In fact, since about July no one's been a Dimitria defender except Whitmire. Everybody else essentially has been a part of a gentleman's agreement not to poke too many holes in her lies. IMO, only Turner and Hinojosa had the balls to give her a hard time about the pepper spray, the first highly controversial issue she presided over.

In terms of what history tell us, perhaps it's possible that those political dynamics were also more complex than simple squabbles between two parties.

Anonymous said...

If Turner is so concerned about Pope losing her job, the solution is clear to me, he should offer her a job in his office or private business. Better yet, create a job for Pope and her TDCJ cronies. Just remember her allergies will require a remodeled office and a $600 chair!

To watch her not tell the truth to the committee, insult her peers and sing her own praises was disgusting.

The school yard bullying by Turner was uncalled for and I don't blame Nedelkoff for not putting himself out there! The man displayed class, earned my respect and support.

I don't understand what part of equiping the agency with juvenile justice experts the lege does not understand!

Pope may the stabilizing force be with you!!

Enough!

Anonymous said...

Yeah Pope, may the stabilizing force be with you in your next endeavor. The agency wishes you well and we'll be sure to change the letterhead ASAP. Like you did when you came on board that was one of your first priorites! The only email you sent out to the field, remember, it's one of my fondest memories of you!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bush is right: this has had Texas politics at its base since mid-2006. When all parties found out the two from Pyote had not been dealt with, everyone -- Democrats and Republicans -- used their considerable clout to beat up on TYC. At the core, it's one political party's attempt to discredit the other. TYC had no one to defend us. And I'm afraid the general public probably still believes we are/were all perverted child abusers. Mr. Bush, you're the historian -- if you ever write about this sad situation, don't leave that element out.

Anonymous said...

Well, it is sad that Pope tried to imply that Harrell did not visit the Mart Unit. When I can assure you - he and one of the Governors lackeys did and they spoke to some kids. Pope better be careful - a whole unit saw that man...so tread lightly when you try imply a lie. Second, Grits - good luck to you - ask the panel why parents and youth feel burned? Well, that would be because actually NOTHING has changed. I like my job - I will keep on keeping on....but could someone please get Pope out - the units straight, the treatment program underway - the kids moving and consistency at these units? PS a pay raise would not hurt

Whitsfoe said...

Her allergies are bullshit. She took that onion too deep and caught it's effect. She drained this agency of it's core and is now suffering the effects.

No more Onion Pope, except your own.

Congrads to Will Harrel. The employees have embrased him, and that's a sign of true reform when the Ombudsman wins.

All I can say is hang in there Richard. You've been blessed.

Don't worry about Elmer. He'll get himself.

spearshaker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
spearshaker said...

I just sent emails to Gov Perry; Senators Whitmire and Uresti, and Rep Madden expressing support for Conservator Richard Nedelkoff. I also noted that Nedelkoff may be our last chance to avoid a DOJ takeover and continued national embarrassment the likes we have not seen since Sharpstown and Bo Pilgrim passing checks out on the Senate floor. I happened to mention that I would not only would not vote for them, I would do everything in my power to convince others not to vote for them. I even used my actual name and address. If you care to join me, I assure it feels great to stand tall for TYC.

2/07/2008 08:31:00 PM

Anonymous said...

She's not the only liar in CO ( right Robin?). I bet they practiced their lies looking in the mirror, so much that they actually believe the lies. They probably practiced in their office, during work hours - right Robin?

Anonymous said...

With 3M. or not, Elmer has to go. He's placed the safety of children behind his political agenda, and that's just wrong. Beat Elmer...

Anonymous said...

has anyone heard about what's going on at Crockett State School? Seems that one of the administrators was caught in a very compromising position over the weekend with one of the "hitmen"!!! I thought this was the type of thing that TYC was moving away from?????

Anonymous said...

I should add that I don't think Nedelkoff is the Second Coming or anything. He hasn't really had time to do much yet, and early signs are encouraging.

I appreciate that the politics at work here are probably far more nuanced than I can see from far away.

In the past this has also been true. Sometimes they have been party-based, as in the 1910s and 20s when the Ferguson machine installed corrupt administrators over state juvie facilities based on party loyalty.

More often they have involved regional politics. So pols would fight to protect facilities in their districts regardless of what was going on in them, and regardless of party affiliation.

Still other times they would involve alliances of convenience between individual state officials and legislators. This was the case in the late 1960s, when a push to regulate TYC facilities was prevented and paved the way for the Morales suit.

Perhaps I've misjudged Turner. But his questioning reminded me an awful lot of Whitmire and others bullying a Harris County monitor who tried to offer some evidence-based criticisms of TYC last fall.

Frankly, I don't understand what seems like a double standard for Pope and Nedelkoff... and I realize I've used that exact phrase before to criticize the lege's conduct of hearings but it fits IMO.

Bill B.

Anonymous said...

This is my first, and possibly only, post in here, but feel like I finally must open my big mouth. I have read many posts regarding isolation/segregation and I suspect that most are from those who mean well on behalf of our incarcerated youth. I also suspect that most are from those who do not work directly with TYC youth but have many opinions anyway as to how it should be done. However, I do think you have good intentions. Well, I do work with TYC youth and have for a number of years. I can say honestly that most of the posts with negative opinions regarding isolation are extremely ill-founded and for the most part present false information. For example, the cells at Mart are not "little more than a dungeon". They are kept clean and sanitary, while all of the youth needs regarding hygiene and medical care are provided. Youth placed on BMP (that is "Behavior" Management Program) are there because they have failed to control their behavior sufficiently to be allowed to mingle with their peers or the staff that supervise them. Those youth placed on AMP (that is "Anger" Management Program) are placed there because they were involved in actually hurting someone while confined in TYC. These youth are a danger to others. Only yesterdy, an AMP female caseworker was assaulted by a 17 year old youth with a flashlight. He also punched her in the face. Yet, he should't be isolated? Staff are very confused now regarding the use of pepper spray and feel that they are compelled not to physically restrain youth. They are told not to put their hands on youth. Their only other option to get compliance from youth is writing 225s and negotiating. Neither are effective with youth on BMP and AMP. Please take your blinders off and realize that staff are unsafe when these dangerous youth are given opportunity to assault and hurt them. It sometimes takes 5 or 6 staff to subdue them. Representatives from the ombudsman office came to these units recently and questioned the youth at length but did not take the time to question staff or teachers regarding isolation. They would have been informed that youth are confined only as much as is necessary to control their behavior. As their behavior warrants, they are allowed increasing time from their cells as they earn their way through stages. In the meanwhile, they are given education services along with any other need that arises. My witness is that they are shown dignity and respect. Unfortunately, they do not always reciprocate. Now, word is that the dorms housing these youth will be treated like any other dorm in TYC, with the youth all coming out of their cells at the same time. We can only trust that whoever is behind a decision like this realizes what they are doing. They are jeopardizing the safety of staff and teachers who must deal with dangerous youth who are unable or unwilling to control their behavior or anger. They are not "little kids", as some would make us believe. They are big, strong, and determined. It is easy to visualize, under those circumstances, how difficult it will be to hire and retain JCO staff for the salary paid to place their livlihood on the line. I post today to present the other side regarding these issues and hopefully offer some common sense to the discussion. Ok, now those who are preaching against pepper spray, restraints, and isolation can begin calling me names, cursing, and writing poems about me like they have so many others. I am at your mercy but have been ever since the 2 guys at WTSS turned our world upside down - - needlessly. I, along with many other TYC staff, are very much in support of the new conservator. If he succeeds, we all succeed. We only hope that his decisions are well-founded and that he investigates from all sides before making them. We have a story to tell and information to give if we are only asked. Hopefully, he will.

Anonymous said...

Nor do I think Nedelkoff is the second coming, but he has certainly impressed me. It has to be very difficult for him to have to fight the Texas Legislature to do what is right for TYC. I hate to say this in case I'm wrong, but I honestly believe he is ethical. That is a word Whitmire and Pope can't even spell!

Even if Mr. N's resignation was due to political pressure, he still did it. That tells me he plans to stick with the conservator's job awhile and I thank God for that. He may make unpopular decisions, even some that might affect me, but I will still admire him for his efforts.

The Texas Youth Commission has needed a Mr. N for a long time. I do believe that there were many talented employees removed that had a world of knowledge about juvenile corrections. Building that base again is a monumental task. I believe we should all support Mr. N in his efforts to truly reform the Texas Youth Commission and to save the youth of our state.

I know that many did not support Ms. Pope, and for many good reasons. She has never touched base with the field staff on the level that Mr. N has. His weekly e-mails are greatly anticipated. Ms. Pope believed that anyone could do the job and that was her biggest downfall. Once again, it has been proven that experience is a very valuable asset for any orgnanization. It is too bad that Pope, Owens, and Kimbrough didn't see that, because the youth and staff have all suffered because of it.

Enough for getting on my soap-box tonight. PLEASE let Mr. Nedelkoff know we support him!

Anonymous said...

Yeah it fits.

If we're going to engage these kids, let's have rules and follow them.

It's called due process.

That's what this administration lacks under Pope: an understanding of the accepted rules by the Texas Registar and a willingness to follow them.

The ill-conceived "Stop the Violence" campaign only called for more isolation and less mental health counseling. No impact, none.

That was Bronco Billy and his TDCJ ideas inflitrationing TYC.We don't need these TDCJ people entering our avenue. We can hang with our own, and with Neldekoff's guidance.

Our population in TYC has about 70 -75% being somewhat emotionally disturbed. Some get it at CRTC. Many do not.

spearshaker said...

Bill: I am beginning to worry about you. Not understanding the "double standard" in a politically charged legislatitive hearing? Just using TYC as an example, Whitmire didn't want to hear about sexual abuse at WTSS until he could use it to embarrass the governor; he wanted the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" from the Harris county rep, as long as she said nothing about Dimitria; he takes (very limited) blame for the death of a TDCJ inmate because of understaffing but ignores the 40% turnover rate of all TYC staff, twice that of TDCJ; he refers to all TYC staff as Mr., Ms. or Mrs. except for d'Pope {not knowing any backstory on them, I initially thought it was an offensive return to southern judges who refused to call African-
American defendents or witnesses by their last name).... what part of double standard did you not see coming from the first history book you ever read?
Got another one for you: in an effort to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, Richard gives up a lucrative and rewarding job to devote full time to TYC. Let's suggest the Legislators do the same? Give up their day jobs (at least put in a blind trust while performing their elected duties). Or, maybe as employees of the state of Texas, limit their benefits to those enjoyed by the other state employees.

Anonymous said...

Well the post at 9:47 is clearly not a person who works on AMP - the program is Aggression Management Program - not Anger Management Program. I have been in the dorms and in security with those kids and can say that many of the 225s that are written are done for the purpose of keeping the kids locked up for staff's convenience. Yes I am well aware of what happened with the staff and the flashlight incident, but I have worked for over 8 years with these kids and understand that if you respect them, they will respect you. Often times the staff shortages do not allow us to let the kids out for rec or for school even, so they stay in their cells. When kids are kept in confined cells for over 20 hours per day they will get angry. Anger by the way is an emotion that tells you when someone has violated your personal boundaries. The kids being angry for not being allowed out as they are supposed to and then not allowed to have any way to burn off energy should not come as a real shock to anybody. There is not even a mental health precedent to allow kids to stay locked up like that when there is no danger. I was in there when the ombudsman staff was there and I did talk to that lady and that UT guy too. She met with the kids and asked me about how things worked in there. I told her about how things used to be here in AMP and they sure aren't that way now. Maybe Mr. N will help us all, just don't tell me how great the Mart units are and how clean the cells are, and how great the kids get treated in there. I am always happy to go back to my regular dorm and not have to stay in there too long.

Anonymous said...

Mental illness must not be treated with isolation!

The idea of putting emotionally unstable youth in isolation because there are not adequate staff to supervise them is disgusting!

Anonymous said...

If anyone was truly interested in "Mental Illness" they would not allow the PSYCH Department to be used as full time administrators to run their campuses for them.
Called a dual roll and it defeats the treatment of youth.

Anonymous said...

Sly Turner is an idiot. The hearing was supposed to be about appropriations issues and he turned it into a circus with his questioning about whether Dimwitria was going to be around to continue her madness. Mr. Nedelkoff deflected those questions very adeptly. At the end when Sly admonished Mr. Nedelkoff about answering a question when asked, and when they were grilling him about his other job, he should have reminded Sly that he (Sly) has a day job too and that they are both servants to the public. Now, Nedelkoff has resigned his other job and is conservator full time. Let's see if Sly quits his day job.

Anonymous said...

re the comments about AMP & BMP. I do work with the youth directly, and have for about 17 years. The problem with the BMP is not with the BMP itself, but with how it is implemented. Many parts of TYC have not been following the policy in administering the BMPs. The original intent of the BMP was to move the kid to Phase 1 behavior level. It was meant to be used rarely, and only for the very most disruptive youth. It was also the intention that the youth's own caseworker would devote additional time to the youth while he was in BMP. Finally, it is the policy that the youths be put on BMP only after having a thorough examination by a psychologist, followed by a Level II hearing. Unfortunately, pressure has been put on both the psychologists and the Level II hearing managers to place the kids, facts be damned.

I say that there is a real need for both the BMP and the AMP, if they are used according to policy.

Anonymous said...

What if we lowered the elected officials salaries and gave them the same benefits employees have at TYC, as one commenter stated?

Then there would be money to fund TYC programs and run facilities properly.


Lets change things folks, register to vote and exercise that right!!

Anonymous said...

Spearshaker, OK you got me... I guess I am taken aback at the blatant nature of the lege's behavior at times. There's not even a pretense of fairness, of an interest in the greater good, or of due process. Is it any wonder that the same problems plague state agencies like TYC? Look who's running the store.

At least put some lipstick on the pig before you sell it to me...

Bill B.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 8:17 quite a bit above, that was a BRILLIANT explication of the legislative calculus going on at that meeting. I love seeing it put in an equation that way - the irrational rationality of it all becomes so much more clear. You nailed it, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Pope's lies to the Lege is just business as usual! She lies to the Lege, lies to TYC staff, lies to the press and even sinks low enough to lie to the youth.
I probably should be surprised, but it just amazes me that she would try to put Mr. Harrell on the spot in front of the Lege, especially when he can out-think and out-smart Da'Pope. Especially when he is telling the TRUTH about visiting Mart. I know cause I have seen him there a number of times. As the saying goes...
The Truth Will Win Out!!
To Mr. Nedelkoff, keep working towards bettering the Texas Youth Commission. The staff of TYC who have stuck it out through all of the uncertainty, all of the intimidation and all of the contradictory policies are ready and willing to help make TYC a safe and sane place to work.
Heck, after what we have been through since Ms. Pope and her cronies came on board, we can do anything!
One more thing...Can we do something about all of the BMP and AMP youth being dumped on Mart?

Anonymous said...

You Crockett staff are unbelieveable if that's where your from.

Anonymous said...

That confimrs it for me. Crockett is full of trash-talkers and gossips. Close them down!!!!

Grits - I don't know anyone from Crockett, but on behalf of all hard-working TYCers, I am asking that you respectfully remove the 9:03am post. It is full of slander and has names.

Anonymous said...

Crockett has much bigger problems than just the gossip. Jerome Williams has turned in a stack of allegations to OIG that are going to trial. Crockett will have to close down if all the staff named, are charged. Many were investigated by TYC and found no violations, but we're talking criminal charges. Anyone who still works at Crockett better watch out.

My question is what happens to Bluebell since he was in charge?

Anonymous said...

The charges are bogus. Crockett is the training ground for OIG and they will be pushing cases through to "see how it goes". Crockett is closing so no one cares about the staff anyway. The first cases are in progress. They are charging people for following TYC policies. If that doesn't scare you then you don't understand the situation.

Anonymous said...

Crockett's a done deal. Insiders know they are only funded through 2009 anyway.

Anonymous said...

That's right. Coleman and her group of losers are doing dirty work for Bluebell. They have a hitlist. TW is only the first to suffer from their lies.

Bluebell supposedly has good dirt on Coleman and Lawson, so he's got them.

What a joke. Close Crockett and start from scratch.

Anonymous said...

TW needs to file to find out who posted at 9:03 (and it is possible!) and file suit.

Grits - Please take that down
(9:03). TYC has enough trouble without the trolls.

Anonymous said...

My Gosh - can we offer some group counseling at Crockett or can we just close them, so the rest of us can get back to the real issues.
I'm a devoted reader and although I am thankful to have NEVER been to the forsaken Crockett, I have followed the garbage. Here's the rundown.
You hated Freeman
You hated Blu
You hate Gibbs
You hated Bluebell
You hate the PAs
You hate the JCO VIs
Everyone hates each other but yet everyone is sleeping with each other.

Crockett = lost cause.

Anonymous said...

The warmongers are posting.

Anonymous said...

To 4:03p.m.

Call Freeman's legacy! He divided and conquered through fear and intimidation, never brought together, and is simply the fruits of his labors!

Anonymous said...

To 3:57

Takes a troll to spot a troll. See you must be old school TYC and like to threaten and intimidate!

For example, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND THEY ARE COMING TO TAKE YOU AWAY!!!! SO, get off your knees and wipe off your mouth, and go quietly!

FYI, I am not 9:03 and I doubt TW would file any litigation even if she had a clue who 9:03 was. There are simply too many skeletons in her closet for to open her door to scrutiny!

Senior Troll!

Plus, haven't you learned...if you want something to go away don't keep bringing attention to it!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I did take that down. If you're going to make allegations of criminal behavior, back it up with proof.

Under law, it's libel "per se" to claim someone committed a criminal act when a) they haven't been convicted and b) you can't prove it. And since if you could prove it you'd already be working with prosecutors, I took the 9:03 post down. Put up or preferably shut up - I have no problem policing things down here, but I'd prefer y'all just engage in a civil discussion like adults and not like a bunch of cliquish tattletales and trolls taking anonymous potshots.

I allow anonymous posts here, but that doesn't require me to respect them when people abuse the privilege, as this commenter did. Please rein yourself in, folks.

Trolls, stop trolling. And the rest of you, don't feed the trolls. best,

Anonymous said...

I have resisted the urge to comment on the BMP/AMP postings, but it is time I speak my mind.

First, let me agree with the 9:41 AM's statement that according to policy, BMP and AMP are needed programs, but it is the implementation of those programs that is the problem.

Second, let's clear up the major differences between BMP and AMP. Every TYC facility has BMP youth. The one and only AMP is in Mart, Texas. BMP is a 30-day program (I believe that is the minimum length of stay); whereas, AMP is a 4.5 month program (minimum length of stay). Youth can be in these programs longer depending on their ability to learn the skills necessary to control their behavior or aggression and progress through the stages of the programs. A youth placed on BMP is moved to the security dorm, but has the same case manager. A youth may be recommended for AMP by a level hearing, but admission to the Aggression Management Program is based on meeting the AMP criteria and available rooms on the dorm. If accepted into AMP, the youth is transported to Mart. He has a new case manager whose office is on the same pod and he has education on the dorm. At its best, AMP had a psychologist officed on the dorm and a veteran AMP JCO staff in addition to case managers and teachers who have offices on the dorm. The AMP youth received counseling from the psychologist and case managers. They received educational services during class periods, but could also get additional help after school. The AMP JCO staff knew how to handle situations and did so quickly when necessary. No one can see inside another person's heart, but the AMP staff I know want these youth to succeed and there have been some amazing transformations. This is not to say the old AMP was perfect, but it was much better then than now.

What made the difference between the old and current AMP? The lege got involved! I can not and will not defend any of the misdeeds and criminal acts that have been discovered, but the lege over-reacted. The lege's actions were not solely out of concern for the youth of TYC, but because they didn't want an opponent at election time pointing at finger at them and saying "You did nothing to protect the youth at TYC!". There was a presumption of guilt when it came to TYC staff. Changes were mandated without considering how these changes would affect specialized programs such as BMP and AMP. There have been so many changes that many staff are unsure what they can do or when to take action. The uncertainity creates frustration and inconsistancy which gives the youth the upper hand.

And finally, the BMP youth may be isolated from their dorm friends and it may be more difficult to see their case managers, but that is not the case on AMP. AMP youth are not isolated from their case managers and they are not isolated from their teachers. AMP youth are not isolated from their families--they have the blue phones to call their families and their families can visit them (this is not that much different from other dorms). AMP youth have rec time and they have a library of paperback books. And they make new friends on AMP.

There have been a lot of visitors to AMP over the past few weeks, but what they have seen has not been AMP at its best; they have seen the AMP their predecessors from TDCJ created.

BMP, AMP, and all of TYC should reflect the written policy as outlined in GAP. Of all the changes I have seen since Mr. Owens and Ms. Pope took over, most have been made by email or verbal announcement and are not in the GAP. Leaders who are sure of what they are doing make their changes after careful study, through established procedures and put them into policy.

Anonymous said...

6:03 PM, your post is very helpful in understanding the AMP and BMP. I especially agree with the portion that describes the legislators' actions and I agree with you about their motives: "...they didn't want an opponent at election time pointing at finger at them and saying 'You did nothing to protect the youth at TYC!' There was a presumption of guilt when it came to TYC staff." I would add, though, that the same can be said of the governor and others in the Executive branch. They also overreacted, for the same reason. TYC had no power and no means to defend itself, so it took the beating.

Your comments were very well written, and you are very knowledgeable. Please don't let this be your last post.

I hope someday someone in the media or some historian really takes a close look at TYC in 2007 with the objectivity that only a little time and distance can afford.

Anonymous said...

Well said 6:03! Please continue to post because your insight is helpful and greatly needed.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the above posts concenring the AMP and BMP programs. But, I will have to state these programs are not effective and are in violation of not only our current policies but that of Turman V Morales. When you are short staffed youth that are in these programs do not recieve large muscle exercises and sometimes educational programming based upon the sheer volume of youth in these programs and not enough staf to ensure these programs are being carried out by their intent.
These programs are needed but they need to be properly staffed and this goes to every TYC Institution.

Anonymous said...

It only takes one or two jerks posting here over and over to make a whole institution look bad. What seems like a whole bunch of folks from the same place may, in fact be only one person. Please bear that in mind when you pass judgement on the employees at an institution, whether it be Crockett, Gainesville or McFadden Ranch.

People who are in positions of responsibility and authority have to make decisions that others will not like. Or someone may get a job that another person thought they should have gotten. A great get-back is to make a hateful, anonymous post.

Anonymous said...

Grits- I currently work for Crockett and I wish that you would remove any and all posts about us. There are problems at every facility and we all have to work through them. Please respect everyone's personal life and privacy.

Anonymous said...

FYI about the "17 year old" that attacked the CM on AMP...He was actually 16.11 and NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING can be done to him because of his age. Of course the OIG is investigating, but SB 103 took away the ability to have Level I hearings to reclassify youth within secure programs, so all he will lose is 2 weeks time on AMP. How's that for justice. I wonder how that makes that CM and her family feel. I am on the outside looking in, but I am angry that nothing more could be done, especially since if this "youth" would have been 30 days older, he would be in county as we speak. Instead, he is nice and cozy in his cell plotting on his next victim! Now that's irony!!!! I hope the lege understands the danger they put those people in when they tie their hands and allow the most assaultive youth in TYC free reign. The people on AMP do care about their jobs and they want nothing more than to rehabilitate those youth the system has already decided are headed to the penitentiary, but they cannot do it alone! They need Mr. Nedelkoff to meet with the staff who actually do the work on a daily basis to get a real understanding of just how handicapped they have become!

Anonymous said...

I am very confused. D'Pope said on the record to an entire legislative committee that the ombudsman's report was wrong and that all kids on BMP and AMP were there according to policy. Are you suggesting this isn't true and D'Pope lied to the legislature? Has is really come to that? Will the ombudsman have a chance to clear the record?

Anonymous said...

Crockett is doing well,someone just likes to stir to pot.Mike Davis has done a remarkable job since he has been there. Crockett is not closing,stop the lies. CO was there last week and Crockett is in better shape than most schools. Do you think that BlueBell is going to stick his neck out and stir the pot. Dont think so, he knows he's lucky to still have a job.

Talk about another school, Crockett's Fine

Anonymous said...

Adding to 6:03. The changes which have occurred in TYC did not take into account any of the specialized treatment programs and the treatment program currently being implemented did not take into account the Sentenced Offender

Anonymous said...

8:49, Mr. Harrell handled Ms. Pope quite well at the hearing. Mart employees know he has visited there and employees who watched the hearing sat there and heard her
balantly not tell the committe the truth. She lost the respect of employees at the state of the agency briefings when she promised transparency of the agency and it never came to fruitition. I'll stop here, everyone's posted the morbid details over and over.

Anonymous said...

Pope has always blamed everyone but herself. If she has any class, she'll come in on Monday and clean her desk out and leave us to the job of rehabilitating youth.

6:03 PM said...

Thank you Grits' bloggers for your kind words.

I must agree with 8:28's comment "They need Mr. Nedelkoff to meet with the staff who actually do the work on a daily basis to get a real understanding of just how handicapped they have become!" (They being the AMP staff.) If he can not meet with the AMP staff, he should at least meet with the AMP Program Specialist/Program Administrator. Before becoming the PS/PA, she was a case manager on AMP and understands the program better than anyone. She is one of the most professional people I have had the pleasure of knowing.

Prior to coming to TYC, I worked in several other jobs and worked for numerous bosses. I have seen top management come and go. In the best of times, top management inspired their employees to do more by keeping them informed and praising them for the company's success. In the worst of times when top management couldn't find their butt with both hands and a searchlight, it was the employees' dedicatiion to their job and commintment to each other than keep the company in business. This is how I see TYC now. Top management is clueless; the lege is clueless; the Governor is clueless; and the list goes on.... What has kept TYC from completing imploding is the dedication and commintment of the PS/PA's, case managers, JCO's, teachers, and their clerks and secretaries who have survived the witch hunt. They survived by being professionals.

Mr. Nedelkoff is still new to TYC. I hope he will do more than send out staff to question the youth. I hope he will meet with as many employees as he can and see TYC through their eyes. I believe he is off to a good start by not rehiring Ms. Pope!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the under 17 year old who assaulted the staff, there are legal options available through the juvenile courts, such as re-commitment or, in some cases, depending on the type of assault, there may even be the possibility of getting him sentenced as a TYC sentenced offender. Talk with your OIG.

Anonymous said...

He can also be certified as an adult.

Anonymous said...

The Juvenile Sentenced Offender and the Certification laws are quite specific and can only be used with the specific crimes listed. Simple assault, (even though assault on TYC staff is a felony) does not qualify by itself. Aggravated assault, and Habitual Felon do apply in some cases. That's why I suggested speaking to your local OIG.

Anonymous said...

I thought thposts about the criminal charges were just rumors, but if you look at the TYC web page under research or reform, there is a section for Special Proscutor Unit. Does anyone know about this? There is a long list of pending criminal cases. Some of them even list names.
There are pending criminal cases at Crockett and staff are hiring attorneys. Bluebell is taking credit.

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