Saturday, April 26, 2008

Prison ministry group thanks TYC staff

Thanks to the reader who sent me a link to the website of the Juvenile Justice Ministries of Texas, which is "a Christ-centered association whose mission is to strengthen individuals, organizations, and churches who work with juvenile offenders and their families."

The group has a newsletter (see here for past issues), the most recent issue of which includes a plea to its members for mentors to volunteer at the Texas Youth Commission, as well as this thank-you card from the group to TYC staff collectively:


That's awfully considerate. TYC staff don't get thanked much, though they get blamed a lot.

Digging around, there are quite a few resources on their website, and I was pleased to run across this article (pdf) discussing the unique challenges of juvenile prison ministries compared to working in adult systems. I also found interesting this article linked from JJMNT about ministering to "fringe kids," which quotes a youth pastor declaring, “If I started reaching out to the fringe kids and bringing them into my church I’d lose my job!” That's a sad commentary, but probably accurate in many churches.

Prison ministry advocates like the Restorative Justice Ministries Network of Texas have provided a unique and valuable voice in discussions over the future of the adult prison system, and I'm glad to see a web presence for who minister in youth prisons.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly. I started working with homeless teenagers as a social worker and because I was male and had to work odd hours to reach the teens in their environment, I was immediately labeled a predator who sought only to take advantage of vulnerable kids.

How funny. The Christians are afraid of working with the kids, but they punish anyone who tries to help.

Anonymous said...

I agree. What the sender of the link fails to tell you that ALOT of people and ministers do try to help. The prison system makes it difficult. I had heard about one mother, whose son is in the TYC and she preaches..helps kids and etc., I went to hear her and she is not like by many...but those kids - all colors, and everything were listening and I have come to realize that if you are liked in your preaching then you are not preaching. She was excellent. I'm not a Christian but if I could hear her again at the visitation - I would listen to her. I don't know her name but the message was great. If the prison system made it more welcomed to welcome faith based project instead of condemning all the time - the kids, the women and men in the prison system - need to hear from other people - the sender of the link should have sent the notice that when the girl went to speak over the visitation TYC staff made is hard to where other parents were disgusted - where another youth came over to hug her and she kept on going. I would welcome that again for my son....I saw him finally listening....but to say they are doing good is fake and a wrongful solicitation. The ministries are at a hard place, they want to help and therefore at the mercies of kissing tail with the prison system. The system is broke - admit it, fix it and move on.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I don't understand how either of the two posts above relate to what this string is about.

Anonymous said...

Advocacy for the kids. What works and how staff can be viewed as a positive rather than a negative.

Anonymous said...

This means nothing! It's like sending a thank you note to the Iraq government.

Anonymous said...

Please, don't compare TYC to the Iraqi government...after all we have never been that well organized!

Jack Chase said...

Thank you. The folks who come again and again and stick with it really make a difference in the lives of these kids. Old Salty

Jack Chase said...

I should have been more precise in my comments. Thank you for the good words and support, and thank you for sticking with these kids. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Ministry is great. Once they leave the abuse begins again.

Stop TYC Abuse! is a network of concerned citizens of Texas dedicated to stopping the abuse of young people by the Texas Youth Commission.

Texas Juvenile Justice Consulting. www.texasjuvenilejusticeconsulting.com Advocates for the youth and works with state agencies, familes and their attorneys to ensure youth are properly treated, assessed and TYC is legally appropriate for their programming needs.

TYC must be kept under a close watch. Glad to see there are organizations that will keep them under the microscope available for these kids and their families.

Anonymous said...

Kind of sound like ambulance chasers to me...

Who We Are:
Texas Juvenile Justice Consulting is an organization that is committed to helping incarcerated youth, their families and legal counsel. Additionally we focus on at risk youth at both the pre and post conviction stages to assist in the mitigation of any issue within our Texas Juvenile Justice Systems. Being aware of critical, up to date information are skills that make Texas Juvenile Justice Consultants proven and documented specialists in Texas Youth Rehabilitation, Rights and Advocacy. We are former Texas Youth Commission Treatment and Administrative professionals that left the system due to ineffective programming philosophies and unfair abusive practices towards youth and staff. We formed our consulting venture based on ensuring youth are treated properly and fairly utilizing our individual skills, advocacy and professionalism working with youth. Every member of this team brought issues forward that has TYC amending its policies and effectiveness today. TJJC Staff have approximately 80 years of combined experience in the Texas Youth Commission, Youth and Adult Corrections, Texas Probation, Pre-Trial Services, Legislature Contact, Federal Prison Consulting, Legal Research, Youth Rights, Mental Health Evaluations, Drug Treatment Assessment, Correction of Assessments Programming and Treatment. We are Behavioral Health and Correctional Professionals. We are not attorneys! Our Goal is to support you, your child and your attorney regarding policy and procedural applications. We assist in correcting administrative wrongs, mistakes, and abuses as zealous advocates for your child.

Juvenile criminal matters, which involve criminal charges against people under the age of 18, are some of the most emotional and bewildering times for children and their parents. The prospect of defending against criminal charges is daunting, and the charges can severely impact a child's development, education and future. In Texas, juvenile crime is also treated much differently than a criminal act committed by an adult. The state has established an entire judicial system dedicated to juvenile criminal matters, and involves an adjudication process completely distinct from other Courts. State law also requires parents to be involved throughout the proceedings.

To ensure that you and your child know what to expect with a full understanding of your options and processes, Texas Juvenile Justice Consultants is experienced in all aspects of Juvenile Justice programming and policy administration. Texas Juvenile Justice Consultants has developed a individually centered juvenile justice advocacy approach as a guiding principle that offers the knowledge and experience you need to navigate Texas juvenile justice systems.


William D. Parker, M.S., Criminal Justice Administration: Mr. Parker is the Owner and Administrator of Texas Juvenile Justice Consulting. Mr. Parker provides consulting in Juvenile Justice Policy applications, Iindividual Case Mitigation, Sentencing and Program Development. Mr. Parker has extensive experience as a Senior Case Manager with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Defense Attorney Consultant, Recommit Case Manager III with the Texas Youth Commission, Victim Advocate Coordinator for the United States Army at Fort Hood Texas and Assistant Director and Senior Strategist with Federal Prison Consultants, LLC. Mr. Parker has approximately 20 years of corrections, criminal justice and advocacy experience. Mr. Parker also wrote and developed the Texas Youth Commissions first successful program for high risk recommitted youth offenders at Marlin, Texas.

Thomas A. Mikulastik, B.A., B.S., A.A., Theology, Social Psychology, and Business: Mr. Mikulastik consults in the areas of Juvenile Programming, Treatment and Research. Mr. Mikulastik has extensive experience as a Police Chaplain, and Case Manager III for the Texas Youth Commission. Mr. Mikulastik is a highly experienced specialist working with very young criminal offenders ages 10-14 years of age, providing exceptional solutions and advocacy for our younger clients. He developed TYC's first successful program for little boys at Marlin, Texas.

Thomas Bollinger, LMSW, LSOTP: Mr. Thomas Bollinger consults in the areas of Juvenile Correctional Management, Juvenile Justice Alcohol & Drug Treatment Programming, Sex Offender Treatment and Social Service related programming. Mr. Bollinger is a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Advanced Clinical Practitioner. He has a Master of Social Work in Clinical Counseling and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Mr. Bollinger holds several professional affiliations and is dedicated to the advocacy of our clients. His assessments are thorough, individualized and are applicable to both federal and state correctional guidelines.

Jerrod Wendler, M.S., Juvenile Justice: Mr. Wendler consults in the areas of Juvenile Justice Management, Treatment Programming and Custody matters. Mr. Wendler has extensive experience in facility and program administration, security management, family issues, juvenile justice program leadership and case management applications for the State of Texas. He is a dedicated specialist in individualized juvenile justice and social service case planning. Mr. Wendlers expertise provides exceptional programming solutions and individual advocacy for our clients.

Anonymous said...

Weren't 3 of the 4 people listed for Texas Juvenile Justice Consulting fired by TYC for incompetence and/or abusing youth?

Anonymous said...

I don't think so. I think Mikulastic was let go due to general policy changes regarding staff qualifications. Mr. Parker was not abusive or incompetent. I am not sure about the other two.

Anonymous said...

By George, you maybe right. Didn't one of them routinely abuse youth at Hamilton? Looks like everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is trying to cash in on the TYC scandal. Can't the Lege shut TYC down before it gets anymore ridiculous? Grits, check out the Statesman, major disturbance at Giddings. IMO, only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed.

Anonymous said...

If Parker is running this I can say without a doubt that he is sincere in helping youth. I also know that he would not take any BS from TYC Central Office Administrators. He was probably one of the most knowledgeable and caring employees in TYC for that matter, especially regarding the proper treatment goals of youth and advocacy for staff. He stood up to incompetent supervisors and spoke out about how TYC was operated. TYC management hated him. I hope they succeed in helping kids and keeping TYC in check. If they get paid for what they do more power to them. If you look at their website they donate 3% of any fee back to youth organizations. I would not call that ambulance chasing. What are the rest of you doing to help the troubled kids of Texas besides complaining about TYC etc? This guy should be running TYC!

Marc Jessup said...

Our church group from Waco came to Marlin many times. I remember Mr. Parker. He was very thoughtful. I found the youth responded to him very respectfully. He seemed to have a special ability to connect and gain control of any problems. I am glad to have met him.

Anonymous said...

5:39, I think two were fired for abuse/incompetence. Mikulastik was terminated because he is a felon, and Parker left of his own accord and is now claiming HE was mistreated, disrespected, shunned, ignored, threatened, whatever. If they can help youthful offenders and their families, more power to them.

Anonymous said...

6:03 a.m., don't you usually sign your posts?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Actually, 1:20, it was the Dallas News that made those claims about Parker's mistreatment, and Mikulastik had worked for TYC for years and reported the 35 year old felony when he took the job.

Sounds like you've got some personal baggage with these two, but you're comments seem particularly ungenerous, perhaps because of motives you have stated here. Neither were terminated for abuse of anybody, and IMO both definitely got the fuzzy side of the lolly pop.

Anonymous said...

The Dallas News printed it because Parker said it.

I meant to convey that I hoped they can help kids in trouble, and I meant it.

Anonymous said...

Grits, has TJJC asked you to join them? I looked at their web site, and noticed that they need an editor. You could help them there.

Anonymous said...

Who cares 8:32pm! Their message and work is what is important. What are you doing to help the KIDS of Texas. You sound like a TYC administrative A-------! or a former one. The youth are what matters.

jgchase said...

Meanwhile: Giddings has just completed an Epiphany weekend, and an Epiphany team is going to Crockett this week. Please keep the teams and the kids in your prayers. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

How did the Epiphany weekend go at Giddings? I heard they almost did not have it because of the unrest there.

Anonymous said...

The Giddings choir came to the volunteer conference today and did a GREAT job. They were able to come because none of them were involved in the chaos. I for one are glad that they still allowed them to come.

Anonymous said...

It was a superb event. The Choir from Giddings really showed that it is just a few that cause the problems. This is why TYC needs a real security custody classification system for youth offenders. Unfortunately TYC does not know how to do that.

Anonymous said...

i don't think all those choir boys have always been choir boys in TYC.

Anonymous said...

What's your point, 5/16?

Anonymous said...

The point is that the same choir boys at one time would have been involved in the chaos. They were classified appropriately and have made significant rehabilitative improvement and have been allowed privileges accordingly. Linking the youth in the choir to adequate classification systems is nonsensical.

Anonymous said...

Neither one of you, 5/12 10:37 nor 5/16 - 5/23 are making any sense. It is not about classification, it is about people working with these kids, showing some faith in them, and the kids making changes. Some of us would like to think the Holy Spirit just may have had a hand in it as well.

Anonymous said...

I was trying to highlight the fact that it is not about classification and to highlight that the person has no idea which "few" (actually about 20 percent of campus) were involved in the incident.

I believe the prayers of the Epiphany supporters for the Giddings campus, preparing for the event, had a lot to do with the fact that there were no serious injuries that night.

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