Saturday, April 12, 2008

TYC in the News

Here are a few newsclips regarding the Texas Youth Commission that cropped up this week while I was paying more attention to the Eldorado fiasco:
Meanwhile, late last month, for the first time since Dwight Harris resigned as executive director a year ago, TYC published an actual organizational chart (pdf) to describe who works for whom at the agency. It may seem like a small thing, but that's a significant step forward given last year's management chaos.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dwight Harris.

Anonymous said...

I can't see where giving the counties responsibility for housing TYC youth would save the state money. They would still have to fund treatment programs, education and medical needs. Not to mention personal care items, clothing, etc, etc. The lege is famous for NOT allocating enough money to run TYC adequately and IMO, it would be foolish. Whitmire is still trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Anonymous said...

All you have to do is look at our mental health facilities for both youth and adults and see where cutting corners will get you.

j.chase said...

TYC has long struggled with the question of what to do with youths whose behavior demonstrates that they no longer need to be in high security facilities. The options for staged release back to their communities has always been severely limited. For instance, there has not been a TYC half-way house in the Houston area since Richmond house closed over 17 years ago.

First, there needs to be a place to put the most violent youth, and those whose behavior is most disruptive to rehabilitative programs.

Next, there has to be some program to deal with youth who have severe emotional disturbance - we in TYC have to face the possibility that TYC may not be the best vehicle for such treatment.

We also have to realize that we have a core of talented, and dedicated youth care professionals already serving in the existing TYC facilities. Significant down-sizing of those facilities, and restructuring most of them to concentrate on core rehabilitation would make best use of the talent and experience that these professionals bring, while saving the state the expense of completely abandoning the existing physical plants.

Finally, there needs to be pre-release, medium restriction and low restriction facilities that are closer to the major population centers that would allow family reintegration services for those youth with approved homes, and independent living preparation programs for those youth who do not have a home to return to.

Throughout such a staged process there needs to be a concentration on providing these youth with usable skills that will allow them to lead productive lives. There needs to be educational and vocational training provided that is reasonable and appropriate for the talents of the individual youth. All this with a strengthened after-care and parole system.

Bottom line - such a program will cost a lot of money up front, but it will provide immeasurable savings in the long-run. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Old Salty, Senator Whitmire is not interested in spending money nor is he intersted in youth. This is evident with his approval of the "Pope" regime and how they handled TYC this past year.
Reality, he see's that TYC is just now heading in the right direction so he sucker punches Mr. Nedelkoff with his "We should close down TYC". He is an embarassment to the State of Texas, where most leaders choose to stand and fight the good fight, he choose to duck and run. He has no solutions and if he was a true leader why is TDCJ in the shape it is in today, look at his leadership.

Anonymous said...

To Old Salty and other dedicated employees: I urge you all to submit your concerns to the members of the Joint TYC Committee prior to their meeting on 4-16-2008. Send a copy to Mr N so he will not be blind-sided during the hearing.
I believe the best you all can hope for is TYC will come under TDCJ (in lieu of TYC being eliminated). A "youth Division" of TDCJ would house only the incorrigibles. All other youthful offenders would be retained in their resident counties for treatment.
TYC has been treading water for at least a year now without any constructive fix. IMO dialogue only equals more erosion of the agency.

I know TDCJ has not made any positive gains in the last 15 years (other than an increased population and a decreased staff)
but; expenditures could be lessened by using their ancillary services. Good luck!

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

I agree that Mentally Challenged kids should never be sent TYC. The kids that are in CRTC on the CSU dorm should not be there, they should be in Terrel or some place like that.
CRTC has MR kids that just do not belong in a prison setting and I can not understand why a judge would send them to jail in the first place. They needed to have gone to Mexia state school or somewhere like that.
It is very hard to make progress in a jail setting with a MR kid and the Emotionally Distrubed kid.
Whitmire does not seem to like CRTC and has said it is unsafe because of the campus trees. I hope he does not tune in on CRTC because it does alot of good for the majority students that are there.

Anonymous said...

I just wasted an hour trying to post a message on kidsinprison. They have put so many road blocks up that your effort will be wasted. If you try to correct any mistakes you just create more roadblocks.

Anonymous said...

To retired in 2004. We have already gotten a taste of TDCJ leadership. No thanks. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Unless there were a way to fire everyone at a position higher than a JCO 6 and completely drain the swamp, disbanding the agency comletely is the best options.

There is just too much corruption and incompetency for it to work.

Anonymous said...

4:56 p.m.

I find you statement to be a little self serving. My experience is that corruption can happen at all levels in TYC be they JCO, CSW, or Admin.

Overall, the majority of staff in TYC are making a good faith effort to do the best job they can.

If I have a problem with TYC is all those who tend to be self righteous , hypocritical, and think they are the only one's who shit don't stink.

Anonymous said...

4:56,

I have to agree, the Agency is no better off today than what it was in 2006. In fact, although corrupt in the minds of many, the youth and staff will probably agree that prior to the Kimbrough/Owens/Pope reign of incompetency, TYC was in much better shape then than it is today. It's unfortunate that Kimbrough and a few others in the Lege were able to blow the W. Texas deal out of proportion and ruin an Agency of fine people all in an effort to protect Governor Perry. As much as I hate to say it, TYC should be completely demolished, put out of its misery, and start a new Agency building it from the ground up.

Anonymous said...

4:56 Again

I am serious. There is no talent in high positions. The JCOs do a great job and so do the case workers. There are just a few teachers who are good.
Assitant principals, and principals are the pits. Above that, it gets worse. The central office people are so detached from the actuals tasks that must be performed, it is ridiculas.
There is just no way an organization can succeed with the kind of leadership that is in place.

Anonymous said...

"It's unfortunate that Kimbrough and a few others in the Lege were able to blow the W. Texas deal out of proportion and ruin an Agency of fine people all in an effort to protect Governor Perry." I think truer words were never posted. The main stream media was an accomplice, too.

Anonymous said...

Placing general offenders under the juvenile probation commission and dso youth under TDCJ will be a disaster on both ends.

General offender programs should be closer to home and treatment should be multi modal and include family members. This is not cheap.

Sending young violent offenders to TDCJ is simply unethical and immoral. Intensive treatment programs have clearly been demonstrated to be effective in reducing recidivism.

TDJC cannot accommodate the concept of a rehabilitative program. The Owens/Pope regime clearly demonstrated that.

Anyone who suggests putting DSO youth under the purview of TDCJ is only focused on their own political agenda and is supporting ideas which serve to perpetuate poverty, crime, domestic violence, child abuse, and chemical dependency.

Anonymous said...

Where do I begin. Placing the youth in facilities closer to home will help a small number of youth during the rehabilitation process. Let's not forget that these kids were at home when they committed their offenses. Mommy and Daddy couldn't help these kids when they were living under the same roof with them so what makes Whitmire think they can help now. I've been with TYC for over ten years and I've seen many situations where the youth gets no support from the family. Many of these kids aren't even wanted back at home and the parents will tell you this. Another issue is that placing these kids regionally causes problems with trying to rehabilitate some of these kids. Most of these kids would come from the same streets and the same gangs. Can you imagine one of these kids trying to hold one or several of his peers accountable for their negative behavior knowing that he may suffer consequences when these kids are back out on the streets together? I for one was a big fan of the Resocialization Program. It taught the youth how to correct their negative behavior and it taught them how to break the cycle of delinquent behavior but the youth had to learn and practice the tools that were given to him during the Resocialization process. It wasn't meant to automatically correct the youth's behavior and make him a better citizen. Would you expect anyone to pick up a book or a video that teaches you to play a guitar and be able to play anything by just reading the book or watching the video? I think not. That person has to utilize the tools that are given to him and continue to learn and practice over and over until he finally becomes a good guitar player. Most of these kids didn't want to utilize the tools that were given to them during the Resocialization process. That didn't mean the program didn't work. I was at a hearing last summer when Whitmire and the rest of the joint committee were asked to come out to West Texas and see for themselves what type of work we do so they could see for themselves that we do great work with these youth even though we are underpaid and overworked. To this date, not one of them has come out to our facility. I applaud Mr. Nedelkoff for the leadership he has provided to us and I appreciate the fact that he ASKS for our opinions and he doesn't keep us in the dark. Abolish the Texas Youth Commission? Why not abolish the Legislature? Most of them are far more corrupt than some the staff we HAD working at TYC a few years ago. We're still waiting for Whitmire and his buddies to come on down to West Texas and give us a visit. Don't worry John, I'll buy your drinks and drive you all around just in case someone thinks you're too intoxicated to have another.

Anonymous said...

What a man. Chester's funeral was amazing, uplifting and rewarding.

"Have faith and not fear..." I wished all of you could have heard this message, especially how it was presented.

Every funeral I've ever been to was filled with mourn. This one, well - I felt like I just walked out of rock concert.

Man, my brothers of color have this business down. What a tribute. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree. It was an awesome experience, and I am a better person to have known Mr. Clay. He is loved by many, and will be missed.

Anonymous said...

We should take the trouble of TYC and turn them over to God as they are his burden to bear and not ours.

Anonymous said...

To Old Salty: You received a taste of TDCJ Management, not leadership. There just isn't much leadership in state agencies, only individuals who have been compromised.

TYC officials have been vacillating for about 12 months now. Some members of the Lege are thinking of the money that could be spent elsewhere if TYC was reduced/eliminated/placed under another agency.

What will the answer be If this question comes up at the hearing next week: "What functioning programs are successful in today's TYC?".

What response will TYC reps provide when asked about how many TDCJ Inmates are "graduates" of TYC?

What will Mr N's response be if a committee member asks why the TYC Agency has been "pencil-whipping" their staffing ratio?

How many additional "outside" employees have been hired and what are their salaries?

How much money has been spent in the hiring process of the ED and when will he/she be selected?

I'm just an old retired guy sitting on the sidelines; the committee members have staff members that have a lot of facts, very negative facts, concerning the lack of improvement in TYC.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Well hell retired 2004, their negative facts are based on decisions that were made by the Pope genius and not by Nedlekoff.

But here's a fact: those decisions she and her ride-along buddy - Bronco Billy - are being unwrapped.

If you need evidence of that, then look at who just got replaced at Crockett, Evins and Al Price. And from what I'm hearing, but haven't confirmed, who’s being replaced at the Ranch?

It took time to f-things up, it'll take time un-f those stupid decisions, but I'm seeing it happen.

Anonymous said...

And prior to "the Pope??

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Oh I agree with you there... prior to Pope, yeah, no disagreement there. The agency hasn't been right since Robinson. No doubt.

BUT... this new guy shows a lot of promise and I say give him the opportunity and we'll see another Robinson.

Anonymous said...

As an employee of TYC, I do see some improvement in the agency. However, the biggest issues is that some folks will not let the past be the past. It is time to move forward and let the new leaders take care of business instead of continuing to allow all those who failed in the past continue to intervene.

Anonymous said...

Amen! 12:21 You can't keep dwelling on the past. Can't change it, can't fix it now, let it go and stop bringing those people up. It time to deal with the present and look to the future, what ever that may be for TYC.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope it is a complete shut down of the entire Agency and the removal of all current TYC employees with control shifted over to the real juvenile justice professionals, TJPC. RIP-TYC!!!

Anonymous said...

I've got to ask. Jack Chase, did you intentionally out yourself as "Old Salty", or was it just another of many of your faux'pas in your illustrious TYC career? Too funny!

Anonymous said...

I agree with 12:57

Moving kids closer to their homes? Won't we have another Evins situation where the majority of the staff are somehow related to the juveniles that they work with? This would also put the staff at risk to "compromise" their position by doing extra favors. The majority of these kids do not have any contact with their families. Have you ever been on the dorm when a child tries to call his/her family and gets told that the family no longer wants to have contact with them because of what they did to another family memeber? These kids scream, cry, and usually end up going to security on a self-referral so they can avoid a critical situation. Parents not visiting their kids is not a "Distance" issue. These kids for the most part never even receive a letter from their family unless it their birthday. Leave them where they are at. If you ask alot of these kids, they have no remorse for their crimes. It's not a matter of where in Texas they are located or how well the staff do their job. You cannot MAKE a youth change. You can give them the tools to succeed, the manual on how to use the tools, and hope that one day the light turns on in their mind and they decide to turn their life around.

j chase said...

Since one has to intentionally hit a radio button, then intentionally type one's name in a box in order for it to show up at the top, I guess the answer is obvious. I'm glad to hear you think I have had an "illustrious" career.

Anonymous said...

If there were just a way to fire everyone at a JCO IV position with a tenure of seven or more years and completely drain the swamp, disbanding the agency comletely is the ONLY best options.

There is just WAY (erjc) too much coruption and INCOMPETENCY for it to work.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm serious too. There is little or no talent in low positions because we have settled for the bottom of the barrel. Most JCOs do a poor job and the case workers even more so. There are few teachers who are good.
Assitant principals, and principals are the only ones who actualy keep the school functions operating with any semblance of order and effectiveness. Below that, it's the pits. The central office people are so swamped dealing with imcompetent bonehead mistakes by you stink pots in the field that the actual tasks that must be performed at the cental office level cannot be done. You stinkers are ridiculous. There is just no way an organization can succeed with the kind of direct care staff that are in place.

Anonymous said...

okay, so we can blame Central office, blame management, blame HR, teachers, caseworkers, JCO etc. but in reality there are alot of good people out there and people that have been there. We have to want to change, need help to change and be willing to accept that we all have to work together to make the change. Mr. Nedlekoff is on the right path, we just have to be willing to work together to move in the positive direction and quit bashing everyone. There is a good chance that you who are bashing need to take a look at yourselves and see if you are doing your part.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with 12:57 and 3:44. Go back and read their comments. It would be sad if it were not so true. Keeping kids close to home should NOT be a priority. The priority SHOULD be the treatment they need.

Anonymous said...

4:39, I would have to agree as well, As a caseworker, I have had several youth that have been placed on my caseload and their families within 20 minutes from the facility and do not have much involvement while others who live three hours away take the time to call, visit and participate in treatment. The priority should be were they can get the treatment they need.

j. chase said...

Heck, I could cite two cases where the families of youth literally lived within walking distance of the campus and never showed up, and wouldn't return calls from the caseworker; while families of other youth would drive for 5 or 6 hours to visit with their child.

Family re-integration is very important in those cases where the families want to be actively involved in the rehabilitation of their children, and we should make every effort to make that process a priority - but everyone needs to realize that family reintegration is often not not possible, and it is often not desirable. Each case is unique. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Heck, I can site a least two case where the kids own family had placed "hits" on them because they had turned states evidence against their parents/family.

It has always amazed me too that while many parents remain disinterested in their children (kid is an SSI check) whether or not they are in TYC many parents who neglected thier children become "super-parents" and suddenly TYC is abusive and neglectful.

Anonymous said...

Yes, where were these super-parents when their kid was out running the streets with a gang? People need to start parenting to their children at birth. You have to try to instill proper values in your children and maybe they won't turn out as delinquents.

Anonymous said...

4/12/2008 12:54:00 PM

"I just wasted an hour trying to post a message on kidsinprison. They have put so many road blocks up that your effort will be wasted. If you try to correct any mistakes you just create more roadblocks."

I am sure sorry about that.
Drop me an email at.

rio@kidsinprison.com

Explain what happened and I will try and fix it.

I am close to a novice at putting up a messsage board, so I am not surprised to find out that the posting is not working perfectly.

Rio Grande

Anonymous said...

Old Salty - Can anything be done to help our ex-coworker? I heard the gj meets at the end of the month. Any thoughts on what's going on? More to come?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I've asked y'all not to use the comments sections to dish dirt about people unrelated to the post. That goes for the three recent comments I deleted, and you know if it was yours.

It's okay to ask a policy related question, as the last commenter did, but not to attack people by name and location. There are message boards at KidsInPrison, The Back Gate, and TexasJustice.org where you can create your own discussion topics. Please use them for such off topic conversations, particularly if you want to discuss the demerits of this or that individual. Thanks!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Direct questions about deletions to shenson@austin.rr.com.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

BTW, why doesn't somebody answer 3:40's question instead of talk about the person they asked it of? Or if you don't have any information, perhaps your contribution is unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

She's is screwed, unless the grand jury (gj) can see through the BS. There is nothing you can do to help her, unless you can convince OIG and SPU that they have made a mistake. Which will not happen because OIG think they are God, and SPU sits at the right hand of God. Old Salty (AKA Jack Chase, YRS) can't do anything to help her or he already would have. When TYC gets it in for someone, they are unstoppable, until they get sued, which will probably happen in this situation, and TYC will have not only lost another good employee, but also donated a bunch of money to that person in the long run. Good luck "ex-coworker" we are all pulling for you on this one.

Anonymous said...

Update - The gj saw through the bs and no billed all counts. The whole thing is insane. I hope she sues the hell out of all of them. Love her or hate her, it was so wrong.

Anonymous said...

OIG and SPU are a joke. I am not talking about the case mentioned above because she certainly did NOT deserve to be indicted, but OIG and SPU couldn't investigate and present a case for an indictment if their lives depended on it. Look at the stats on the TYC webpage. Bruce Toney, Gina DeBottis, and Allyson Mitchell should turn in their resignations and realize how incompetent they really are. If there was any accountability in state government, they would have been fired two months ago. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Gina DeBottis is quoted as saying in that particular case, she would not offer less than jail time. Are you kidding me? The GJ also noted that the "tape" the SPU and OIG were counting on for a trial was tampered with and not unnoticeably. Wow, it sounds like OIG and SPU have their own problems, coverups, etc. but they are policing us??!?!?!? S-C-A-R-E-Y

Anonymous said...

To the last poster - how do you know what the GJ found on the evidence? Everyone who participates in a GJ swear to secrecy of the proceedings. All that can be disclosed is the final findings of billed or no-billed. If a person has any part in a GJ proceeding and discusses it outside, it is a crime.

Anonymous said...

You must not live in a small town. Come down off your soap box.

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