TYC eliminated the program because extensive use of isolation did not reflect national best practices, said spokesman Jim Hurley, and also to alleviate staffing shortages at the Mart 1 unit. According to the Waco Tribune Herald ("TYC violent youth program scrapped," June 6), "The program was housed at one of the two TYC units in Mart, with youths being sent there from juvenile prisons all over the state, Hurley said. It had the capacity for 24 youths and required 40 staff members." Reported the Tribune Herald:
As TYC has continued to examine its practices in light of an abuse scandal that rocked the agency last year, it has the agency last year, it has determined the program does not reflect national best practices in dealing with youth offenders, Hurley said. So the state decided to discontinue it.
To fill the gap, TYC is revamping its “behavior management program, which is conducted at all TYC facilities, Hurley said. It will be called Redirect and will revolve around a specialized treatment curriculum designed to manage aggressive youths.
The revamped program will focus on getting inmates to recognize what triggers their violent behavior so they can stop it, Hurley said. He added that it will operate on a privilege system, rather than a punitive one.
Each facility will continue to have so-called security cells where violent youths can be isolated if necessary, Hurley said. However, the cells will be used only for short periods of time.
“It won’t be sticking a kid in there for months on end,” he said.
The 40 staff members who worked for the discontinued program will be transferred to other areas of Unit I at Mart, Hurley said. Since the facility has a shortage of juvenile corrections officers, the shift should ease understaffing there, he said.