Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ombudsman: TYC closed abuse cases without proper investigation

SB 103 required the Texas Youth Commission's Ombudsman to report to the Governor, the Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the House whenever he discovers "particularly serious or flagrant" problems or abuses, and Ombudsman Will Harrell issued his first such report today to say TYC closed more than 500 cases of alleged mistreatment without making a final determination or forwarding information about criminal allegations to the Inspector General. (See AP's initial coverage.)

Here's an excerpt from the cover letter giving an overview of the Ombudsman's concerns:
The Office of the Independent Ombudsman (OIO) is statutorily required to report “particularly serious or flagrant” abuse of youth rights or problems with the TYC administration immediately to certain officials. This is the first occasion that the OIO has felt that something we uncovered triggered that provision. ...

The OIO has identified several structural and procedural flaws with the administration of the TYC Alleged Mistreatment Incident system (AMI). Our greatest concern, and the reason for which we are contacting your office, is that we discovered hundreds of abuse or neglect allegations that were administratively closed without proper administrative and/or law enforcement investigation.

Additional concerns include the following:

• Failure to ensure disciplinary consequences follow confirmed AMI’s
• Wrongful assignment of AMI investigations in halfway houses
• Substantial delay in assignment and investigation of AMI’s
• Inadequate staffing levels for AMI system and poorly trained and underqualified investigative and managing staff
• Lack of independence for AMI system
• Lack of data integrity in AMI system

In March of 2007, the State Auditor suggested that the AMI system be placed under the direction of the TYC Inspector General. That restructuring was recently directed by Conservator Nedelkoff and we believe that it will insure that the problems we have identified do not persist.
The cases summarily closed referenced by the OIO were among those that came in last year in response to the massive publicity about sexual and physical abuse at TYC. While sexual abuse cases were quickly identified, physical abuse and other types of mistreatment didn't always merit the same administrative focus, the Ombudsman found. The report isn't online yet but I'll get a link up when it's available and provide a more thorough account after I've had a chance to fully read it.

MORE (9/25): The SA Express News has coverage; here's an excerpt:

Texas Youth Commission ombudsman Will Harrell identified 85 cases of alleged abuse or neglect that — according to the agency's own records — were closed without being investigated by the agency's administrative arm, the Youth Rights Division, or by any law enforcement agency, in violation of procedures.

Another 88 recently closed abuse and neglect cases were investigated “by a law enforcement agency, but not by the Youth Rights Division as required by policy,” Harrell said in a blistering report he delivered to the state's top leadership Wednesday.

A total of 564 cases alleging mistreatment of youths were closed by the agency without any record indicating how they were disposed, the report says.

In some instances, abuse allegations were assigned to the alleged perpetrator to investigate, Harrell said. Other cases were left hanging after being assigned to people who had been transferred to other departments and not notified, or to people who had left the agency.

MORE: The Houston Chronicle quotes Sen. John Whitmire declaring, "I personally cannot guarantee any judge or parent that their kid is not going to be abused" ... I want very specific documentation, no cover-ups, no smoothing things over," continued Whitmire. "Do I have confidence in the current administration? No. Do I have confidence in the current dynamics of this agency? No."

Next Wednesday, a meeting of the joint legislative committee on TYC oversight will consider the details of Harrell's report and other TYC-related matters.

80 comments:

Roland Darby said...

i steal from you occasionally. so steal from me. mine's funnier:
http://rolanddarbystattler.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

This is what TYC was accused of under the leadership of Dwight Harris. If it is still going on, then what in the hell are the "reforms" doing? Will Kimbrough, Owens, and Pope be investigated for failure to do what they said they were doing? Should they be brought before a grand jury for possible indictment? Same song second verse.

Anonymous said...

Amen. And just to think that Pope brought in TDCJ personnel to TYC to help it with it's "integrity problem," and to think that one of it's senior managers is responsible for this during a conservatorship?

"God help us realize our wrongs in the past, but please help remedy the minds of those who tried to resolve it because they made it worse." Amen.

Folks, you should never forget that Senator John Whitmire was behind bringing in Demitrus Pope and introducing her folks in this agency. The personal ultimately responsible for this finding is a TYC implant from TDCJ. Whenever you all want to come to terms with that very, very, bad decision, let us know, but better yet - act. No TDCJ in TYC. It's bad chemistry.

Anonymous said...

The last line of posts on this blog about TYC I read had several posts on how the Ombudsman was not funded enough. Now I read this and that's after many Grits stories that talk about what they have done. Seems like our tax dollars are fine. Why do folks like Mr. Hickman think they need more money?

Anonymous said...

What is interesting nowadays is trying to sort out all the players in this game.

You have the Youth Rights Specialists (YRS), (some of whom used to be part of the old non-law enforcement Inspector General's Office),who review and coordinate investigations of youth grievances from the youths living in the institutions and halfway houses regarding their institutional rights being violated.

Then you have the Youth Care Investigators (YCI), (also some of whom used to be part of the old non-law enforcement Inspector General's Office), who are conducting administrative investigations into abuse, neglect and exploitation of youth by staff. This group was recently placed under the administration and management of the new Office of Inspector General (OIG), who is also tasked with investigating all criminal acts occuring within TYC and contractors, including fraud.

Then you have the (K-9)handlers/ investigators, who work on developing and managing the gang intelligence information system and who also investigate and report on the introduction of drugs and contraband into the facilities.

Then you have the Internal Audit (IA) Department of TYC which assesses the adequacy of program components and reports programatic successes and failures to management with appropriate recommendations for change.

And then you have the Office of Independent Ombudsman (OIO), who conducts investigations/audits/assessments and assessments of almost anything involving TYC and provides the public, the agency, the legislature, the governor, and the media with his conclusions of the same.

Odly enough, even some of the Ombudsman's own staff came out of the old non-law enforcement Inspector General's Office of the TYC and conducted AMI investigtions.

The Ombudsman's latest findings about the AMI investigations come at a time when his newly created agency is asking for more money to expand his operation. His request is probably justifiable given that although TYC is a shrinking system, its' facilities sprawl all over a large state.

That said however, I find that the Ombudsman's investigations always have very interesting timing, starting with his revelations on Cooke County, to Victory Field Academy, to TYC's flawed education system, and now the inaccuracies and flaws of TYC's AMI system.
(Has anybody seen the Internal Audit folks in the building?)

I guess the Legislature should be very impressed with Mr. Harrell, since the Ombudsman seems to be quite adept at being the first with the bad news, which, of course, goes to show how indespensible he and his staff are. This is especially true when you consider how knowledgable he is with regard to Federal intervention strategies.

It seems that out of all the investigative entities mentioned above, the only entity truly worthy of it's political salt is the Independent Ombudsman's Office.

The larger problem though is how poorly defined his agencies' authority really is.

I think Senator Whitmire once remarked at a hearing that Mr. Harrell needed to stop playing agency auditor and focus more on what he was supposed to do.

Fortunatly for Harrell, he crafted a good part of SB 103 with regards to his new agencies responsability and authority. The bill is now the law of Texas.

No one will ever be able to say that TYC's OIO was anybody's rubber stamp.

Very impressive and well done Mr. Harrell.

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:10

Great insight. Nice post. You missed an OIO event or two. How soon we forget the excess of OC spray and also putting those kids in solitary confinement. Those at the OIO folks were on that too.

Anonymous said...

Yep after Detritus Pope and her excesses and all of the major inbreeding, How does anyone expect change that is positive or good coming from a new Exec Director who came up in the ranks with all of the same old people.

Anonymous said...

Sic 'em Will.

Charles Kiker

Anonymous said...

Looks like the link is up. You can see the reports from the OIO on their website. Pretty damning stuff

Anonymous said...

For the person who questions why I believe the ombudsman needs more money, there are a lot more TYC problems that have not been addressed. Even this report does not cover the hundreds of abuse/neglect reports that were dumped into the complaint system(instead of being investigated) by all those TDCJ IG's in June 2007 as a result of the telephone hotline.

For the record, I am not aware that prior to the reform that any abuse/neglect complaints filed with the IG were ever not accounted for. The problem was those reports were being short circuited before they ever got to the IG's. So this is a totally new problem that has arisen under the "reform."

Howard A. Hickman

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Yes, I know it is off the subject, but I wanted to point out that it is not only the rural DAs that can't get an indictment. Travis County failed to get an indictment on good ole star athlete, Cedric Benson for DWI, BWI, and resisting arrest.

Anonymous said...

You know - the more I see, read, and have personal knowledge of regarding this agency, the more I'm becoming convinced we may have to burn the village to the ground in order to save it. Cherie will need an analyist, psychiatrist, and lots of bottles of pills after a month or two on the ground here in Texas.

Plato

Anonymous said...

Who checks out the OIO to see if they are really doing their job as outlined by SB103? They seem to be stirring a bunch of fires, and it's difficult for me to believe anything coming from these tree hugging liberals. I mean, anyone that would hire TEW must be completely clueless. She has been crying wolf since the first day she walked into TYC.

Anonymous said...

Hey Plato, sounds like she will fit in well with the rest of the crazy junkies in Austin.

Anonymous said...

8:08,

Your gonna stir up a bunch of Big Willie's ACLU buddies and they are gonna come after you or "sic" you and beat you over the head with their man purses.

Anonymous said...

The office of independent ombudsman is a state agency established for the purpose of investigating, evaluating, and securing the rights of the children committed to the commission, including a child released under supervision before final discharge.
SB103, Sec. 64.002.

hamhead said...

Time for old TYC to address new TYC and tell the newbies to think:

I've been with this agency now for almost 20 years and I'm damn near retirement (but I won't)-- and I think you whinny ass wet behind the ears smart asses need to get the hell outta our agency.

I don't see a problem with Mr. Ombudsman's (Harrel or Pony Boy's) report.

I do see a problem with you all failing to recognize problems.

I'm no C.O. flunkee, but rather an old JCO who started in '82.

My stand is this: If you haven't learned by now you have to first build a trusting rapport with these city kids - then you've failed to understand what drives the "burn games" that BOTH of you play daily.

Knock that shit off and be the adult here.

If someone said or acted improperly with these kids, you've lowered yourselves to their level and have no business working with us if you didn't report it.

Central Office may have made it difficult to rid ourselves of you in the past, but not now.

Those of us who have been invested in our profession take exception to those with "little" green horns (rookies) coming here and bitching about this and that, and I'm frankly tired of you. You need to grow up and work with it, or better yet, leave.

- Hamhead

Anonymous said...

Go Hamhead! Rightly said.

Anonymous said...

HAMHEAD IN 2009!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many uninvestigated AMIs are outstanding on who ever posted at 8:08 and 8:12.

Anonymous said...

Hamhead probably shares an ool and wears a pocket protector. 20 years and no experience or clue whats takes place in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Good for Will, someone needs to be sniffing up the butts of TYC! Keep on sniffing like a dog searching for a bone!
See all of so called whiners (called out on the carpet lately as whiners) for complaining about TYC and the problems we face daily may one day be recognized as the truth tellers instead.

The ones in the trenches know what is really happening daily.

Hamhead said...

What's an "ool?"

That sounds like something coming out of a JCO punks asshole? Damn boyz, these newbies need background checks more than ever if they're talking something like that...

HamHead

Anonymous said...

an ool is a division of a larger room divided off by partitions rather than walls on serves as offices for lesser functionaries within the system. in a Unit these would be reserved for CWs and JCO VIs, IN CO it would be for the entire education staff. You know, the lesser functionaries.

Anonymous said...

The OIO oughta look at the school system in Pyote next. Someone explain to me how a 21 year old kid, who can't read, manages to earn a high school diploma a week before he's discharged. one corrupt system replaces another.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't say that I am shocked. As a former worker I knew this parent who stayed on TYC Mart Unit because of the abuse of her child. I contact her every now and then because she made sense out of this mess. She simply said that TYC hides the truth and its buried with delayed releases and delayed children. She said "I know that in due time Mr. Harrell will uncover what needs to be uncovered." So, I thank the OIO office. TYC needs to close down or get people like this group to run it. Reports can be written all day long...but what movement is being done. Some minor policies, visitation...and yet the staff are still the same ignorant abusive staff that are there. Where is the change?

Anonymous said...

The report is interesting in that the OIO report relies on the complaint of Ms. Wilkins who was an investigator. She has an ax to grind. She and Mr Mckeiver applied for the supervisor position, Mr. Mckeiver was selected for a position over her, and her husband was employed by TYC and left under questionable circumstances. Pope told the legislator the the Youth Rights specialist were all in place, but not a one of them had been hired. To cover her lie she pulled 62% of the investigators off the over 1500 cases to become Youth Rights Specialist. That left eight investigators to cover all the cases plus new ones coming in everyday. Those eight had to cover every facility, halfway house, contract facility and parole office in the STATE. They got no help from the Inspcetor Generals because the cases did not meet the definitions of criminal law violations. Remeber that these eight investigators had to interview an average of six people per case. And the number of cases did not decrease. When the hot line and all news broke about TYC there were approximtely 18 investigators with an approximate caseload of 30-40 cases. When the hotline and other things came to light the case load jumped to an average of 150-200 cases, and then Pope cuts the Youth Care Ivestigators down to 8. Do the math, how do you think 8 YCI's can interview that many people with hardly any resources. Then some witless wonder comes up with the double reporting. I was on the blitz teams, I know these investigators worked long hours, with no overtime. I know many of these people were on the road for three weeks out of the month. Ms. Wilkins had her chance to sharpen her claws on very decent people like Mr. McKiever, Mr. Jackson, and Ms. Hurd. These people were forced into working for Pope's cronies who did not have the experience or idea of what they were doing. The inspector generals did not assist because ANE cases that did not garner an arrest and they thought such work was beneath their status of IG. I was there and witnessed all of it When Pope came into power she held a meeting asking what the Youth Care investigators what equioment they needed to do their jobs. We asked for laptops, celphones and maybe a camera to photograph the possible scene of the neglect. As a traveling investigator myself and two others were given on cel phone to share. I never did get a lap top, and purchased one on my own to do my work. I am furious over this report because once again they failed to look at the decent people who were in nasty situations and their good names were drug through the mud simply because Ms. Wilkins wanted her revenge and two minutes of fame. There are problems with the system, but you need to look at the way the system is set up, not those who tried their level best to work with something really screwed up by Pope and her crew. Maybe they should question crediabilty of the report as far as Ms. Wilkins is concerned. She always had an ax to grind for not getting the supervisor position and she was able to get her revenge in this report.
Hang in their all the YCI's and keep doing your best to keep up with an impossible situation that they have forced you into.

Mr. Jackson, Mr. Mckiever and Ms. Hurd for those of us that worked with you, we know the real story and keep your chins up....

Anonymous said...

One more point. As investigator they do not have the authority to take actions against staff who are confirmed on. That is up to the Local facility administrator and HR. Investigators can work cases all day long and come out with good evidience and strong case, but they do not have the authority to take disciplinary actions on the case.

Anonymous said...

Way to tell it like it is 7:10. When all the mess was going on last year, OIG was too busy focusing on bringing down Administrators for misdemeanors they caouldn't prove, and trumping up false policy violations on other Administrative personnel all at the whim of Jay Kimbrough. Wilkins has been a loose cannon from the first day she stepped foot in TYC. Watch out Will, she may put that knife in your back someday.

Anonymous said...

Staff within the Texas Youth
Commission have been physically abusing youth for many years. Historically they have been able to engage in this type of conduct without accountability or consequences for their conduct. In previous years, it was viewed as the norm by many to knock out the teeth of a youth, cause serious lacerations to their face and head, and in many instances fracture their arms. This is a cultural issue that is a result of the long history or corruption, inadequate training, lack of accountability and poor supervision. Reform efforts have been hindered by the empowerment of members who are part of the old regime this year. they simply reinforce the status qou.

Anonymous said...

11:42,

You must be one of those TDCJers that was brought in, and now you can sit back and be the pot calling the kettle black. If this is the case, then explain how the new people coming into the Agency and even some of the Administrators has caused the rise in allegations of abuse and confirmations? I suppose the "old regime" is kicking them in the ass and making them abuse youth, too? What a joke.

Anonymous said...

11:53,
Institutional culture can be a good thing, or it can be very bad. When it is harmful and corrupt for long periods of time, it is also very difficult to change. Many people accept the status quo and 'run with the herd' as a result of peer influence.
You my friend are obviously part of the old regime.

Anonymous said...

To: 09/26 12:30
You rightly described the current TYC Institutional culture:
- harmful and corrupt for a long period of time
- very difficult to change
- many people accept the status quo and 'run with the herd' as a result of peer influence.
- still controlled by the old regime

Amazing insight 12:30!

Anonymous said...

Thank you 12:39. I am a huge fan of Juvenile Corrections professionals in Texas. There are a lot of people in TYC who truly care about the organization, the staff and the youth. Unfortunately, it only takes a few who still cling to old order tactics and the old regime ideals to destroy our professional image. Our facilities even today are not controlled effectively because of poor leadership. Violence is rampant, workers comp claims are unbelievably high, and we send youth to hospitals daily for serious injuries. The worse part is that people in key positions spend all their time attempting to convince the oversight committees that all is well as opposed to being truly committied to organizational reform and addressing the problems. Let's hope the new ED is as good as some say she is.

Anonymous said...

12:30, you were once again on target:
"people in key positions spend all their time attempting to convince the oversight committees that all is well as opposed to..."

I wonder if rhe Adm (and the new ED) will have any idea of how the old bunch are taking them for a ride, running them in circles and have a grand ole time - just like the old days.

Anonymous said...

Before we took the hard turn to the "corrections" model in the mid-90's, we had very few workman's comp claims, a big month for an on-site investigator involved 4 investigations, there were very few job vacancies for Youth Activities Supervisors (predecessors to JCOs), and before a person could be put in charge of a dorm (old YAS IV) he or she had a minimum of 6 years of experience. It was a different culture then.

Sen Whitmire was not the only one to blame for the "corrections" turn, he was certainly aided and abetted by a certain Republican who had his eyes on much higher office.

Anonymous said...

12:30, 12:39, 12:59, and 1:19, must be the same idiot. Did you set your watch at 10min, then realized that was too soon so set it at 20min to repond and give yourself a pat on the back. You must be one of those idiot TDCJers. Once again look at the abuse and civil rights violations in TDCJ and TYC pales in comparison. I am not part of the "old regime", in fact, I am not a TYC employee, but I do know what happens in both TDCJ and TYC. Hopefully Whitmire is reloading to come at TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

7:10 am

The only names I see on the OIO memoes are Will Harrel and Kim Bennink. Actually, Harrel just wrote one page. It looks like Bennink did all the hard work on this. It was not Tish Elliot-Wilkins. And anyway, what dirrenrence would it make? You post talks about the reasons the system was all messed up so clearly, you are saying that have it right.

Anonymous said...

7:10 is correct in what he/she recounts Ms Pope doing to gut the YCI ranks. Ms Pope also blocked putting the admin investigators (YCI) under the OIG so that she could give a friend, who had absolutely no experience with investigations, a high-level job "managing" the YRSs and YCIs. Fortunately, the YCIs are now under the OIG. There are still only 7 admin investigators covering the entire state.

But, to give the OIO credit, the report does say that there are not enough administrative investigators to do the job.

Anonymous said...

Call me a cynic, but I don't think Ms Pope wanted too much investigation of abuse under her administration.

Anonymous said...

I go to work at TYC every day thinking that, despite the crap I have to deal with (mostly from other employees and management - not youth), my presence and my commitment to my job is making a difference for the youth. There are days I can complain about their behaviors, but the youth I work with are the only reason I haven't quit yet. Every time administrators make bonehead decisions that negatively impact these youth though, I get closer to thinking the only viable option is to shut this agency down and start from scratch. Whoever mentioned something about the incoming bigwigs (e.g., new ED) needing to be aware of existing management playing a game with them is absolutely right. I don't think it's reasonable to expect anyone to fix this mess, at this point.

Houston for Change said...

I read Harrell's report and I am equally disturbed by it's findings, but I think the entire report ought to clarify who told what to do and when, because I think many of you might be surprised about what's really about to be revealed.

It would be totally irresponsible to not look closely again.

Demitirus Pope - and well.... John Whitmire, here's your lunch... let's see IF current TYC administrators have the balls to confront you with who called the shot.

That was you're girl - D. Pope, and well... You can only point fingers so long... The only resolution is to have someone from the outside investigate this non-sence. And no one from your camp for sure.

You are about as trustworthy as a Russian-She-Male. In that, you're victims think they're getting something - not. In your case, that relates to the truth. An absolute not.

It's time for you to go John, as you've become an absolute idiot and an embarassement to those you serve.

Anonymous said...

So the un-answered questions remain after this report;

Those not qualified for their jobs, will they get to keep them?

Who provided oversight when Pope made these decisions, will they be held accountable?

If any of these cases rise to the level of a felony that went undisturbed for so long, will the Pope have charges filed on her?

Does the oversight committee take any responsibility for the cases and the hiring of Pope?

If I remember correctly back when she was running the show we saw a lot of footsies under the table taking place with her and a well known senator.

Anonymous said...

It's time Dementia and JW ride off into the sunset. It's so obvious TYC has become their personal vendetta. BTW, where is the darling Pope nowadays?

The new ED will have to unravel what the TDCJ regime refer to as accomplishments during the reign of terror. The rug will need to be removed to sweep out the debris left behind, paperweight inclusive. May the force be with the new ED.

The positive things about TYC are not reported. Employees who keep showing up to work, who care about the kids and do things to help them daily go unnoticed! Shame on the lege and ombudsman!!

Anonymous said...

Grits, you are unusually silent throughout this discussion. When you put this up on the blog, you had not gotten a chance to read the report. But it has been several days now since it has been publicized. Why are you being so quiet on this particular issue? Are you just gathering your thoughts? We respect what you have to say and it is your blog, so what do you think about it all?

Anonymous said...

I really wished one of committees that Whitmire isn't a part of would hold a hearing and finally let these TYC people explain what they're doing and why. Whitmire won't let anyone at TYC finish what they're saying and always seems to try and shape whatever they're saying into what he wants the public to hear.

For once, I'd really like to hear what they're doing without the Whitmire distraction. Is that too much to ask?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Grits, you are unusually silent throughout this discussion"

I just haven't had a chance to read the document and have been preoccupied with paying work and, today, my granddaughter's birthday. It may be tomorrow or Monday before I get to look at it more thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

The unqualified ones were Ray W and his successor (appointed by Pope), Mary S. They were identified in the report.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but the report never said what made them unqualified?

Anonymous said...

Mary was a trainer in the RED unit in TDCJ. She had absolutely no investigative experience.

Anonymous said...

Well that doesn't answer the question. Before you throw something like that out there, explain exactly how "Mary Whoever" doesn't fit the quals by first explaining what those quals are and how she didn't meet them. Please do the same for Ray Worsham.

Anonymous said...

Good point, why your at it, go ahead and explain how the rest of the sorry ass TDCJers don't fit the minimum quals. Start with Debra Gibbs.

Anonymous said...

Why not ask the Ombudsman about Worsham? He is responsible for the report. I think Mary's complete lack of any investigatory experience speaks for itself. As for other TDCJ'ers, the Ombudsman report did not address them. That is a different subject.

Anonymous said...

10:41 p.m. - I just read the report and you have a good point. Those details are lacking. I don't understand how anyone can just conclude that a person is "unqualified" for a position just by looking at an application. It brings to question what the qualifications are for the person who wrote the document and what makes he/she the authority on the topic. This document appears to be an investigation. So now we must ask, what experience and training does the writer have to make such a conclusion - while keeping in mind this document was forwarded to the states leadership.

"The sky is burnt orange this is fact because (1) I know the color of burnt orange and (2)UT won yesterday. And while the rest of you see the sky as blue, it doesn't matter. You are covering it all up, because I'm the expert, and I say, you're color blind."

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree, you go from a "Trainer" while employed at TDCJ to a Supervisor over an "Investigative-Body" at TYC. Does not need a whole lot of explaining, unless of course you were one who benefited from this practice.

What Pope and the TDCJ'ers accomplished was to take nearly all positions in TYC and substitute experience as the same as those with a degree.

Basically she wanted this model in TYC so she could promote her friends and nobody said a thing, not even our astute politicians.

So why should anyone be outraged with the end result. Take a close look at all positions in TYC after Pope came on board and see how many of these positions were changed to experience being equal to a degree.

Whitmire's Girl indeed!!!

Anonymous said...

9:41am lets see what color the sky is in two weeks after the River shootout.

Your sky will seem a lot different after this game and it sure wont be burnt orange.

Anonymous said...

My cat's chasing it's tail's shadow.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying "May Whoever" wasn't qualified. I'm asking the writer to explain what those qualifications are and how "Mary Whoever" didn't meet them. The report doesn't explain that, and that's pretty damn fundemental when it comes to investigative reporting. I'm also asking what makes the person who wrote that piece qualified to even speak of the topic. My bet is he/she is only qualified to make an opinion, if at that.

Texas 45 - OU 10. See you in Dallas. We're not cocky. We're just better than yOU!

Anonymous said...

...not to mention, better looking as well.

Anonymous said...

By way of contrast, the person now supervising the abuse/neglect investigators is a police officer with over 20 years of experience conducting investigations.

But you have a point with regard to the qualifications of the person writing the Ombudsman report.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and it still amazes me that his supervisors sign off on sorry investigations, and they just can't seem to get many indictments. What did he do in those 20 years? Eat doughnuts??

Anonymous said...

Most of the folks doing admin investigations have a heck of alot more experience than Will Harrell's chief investigator, who left a pile of unresolved cases when she left to join Harrell's outfit.

The key problem is that at the very time that there was a huge increase in the number of investigations, Ms Pope cut the investigative force by 2/3; from 21 to 7. That Whitmire never ceases to amaze me.

With regard to the new Lieutenant over the admin investigators - he has a pretty impressive arrest record.

For those of you who want the OIG to go after kids for misdemeanors - get a life and either try to learn some behavior management skills, or go back to work for TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

Is it ethical for the ombudsman to send expensive gifts and money to youth in TYC?

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding, please do tell more??

Anonymous said...

Must be all the extra money the Ombudsman is making as a licensed mental health professional. Oh, wait, he isn't one, he just tries to pass himself off as one when he starts making demands for youths to be moved when parents with political collections complain about their child being in TYC and having to face the consequences for their actions.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To the last three commenters, if you've got evidence to support misconduct allegations against the Ombudsman, present it. NOW. Otherwise I'm going to delete this crapola.

FWIW, Harrell's got the cojones to put his name on his criticisms of the agency and specific personnel. That's virtually NEVER true for commenters who complain about people by name on these TYC strings. Any coward can make anonymous accusations with no evidence; in fact, clearly, many cowards do.

Anonymous said...

Many of you have been with TYC for years and knew all along that abuse was going on, but chose to look the other way. Now you complain about the reforms...has you apple cart been upset? Thanks to those few who chose to bring out the abuse and corruption to the public. Perhaps the rest of you should choose another field to work in.

Anonymous said...

We've had reforms? What reforms?

Anonymous said...

The reforms you remember...

Don't do A

Don't do B

Don't do C

Don't do D


Oop's

They forgot to tell us what we CAN do...

But they call it REFORM

Anonymous said...

Whitmire's reform:
If they don't do what you tell them:
Spray them......

Anonymous said...

to:Grits,
No allegation was made, just asked the question. As I am not privy to the ombudsman priviledged access to the youth nor the "relationship", this appears questionable to me. Just wanted clarification or others' opinions. I would report it if it is not appropriate, but I wanted more information if it is out there.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"No allegation was made, just asked the question."

In other words, you're spewing malicious bullshit with no justification whatsoever.

I thought so.

Anonymous said...

It's going to be interesting to see the numbers the OIG comes up with verses what the OIO came up with. If there is a huge difference, then who do you believe and why? The fact is, both of those divisions were brought on by SB 103 as part of the reform package. Now it appears they are going to face off if there is a big difference in those numbers. Even though the writer from the Ombudsman's Office tried to downplay any OIG fault, it didn't come off that way apparently, because if you read Mr. Toney's memorandum, he seems to take issue with this "evil intent."

Is that a phrase used by law enforcement? I never heard of that before. I think some of you TYC staff ought to step right out of this one because it doesn't really involve you. This looks like two reformers are about to square off.

But the question is, who do we believe now if that actually happens?

Kinda feels like kid looking at both parents wondering, who do you believe, Mom or Dad when you really want to believe both? For everyones sake, I'd hope those numbers aren't too far off and this talk of one of the assistant ombudsman's being supervised by one of the accused and had an Axe to grind isn't true. But if that's true, then it's just wrong to use that power as payback. Lets hope that's not the case. But I'm going to be watching this one closely.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Grits, for your 11:22 and 3:14 posts. I agree with you. I really hate it when people anonymously post allegations of criminal behavior, naming names and all. After all, when it's on your blog, it's there for everyone to see and most people have no way of sorting out the truth from fiction. I hope you take down those posts about the Ombudsman, if you haven't already.

I wish you weren't so stingy with such admonishments, though, because it's happened to other people who apparently weren't worthy of your defense.

Whitsfoe said...

I cracked up laughing when I read this:

"Is it ethical for the ombudsman to send expensive gifts and money to youth in TYC?"

Are you kidding me? On an Ombudsman's salary? Especially his? Are you for real? I'm surprised Will can pay the electric bill much less pay for some lavish gifts!

But hey lets answer your question. Even if it were true, so lets assume that, the answer is absolutely yes. He's no different from you, me, or any other member of the community who volunteers for the well-being of kids locked up in TYC. I recall days when this very rich vol at one state school gave kids watches, and those watches were not cheap. Better than mine. I recall days when staff acted as volunteers and had kids at their homes feeding them with their own families.

Is the "ombudsman" excluded from volunteering? Hell no he isn't, and neither are you! Problem is he can't afford it whereas you might be able to help. So instead of drinking your Bush or Natural Light, sitting on your porch pondering if you're Neanderthal or Alien, why not try volunteering? You might feel good about yourself and quit blogging about this bullshit! But hey, thanks for the laugh!

Anonymous said...

Anybody with any intelligence working for this stupid agency appreciates what Will is trying to do. He is under-budgeted, and under appreciated, but he is doing what he can with limited freedom and funding. Ultimately, he will be nothing more than a voice crying the wilderness. Someone will put his head on a platter.

Anonymous said...

I believe the issue should remain who was responsible for the lack of oversight, and why did these investigations sit for such a long time?

Regardless of your views and who you like or dislike, this is wrong and should be addressed.

"Chuy"

Anonymous said...

I can't give the name or details, but I can say that the Ombudsman demanded a youth be transferred to a mental health facility to be admitted to a treatment program despite the youth having been assessed by several different mental health professionals and determined that he didn't need the treatment. Note that the Ombudsman didn't ask for for him to be transferred for assessment, which would have been within his role, but he told us the youth had to be admitted into the treatment program (only a licensed mental health professional can make that decision). I'm just pointing out that the Ombudsman needs to stick to his job, especially since he doesn't have enough people right now to do his own mission without trying to take over other departments. And he definately needs to keep away from doing things because of political pressure, which in this case came from the youth's politically connected parent who didn't want their child to take resposnibility for their actions. If he finds something that needs to be fixed (and we certainly have a lot of things broken) then let us know, but also please give us some ideas (realistic ones) on how to fix it. And tell the lege as well, including the price tag and personnel requirements. So far all that's happened is we've had all our "sticks" taken away and the "carrots" we were promised as replacements haven't shown up and it doesn't look like they will anytime soon. We would love to be able to use the "carrots" to motivate changes within these youth, but so far nothing has come through because no one wants to spend the money. So now we have neither (when we really need a blend of both), and one campus after another slides into anarchy.

Anonymous said...

I like Will Harrell, but I question his judgment in his selection of assistants. When they complain about the competence of the investigators it is very much a case of the pot calling the kettle.

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