Friday, October 24, 2008

TYC stops paying for empty private prison

The Texas Youth Commission continues to take a step and a half back for every one step forward. TYC's new Executive Commissoner Cheri Townsend canceled their contract with a private prison company out of Florida to operate a facility in Eagle Lake west of Houston in Colorado County, the Dallas News reported, after the agency had already paid the company more than $1.26 million for managing an empty facility:

After spending $1.26 million over three months on an empty juvenile prison in Eagle Lake, the Texas Youth Commission said today it is cancelling the controversial contract.

It’s unclear whether the agency will reclaim the money.

Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, said he had assurances from the TYC that all the money would be recovered from the prison operator, Youth Services International.

“I was told [by TYC Executive Commissioner Cherie Townsend] that they’re going to reimburse the funds,” Mr. Whitmire said. “They know they weren’t delivering a service. If that company would like to be considered again, they’re returning all the money.”

But a TYC press release said only that the vendor has been asked to account for how much they’ve spent so far. The last two checks to the vendor have been canceled. ...

The point of the contract, agency officials said, was to do what state leaders had asked of them – to quickly get kids in facilities closer to their homes. But lawmakers said they never authorized paying generous start-up fees for prisons without any kids in them. And they questioned the value of opening a 119-bed facility when the TYC’s population was already declining.

When I talked to Sen. Whitmire last month about TYC, he was supportive of the new Eagle Lake facility because it would be closer to Houston and most units are out in the sticks, but that was before it became known that the state was paying to operate an empty prison. Upon learning that, reported the Austin Statesman's Mike Ward, Whitmire demanded the unit be closed: "This is what I asked for — cancel that contract," he said. "We need to get our money back. It's a good day for taxpayers and the Youth Commission that they corrected this big mistake."

Leasing the Eagle Lake facility was TYC's first significant step toward its regionalization plan, and canceling it leaves the agency in quite a muddle. This move makes clear that state leaders weren't fully on board with the direction conservator Richard Nedelkoff took the agency, but no clear direction has been given for how they do want TYC to operate now that a new Executive Commissioner's in charge.

I'm not sure how I feel about this development because opening the Eagle Facility only made sense if it was part of a more comprehensive regionalization plan - just adding it to TYC's present capacity wouldn't help anything, but it might if it were part of more sweeping changes that closed or radically downsized some of the larger, rural units and shifted to smaller facilities. However there's no consensus on what sweeping changes would look like (though Sen. Whitmire has some ideas). In the meantime, though, backtracking on Eagle Lake reinforces the impression of a directionless and floundering agency.

116 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grits, it's telling that the first "regional" facility they moved on was just another prison.

Regionalization is not just about using the same kind of facilities with the same kind of programs but a little closer to home.

BB

Anonymous said...

"In the meantime, though, backtracking on Eagle Lake reinforces the impression of a directionless and floundering agency."

This statement is incorrect. The agency should have never contracted with YSI to begin with. The private provider was being paid too much for nothing. And, would be paid an extreme amount per day per youth for nothing. There were problems with the provider not being prepared to begin taking youth when they said they would. Therefore it is appropriate for Ms. Townsend to cancel it now before any more of the tax payers money is spent. That should have been done before now. This is just one step in the right direction for TYC. I think there will be more to come in addition to getting rid of the fools that contracted with YSI in the first place. Now she needs to redo the crazy contract with AMI.

Anonymous said...

You know a low ranking staff member was fired for not paynig back a hundred dollars or so on a travel voucher so why hasn't someone been given the boot for this debacle?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the money wasn't going to Whitmire's friends. The new head lady knows who to play ball with! Whitmire's law firm can find more suitable contractors don't you know!

Anonymous said...

My God! She's just doing the right thing. It has nothing to do with what Whitmire says. You must be a YSI employee.

Anonymous said...

10/14/08 Indicted South Texas sheriff resigns
McALLEN, Texas — Starr County commissioners on Monday accepted the resignation of a South Texas sheriff indicted on drug trafficking charges and a federal judge ordered him held without bond.

Sheriff Reymundo Guerra, arrested last week by FBI agents at his Rio Grande City office, submitted his resignation over the weekend...

Having a facility at Evins entails certain built-in "factors" including staff issues. It's not just the rural locations that lead to problems.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Whether or not the agency should have contracted with YSI, 11:31, the effect of the yo-yoing policies 18 months into "reform" to me "reinforces the impression of a directionless and floundering agency." It give the impression - likely accurate - that they're basically starting from scratch. Again.

FWIW, I think, for the reason Bill Bush mentions, this wasn't the best idea. But at some point you have to create and implement a plan, and nobody seems to have one yet.

Anonymous said...

They have no plan because they got rid of most of the tenured, experienced, and dedicated juvenile justice professionals that knew how to run the Agency. The ones that are left are too scared to fart because they think they maybe fired, and the idiots that the various regimes (Kimbrough, Owens, Pope, Nedelkoff) brought in don't have a clue. Hey Kimbrough, how bout them silos now?

Anonymous said...

Scott,

The issue that needs to be addressed is "Why after twenty months and millions of wasted dollars is TYC worse off than it was when this 'scandal' began?"

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Howard, I think the poster right above you answered that question.

Anonymous said...

I guess when you have an over reactive legislatures who shut down the whole prison system because he received a call from a death row inmate could possibly be one of the main reason TYC is still floundering.

He continues to make comments that are off the wall regarding operations and he is basically clueless. Now I wonder why the leadership for the past 21 months has done nothing.

Anonymous said...

I cannot help but wonder if the contract was ever bid out through TPASS? Or are they just making it up as they go? If so, seems someone should be subject to state laws/requirements in the these areas. Although I know over the yrs. people (not all) at Central Office don't answer to anyone & if people in the field voice any concerns, the hand of the field is slapped. So, all goes back to whomever, they seem to do it all their way and that is the only way and everyone else as far as they are concerned need to step aside. I truly do hope the new Executive does take a look at who all is involved in the making of wasted tax dollars. Not only is this area, but all the new layers of Regional people who are duplicating task everyday and pushing the agencies travel tab through the roof and of course making really, really, good money; while they refuse to give any support staff a merit increase when eligible. It is all very sickening! And, if anyone bothered to take a look at some of the rental contracts within the agency, even when they have gone through a bidding process, TYC doesn't want to hold these people (who are getting paid tax dollars) to any contracted agreements/requirements if they can get away with not having to.

Anonymous said...

I probably should have said too there are good things that have come out of a Regional system, but some of them have nothing to do with stopping or preventing the re-occurance of youth abuse.

Anonymous said...

Did Needlekoff have stock in the company that he contracted to? A Florida company..didn't he come to Texas from Florida and give a job with a private contracting company? I think that needs to be investigated and the attorney general sic him if he got any monetary benefit from the contract.

Anonymous said...

The moral of the story is if you (TYC leadership), want to cover your A... and truly be "Transparent", then you have to be able to have a good paper trail showing that your actions were cussed and discussed with the Governor's Office, and the Legislature. It probably wouldn't hurt to PR your plans to the media before you execute them either and have a period of time on your internet site for public comment/input. This includes not just major financial contracts, but anything that might bite your buns.

This might go a long way toward TYC regaining some trust and support from an embarrased Governor and an angry Legislature, not to mention the general public, TYC employees, and all the other stakeholders.

The TYC will be around in some form regardless of what the rumors suggest. There is not a state in the union that does not have some method of incarcerating it's problem youth. Like having adult prisons, it is an unfortunate necessary evil.

Unlike adult corrections however, the focus for youth corrections is hope, change, growth, and reintegration into the community as a law abiding adult.

We know that this is possible from some of the former TYC youth who now post on Grits as individuals who it appears have sucsessfuly done just that.

If I read between the lines of the news stories correctly, the Governor and the Leg. really want Townsend to succeed with building a new and improved TYC.

After meeting her, I believe she has what it takes. She knows about the good and the bad of the TYC she worked for before. She knows about what works in other states. She knows about and is involved with ACA. She projects integrity without coming across like she has to be feared.

She has shared a plan with a time line. Let's see if she can lead TYC back to the top of Juvenile Corrections.

As for Mr. Nedelkoff, he may not have lived up to all of our hopes, but he did a whole lot more than any of the previous leadership to give the agency direction. I'm hoping that Townsend will prove to be his best decision of all.

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, but I don't think Townsend has the savy to pull this act off solo. She may know the ends and outs, and be very dedicated to making this a new and improved agency, but the fact of the matter is, she does not have people surrounding her that have the knowledge, skills, or abilities to make TYC what it needs to be. She needs to go back and look at some of those professionals that have left or were forced to leave in the past two years and see if any of them are worth bringing back.

Anonymous said...

It is so frustrating to read your comments grits. Why after 20 months...you know exactly why. It is not a problem within TYC. Hell you show me another group of dedicated staff willing to put up with the knee jerk reactions of Whitmire, resulting in Kimbrough, Owens, Pope and Humphrey. Then when the Governor finally has the balls to enter the fray, appointing Nedelkhoff (SP) Whitmire does all he can to resist the changes the Conservator requests, distract attention from positives in reform, and essentially politicizing TYC. I among many are tired of his "spray first and ask questions later" approach which he again demonstrated with the recent TDCJ cell phone shut down debacle. Hell little TDCJ agency pee on, why don't you authorize breaking the law and find out what the consequences will be. idiot. Now things are worse with Kimbrough back as chief of staff. Can't wait for 2010...

Anonymous said...

I think it is finally becoming obvious to the general public where the real problems lie. TYC, and now TDCJ are just pawns in a much bigger struggle involving some incredibly egotistical politicians who are severely lacking in any kind of integrity.

Whitmire, the Governor, the Governors former CoS (now the Cos of TYC), and the Governor's current CoS all knew about the situation at WTSS 2 years before any of them allowed it to go public. While I am outraged at the managers in TYC who allowed a coverup to take place, (for whatever reason, they really sold out the youth and the TYC) I cannot be sure they were not following orders from outside the agency.

Cherie T is everything they are not. She is smart, tough, and exudes integrity.

Anonymous said...

We keep reading about the WTSS cover-up, but the fact is it was investigated and erroneously determined to be unfounded. So when more people brought it to CO attention, the reaction was it was an old story which had been debunked. The TYC inestigators didn't have the same skills or forensic tools to crack the case as the Texas Rangers. Then as soon as the Rangers cracked the case, the perverts were fired, the DA was notified, as was the Governor's Office (namely our current Chief of Staff), and other key legislators, including Whitmire.

Anonymous said...

Grits, you are correct, the yo-yoing policies have been horrible the last 18 months. It's been a "who's on first act since this mudslide started". You can blame that to folks that have been appointed to an agency they know nothing about. It just shows you the ineptness the long-time TYC staff that remain have had to deal with. Finally, they have placed someone in a position of authority that is familiar with the agency. Ms. Townsend needs to clean out all the replants from other states that were supposed to be helpful to TYC but instead have done a good job of bringing it down more. She also needs to get rid of the left over TDCJ bunch that has no clue of what is going on. Those out of state people are the crazies that wanted that contract with YSI and protected it.

Anonymous said...

Look at all the ones who signed off on the contract, not just Nedelkoffs signature. He asked and spoke with many in his circle and all of them jumped on that bandwagon. Then do an open records request among the key players and see why at the last minute TYC started moving youth to Eagle Lake facility. This should clear things up and bring clarity to this issue.

Anonymous said...

Or even easier, 2:26 could let us know what happened without feeling so smug about having a secret.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure 2:26 still works with the agency. I on the other hand do not and can tell you "the crazies" were trying to make a lot of underhanded moving around before Ms. Townsend took over. One of those moves was "thinking" they could ensure the contract with Eagle Lake by moving youth at the last minute. Little did they know, since they don't know anything else about TYC, you can cancel or suspend a contract if necessary. That's what Ms. Townsend has done. She is familiar with this as SHE HAS EXPERIENCE WITH TYC.
Like I had posted before, watch and see where the conservator lands a new job.

Anonymous said...

5:16pm- I believe I read in the Statesman that it was Ms Townsend who stated that paying startup costs with contracts like Eagle Lake is common practice in this business. So she probably only canceled the contract because she was told to do so after receiving pressure from her boss. It's doesn't take alot of TYC experience to figure out that Whitmire gets what he wants.

And kids are moved around to facilities daily so why would that "ensure" a contract?

Anonymous said...

Paying start up costs are common for contract programs. The costs, however are supposed to be itemized and there is supposed to be a time frame for start up. My understanding is that TYC contracted for a guarantee of 119 youth for $189 per day per youth. As of 2 weeks ago, YSI didn't have adequate staff on board and TYC had not identified the "proper" youth. But the agency had already paid in in excess of a million dollars due to the contract that had been signed back in July.
And yes, you are correct, the agency moves youth around all the time. However, my point was, that these new out of state commissioners thoughts were by moving youth over last week, they could not take so much heat from all the misspending of money and ensure keeping the contract. The right thing to do was what Ms. Townsend did, put a cancel on the contract and move the youth out of there.
Hopefully if we are all lucky, TYC will not reinstate that contract with YSI. Previous contracts with that provider were not successful.

Anonymous said...

I guess what we would all like to know and Whitmire alluded to this, why were youth moved at the last minute, and then pulled out. TYC scrambled at the last minute to move 18 youth to Eagle Lake, why did they do this, and if Ms. Townsend was in charge why did she allow this. She was on aboard at the time and had to know what her 2nd and 3rd in command were doing. This to me smells and should be looked at.

Anonymous said...

Why does it take an article in the local newspaper or Grits for Breakfast for any of the employees of TYC or the public to even have any idea what the agency or Central Office is doing? Why is it all a big secret and then when everyone finds out (if they ever do) it is a problem - but, why is it that there are such things as a contract for 119 youth to be housed and no one seemed to know any of that was going on - that is, no one out in the field? Are there not too few people who have too much power? What kind of an agency is that anyway? What kind of "Team Work!" is that?

Anonymous said...

What ever happen to the little boys contract? Was there one? I thought they were going to move all the kids 10-14 to a facility or contract place? Wonder what happen to that idea or plan?

Anonymous said...

7:25pm don't you realize that Cherie is an out of state commissioner too. She's been gone for a long time. Who do you think made the decision to move the kids at the last minute? Dont you think that the Statesman reporters called TYC before the article was published to get her statement?

Cherie's been in this business a long time and knows how the game is played. Please don't act like she's blind or innocent. Don't think that for one minute she'd took a job with an agency that needs so much work without looking at what plans are already in the works. She had to know about this contract. YSI will give the money back, wait a few years, then come right back to Texas. YSI is a big supporter of ACA and so is Cherie. If you think there's no connection, think again.

Anonymous said...

Visibly Cherie knew - in fact, I read in one of the articles she (I thought) was who ordered some of the youth down to that facility, to justify it's existance. Central Office knows, and that is where she is at - it is the people in the field (that do the work w/the youth) that are the last to know. And while those in the field have plenty to say and might have some valuable input - they are not a part of what goes on at Central Office.

Anonymous said...

I would strongly encourage all TYC employees to speak before the Lege this session. Everyone of us need to show up and demand answers to our questions. Not only are we employees, we are also tax payers, and most of us are voters. We need to exercise our freedom of speech and let the Lege know we are all tired of the BS politics that's preventing reform and ultimately making all of us at TYC look like idiots to the rest of the State.

dirty harry said...

On 10/24/2008 05:40:00 PM
Howard A. Hickman said:

"The issue that needs to be addressed is "Why after twenty months and millions of wasted dollars is TYC worse off than it was when this 'scandal' began?"

Well, I can answer some of this. Because you still have people on the payroll who haven't shown up for work in over six months. You have hand-me-downs from the governors office like Alphonso Royale who, incidentally, was part of the west Texas problem, working in executive administration talking out of both sides of his mouth and literally fiddling while Rome burns. And, you now have a NEW executive director who can't do anything but initiate a hiring freeze while key positions at the unit level have been unfilled for months. (At Al Price, aides with nothing but high school diplomas have been attempting to teach core subjects for months.) And, not one new vocational program has been started. A word to the new director: if you want to reduce the recidivism rate, the word isn't "corrections." It's EDUCATION.

Yeah, Howard. That is a good question.

Anonymous said...

Dirty Harry,

Maybe at work you can't name people who haven't shown up for 6 months for fear of retaliation, but you can be anonymous here. If you're not lying about it, name names so it can be investigated.

Anonymous said...

To 10/25 @1:44. The problem in WTSS was that the Governor's cousin was the one who "investigated," and she determined that the claims were bogus. She even chewed out some of the people who were complaining. She did not allow a proper investigation to go forward. She knew Brookins and could not believe that he was a pedaphile. That, BTW is not uncommon. Pedaphiles are usually very adept at grooming the adults around them so that they gain the trust to have access to their victims. She told Harris that there was nothing to it. Harris' grave error is that he took her word for it and did not order a proper investigation. Later on, down the line, when the allegations would not go away, the Governor, the AG and key members of the legislature were informed and all chose to ignore it because it was not politically expedient at the time. That is where the real cover-up began.

Anonymous said...

12:49,
We at TYC have been afraid to look at these relationships. Harris and Barnard have been running a self-serving game with a lot of like thinkers in on it and benefiting from it. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg. A lot of people are still covering up something that we all can see - but the new people are in the dark about.

dirty harry said...

On 10/26/2008 11:38:00 AM
Anonomous said:
"Maybe at work you can't name people who haven't shown up for 6 months for fear of retaliation, but you can be anonymous here. If you're not lying about it, name names so it can be investigated."

I don't work for TYC, but I'll definitely give you a lead. Let's see how well you deal with this one. Since Grits doesn't seem to like me "naming names" here, I'll give you a REAL big hint on an easy one. Check on an English teacher at Al Price who hasn't been there since before this last summer. Let's see how well you do "investigating" this one. And, don't come back here with the obvious excuses, because anyone who knows this person knows the details. The big issue here, is that she was not allowed to be replaced, and there are aides teaching classes in their place.

Al Price is down the following education personnel:
2 English teachers
1 Math Teacher
1 Diagnostician
1 Special Ed teacher

These people have not been replaced. If you think this doesn't have an impact, then consider we are talking about an education population of just under 200. Can you "investigate" why this has happened?

Anonymous said...

10/26/2008 02:17:00 PM
"Check on an English teacher at Al Price who hasn't been there since before this last summer. Let's see how well you do "investigating" this one."

Well you don't have to be an "Einstein" to see what the situation is at the Al Price unit. You spend millions of dollars remodeling "C" dorm on 5Bldg. but then you can't give "off time" to your JCO staff when requested. Not only that but when you have a HR dept. that needs to be thoroughly audited and investigated, you would see why the staff can take off so much time and not come back to work until they feel like it. The Al Price unit has been tore up for a very, very long time, but their intent is to not keep the hard core staff who don't go for any bullsh***, but instead keep the babysitting type.

Anonymous said...

I keep reading that youth were "rushed" down to the eagle lake facility "at the last minute." This is not necessarily accurate. There were several youth at our institution who were slated to be transferred to Eagle Lake but it kept getting delayed and delayed and delayed. We had several problems with those kids.

BB made a comment "it's telling that the first "regional" facility they moved on was just another prison." Is that really accurate. Is that the first move? Weren't there institutions closed?

I see the problems with TYC administration, looking aimless and clueless but come on. Really. 6 major changes in administrators in 20 months. We are lucky that the existing units are still functioning. The radical differences in adminstrators, the lawlessness of some, the TDCJ mentality (which Whitmire supports by the way), the Yo Yo of this is not the fault of TYC.

Please let us focus on the legislators and the governor. Please let us focus on those people who are on the legislative committees, the governor, and the people he has appointed to significant positions regarding TYC. This is where you will find the real problems with TYC. As long as Whitmire is chairing the committee there will never be meaningful changes to TYC.

Anonymous said...

Honestly the lack of direction with TYC resembles that of W and Katrina.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Grits position that no plan has been developed. Plans have been made but they are not what the legislators want. They ignored the blue ribbon panel. They are not supporting the regionalization plan. They say they want to reform the system but then don't provide support. Hmm. Reminds you a little of the "no child left behind" All talk, all criticism, no substantive support.

Anonymous said...

Lets just talk about Victory Field,we already know that it is written out of the budget for 09. Where do you think those 90 kids from victory field were going? NO Money in the budget but pay over 100 dollars a day to a private contractor not house those kids.I hear we cant keep jco's working in Vernon and we cant hire any new ones.All the local people have to do is read or watch tv to see why they dont want to work for the state. I believe whitmire is getting things exactly like he wants, but Whitmire remember some of us do vote!

Anonymous said...

Putting those 90 kids at Eagle Lake would not be keeping in line with SB103's regionalization plan. A large majority of our kids are from the metroplex area because Gainesville can't accomodate all of them. I have high hopes for Victory Field. I think we are needed more than Whitmire & Co. will admit.

What you heard about not being able to keep JCO's at Victory is just not true. There are more dedicated JCO staff there than you can imagine.

dirty harry said...

On 10/26/2008 07:37:00 PM
Anonymous said:
"Not only that but when you have a HR dept. that needs to be thoroughly audited and investigated, you would see why the staff can take off so much time and not come back to work until they feel like it."

No doubt, and I would also say that you would find other problems here as well. But of course, all the "investigation" in the world won't accomplish anything unless someone actually DOES something about the problems.

dirty harry said...

On 10/26/2008 09:44:00 PM
Anonymous said:
"I see the problems with TYC administration, looking aimless and clueless but come on. Really. 6 major changes in administrators in 20 months. We are lucky that the existing units are still functioning."

I agree that the people in the very top tier administration in Austin don't even have a clue on how to tie their shoes. However, an atom bomb could strike Austin, and the units could still function. The problem is, they hire incompetent people at the unit level. And, when they occassionally hire competent people, they give them no power to act.

Anonymous also said:
"Please let us focus on the legislators and the governor. Please let us focus on those people who are on the legislative committees, the governor, and the people he has appointed to significant positions regarding TYC. This is where you will find the real problems with TYC. As long as Whitmire is chairing the committee there will never be meaningful changes to TYC."

There are just as many problems at unit level.

Anonymous said...

I agree individual facilities would and could continue to function without the administration. That is part of the problem. The administration does not work with the people in the field, such as keeping them informed and working as a team/together. I also agree that when competent people are in charge, they are treated badly/with criticism to the point that these people are changed to operating out of fear. And with all the people who have been treated so badly, why would anyone want to go to work for TYC anywhere? Any location? Especially as a JCO because the administration almost always decides their fate to some degree and will put the statement of a convicted/sentenced youth before that of the JCO. Not to say their aren't some bad JCO's too, but who would want to play with those type of risk with their career/family. Plus, I am not a JCO, but have considered applying and continue to choose not to - not only because of the way they are treated, but they have the worst possible schedules in the world, actually worse than retail/fast food because at TYC you have to commit to work ANY and ALL shifts at any time and be available 24/7 - so no matter the location, the pay, etc. Even w/the changes in pay I have again considered a JCO job, but it isn't quite enough to pay me equal to 2 jobs and their schedule wouldn't permit me to keep a second schedule/job elsewhere - because they won't put people on a set shift for any significant length of time.

But, I think too the other issue at hand I see w/the current blundering of the administration from what it has evolved into over the past 20+ months is that there is no accountability. As someone else said, the governer/legislature is who appointed these people who have now spent wildly and then claim to the "nobodies" we don't have money for a measely 2% merit for people who have earned it - too bad - and complain about turn-over!

Anonymous said...

There are many of us at Central Office that appear "aimless and clueless" because we are forced to do our jobs by whatever the directive of the day may be. I completely agree that the input from the field (JCO, PS, Superintendent, Parole Officer, etc.) is critical when making any decision that affects the youth. There are many CO staff that feel the same and share my frustration with having to do their job based on the reaction response of the day.

The entire Eagle Lake process was rushed but it had nothing to do with the article. There should have been more communication with the field prior to placing the kids there and after they were removed but unfortunately this opinion was not shared by everyone.

To all of you in the field thank you for hard work, dedication and patience, especially when dealing with those of us at CO. For what it is worth there are many of us that are fully aware of how difficult your jobs are and how lucky this agency is to have you.

Anonymous said...

9:10
There are also many of us in the field that greatly appreciate you and know what you have to offer and how your hands are tied. We see it!!! At one point and time many of you were allowed to work as a team with us and let us help assist in developing better programs to help the kids. It is a shame that this has all happened and created such chaos when many of us want to do what we are here to do and that is to just help these kids to be more productive and learn to develop skills that they can utilize through out their life.

I am hoping that Ms. Townsend is as good as they say she is, We can only pray and believe that this is true. I am not familiar with her but it appears that many feel that she will make changes necessary to get us on track.

Anonymous said...

The continued talk of facility closure and we cannot keep open a contract bed? Those in the field hear about losing their jobs based upon closing this or that facility, how can we continue to close facilities when our population has settled and we are now keeping youth longer with difficulty maintaining the 12 to 1 ratio? Yes, TYC has many empty beds but this is not the old TYC when we could stockpile youth and not worry about a 12 to 1 ratio. At some point direction and guidance will be necessary, but the question remains, when?

Anonymous said...

Will radical bomber William Ayers advise Obama on juvenile justice?

On December 21, 1997, Barack Obama wrote a short review of William Ayers’ book A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court, which had recently been published by Beacon Press.

Obama’s review of Ayers’ book says, “A searing and timely account of the juvenile court system, and the courageous individuals who rescue hope from despair.”

Anonymous said...

You Republicans will try anything, won't you.

Anonymous said...

Heck it's not Republicans, I have seen more experience coming from a High school Junior running for class president than what this guy has going for him. The sad thing about all this, no one really cares.

Back on topic now, TYC will cut many positions both in CO and the field, facilities will close, but, the population will rise.

Those in the trenches will continue to suffer, turnover will pick up, and next year we will start all over again. Happy New Year

Anonymous said...

We will see exactly how many people "don't care" by next Tuesday night.

But back on topic oh wait...nobody wants to talk about how much experience McCain really has. 72 years?

Have you read Ayres book? I mean its still relevant right? 11 years later?

OBAMA LANDSLIDE 08!

Anonymous said...

To stay on a TYC topic, sort of, let's hope Ms. Townsend and President-to-be Obama can both get us out of the terrible messes their predecessors left them!

Anonymous said...

Obama is just what the skins wanted, a reason for chaos. Ok, on topic - I wonder exactly why TYC will never consider Eagle Lake again. That was in a local article from that area that I got a goggle alert from.There was some hint that it may be the facility design.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the contract facilities are to replace institutions altogether? Maybe that is truly the long term plan? Did anyone else notice in one of Neddlekolf's last time-lines/plan that he said was provided to the legislature, on his time-time, by Sept. FY10 (if I remember correctly) he preposes to abolish TYC. No one/he doesn't say what his plan/intent is or whether the purpose was to pursue a name change, but other states have been the topic of model care and one that had been brought up at one time was for TYC to go straight contract for care altogether. We in the field continue to hear commentary about the building of more facilities when there is minimal demand for the present facility - so maybe the new facility would be intended to replace the old one altogether? Contract or not - and maybe this time they could/would get the vendor to actually do all the things they agree to do before calling a contract final.

Anonymous said...

Any news about UTMB and TYC psychologist?

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing about empty beds in General Population. Where are they? In Brownwood?

Anonymous said...

The Open Border policy has consequenses.

MS-13 Gang Members Crossing Border in Increasing Numbers.

By JAMES PINKERTON
Aug. 26, 2005, 1:04AM
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Rio Grande Valley Bureau

Border Patrol agents report catching increasing numbers of gang members as they cross the river with other undocumented immigrants. Many are identified as MS-13 members because of large tattoos featuring gang initials in Gothic letters on their arms, hands, legs, chest and foreheads.

Anonymous said...

Other than the several open "budgeted" specialized treatment beds every facility is either at or over their budgeted population. The two exceptions are West Texas and they are close to meeting the budgeted capacity and of course RJ II which is wide open.

Anonymous said...

I know of two institutions that are currently over budgeted population and have been told to expect to go higher. This is a recipe for more disaster.

Anonymous said...

10:22 said:
"I know of two institutions that are currently over budgeted population and have been told to expect to go higher. This is a recipe for more disaster."

This will only happen for the short time, as the case manager are told to move youth out by their MLOS. Promote them to make this happen and once the population is exceeded we will go under population mamagement and start releasing youth early.
As long as recitivism is not an issue (performance measure) there is no incentive for treatment in the general programs.

Anonymous said...

Obama loved radical bomber William Ayers’ book on juvenile justice. Pull this up on Google - see earlier blog.

Anonymous said...

10:22
what two institutions are overcrowded at this time.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to just copy and paste, but 10/25/2008 01:44:00 PM puts it so succinctly: "We keep reading about the WTSS cover-up, but the fact is it was investigated and erroneously determined to be unfounded. So when more people brought it to CO attention, the reaction was it was an old story which had been debunked. The TYC inestigators didn't have the same skills or forensic tools to crack the case as the Texas Rangers. Then as soon as the Rangers cracked the case, the perverts were fired, the DA was notified, as was the Governor's Office (namely our current Chief of Staff), and other key legislators, including Whitmire."

Then, because of public reaction to news articles, a slash-and-burn was initiated and lots of blameless TYC staff have suffered. Some of you react strongly when I say this, but widespread and systemic sexual abuse was not going on in TYC before the coup. In a real sense, all TYC staff were smeared by Kimbrough and the media -- Kimbrough to cover Mr. Perry and the media to sell their papers and magazines.

TYC had real problems before the coup, but most of the biggest and most critical remain despite all the water over the dam.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 7:25, you are absolutely correct. Do you think the two at WTSS that started this mess will ever be prosecuted? Also, I read on GFB where Barnard may have got a pardon from her cousin in the form of a letter reinstating her eligibility for rehire by the State. Is this accurate?

Anonymous said...

7:35 a.m. Believe we are all wondering if they will ever be prosectuted too! If there is any merit to the Barnard rumor, it would be a slap in the face to WTSS and TYC as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ 7:25 as well. So many areas that had problems that have actually been made worse, such as excessive Regional/Central Office Staff. I would agree with any regional supervision or investigators that are tied to the prevention of child abuse, but CO took it way, way beyond that.

Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter was that WTSS had no resident investigator and none were sent to WTSS until after the Ranger began investigating. The original "investigation" was done by Lydia herself, who deemed it uncessary to have a full investigation.

What most people do not realize about pedaphiles is that they are experts at "grooming." They don't just groom their potential victims, either. They first groom adults into thinking what great guys they are, so that if suspicions arise, they have cover from people who just cannot believe they could be a pedaphile. That apparently was the case with Brookins and Lydia. She "knew" Brookins, and just "knew" he wasn't that way.

Anonymous said...

8:18, I don't know if they had a resident investigator at WTSS or not, but I do know there was a TYC investigation before the Rangers came, and they determined it to be unfounded.

Anonymous said...

You are correct in saying that there was an investigation. You are wrong in assuming that it was conducted by one of TYC's investigators. It was conducted by Lydia Barnard. She went back and told upper management that there was nothing to it.

Anonymous said...

Lydia did not do the investigation, it was one of her assistants. I do not recall his name but do you really believe Lydia conducted the investigation.

Anonymous said...

11;02 - ask Billy Hollis who did that investigation - it was Lydia Barnard. Her assistant was Tommy Bayes who has at least 3 former staff members sitting in prison for sexual abuse of TYC kids. Why do you think she never wanted him involved. Get you facts straight.

Anonymous said...

TB tried to warn her that she was making a mistake, but she blew him off. Now she is accusing him of stabbing her in the back. The bottom line is that Lydia was completely taken in by Brookins. He was one of her protegees. She could not believe he was a pedaphile; she refused to believe it. She snuffed any further investigation into the matter and went back to Austin and told her bosses that there was nothing to the allegations; just a bunch of disgruntled employees trying to make trouble.

Anonymous said...

Lydia Barnard was not confused or mislead in any way. Not only Tommy Bayes told Lydia Barnard about what was going on at WTSS, there were many who contacted Central Office. The timing was not convenient for Rick Perry's election so Lydia Barnard kept a lid on things for Perry. Perry and Barnard go way back to public school days. Barnard was never investigated or charged with any criminal acts for her part in covering up the abuse at WTSS. The two sexual predators will never be brought to trial because they will sing loud and long about who had similar sexual orientations. If the truth of how high the sexual misconduct ran in TYC and the state government there will be a major embarrassment to the State of Texas. The truth may never come out about how TYC was a candy store for a few select individuals. The prosecution of anyone connected with the TYC sex scandal will destroy the well done cover-up of the truth. Short of one of the bad guys getting religion and confessing all to the media this is a dead issue. The life expectancy of anyone telling on the others would be very short. Folks you might as well move on bcause there will be no justice on this matter. Anyone trying to force any more investigation will see their life go to hell in short order. You can't fight city hall!

Anonymous said...

Are those the same people from the Dallas grassy knoll?

AS said...

Central Office staff heard that heated conversation between TB and Lydia at Central office when TB frankly told her about her blind loyalty for some of her people and how it was "bullshit!" and almost got fired because it. In fact, she was going to do it but Chester stepped in. They all went in Chester's office and TB was sent home for the day. They went north and south over this very issue, and it was so loud that others had to intervene. I don't blame him for being as upset as he was when they found out because TB was getting all kinds of heat regarding WTSS' population and he was telling her about what the staff were saying and actually asked to take that investigation and was DENIED. I was there and heard that blow-up. TB never took lightly any sexual abuse of kids and if you think he did, go look at what happened to that case worker at Marlin and That YAS at Corsicana he nailed. They are now registered sex offenders. I'll ask him there names when I see him next, but it made the papers. All of this Brookins and Hernandez falls solely on Lydia.

Anonymous said...

I can believe it was Lydia. I think it's important for people to know it wasn't Dwight or Linda.

Anonymous said...

I've had two people tell me about the confrontation between TB and Lydia. I know TB and asked him about it. He heatedly confirmed and gave some more details. Lydia is the key player and I blame Chester for allowing her to get away with it. Dwight was the fall guy - but he was the Captain of the ship that went aground because of the malfeasance of one of his key subordinates.

Anonymous said...

Chester and Lydia were also the same two that covered up Crockett in 2002.

Anonymous said...

Whitmire and Ponytail needed to be at Crockett this weekend for the Halloween Party. It was great! Popcorn and Koolaid with a movie thrown in as a incentive for good behavior didn't seem to work. They were HELL bent on tearing the place apart.
Where is the media when you need them?

Anonymous said...

I think Chester and Lydia had something to do with David Koresh starting up the Branch Davidians and covering up the sexual abuse and gun smuggling. Come on people, its real easy and very nasty to take shots at someone who is deceased and someone that no longer is at TYC. Typical TYC nature, blame it on the ones that are no longer there nor care. You people should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Not a pot shot. Chester was over Crockett during the turmoil on campus in 2002. Marie Murdock was DF supervisor until she refused to supervise him and allow him to come back. She was moved by CC and Lydia took over and DF was reinstated.

Chester had many admirable qualities and had my respect until then.

This is not the first time I had seen him cover (and I don't mean cover up) for people. I do believe that his motives were good and he believed in the people he backed but... he was human and Crockett and WTSS were two mistakes that ultimately led back to him.

Lydia has a dubious reputation going back to her time at San Saba. There were very "few" investigation filed at San Saba compared to other similar institutions during her tenure.

Anonymous said...

to 8:45--your post confirms that more people in authority positions witheld information or participated in the "cover-up" that TYC has been accussed of. Regardless if MM was moved to another position, the information she had should have been reported. Where is the integrity? This blog has shed some light that most of the "peons" were not aware of, yet our reputation and character are being slandered by the public and the media. I have heard rumor that CT is also reinstating "exes" thus regrouping "the good-ol' boy/girl" posse. Be prepared as you could be their next scapegoat.

Anonymous said...

8:45, you can get all the 2002investigations on Don Freeman under Open Records. I have seen them, and nothing was confirmed by Marie Murdoch's posse (Jackson, Wilkins, Reeves, and Scroll)who definitely had an agenda to take out Freeman. Make no mistake, I am not saying that Freeman is completely innocent, but none of those investigations contained any confirmations that would have prevented Freeman's reinstatement. Thus, Chester and Lydia had nothing to do with "covering" for Freeman. Instead, Marie who was the Superintendent at Crockett at one time, was simply trying to save some of her former party buddies (JCO staff)who were being held accountable for failing to do their jobs according to TYC policy. This came out after the investigations and Marie was removed from supervising the Institutional Superintendents. Those are the facts, but I am sure you will come back with some made up BS that you heard, so I encourage you to go request the information and see the truth.

Anonymous said...

8:45, you can get all the 2002investigations on Don Freeman under Open Records. I have seen them, and nothing was confirmed by Marie Murdoch's posse (Jackson, Wilkins, Reeves, and Scroll)who definitely had an agenda to take out Freeman. Make no mistake, I am not saying that Freeman is completely innocent, but none of those investigations contained any confirmations that would have prevented Freeman's reinstatement. Thus, Chester and Lydia had nothing to do with "covering" for Freeman. Instead, Marie who was the Superintendent at Crockett at one time, was simply trying to save some of her former party buddies (JCO staff)who were being held accountable for failing to do their jobs according to TYC policy. This came out after the investigations and Marie was removed from supervising the Institutional Superintendents. Those are the facts, but I am sure you will come back with some made up BS that you heard, so I encourage you to go request the information and see the truth.

Anonymous said...

7:49/7:50 There are several false statements in your post. For one, Marie Murdoch was never the Supt at Crockett. She was the Assistant under Rey Gomez for 3 years before going to start up Jefferson County State School (now Al Price). Jackson was never one of her insiders; Wilkins is Wilkins, and I don't know anything about the other two. I do know that at least one of the allegations against him that was investigated was definitely not true.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me, you are correct, Marie was the Asst. at Crockett. Rey let her run things, that's how she got away with partying at her Campus house with the JCOs. Jackson had it out for Freeman and tried to use Marie as his avenue. Wilkins will do and did pretty much anything to get her few minutes of fame. Reeves and Scroll are no longer with TYC because the skeletons in their closet were far worse than any in Freeman's.

Anonymous said...

8:45,

You're an idiot to throw stones at people that are no longer living. I think Chester was a great man, that of course made mistakes like all of us. However, to lump him in on the TYC scandal is ridiculous. Chester loved TYC and was dedicated to the Agency for over 25 years. He worked hard to get to Central Office after years in the field. He had his loyal followers, colleagues that admired him, and he had his enemies like all of us. Please let the man rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Marie Murdock was the regional director and supervisor of Don Freeman.

She was removed and replaced by Lydia Banard. Lydia was once superintendent at San Saba. Marie was once superintendent at Jefferson County State School.

I don't recall throwing stones at Chester. 8:12 you must think pigs can fly too because.

For the record, Jackson is about as honest and fair an investigator as you can find. Reeves, Wilkins, and Scroll as far as I know had never met Murdock.

One thing I do know about Freeman's crowd was that they were famous (from their days in Corsicana) for making false anonymous allegations against people they perceived as threats as a way to impugn their character and undermine their credibility.

Anonymous said...

"Reeves and Scroll are no longer with TYC because the skeletons in their closet were far worse than any in Freeman's."

These two are an example of what happens to you at TYC if you go after the wrong people! Both of these people were setup and discredited by the people in power. If you ever try to do the right thing at TYC you get hammered.

Anonymous said...

10:00 and 10:43, I have evidence to the contrary. Sleeping with subordinate staff and sexual harassment by some of those you mentioned made Freeman look like a choir boy. Get your facts straight. They were hammered because they were worse than those they were investigating and/or supervising. There is no evidence to show Freeman did any wrongdoing other than piss off some higher ups, and refuse to go and party with the CO clique. Request and read the investigations. His suspension was all based on misguided perceptions, lies, and Marie trying to appease some of her long time bed fellows.

Anonymous said...

I hate to reiterate, but:

The first reports to Central Office of which I am aware, having made 2 of them, regarding WTSS under Brookins as Asst Supt and Acting Supt, had to do with power tripping over both staff and students. As with many sexual offenders, power-tripping/dominance/control are primary motivators rather than sexual gratification. Most of us did not consider sexual misbehavior although when these allegations (no convictions yet) came out, we connected the dots.
When no assistance came from Central Office and retaliation was noted (Hollis, Foster etc), the rest of us backed off, waiting for uncontestable proof.
Unfortunately, "At Will Employment" and assigning grievances to "final local authority" appear to be continuing the fear of retaliation.

Anonymous said...

11/3 @ 8:12, I worked at Crockett when Marie was assistant. Rey did not let her run things. This was before he got sick. In those days he micromanaged everything. As for the parties at her residence - she had quarterly parties for YAS IVs and Caseworkers, along with their bosses as a means of building teamwork. They were quite tame. She also sponsored get-togethers between the caseworkers and the regional parole officers. I feel a little odd defending her, because she did not particularly like me, but you are seriously distorting the facts.

As for Billy Jackson, I have known him for years. To impugn his integrity to further your own agenda is beneath contempt. He is one of the most honest people you can find anywhere. "For the record" as you seem to so like saying, I find your portrayal of Billy as mendacious and offensive.

I have read the reports and I took serious (and public) issue with one of them because it was as distorted in its portrayal of something Freeman was supposed to have done (of which he was innocent) as what you are claiming Marie did. At least two of the investigators seemed to be trying to find "facts" to support their pre-conceived notions. Those two investigators undermined the rest of the investigations whose findings were accurate.

Anonymous said...

8:30, As expected, most of the old hands at Crockett would defend Marie. Thanks for your comments, Jack, but you fail to state the truth in that NOTHING was confirmed on Freeman in 2002, and the new regime came back in 2007 and reinvestigated and confirmed allegations that had been previously unconfirmed to force him in to retirement. However, I do appreciate your previous honesty regarding the throw the MF off the roof false allegation against Freeman. For the record...

Anonymous said...

"As for the parties at her residence - she had quarterly parties for YAS IVs and Caseworkers, along with their bosses as a means of building teamwork. They were quite tame."

Marie had parties at her residence in Beaumont too, and they were nothing but tame! Great times - but there were divorces resulting from some of her gigs. lol... not trying to be insultive because those were some good times. I can't imagine they were tame at Crockett. Come on...!

Anonymous said...

I know this question has been asked a few times, but I never see the responses if any. Does anyone know any attorneys who are handing TYC matters for employees? Not the Class Action rumors - real attorneys who know the mess that we are in.

Anonymous said...

9:53, you guessed wrong. I have also known Billy J for years and agree with the positive comments made about him. Unlike the other poster, I have not read the reports on Freeman, but I did take public issue with one of the investigators who was fuming about her investigation being overturned. She simply had her facts wrong. It is no secret that DF and I did not see eye to eye on much, but I'm not going to support a lie told about him.

As for the comments made by the other poster about Marie and Rey, I had a similar impression that Rey did not give her much leeway in running things. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Speaking of running things, who is running Crockett now?

This past weekend had me remembering last year when this campus was crazy and JW was running the show.

I would love to have DF back so we can have some discipline and control, this is getting way out of control.

Anonymous said...

Too late for that, you should have stood with him when he was here. We won't have to worry much longer. Whitmire or Sunset will shut us down. Then we can all find something else or someone else to b#@ch about.

Anonymous said...

Old Salty,

Rey never came out of his office, and Marie had the Campus eating out of the palm of her hand, and well possibly other places as well. Of course you agree with Billy, he hired you for your current position. Look old Salty, it's never too late to tender those retirement papers. Sounds like you could use the R&R, you may be getting senile.

Anonymous said...

RE: 10:12 who's running things at Crockett?


The kids are, never seen it this bad, someones going to get hurt bad if someone doesnt step in and get control. Ron S. has no idea what to do other than go get another kid to talk youth down off rooftops.

When Mike D left he had the campus on auto pilot and things were running smooth. Ron S. showed up and it went to hell in a hand basket.

He can say it was just Holloween season......but it aint. Crockett has problems, bad problems. Someone pull youth and staff injury reports and its clear to see.

Anonymous said...

I think there were 9 uses of OC spray this weekend at Crockett. I thought the spray wasn't going to be used as much?

Anonymous said...

9 incidents of OC Spray. OMG - alert the OIG, call a special grand jury to convict the staff while we baby the kids and bring them koolaid and cookies. I have tried and tried to stick this thing out but I'm with the earlier poster - someone at Crockett is going to really get hurt. I guess the State will take care of my family if it's me-ya right! This ship is sinking fast!!!! Might as well bring bluebell back.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who the 7 people were that received the 30 day notice?

Anonymous said...

Murdoch is a supreme example of why TYC is tits up today. She was groomed by both the POS staff and sex offenders alike. It was a sad day for the agency and the state as a whole when she was promoted to the level of her incompetency. On the other hand it was a good day when she was run off like the idiot she really is.

Anonymous said...

M&M..."melts in your mouth, not in your hands!"

Anonymous said...

When Freeman and Nicholson ran the show at Crockett, they demanded that the kids respect the staff, and they helped staff out. Unlike these current folks we have at Crockett that sit in their office all day, and allow the kids to run over the staff. So, 7:19 kiss it, I can live in the past all day because living in the present TYC at Crockett really sucks.

Anonymous said...

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. If working for TYC sucks so badly, leave and go fishing with your buddy Don. He's having a great time in retirement, and he's actually a pretty witty guy.

Anonymous said...

The economy sucks and I can't go anywhere else, but will probably have to eventually since Whitmire and Chuy are gonna shut us down. Never thought Don was very funny, and generally a pompous ass, but he and Nicholson ran one helluva good program. If you spent much time around Don, you would know the correct quote as being, "If you are not part of the solution, you are the problem". Thanks for the unsolicited advice, but you can stick it, and Crockett still needs some help!!!

Anonymous said...

It appears that is the big problem with TYC - too many people like the person above who can't get a job anywhere else. Folks like that need to be protected.

Anonymous said...

Gone are the good ole days when you had solid juvenile corrections programs like the ones ran by Freeman and Nicholson. TYC will never see a finer pair of juvenile justice professionals again. It's ashame that Kimbrough was allowed to lynch their career in good ole East Texas. Maybe eventually there will be justice... Only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest, already. Just do your job and quit whining about the good old days. Most of us are sick of hearing about how good (or bad) these guys were. My guess is that there are probably about 1 or 2 people posting back and forth at each other on each side of the issue.

Anonymous said...

Are you #1 or #2?

Anonymous said...

M&M is trying to put this BEHIND her.

Anonymous said...

with all the hearings, politics, partying, back-stabbing, hiring and firing, M&M is not only putting this BEHIND her, but negotiating a new position. She has found a way to fill the void.

Anonymous said...

yea, she's still sticking her nose in someone's BUSINESS!