Monday, December 15, 2008

Most speakers at Sunset hearing oppose TYC, TJPC merger

I spent all afternoon at the Texas Youth Commission Sunset hearing mentioned here - including offering oral testimony myself - and it was hard to not leave with the impression that the proposal to merge TYC and the Juvenile Probation Commission faces a steep, uphill climb.

By my count, only one person testified in favor of the merger besides Sunset staff themselves, and many people (including quite a few chief juvenile probation officers) argued against it, suggesting the recently reorganized agency be given time to work out its kinks.

Both Sunset Commission members Ruth Jones McLendon and Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said they opposed merging the agencies. Sunset Chairman Carl Isset also mentioned he'd received a letter from influential state Rep. David Swinford opposing the idea.

MORE: See related MSM coverage from the Dallas News and News 8 Austin.

UPDATE: A link to the Sunset hearing may be found here. Technical difficulties botched the section of the hearing covering the Commission on Jail Standards, but the portion on juvenile justice begins around 2:54 hours into the recording.

65 comments:

JTP said...

While many of the speaker's presented many good reason's for not consolidating TYC and TJPC. I thought that the Randall County Chief Probation Officer, Jane King, emphasized an important fact. If local probation departments are going to have effective rehabilitation programs, they need a tool to a) motivate reluctant kids to participate, and b) have a place to send those kids who are beyond rehabilitation. She said out loud that some kids are not amenable to change! Wow, what a brave lady! Of course that also means that the proposed Specialized Treatment programs that Ms. Townsend is building will have all the more challenge on their hand to have any success with these same youth who showed no motivation to change while they were in the counties.

The other thing that was interesting, was to see how the Juvenile Probation Chiefs, i.e., the field, expressed their frustration with their own TJPC beaurocratic structure, saying that they are regulated to death by an organization that fails to understand the direct care issues of local departments. They used the Sunset Commission meeting to not only oppose recommendation 1.1, but also to let legislators know that all is not well between local departments and the State Probation Commission. They were mostly nice about it, but the point was loud and clear.

Even Spriggs asked for clarification on how far her agency should go in providing guidance and oversight to the county departments. So even if there is no substantial restructuring of TYC or TJPC, other significant changes within each agency are sure to come.

Oh, lest I forget, even Will Harrell was not in favor of the merger. Of course, it took him about 5 minutes of tooting his own horn and the Sunset staff's horn, before he got to the point, but he finally was able to get there. I'm just glad he's not a defense attorney because I'd forget what his client was charged with.

Finally, it was nice to see and hear the real Scott Henson. It was clear that the legislators know and pay attention to this blog. Kudos Scott!

I suspect that the recommendations of the staff will be supported by the Sunset Commission and then the Legislature will say thank you and give TYC at least another Legislative session before they have Sunset come back again in two years to give Townsend her report card. I just hope she is an A student!!

Anonymous said...

Cherie will fight for anything that defends TYC, irregardless of the effects of the state. She has her goals and the state has theirs. If she wins, the state only loses more. Its time to slop TYC to where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

8:26 What benefit to you will occur if they close TYC? I suspect your ax has something to do with a youth you know, if not you. If they eliminate TYC, then they will turn it over to private programs that care even less for these youth. More money will be taken out of the pockets of taxpayers, and even less will be accomplished. Do you really think the lege can come up with something better?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 8:26. This agency has a mind of its own (based on some vague uncontrollable need to validate the past and their own egos). This agency will do what it wants and it has nothing to do with what the lege, govs office or the public wants to see. It is a slow moving and manipulative old dinosaur. Good luck Cherie.

Anonymous said...

The employees and management of TYC has demonstrated that it is lost. Cherie, in all her Hillary, cannot solve the problems, so emmense in TYC. Let it go. Abolish the stinking agency and start over with all new people. The kids are the big losers and the public, the next. Time to close the doors on TYC and start anew! Merry Christman.

Anonymous said...

7:35

Lest you forget, the OIO was also under Sunset review so Harrel had to demonstrate the value of that agency. He was also making the point that the OIO is frustrated with the slow pace of reforms and is in constant contact with kids and offered a different perspective for those reasons but that the OIO was just as opposed to consolodation as TYC or TJPC. Everyone I have heard comment on his testimony thinks it was great.

Anonymous said...

Listen my information about TYC has brought me around Texas and even to international fields. I have been studying the information for 7 years and have recieved many reports from forigen governments who have also tored and admired the faclity. I go both ways on the issue. As I see it now TYC is not helping a large many of the youth that come into there programs. I currently run a program for youth who have been released from the Texas Youth Commission and the storys all end up the same. Many of these kids have been raped, abused and betrayed by the gaurds and Administratiors. They seem to be so lost they do not know what to do. For example a boy came to the group yesterday. He explained that he was recently released from the Giddings State School and found himself unable to sleep. He was having bad dreams and was at times feeling high states anxiety. When the group asked him if he would like to express the stories of abuse that occured after the "shake up" were unbelieveable. When the group was over he came to be with a date book in which he had detailed everything that had happend to him since day one of his lock up. I put him in contact with the right investagating authorities. I know that we need a place for there kids who are in need of the most help. But the question is, is TYC that place. And if the kids are coming out worse then when they went in where do we step up and change it. So I agree with abolishing TYC. Hey city funded or state funded prison programs will be better because those gaurds and administrators can and will be proescuted easier and harder....sorry if you dont agree. I just read a book intitled Can't Let Them See Me Cry. It was published in Iceland and it details how a caseworker forced him to perform oral sex on her while she was on her period. It spoke about how a male gaurde masterbated on him and made him wear it. How administrators covered it up. Asst. super having sex with kids to reverse early prison packets. About being locked in a black room for 21 days. I am sorry but that is not the program I want to be spending my tax dollars on.

Anonymous said...

Side note....
That book was published in Dec. 2007 and was written by a former student of the Giddings State School who was locked up there for 10 years. I believe he was in the system from beg. To end from 11 to 24.

Anonymous said...

It is naive to think the old system can be scrapped and replaced with a new system that will be better. Where will all these new people come from? Where will the new facilities come from? The taxpayers are being asked to foot the higher start-up costs, and ultimately they will try to save money by having less direct care workers working at a lower wage and less benefits. TYC has always operated by the underfunded mandates of the lege. If you feel your children are being abused by the state, then you need to wake up and realize that you are the state. You keep electing the same people who created these problems to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to locate the video from yesterday's Sunset hearing?

I'd like to watch it.

BB

Anonymous said...

No kid has been locked up in TYC for 13 years. Eleven years would have been max. It was possible to be locked up from age 10 to age 21. The age 23-24 provision was nixed in the Lege, Thank God.

In many places TYC has failed. In many places TYC has succeeded. Unfortunately due to the Brookins-Hernandez scandal, no one ever pays attention to the good. I suppose that Marc Antony said it best, "The evil men do lives long after them, the good is oft interred with their bones." (via Shakespeare.)

Anonymous said...

02:07
It's called spell check Randy, please learn how to use it.

Anonymous said...

TYC born in Gatesville Texas has been managed by a majority of brutal rural people with little person syndrome who have abused the children of Texas since 1889. Plagued with a spirit of division dimly lit visionaries rise up to build empires of doom perpetrating hennas crimes against the vulnerable children of Texas. The culture is a disease worst than hiv and it is utter foolishness for anyone to think that any agency will ever help any child in a productive way. It’s the states prep school to prison.
Beyond the obvious sad reality of the kids whose early childhood development teachers and county PO’s who so easily give up on them propagating them further down the path to a tyc where no positive help is available, the true crime perpetrated against the state of Texas is these kids come out with some serious social problems obtained from their time spent in the tyc culture. Serious social problems that make it difficult for a kid to receive help because tyc staff have demonstrated to the kid day after day that the people who are supposed to be trained to help them be civilized have proven time and time again that they’re nothing but self serving retards that can barely help themselves be civilized.
Even though sb103 has helped to throttle back kid dumping on tyc by the counties, the need for a tyc with all the elements, drama, and foolishness that an agency like this attracts, is necessary. But we need the work around, programs or agencies to help kids get through the tyc anxiety issues and actually help them become civilized. There is a tremendous need for programs, even private citizens like the blogger above, working with local counties tyc parole officers to provide mentoring to these kids. Now, the trick is how would private citizen groups go about working with a state agency that overall has a real bad case of know it all and may be unwilling either by some convenient policy, political winds change, or otherwise to allow their charges to receive positive help from someone who knows what it’s like to deal with tyc anxiety disorders while attempting to become civilized? break norms
Sheldon tyc # 47333 c\s
oldschool@ironguardiansnt.org

Anonymous said...

Grits, nice job on your testimony.

I also thought Cherie Townshend was very impressive. It's nice to see an administrator speak in a relatively non-bureaucratic way that can be understood as English.

BB

Anonymous said...

Sheldon,

I am going to say what I know everyone has thought but never said " Quit your crying - move on"
Have you seen a therapist? Have you reported these travesties to anyone? If not, ENOUGH

I have to read your entries and give you the benefit of the doubt - I have never asked you "Why were you there?" We have never assumed anything about you - why would you assume all TYC staff are deviants? why are you unwilling to give hardworking, loyal, clean, dedicated TYC employees the benefit of the doubt? You are just as bad a cancer with all you verbal vomit

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm sorry, too, 2:07, but I don't believe most of what you've passed on here. I think you should be careful about putting out raw information like that, whether you believe it or not. You reported it for investigation, and that's all you are obligated to do.

If TYC is abolished, as you recommend, maybe you'll accept into your facility the youth the counties have given up on. Just remember that they can lie about you, too.

(I've never been a Giddings employee and I don't know anyone there.)

Anonymous said...

207...where is the program that you run?

Anonymous said...

207 doesn't run anything. He's just trying to shill his book - a novel written with the spelling and grammar evident in his post.

Anonymous said...

What's really going on here? Either somebody has it in for TYC or Perry decided to use the agency a convenient scapegoat. TYC had some problems, but nothing like TDCJ. The scandals there are legendary.
What an embarrassing C.F. this whole ordeal has been. I guess our elected officials are too out of touch and arrogant to know that they should be ashamed over what has been done to the Texas Youth Commission. Especially, Whitmire, he's done nothing but damage alot of innocent peoples lives and he doesn't care.
I wonder if many people just have no idea what goes on in the real world or they are just uninformed. How many people know that usually by the time a youth is committed to TYC they have been given chance after chance after chance on probation. PO's need the threat of TYC as a tool. Probation is nothing but a joke to many juvenile offenders. Committing a youth to TYC just might get the attention of some of them and help make the community safer at the same time.
It is true that many juvenile offenders are not going to respond to any intervention or treament but that doesn't mean you want them on the streets hurting people. I'm not sure that people realize how dangerous many of these kids really are. I worked at TYC for a long time and loved my job. We tried hard to help each child and that was all we could do. We wanted them to succeed because we cared about them and because we also cared about safety of the citizens of Texas. Many of the kids are hardened criminals by the time they get to TYC. It can be chilling to listem to some of them. I had a 12 year old who blew a man's head off and laughed about it. I had a 16 year old that murdered his 1 yr old brother. no remorse. Yep, over the years I had murderers, home invasion thieves, carjackers, burglers of all kinds, gang members, crack dealers and users. I had cases of cold blooded aggravated assault/robberies. I learned alot from those boys about how to protect myself. Hey, I used to live in Houston, where many of my kids were from. I know what they do and the kind of victims they look for. You bet I valet park at the Galleria. I lived in Tanglewood and still have family there. You think I didn't educate them. They were naive and thought they were safe there. After they were wiped out in a burglary they learned. Guess what, It was some 15year old boys and one adult.
What do you want citizens of Texas? Don't you want to feel safe?
That goes for Rick Perry and our elected officials. What are you trying to do? what is your mission?.
Texas needs a the Texas Youth Commission. Probation and community facilities cannot handle all of the juvenile offenders in Texas. Do you want them to go to TDCJ. Whatever the motivation here, please stop and consider
how many lives are effected by your actions. Think about what is best for innocent victims and the juvenile offenders. Giving those kids a slap on the wrist and back out on the streets is bad for them and for everyone else. Kids need consequences and citizens need to feel safe. Slow down and listen to those folks in the trenches and stop making rash, illogical decisions.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of TYC being unfairly maligned. I am certain that the vast majority of the employees are hard working, decent people and that many of them were hurt by the actions of Whitmire and company. It's ridiculous to claim that all of the staff are abusive perverts or something to that effect. It serves no purpose in addition to being ridiculous.
TYC is necessary. The state must have a place to send serious and chronic offenders.

Anonymous said...

I will attempt to address every comment made to me. To began with around 30 years ago I had a stroke that has inturn effected my my spelling ablities to say the least. I am sorry that offended you.
Also I have never written any book and do not plan on it. The book I made comments about is not even for sale in the USA. So unless you read German, French, or Icelandic you ablity to read it will be slim to none. I only came across it at the request of a member of the RNC.
The information detailed in the book is supported by court transcripts, photos, security, daily, and medical logs. As well as testamony from current and former gaurds. I just believed that sharing the information I have learned would be helpful.
As far as the 13 year issue. If you read my post and the sub post under mine you will note that I had said he was in TYC for 10 years but in the system for 13. When I say system I am talking about from date he was charged till he was released on parole. Sorry again for the confusion. But after reviewing my notes I can see he was the for 7 years but the 13 still stands.
As for the person who advises me not to post such raw information. And as a result does not believe me. It is my judgement that the information I recieve and post is strong enough to stand any legal challenge. I believe in saying the truth no matter the form and if some get offended then so be it. I attempt to reflect on the idea that many of these children in TYC have been through worse. So I have to say that I will continue to post raw information as discribed by you on this and many other blog sites. It is with knowlage that change is formed.
As for the many comments coming from TYC staff. I am sorry that you have become victims to a few bad apples. I know many great TYC staff who have spent years of service helping many of these youth. I wish TYC hiring and permotional authorties were more like you and looked at some of you all.
As for the TYC gaurd that commented on the page in response to the TYC youth that posted I do not care why he was locked up. It is not my job or my life style to jugde but to reform. As should be any gaurd in TYC. I believe that child has a right to express how he feels about a system that has hurt him and many more youth. I since that you are one of the many TYC staff that love there jobs and love the idea of what it stand for and I commend you on that and hope and pray you continue your progress.
As for abolishing TYC I as well as all of you know that will never happen. It is just my personal idea that opening contract prisons in bigger cities will have so much more benefit then these prison in the middle of no where.
As hard as that may sound it has its benefits and inturn forces a more detailed approch to juvenile crime and the effects it has on so many people.
I have attempted to look up as many words as possible Grits for Breakfest readers so that I do not offend you. I hoped it worked. By the way the program is ran in El Paso Texas. The current group leaders name is Luis. Have a goodnight.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12/16/2008 06:50:00 PM

Yes vial vomit, I would agree. I stand that tyc is a vial culture. I stand that its needed. I stand that kids need to be repaired when they leave tyc. My criticism is the culture, yes both good, bad, and evil are part of that culture. Simply reading commits from past and present tyc emps one could glean good people leave or get run off, bad people stay because a job is a job, and evil people rise to the top of units and news stories. I would think it shouldn’t take reading books from an MBA book list to realize this is not the people it’s the culture. I would think a sociologist should know that. A culture born out of a rural community who prospered through abusing the throw away kids of Texas and mushroomed into the agency we see today. Public knowledge, I’m not saying anything new, I’m just saying it.

You really want to criticize me Anonymous 12/16/2008 06:50:00 PM , since you commented about being a student of my blog post, you should have seen that I plagiarized (that means copied) some of my previous blog post. Anyone else catch that?lol
btw I was sent to Gatesville in May of 1975 for truancy. I’ll have my story on the Gatesville State School for Boys Former Students Reunion website.

You whos fixing tyc former students in El Paso good luck keep up the good work.
Sheldon tyc#47333 c\s

Anonymous said...

1053...you're an idiot. You make comments when you don't even know what is going on. Get lost...committ suicide.

Anonymous said...

Be the first to throw stones, 1053. Are you truly content with your own behavior and life? You seem above the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Has everyone forgot about those top TYC leaders that covered up the sex scandal that lead to all this? Why haven't they....not the two direct abusers; been brought out about there corruption? Bring Harris , Harrison, Emily, Neil...all those who covered up before the legislature. Show the Texas youth and public that justice does work!

Anonymous said...

Getting to deep for me. Telling someone to kills themselves. This is not the usual grits comment box. I think everyone should take a deep breath.

Anonymous said...

I watched the hearings today and what many other bloggers missed is there were NO TYC employees besides Townsend there to testify to keep their jobs. The room seemed to be full of juvenile probation officers striving to save their beloved TJPC. The 4 members of justice association of texas spoke well but they started a hint at problems within TJPC. The Chief from San Angelo with his animal adjuctives, the guy from Quadalupe County speaking of transparency and the Chief from Ford Bend who gave his resume to make a point that he is forbidden from serving on the board of TJPC made their points heard. Mr. Bitner spoke well and made some great points. My point of view, looks like TJPC has just as many issues as TYC and needs at least a overhaul. Several chiefs spoke up about local control and several brought subject of representation on the TJPC board. The one from Ford Bend referenced a human resources code which is interesting, 9 members and as he stated forbidding anyone in the juvenile justice field from serving on the board. I think the merger, or at least a complete overhaul of both agencies must be in order. Even Vicky Sprigs asked for clarification as to the direction they should take on "minimum standards". To me minimum standards are just that. MINIMUM. Don"t interfer with the probation departments. When one of the senators asked Vicky Spriggs if she thought the juvenile probation departments were operating well she did everything BUT answer the question. She seems ike a well spoken person but nothing but fluff came out of her mouth.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of som not answering a question Townsend was asked about the numbers of employees outnumbering the youth committed there. I don't think the answer was accurate. They spoke of what it takes to supervise the youth but how about all the administrative people. Townsend needs to cut the fat. It seemed to me the Commission Members other than McClendon and Hinojosa were OK with consolidation and I don't think it is a bad idea. The Chief Juvenile Probation Officer from Smith County made some fine points. Chief Mark Williams was GREAT in getting a laugh in what otherwise a dull hearing. Chief Mark Meed drove home a point about the TJPC board but the TYC board needs help also. You cant have people from the adult system running a juvenile system, won't work.

Anonymous said...

Why were so many people there from the juvenile probation side and not TYC. Looks like they care more than TYC does but why? I hear TJPC thinks they are a investigation unit

Anonymous said...

TJPC were well represented because they don't want any part of TYC. Who can blame them. They have their own problems, but to be attached directly to the TYC nightmare, would insult any agency. Using the counties properly can make a good change and improve TYC's ugly image. Much of the abuse and malmanagement will continue...its TYC culture and most there will sway negatively to protect their own, and insure their own survival.

Anonymous said...

12/17 11:55, PLEASE tell me that you do not work for TYC because if you do, PLEASE go find another job.

Anonymous said...

Well I think they should both go away. TJPC has many problems internally and shoulf not have as much control over the county departments as they do. If they wish to maintain that control then provide more funding. I see TYC going away in the next 2 years if it does not happen now. Then TYC Parole going to the county departments. This computer system that Townsend and Spriggs spoke about won't do any good if there is not funding from the state to put it in EVERY county and state facility in Texas. TYC and TJPC is top heavy in staff at the administrative level. Staff needs training for dealing with issues in the facilities.

Anonymous said...

There may have been alot of people from TJPC but where were the big dogs? everyone that spoke but 2 were from minor counties. Where was Houston,Dallas,San Antonio? They have more to loose if TYC goes away. They sent tons to TYC in the past years. Where will their kids go if TYC closes?

Anonymous said...

They are not idiots like the rest of you. Why show their hand, as you nits blow all your cards.

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something? What nits and what cards?

Anonymous said...

Well, speaking "anonymously" from one of the big dogs we are tired of all the crap TJPC throws at us. Standards upon standards that make nosense. We have to do so munh paperwork now you can't spend any time with the kids on probation. Detention officers are leaving because they are afraid to restrain a out of control kid because he might accuse the officer of abuse. Then the allmighty abuse and neglect team will swoop down on the officer and ruin his name for 10 years. Older officers are retireing because they don't want to have to do all the paperwork TJPC wants them to do. We understand some guidelines need to be set forth but get real, caseplans don't mean anything, you won't be able to discipline a juvenile in detention for his behavior, you dare not place your hands on a out of control kid because you might be investigated, and if you are investigated and the allegation is not substattiated your name remains on that investigation forever, not redacted, so if another kid makes a false allegation the investigator will see that 5 years ago the officer had a allegation made against him so this time it must be true. Form an opinion before the investigation begins.
We might as well give the keys to the detention center to the kids, they will soon run the place. There seems to be only 1 person at TJPC (DG) that will listen and everyone thanks her.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're not talking about TYC? I'm wondering which agency is the worst? Perhaps both should be abolished and placed under control of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Pope himself would not touch either agency, Hitler maybe.

Anonymous said...

Thanks DG. Keep listening but speak up also.

Anonymous said...

This is the Pope...did you call?

Anonymous said...

TJPC and TYC need all the help they can get.

Anonymous said...

The "Pope" did try to run TYC. How soon you all forget :)

Anonymous said...

Another "big dog" here but just a probation officer. I spend more time on watching my butt to make sure I am following the "Standards" than actually working with the child. Dallas has a very tough internal auditor and she watches us closely. I started out in institutions and I understand from some of my buddies still there that the new standards are going to make life miserable. To define minimal standards= BASICS ONLY. Let the county departments decide if caseplans are needed or not, how to do disciplinary hearings and how to correct a out of control youth in detention. The new standards won't even let a detention facility correct a juvenile's inappropriate behavior before it gets out of hand. God bless the detention workers, their job will just get harder to do. Then who do we hire?

Anonymous said...

Good one 7:35. She did not have the right savior looking out for her.

Anonymous said...

That old German guy they've got up there in Rome right now could probably run TYC! He seems to be a pretty tough little guy. :)

Anonymous said...

Well I hope it is all over. A new agency needs to be created. The few chiefs that spoke up did not come right out and pleade for TJPC to stay around. There were so many others watching that could have spoke up but were too afraid to. They speek in closed doors about how horrible TJPC is to work with but they are afraid to speak up because Spriggs and her henchmen were watching taking notes. You know the ones that said anything derrogatory will soon see the wrath of the monitors or the abuse and neglect team. Vengance is mine sayeth TJPC. There are so many ways they can mess with a county department it is unreal. If there are not some major changes made at TJPC then the county departments might as well kiss it all goodbye. "Transparency" and "representation" were brought up. The chiefs on the board is a great idea, embraced my a majority of those in the field. There needs to be someone overseeing TJPC for a change that knows what is going on. Where is the advisory council? Who is the advisory council? Is there an advisory council? Someone keep an eye on TJPC.

Anonymous said...

To the Sunset Commission: With the postings here you can see there are issues, both with TYC and TJPC. TYC seems to get the bulk of the publicity BUT TJPC has as much baggage, even though they put on a great poker face. I don't know much about TJPC but looking at these and the other postings towards the front I think the commission would be wise to investigate further the issues at TJPC. Chief's on the board seem to make sense. Transparency and standards issues also seem to be issues. I would venture to guess that upper administration can talk a good game but can't put their money where their mouth is. TYC is broke, everyone knows it. Can the new lady fix it? I sincerely believe she can but will Whitmire allow her to do so? Maybe another 2 years to allow SB 103 to work might be the best thing to do but can we afford to wait 2 more years? A big concern is who will run the new department if it takes place. Maybe Ms. Townsend is the person to run the big agency. Close the small facilities, merge the 2 agencies and let's move on.

Anonymous said...

Close the small facilities? Isn't the opposite of the vaunted Missouri model?

Anonymous said...

The smaller, remote facilities simply are a waste of taxpayer money. Give them to another agency and move TYC to the larger cities.

Anonymous said...

And just where do you plan to locate these in the big cities? NIMBY is the rule. There is a long history of it. The one that is located very close to a big city is Al Price - wouldn't it be wonderful for the kids in TYC if all of the units had the staffing problems Al Price has had? Check you facts before running your typing keys!

Anonymous said...

Speaking from experience when you place all the big city kids with some from smaller areas then the gangs take over. All the Houston gangs will control that area, San Antonio gangs control the facility in theirs and so on. The Missouri concept is all well and fine for Missouri, not Texas. Maybe some facilities need to close or merge but the kids do not need to control the facilities as is happening with all the regulations the officers have placed on them. The kids run us because we have to watch how we discipline them. I have more control over my 11 and 13 year olds at home than what we can do in the facility and the kids in TYC know we are scared to discipline them.

Anonymous said...

AMEN 9:05. You just said what everyone thinks.

Anonymous said...

NOt only are the officers in TYC scared to discipline kids so are the county detention officers. We are afraid if we touch a juvenile he can go to a phone and make an allegation then we are suspended pending an investigation. We have so many juveniles that are out of control that occasionally you have to restrain one to keep staff or other's safe. Fact of life in a detention center. There is no such thing as a perfect restraint but TJPC investigates allegations as if there were perfect PRT's every time, yet they are not even trained in the techniques. TJPC is out of control, they just hide it better than TYC. Goosbye to both.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I had no clue there were issues in the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission like what I see here. The legislators really did know what they were doing by recommending abolishing both agencies and starting from scratch. I just hope they are smart enough to involve experts from the probation, incarceration and parole aspects when forming this new department. Without input from the ones who actually work the areas there will continue to be a ineffective department dealing with our juvenile issues in Texas. Bigger sounds like is better in this case.

Anonymous said...

Why not combine the 2? I realize the counties are afraid of being swallowed up in a mega agency but with the issues they have with TJPC can it be any worse? I will take my chances. Abolish, consolidate, put in place a funding system exactly as the current funding structure is for the counties, expand grants for prevention services and let's move on. Develop "minimal standards" for the county departments to operate by, reward those counties that strive to keep kids out of TYC financially, it will pay off in the long run. Create 3 TYC facilities to house the violent offenders and contract with smaller placement facilities for the non-violent felonies and chronic misdemeanants. Supplement the placements with the savings from TYC committments. The OIG currently in place at TYC can perform all investigations of abuse and neglect. 1 training unit, 1 IT department, 1 administrative unit and place parole in the hands of the county departments with adequate funding and disciplinary, sanctions, recommittment abilities. Place chiefs and TYC personnel on the new board, do away with inexperienced public members. Create an advisory council made up of experts with EXPERIENCE from each discipline. The state can boost the MHMR services throughout the state. Easy to do. Let the sun set on TYC and TJPC.

Anonymous said...

Christmas poster: your proposal makes sense, except for one little factor - money. It would cost a great deal more money to do what you are proposing. The legislature has shown tremendous reluctance to spend money on Human Services, especially mental health services and youth services. That has been the problem all along.

If you watch the hearings, going back in the archives as far as they have video archives, you will see that the mood of the leaders of the legislature has consistently been one of lock 'em up, get tough, and spend as little money as possible. That is what was behind the creation of those 96 bed open-bay monstrosities in the first place. There was a lot of table pounding by a little bald guy back then, just as now.

Anonymous said...

Don't label our hero, Whitty.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Christmas poster (guy must have no life though posting on Christmas Day). It may cost in the beginning but in the long haul it will be more cost effective. Working in the CPS venue I see too many kids in the foster care and juvenile justice system that if they had services on the front end they would not be in the situation they are in now. I am now in the probation field and I see TJPC's proposed standards coming down the pike and, as a previous poster stated "Give The Kids The Keys To The Jail". They are manipulative enough to know they will be able to disrupt all daily activity in lockdown facilities. The debate on "minimum standards" should be resolved. I do think a clean slate would serve the state better than the 2 current agencies. Consolidation is a perfect option as long as none of the current administration is left from each department to bring in the "status quo" mentality. The exception may be Ms. Townsend who just arrived. Start fresh, get rid of the current ombudsman and I like the idea of "experience" on the board. That is what has hurt boards all around the country, too many people on them who don't know anything about what they are dealing with.

Anonymous said...

AMEN 11:08. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Just hope the legislators agree and follow thru with the abolishment of TYC and TJPC. The world would be a better place.

Anonymous said...

08:39 said:
The smaller, remote facilities simply are a waste of taxpayer money. Give them to another agency and move TYC to the larger cities.

Yeah, move them to the large cities where there are no gangs.

Anonymous said...

Can'speak much for TYC but TJPC sure needs a kick in the pants. Senator Whitmire needs to take a hard look at them like he has TYC. The counties need what money is funnelled to them through TJPC but the restrictions placed on alot of the funds makes it hard to fully utilize the funds. Then they come up with standards that will cost the counties to implement but don't provide the funding to cover their mandates. The standards process has been a joke with TJPC not listening to the issues that will arise for us small departments with detention facilities. It is hard enough to get detention officers and now they want to test them? The fear of being investigated keeps them from wanting to correct a childs behavior problems when it occurs and thus the kids get out of control. I hear at TYC they have the same issues. Sunset commission, HELP US.

Anonymous said...

When the Sunset Commission meets again on January 12 I hope they have read these posts. Even though they are all anonymous the posts say volumes for the state that TYC and TJPC are in. I am sure most of the probation departments would speak out against TJPC in private settings but are fearful of pronouncing their disdain for them in the public eye. I am sure most of the TYC employees are great people but a few spoil everything.

Anonymous said...

The idea that you can abolish TYC and TJPC is simply hilarious. Where will you put them? The youth in TYC are not truant family code violating misdemeanants. These are youth, who for the most part, have chronic patterns of offending. Just want to keep letting them run rampant?

Anonymous said...

1/4 8:24 PM The Sunset Commission recommended abolishing both current agencies and creating 1 department to oversee juvenile justice in Texas, not to abolish TYC and let the kids run free. Reform in the system of juvenile justice is long overdue. Senator Whitmire is on the right track and here's hoping the Sunset Commission agrees. Just don't place any current administrative staff of TJPC or TYC in the new department's staff and we will move on, otherwise it will be the "status quo" that remains in the juvenile system currently. Watching Senator Hegar and Representative Isett at the hearings it seems they may be in favor of the recommendation that Sunset Staff proposed and many in the field of probation agree.