Thursday, December 04, 2008

Open Thread

I'm on the road for most of the day today, so use this as an open thread while I'm gone to tell me what's on your mind. In particular, I'm interested to know:
  • How, if at all, might the hot and heavy Speaker's race in the Texas House affect criminal justice policy and politics in the 2009 legislative session?
  • Given lean budget times, how likely is the proposed half-billion dollar, 20% raise for TDCJ employees next year?
  • Do readers think the proposed merger between the Texas Youth Commission and the Juvenile Probation Commission will solve the problems at those agencies identified by the Sunset Commission?
Hasta maƱana.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

The TYC/TJPC Merger will not save money in the long run, but if the agency is set up with the right administration that understands that what keeps kids out of TYC is what happens at the front end of the system, and some safeguards are set up so that probation is not gutted by institutions...then it could be successful. Institutions need to be regional and in the areas where the biggest cities are. They can be run from Austin, but they need local boards overseeing them. What has made probation so effective is not TJPC, but local control by Juvenile Boards and accountability to the communities where they operate.

sunray's wench said...

"Given lean budget times, how likely is the proposed half-billion dollar, 20% raise for TDCJ employees next year?"


Unfortunately, about as likely as TDCJ introducing conjugal visits for inmate spouses and toys in the visitation rooms for their kids. As long as there is a barrel they can scrape for cheap labour, whether in the US or overseas, they can find other ways of spending whatever money they get.

What they could do is introduce a clear performance-related pay structure, so that good COs dont have to demote just to make overtime.

Anonymous said...

Accountability by locals may be good in larger communities, however, like West Texas, local accountability is a joke. Many locals knew of big problems yet failed to act; which allowed the institution to implode and take the overall TYC structure down with it.

Anonymous said...

"Accountability by locals may be good in larger communities."

Is there any evidence that there is less corruption in larger communities? It's amazing to me that people have been making these statements for the last year, but have failed to produce the studies that prove it to be true.

The problem that occurred in West Texas was the direct result of corruption in Austin that shifted the blame onto the local DA. The AG has sat on it just as long.

All the merger can accomplish is create more people to share the blame if something goes south.

Anonymous said...

The only savings that will be realized from a TYC/TJPC merger will be the further cutting of treatment services. The real cost will be additional criminal activity resulting from the youth who could be turned around not being properly treated resulting in additional future adult incarcerations costs and other societal and individual economic losses as a result of saving a few dollars now. The immediate costs of the savings will be passed off to county and school district governments.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

If politicians had to perform under the conditions they place on state employees, teachers and police, they couldn't hold a job.

Anonymous said...

Popular looks for answers in small town Abilene, Taylor County, Tx
Study of Small Town Justice It seems several people may not agree that Abilene, Taylor County, Texas is a "Friendly Frontier".
They essentially credit the city's law enforcement with systematic or consistent victimization of residents
lacking political influence. Anecdotal evidence suggests
minorities and poor Caucasians are prime targets. Reportedly every component of Taylor County's legal system contributes to the problem (i.e. the police and sheriff departments, state and federal prosecutors, state and federal courts, public defenders, and private attorneys). Woeful tales of injustice shared by some current and former Taylor County, Texas residents, have a common theme. Many attest to retaining or being appointed an
attorney who promises, but ultimately fails to zealously
challenge for them the apparent wrongs of area government and/or big business. POPULAR Shines Its Spotlight And Looks For Answers: Should the failure to substantially reduce if not eliminate improper law enforcement in the U.S., ultimately lay on the mantle of American attorneys? Is progress on that front impeded by parallels to what professor Bogus describes as a "Culture of Quiescence"? Is such a culture more likely to exist and/or dilute zealous legal advocacy in smaller towns? Does it exist and can it account for substantial injustice in
Abilene, Taylor County, Texas?

http://popular4people.org/Home.html

Anonymous said...

Merging with TJPC will not solve TYC's problems. The only thing that will solve TYC's problems is paying employees enough to attract a consistent, stable, and competent workforce...

Anonymous said...

Amen 8:40pm...Same goes for Adult Probation. A. Probation in Bexar could give raises if they did not have an out of control chief who locks up innocent probationers. May be the county could save a buck or two and all these probationers would not be pissing away TAIP treatment money and we could use the money for keeping officers who are trained. Would love to see the retention rates for officers in Bexar County compared to other counties and states. TDCJ funding is wasted every day in Bexar. The chief has never complied with state funding. Whitmire and Madden's plan is a joke in Bexar. Wasted funds, civil rights violations and skirt chasing chief!!!!! They cant even string together a IT report to give correct STAT's. Bonita wake up before it becomes your fault for not watching Bexar. Mark this down as a fact....Fitzgerald needs to be charged with Federal CHARGES!!!! Criminal Civil Rights violations with intent to do so!!!!

Anonymous said...

Amen 8:40pm...Same goes for Adult Probation. A. Probation in Bexar could give raises if they did not have an out of control chief who locks up innocent probationers. May be the county could save a buck or two and all these probationers would not be pissing away TAIP treatment money and we could use the money for keeping officers who are trained. Would love to see the retention rates for officers in Bexar County compared to other counties and states. TDCJ funding is wasted every day in Bexar. The chief has never complied with state funding. Whitmire and Madden's plan is a joke in Bexar. Wasted funds, civil rights violations and skirt chasing chief!!!!! They cant even string together a IT report to give correct STAT's. Bonita wake up before it becomes your fault for not watching Bexar. Mark this down as a fact....Fitzgerald needs to be charged with Federal CHARGES!!!! Criminal Civil Rights violations with intent to do so!!!!

Anonymous said...

The TYC/TJPC merger will accomplish two things: 1. It will rename the problem, thus distracting the public from the fact that the solution was not found, 2. It will take money from one politician's district and put it in another politician's district. That's how the game has always been played. Ms. Townsend is suggesting that we should keep what we got and build from there, but that'll never fly, because it makes too much sense.

Anonymous said...

More pay for employees is not the answer. That has been tried and proven not the answer. The terible management in TYC drives good staff away. No amount of money can make up for poor administrators and corrupt officials!

Anonymous said...

The pay raise will not help. The applicant pool for public safety employment has been exhausted.

The pay raise may help retain tenured employees but it's still not enough to attract quality applicants given they are exposed to the worst of the worst, because of the nature of the convictions, criminal records and diseases of the prisoners.

Anonymous said...

The adult system is completely different from the juvenile system accept for the fact that both agencies are grossly mismanagad. Putting them together is not going to make poor management and unethical behavior go away. It is much easier to get away with very bad behavior in the adult system. The ideologies are totally different. I was a caseworker for over ten years at TYC and I could always tell the difference between staff that had always worked with juveniles and those that had worked at TDCJ before coming to TYC. The TDCJ folks had filthy mouths and cocky attitudes and would intentionally provoke conflict on the dorm. They worked to create negative cultures on the dorms. They usually didn't last long at TYC. No doubt TYC has had it's share of problems but the agency did not deserve to be bastardized and scapegoated. If they had character the wouldn't have alllowed it. It was painful to watch the people who might have stopped the destruction either cower with their mouths shut or ruthlessly participate in killing the innocent. They were spineless cowards or ruthless, incompetent, paranoid people drunk with what power their positions gave them. I don't know which is worse: the angry, despots with little man complex or the cowards that supported them with their silence.
I know now more that ever just how important it is to have character. It means having the courage to stand by your convictions, even wen you know it is going to be painful. It means doing what you think is good the whole, not for you.
If anyone was serious abot saving and reforming the agency they would hire people that are wise, selfless, honest, courageous, humble, empathetic individuals that have no personal agendas. People who will support and defend the agency and it's employees and philosophy when appropriate and courageously and honestly mean and correct problems head on. Those are the important qualifications. Experience within the agency, or corrections in general means nothing without strong principles. The end. I'm through vomiting. I hope someday I will be like my mother, the smartest woman in the world. She taugh me some important lessons about life. I was defeated, cynical, phisically sick and bitter after my experience with TYC. My hair was falling out, I had hives and asthma and I was down of my knees. She made me get up with dignity and search within for the fortitude to overcome the devastation and move on. I am slowly coming out of it and believe now more than ever in standing up for wha you believe is right. I support all of the employees at TYC who suffer daily a the hands of those incompetant, ruthless people that are in charge. They are trying to survive in a tank of sharks. There is no way employees can do their job correctly and effectively right now. It is have horrible nightmare and everyone loses. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

Anonymous said...

Someone stated it like is really is. Most of the decent employees have left TYC. The agency should be dismantled top to bottom and then started with all new people.

Anonymous said...

12:06 What decent people are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Hey 1156 - its eating you up, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I'm just hoping you are talking about the coward Dwight Harris who took his retirement and ran.

Anonymous said...

I thought we were talking decent folks. Dwight is the lowest of the lowest. He and he clan birthed indency. Some people deserve to rot in what they brought, on others.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to Stan Degerolami from the Austin Hq? It's been quiet, did he retire or did Cherie tell him to leave?

Anonymous said...

He got chopped off!

Anonymous said...

When the WTSS scandel made the headlines Senator Whitmire and his collegues claimed to have the solution: Get rid of anyone with a criminal record, replace the leadership and do away with resocialization. Those decisions were not based on sound research or careful consideration. They made some serious decisions that could not be justified through factual information. Consider a doctor with a patient that is having some very serious, maybe life threatening symptoms. A decent doctor is going to begin by conducting tests and reading and thinking. He will proceed quickly, but very cautiously. Knowing that a wrong diagnosis could kill his patient. Does anyone watch House? It's fiction but not the part about, being open minded, brainstorming, testing, reseach, teamwork and trial and error. He can't treat based on what he wants to believe, or without the facts. The needs to appy the same approach to the Texas Youth Commission.

Anonymous said...

Whitmire is going to do what he wants to no matter what people say, he and some of the other legislators do not believe in stopping to ask those who might have some insight. It is instresting to see what he stirs up though. Ms. Townsend and Ms. Spriggs are sure lobbying the legislators to try and save their agencies. I thought that was against the law???