Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TYC Tidbits

Two items related to the Texas Youth Commission deserve attention from Grits readers interested in juvenile justice: A guest column in the Abilene Reporter-News asks, "Is TYC Worth Saving?," while the Waco Tribune Herald reports that authorities are investigating five inmate on inmate sexual assaults at the TYC unit in Mart.

In other TYC-related news, Sunset Commission Chair Carl Isett announced they would leave the public comment period for Monday's hearing open until Friday at 5 p.m., so anyone who wants to get in their two cents worth about TYC, TJPC, or the Office of Independent Ombudsman (for that matter, also the Texas Commission on Jail Standards) should let the committee know what they're thinking. You can email comments to them at sunset@sunset.state.tx.us.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting to hear how everyone automatically assumes that since someone called in an allegation on the hotline, what is alleged actually happened, even before there is an investigation? If the alleged youth perpetrator(s) is already segregated and there is already an on-going investigation into the allegations, it seems to me that the system is working.

Anonymous said...

If I hear that the "System is working" because there is an investigation one more time, I'll barf!

TYC does everything within it's power to make sure this sort of thing never reaches the media. When it does, I choose to think - "where there is smoke, there is likely a fire" - especially when it relates to TYC or TDCJ.

Just because someone is exonerated for actual innocense does not mean the system is working. It means there was in fact a failure of the system!

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest problems has been investigation....tampering by management! There was more cover-up than the press knows about. That won't change, either.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear you don't trust Certified Law Enforcement Officers. All allegations go through the Office of the Inspector General which are peace officers to determine if illegal acts have occurred. You're acusing Police Officers of "tampering". Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

3:10,

You must not know many law enforcement officers. Tampering is an every day process. It is only a question of degree.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is if you work for the State of Texas you will follow the company line or you will be destroyed and discredited! Nothing new here. Where are the people who tried to bring the criminal activities in TYC to light today? I bet none of them have moved up in state service if they even still have a job working for the State of Texas. The cover-up pros have been given high paying jobs and the bad guys have not been brought to justice. Nothing has changed nor will it, this is Texas! No honor, no ethics in our public officials.

Anonymous said...

Most of the investigators have nothing to gain by covering up and if anything, they are very thorough. The ones at or facility do not mingle with much the staff, they are there to do their job and not worried about who they make friends with or what type of brownie points they can earn. I believe that you are thinking about the old system. The new one appears to be working better.

Anonymous said...

Retaliation and intimidation are alive and well in TYC. Just ask Billy @ WTSS

Anonymous said...

I know some law enforcement people that shouldn't even be carrying guns, but they do. Don't know if they could or would shoot the right person, if it came to it. There is corruption everywhere...if you don't believe that, you are rather gullible and perhaps ten years old.

Anonymous said...

If Billy is having it so rough, why doesn't he leave, again?

Anonymous said...

310: You were probably brainwashed in your very short law enforcement certification training. I remember the'rush' of flipping on the reds, writing that first ticket and making the first arrest. If you remain in LE, you'll grow up and lose the arrogant attitude of 'above everyone else', and join the real world, where corruption sometimes rides along as your partner.

Anonymous said...

The illustrious representative Dunnam never misses a chance to dis TYC. He's "disappointed" the report had to come through the hot line instead of being reported by administrators. It's very possible that these boys never told a staff member, and I think it's probably still the rule that staff are not allowed to eavesdrop on those hot line calls. And, Mr. Dunnam, those hot lines were already there in every facility before the leg rode in on their white horses with SB 103.

To reiterate comments by 7:46, they are just allegations so far. It's easy to forget that when something is printed in a newspaper. If the boys are lying, or just playing games, we'll probably never hear more about it.
Without knowing what the investigators know, it appears to me that the "system" is working just fine.

If I were one of his constituents, I would be "disappointed" in Mr. Dunnam.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that procedure was followed in contacting the local OIG and calling the hotline. All of these cases were reported by Assistant Superintendent Kashif Haider of the McLennan County Orientation and Assessment Unit to the hotline. Dunnam is misguided, ignorant, and misinformed! I hope he loses the next election. A smart politician would have waited until he had the actual facts. Thats a Democrat for you.

Anonymous said...

You're all an integral part of the corruptive scheme, now flowing in TYC. SOS...you cover me...I cover you tomorrow. To hell with the youth we are there to serve. Get a paycheck and forget about youth treatment; that's old fashioned. Look in the mirror TYC staff and try to sleep at night, knowing how many youth you have undermined and placed on a path to a life ruined and more criminality on the streets. I hope they move next door to you, for your great service to the state....

Anonymous said...

You will never keep incidents from happening. If you could we wouldnot need prisons ot TYV in the first place. There are good and bad in the world and the TYC hotline helps catche them. The OIG have qualified investigators with many years of experience, not like the TJPC wannabe"s. Even though the TYC hotline catches few true allegations it is manned 24/7, not like the TJPC hotline, only during business hours. How do you tell kids they are safe only when they can use the hotline during business hours.

Anonymous said...

The dumbest of dumb; and they want TJPC to guide TYC out of its mess? I can't believe a day only number!Enbiciles.

Anonymous said...

YEP. TJPC thinks they can accomplish a miracle by installing a hotline system that is answered when they are there. Hotline's are a joke. The one at TYC has so many frivilous calls it is not really working.

Anonymous said...

Hotlines only work if you have enough investigators to follow up. Ms Pope actually cut the number of investigators at the very time that calls were going through the ceiling. Tell me she did not have the approval of that famous cost-cutter, Whitmire?

Anonymous said...

8:24,
I sleep fine at night, knowing that I go to work everyday to try to help youth that Texas has thrown away.

I work for an inept agency. This is your fault, not TYC employees fault. TYC is an agency of the state. It has been controlled by the Republican governor and the genius before him. It is at the mercy of underfunding again and again and again.

So look at your own ugly mug in the mirror and think...never mind that would require introspection and intelligence, obviously you lack abilities in both...

Anonymous said...

While there are many, many long-term, dedicated people working for TYC, I am appalled by the quality of people we are currently hiring. If you can walk and breathe, you have a job. Many are coming abord for the three months of paychecks they get while going through training, then quitting as soon as it is time to go to work. What a welfare program the legislature has created! Good work!

All you caseworkers who got your degrees from party school USA, put down your coffee cups and go talk to a kid, or call his parents. I know it is fulfilling to get together and complain about paperwork - learn a new concept - multi-tasking. Many of us have done it for years. We can't control what the big-wigs do, but we can have an impact on the kids we serve directly.

Anonymous said...

Careful what you say here, unless it is cleared through West Texas or Cherie.

Anonymous said...

12/17 @11:25. Please re-read both the post above yours and your own. You are not making sense. The original poster did not claim that the system was working just because there was an investigation; he/she said it appeared to be working because the allegations were being investigated, AND the alleged perpetrator(s) were being segregated.

Anonymous said...

Investigations at times, are the biggest part of cover-ups. Has been and will continue. Tampering will go on, one can only monitor and hope to keep some control. Its TYC culture to manipulate and use investigations as it best suits top management. People above TYC are part of this and allow it to continue...ex: coverup by top leadership of sex abuses at West Texas. All forgotten and forgiven.

Anonymous said...

1:27 - you are really showing both your ignorance and your prejudice! The cover-up in WTSS was by a single individual who kept any investigation from happening by telling her bosses that she had investigated and there was nothing to it. Somehow, she actually managed to keep any investigator from being assigned to WTSS. Blame her and her bosses.

Anonymous said...

Your answer is so simple, yet solves all the problems. You are ignorant or part of the cover-up. Probably the latter. Others, perhaps you, were well aware of these activities and chose to keep quiet. Don't act so friggin' innocent. The public is not worms for your maneuvering. It is understandable that you and yours want your involvement covered or veiled, but many know the truth and you only make yourself and the other culprits look worse, as you try to loosen the noose around your dirty necks. Now you may feel how the many youth felt, as you tortured them, while undet your supervision.

Anonymous said...

Truth hurts when it doesn't agree with your preconceived ideas 8:14?
Get a life!

Anonymous said...

I would have responded to 8:14 myself last night, but I was too busy in a teleconference with colleagues around the state as we were cooking up new ways to torture youth in TYC. That's what we do, you know, we stay up all night cooking up ways to make like misreable for kids. Yeah, we all know exactly what is going on everywhere - it's coordinated - a great conspiracy to do wrong to the youth entrusted to our care.

In reading comments like that of 8:14 and others over the past year, it really seems like there are a lot of people who really believe this is how the average TYC employee operates.

Anonymous said...

With the past two years of public enlightment,the statewide lawsuits, reports of injury and abuse; how can the public not believe that youth are mistreated in TYC? There probably are some good staff there, but it also appears there are many devilish - mean employees in charge of our precious youth.

Anonymous said...

1. Yes, there has been abuse at TYC. No matter how well one tries to police a corrections system, there will always be abuse. Part of the problem was that the investigators had no power of enforcement, they could only investigate and report. That has changed.

2. Yes, there was a systematic cover-up at all levels (including, and maybe especially, at the political level)of the situation at WTSS.

3. Reports of abuse and actual abuse are two different things. The amount of actual abuse is about 1/10 of what is reported. Before the advent of the hotline, approximately 20% of all reports were found to have some substance; however, most of these were for policy violations, not abuse. Since the hotline went into effect, there have been many, many more reports, but a much smaller confirmation rate.

4. Before you accept everything you read and hear, stop and think a minute about who profits from these reports of so-called wide-spred abuse. (News media, politicians, contract care providers?)

5. As for lawsuits, lawyers have learned that state agencies would much rather settle for a fraction of the claim than to spend what it would cost to defend against the claim. I don't agree with the TYC policy on this, but that is the way it is. I do know that one of the mothers who sued TYC has accepted settlements from at least three other lawsuits. That should tell you something. (There's a lot more to that story, but it is what it is.)

5. The vast, vast majority of tenured TYC employees (at least in the field) are extremely dedicated to making changes in the lives of these kids. The short-timers are another story, since we are currently taking in anyone who can breathe. (Gee, I wonder why it is now so hard to attract good new employees?)

6. For all of you who are so concerned about the abuse in TYC, I invite you to become a volunteer. Remember, it was volunteers who broke open the story at WTSS. Come on our campuses and work with these kids. If you are not near an institution, go volunteer at the parole dept. Go see for yourself what is going on.

Anonymous said...

How about Crockett, Giddings, Brownwood and West Texas? Even when the ACLU visited, they were shocked. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

5:22 makes so much sense -- which is lacking in almost every news article and many posts on this string. The original poor reporting in the Trib is an example, no thanks to Mr. Dunnam.

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