Saturday, January 24, 2009

Juvie diversion grants helped keep youth out of TYC

The Juvenile Probation Commission has posted on its website this summary (pdf) of how Texas' largest counties spent grants given to their juvenile probation departments to divert chronic, serious offenders away from youth prisons as part of the 2007 SB 103 reforms. These eight pilot programs diverted youth from TYC for an average cost of $2,416.50 in FY 2008, with varying degrees of success.

I pulled these topline summaries of the different county programs from the report:
"Bexar County developed the Intensive Community Based – Kids Averted from Placement Services (ICB-KAPS) program. ICB-KAPS is an in-home family services program for offenders at risk of serious, violent, or chronic delinquent behaviors. ICB-KAPS is provided by the Teen and Youth Services division of Baptist Child and Family Services. ... Average spending per participant was $4,500."

"Cameron County developed two programs. From December through May, the department operated a program called the One Stop Intervention Program. Due to construction restraints and the Courts’ request for a more punitive approach, the County replaced the One Stop Intervention Program with the Saturday Academy which was operated from the beginning of July until the end of August. ... Average spending per participant was $1,136."

"Dallas County expanded their existing family preservation and home detention supervision programs to create the Dallas County Intensive Community Based Program. ... Average spending per participant was $2,647."

"Denton County developed a new program called the TARMAC Program (Take Action, Re-Integrate, Make A Change). The TARMAC Program is an afterschool program that helps at-risk juveniles and their families learn skills to achieve their academic goals, become more successful at school and prepare for life. Denton County contracts with Communities in Schools of North Texas to provide services. ... Average spending per participant was $1,531."

"El Paso County expanded their existing Serious Habitual Offender Comprehensive Action Program (SHOCAP). The SHOCAP team consists of four juvenile probation officers, two field compliance officers (certified detention officers), and three El Paso Police Officers. ... Average spending per participant was $2,083"

"Harris County created the Harris County Advocate Program. The program relies on collaboration with child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, disability and education systems to develop and offer community-based alternatives for the highest risk juveniles and their families. ... Average spending per participant was $1,092."

"Tarrant County created Project ASPECT, a new intensive community-based program targeting juvenile offenders who would have been eligible for commitment to TYC under prior law. ... Average spending per participant was $1,452."

"Travis County expanded the capacity of the Travis County Juvenile Probation Day Treatment Program. This program provides evidence-based intensive substance abuse treatment and academic instruction for youth between the ages of 13 and 17 who might otherwise be placed in a secure care institution for issues of substance abuse and delinquent behavior. ... Average spending per participant was $4,891."
See the relatively short (10-page) summary (pdf) for more details.

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looking over this list it is amazing that TJPC did not fund other programs throughout the state. Granted the listed programs are the largest counties in the state but what about the medium and smaller counties? I guess this is a small attempt at TJPC to try to save their necks after Sunset recommended abolishment. Too little too late.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

FWIW, SB 103 told them who to fund - specifically counties with more than 335,000 people. This wasn't a TJPC decision, per se, they were just implementing the legislation and reporting the results.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect i need to ask but what about Collin county, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Randall County, Taylor County, Williamson County just to name a few who had comparable or higher TYC committments in 2007 than Cameron and Denton? Their population is also comparable. In the world of TJPC you will find the Urban Counties get the gravy while medium counties get left out. History will show this. I have been in the juvenile probation business 18 years and have witnessed this over and over. We get saddled with unfundated mandates and unrealistic standards with no research hard data to prove they are needed. Sunset Commission is on the right path. TJPC puts on a great front but there are many fundamental flaws in ther operations and they have admitted such. If they had backed off the standards revision and taken the advice of many across the state to even attempt to work their own standards in a facility there probably would have been no consolidation effort.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog. Mr. Henson, on your "ABOUT ME" page you state "I've retained Grits' independent status as a private weblog because I want it to be place to discuss ideas in all their nuance, not just a spokesblog for this or that organization. The problems facing the criminal justice system are enormous, and we need unfettered, creative thinking to identify solutions that can work for everybody and keep us safe and free. It's my sincere hope that Grits contributes to that process in some small way." I do believe there is alot of work to be done in the juvenile justice forum. Many ideas have been floated about for years on how to refine the system. Many great people have proposed many great ideas but they have fallen on deaf ears until now. Sunset Commission has listened and acted in the best interest of not only the juveniles but also the professionals that work with them. Many people wish to enact rules/regulations/standards that in the real world are not effective. People have painted a picture regarding abuse towards all juveniles by staff and that just is not true. I know of no one in the juvenile probation field that does not have the best interest of the kids we deal with at heart. Unfortunately incidents occur and they are dealt with in a timely manner. Your blog reported many of these incidents and seemed to dwell on TYC even after information was provided to you regarding TJPC. Please listen to the posters who have reported info on TJPC itself and their operations. You are a researcher, research. Talk to departments across the state who have information to share and don't be shaded by those who tell you all is peaches and cream. Let us truely work together to build a new juvenile justice department that not only will protect the juveniles but also the professionals who work with them.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 4:06 - the large urban counties are also where most of the commitments come from. If they want to reduce commitments, that's where there's the most bang for the buck. As for why not Williamson, Fort Bend, etc., I have no information; here's what the document says about the funding decision:

"TJPC funded pilot programs in eight counties. The amount of funding and the number of grants available for the pilot programs established under SB 103 were determined in August of 2007. $225,000 was set aside for each of the large urban departments for their pilot programs. A total of $1,125,000 was awarded to Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Harris, Tarrant and Travis counties. $150,000 was originally set aside to fund two additional pilot programs for departments with populations of at least 335,000. After a review of the submitted program proposals, TJPC determined that three departments had programs which merited funding. The total additional pilot program funding was increased to $200,000."

To 5:00 - I can't be all things to all people and this blog covers many subjects. I'm one person covering juvie stuff on a volunteer basis. If there are things that aren't getting said here, by all means start your own blog! I won't be insulted.

That said, some of the more salacious allegations "provided to me" about TJPC in this blog's comments, always anonymously, have turned out to be false - things that county juvenile probation directors I've spoken to and available documentation did not support. In particular, the juvenile probation director in my hometown of Tyler has made utterly insupportable misrepresentations about TJPC regulations, for example, that other directors have assured me is simply not the case, even though anonymous commenters crowed about it for days thereafter on this blog.

Since almost all such allegations are a) shrill and personal, b) anonymous, and c) lack any supporting documentation, and since most observers, INCLUDING THE SUNSET COMMISSION, say TJPC works pretty well, especially by comparison to TYC (not to mention the adult system), we'll simply have to disagree whether I've misprioritized my coverage. I'm doing the best I can.

Anonymous said...

Hard facts don't lie.Many departments have the hard facts available but, as happens, when someone is vocal all of a sudden a TJPC monitoring visit is scheduled or a ANE investigator shows up and turns something into nothing. The Smith County Director and a hand full of others across the state are brave enough to stand up fight for the field. His claims can be substantiated because I too did not believe until I actually researched it and found most all to be true. There are many who absolutely love the TJPC director, as do I, but when the administrative staff will not listen to reason it builds up animosity between her and the field. Amazingly, in one-on-one conversations the directors who are vocal about TJPC doing a great job will relate situations otherwise.
You do a great job as a single person reporting on the state of Texas Criminal Justice system and we appreciate it. Just sometimes others put up a great PR campaign that alot of people will buy in to. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

"His claims can be substantiated because I too did not believe until I actually researched it and found most all to be true."

What are you talking about?!

Is anyone else tired of juvenile justice employees bringing up instances of corruption, unfairness, or mismanagement without specifying anything or telling us that they reported the horrible deeds to the proper authorities?

Anonymous said...

740...Are you guilty of something? Seems you become extremely upset when this subject comes up. Its everywhere....why act like it has to be made up? You come on as one that wishes to cover up anything bad; or do you just keep your head in the wrong place?

Anonymous said...

7:40, follow along, 7:12 was replying to Grits regarding issues with TJPC's standards revisions among other things. People in juvenile probation will identify with the line of dialog.

Anonymous said...

"7:40, follow along, 7:12 was replying to Grits regarding issues with TJPC's standards revisions among other things. People in juvenile probation will identify with the line of dialog."

No, because the person who brought up standards revisions says that if TJPC didn't have such high standards, they wouldn't be facing consolidation. Yet the Sunset report didn't mention problems with standards or give strong criticism of juvenile probation. That train of thought was a dead end.

Then 7:12 starts talking about "hard facts," specifying nothing and responding to nothing in particular, only saying that some departments are unhappy, but again, no specifics about which standards are problematic.

The only "line" of dialogue I see is dissatisfaction and vague complaints, most of which aren't exactly coherent.

Anonymous said...

The counties with the highest number of committments are also the largest. They have more money and resources that smaller counties. They could get by with less grant money.
Smaller counties are much more dependent on funding from outside sources. They are extremely limited in resources for at risk programs, etc. Probation depts in these counties are always stressed.
They are held to unrealsitic expectations. I would say that is also true of TYC.

Anonymous said...

Guys, what is going on? No need to attack each other. I would like to know what po's think about the possibility of a merger. I'm a TYC person and our management has put us through it.

Anonymous said...

The entire question of standards revisions is not something this blog has time or space for. Those in the juvenile probation business are well aware of the issues. Those that wish to see may view the proposed standards on the Texas Register and get a good laugh. The "hard facts" would probably be a entire blog all to itself. TJPC and others have kept the issues quiet, trying to work it out amongst each others. Sunset was not fed the entire information because TJPC and local departments historically have had a family atmosphere as a working relationship. That family started splintering in 2006 when the new proposed standards revision workgroups started and TJPC refused to listen to the field. Research was requested from TJPC to explain why the proposed new standards were needed when the existing standards had only been in place a few years and TJPC responded with a small amount of vague information, no evidence based research. Workgroups became heated and eventually worthless. To date there still has been no hard evidence provided to the field yet the field has provided input and compromise wording to the new proposed standards which for the most part was ignored. If TJPC had backed off or at least compromised on a handfull of standards then the field would still be galvanized in support of TJPC. Many still proclaim they are in support of them but I too have experienced one on one conversations with some of the urban and mid sized county chiefs who speak of issues with TJPC. They remain supportive but in the same breath state some changes need to take place. Many are afraid to speak out against TJPC. Consolidation may not be the best answer but change does need to take place. All of the Sunset Recomendations, such as the board makeup, funding , etc., sounds great but maybe not the consolidation. There needs to be a advisory council that is effective, not what TJPC controls out there now.
As for the question from the TYC employee regarding consolidation...
I can speak for myself alone but if the issues with TJPC can be worked out then keep them seperate. If the issues remain then abolish and start over.
To those chiefs that speak up, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I manage a county owned medium size juvenile detention center. Send us the money for a psychologist and/or more counselors. It would be nice to have some control over the public teachers who provide for the juvenile's education. Not that good. TJPC is all about rules and regulations. I spend way too much time making sure an "X" is in the right place on a form instead of trying to get services for the juvies. MHMR is a joke and a waste of money as far as mental health is concerned. Not much will change with a new Agency....same old regulations....instead of focusing on getting real results. Paperwork. Ho-hum. Thanks for at least trying Grits....more than most people do, except gripe.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that the 4 most vocal people at the last few workgroups were from Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and a state group, Juvenile Justice Association of Texas. The first 3 has directors that openly support TJPC but the reps were outspoken against alot of the standards revisions.... Hmmmmm

Anonymous said...

Mental health is a big issue. As has been stated the cost to house juvenile at TYC $68,000.00 per year. That would pay for a master's leven therapist who could help 100's of kids. SB103 required we reduce committments but this blog informed us the big guys got alot of money while others received a small amount of diversionary funding with restrictions placed on them. Give all counties more money for front end services such as psychologist and let us do our job. Don't saddle with us with crazy rules where we spend more time on paperwork than actually assisting kids with needs.

Anonymous said...

Dallas County Intensive Community Based Program...what is the possibility that this could be used with technocorrections ? After all, if the place of residence can be technologically monitored and punishment / treatment administered at a feasible cost, then there is less need for prison space. Of course, this actually would exacerbate problems of accountability of executive branch authority that we have seen in the last 8 years...

Anonymous said...

A cost comparison between a 24 hour a day incarceration and a community treatment program is totally misleading. The false assumption is that 100% of the youth in these programs would end up in TYC while the reality is that less than 3% of delinquents end up in TYC. This is the classic apples and oranges comparison. It really does not tell me very much.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Looking at the original post about the diversion grants, the results, and other counties it appears for the most part the grants worked. Travis county really kicked it up a notch, reducing TYC committments 89% over 2006 committments. During the same time period Bexar reduced committments by 50%, Dallas 40%, El PAso 58%, Harris 52%and Tarrant 40%. However, Cameron and Denton Counties showed an increase in committments. In Comparison, counties without this pilot program also showed drastic reductions in committments. Examples are Brazos 67%, Fort Bend 69%, Galveston 75%, Lubbock 57%, McLennan 51%, Nueces 46%, Wichita 78% and Williamson 83%. The counties in the grant program may have more numbers of committments reduced but that is where flaws occur in pilot programs. Additionally look at other counties who historically have worked hard at NOT committing children to TYC, even well before the TYC mess. Tom Green County has in the past 5 years only committed a total of 23 youth while other counties with equal population commit slightly less than that per year. Funding has not been awarded to those who already take care of the youth in Texas. The new Texas Juvenile Justice Department should take a very hard look at the funding needs and award funds to counties who deserve the REWARD that comes with hard work.

Anonymous said...

Hey 11:27 a.m., need some clarification: were those counties that reduced their commitments to TYC reducing felony offenders? because we don't accept Misdemeanors any longer, so I have to question those numbers. If you tell me all those were felony offenders, I'd be very surprised. Thanks

whitsfoe said...

Grits -

The link that you attached to the blog (the 10 page summary at the end) isn't working.Takes me to a blank Blog page. If you get a chance, can you repost it? Thanks -WF

Anonymous said...

Howard says:

"A cost comparison between a 24 hour a day incarceration and a community treatment program is totally misleading. The false assumption is that 100% of the youth in these programs would end up in TYC while the reality is that less than 3% of delinquents end up in TYC. This is the classic apples and oranges comparison. It really does not tell me very much."

And yet, we're also told ad nauseum that the 3% who do end up in TYC have already been thru and failed, often repeatedly, in the community based programs that do exist.

Are we to believe that "the worst of the worst" really had no lesser priors before ending up in TYC?

In these cases, should the failure be laid more at the feet of the local agencies or of the kid and his/her family?

It would be interesting to see a more individualized cost analysis work-up that took into account the amount spent at the local level as well as in TYC - a couple of representative case examples, if you will.

BB

Anonymous said...

The tyc committment reductions quoted were overall reductions including the misdemeanors that are no longer accepted. If you look at the felony VS misd committments there were significant felony reductions in the medium to small counties but the larger county numbers were the reduction of misd offenses. Their shear numbers overall sent to TYC are amazing. Harris sent 630 total in 2006. Dallas 230.

Anonymous said...

BB
for 2008 it appears 69% of the committments had 1 felony adjudication and 26% with 2. 73% were already on probation when committed so sounds like alot of services were expended before the majority were committed. 48% were a direct committment while 52% were due to violation. 58% had been in placement prior to committment.
1 1/2

Anonymous said...

Statistics have repeatedly shown that treatment helps diminish deliquency, but quality therapists don't want to work for what the state pays them. It tends to go back to what Jesus said. "The poor you will have with you always." Fortunately there are exceptions. West Texas in Pyote, the alleged source of all that is evil, has a DOCS that works for much less than he deserves. Some jerks may disagree with me, but I've not seen a person with his skill have more compassion for those kids than he does. I'm proud to call him a friend.

Anonymous said...

It is very hard to get therapist in Rural Areas, especially West Texas. One of the concerns with the new TJPC standards is some requirements for services to be provided to youth which score hi on the MAYSI of a suidice screening instrument. Their time limits may be unrealistic and force some smaller detention facilities to shut down all together.

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful post 11:27. Thank you for providing missing variables and mentioning the flaws. That is the way things get repaired. If only the SS(Sunset C), the leg, TYC officials and officials at other state agencies could only do the same. I don't think a merger would benefit either agency. If the mindsets don't change it will be more of the same. Rules, rules and more rules that don't make any sense at all. They only impede a persons ability to do their job effectively. It is like they force employees into straight jackets, push in the water and demand that they swim. I remember going to a TYC conference in 1996. I went to a caseworker presentation and I was so impressed: The facilitator stressed the importance of focusing on your main job first, which was working directly with the kids on the dorm and in group, visiting the classroom etc.. She said paperwork, reading e-mails and returning calls were important and should be done, but group and individual counselings, monitoring behavior in class, during church services and whatever else should come first. I was so happy to hear that because I knew it was true. Back then it was great. Some of the most rewarding experiences of my life happened then. We worked like a team. I learned the JCO job, I helped on the dorm, they helped me by drilling the kids on their skills and the psychologists and teachers were supportive. We communicated, really communicated because we were allowed to do our jobs the right way. Then the paperwork demons came and possessed the agency. They gave us voluminous amounts of repeticious paperwork with demanding deadlines. We were threatened daily with progressive disciplinary sanctions and got them. It was so crazy. My supervisor spent all of her time viewing security tapes, checking sign in and out logs and walking all over the building to verify that we did not have someone signing in for us. I'm sorry, but I'm a grown woman with a brain, trust me to do my job. I'm human, I will make mistakes. Don't set traps for me there is a difference. No one will ever convince me that it is fine to treat "bad" employees that way. No, NO, NO. Everyone has a right to be treated like a human being. If you have think you have hired people that are so imcompentent, dishonest and incapable of making decisions that you have to monitor them like they belong in prison, Mexia State School or both than you need to just humanely let them go and start over. I harp on this because those frontline employees are vital. That is true in any organization. You learn alot from them when you let them do what they do best. Rules were not made to stifle and restrict. They are to protect our freedoms and allow us to flourish. This issue must be addressed, until it is nothing will change. I have a real problem with this oppressive, dehumanizing style of management. You cannot keep good employees for one thing. What professional person wants wor in that kind of an environment? This syle does not help rid the agency of unethical, incompentent and dishonest employees. Just the opposite. Decent peoplec can't take that kind of treatment, decent people don't treat oter people that way period. If you have to fire someone, let it be only after you have done everything you possibly could to help the person and only for very serious infractions. Man, you don't fire your most literate secretary for coming in at 8:04 three days in a row and for forgetting to get the mail. I'm through, but I honestly believe that this issue is the msot important one. I know there are many others, but nobody can play without a team. A manager who browbeats, belittles and berates anemployee is just as guilty as a staff who does the same to a child. IM OUT REALLY!

whitsfoe said...

Well, 11:27 assuming that you answered the question @ 5:15, it doesn't make sense to think those funds allotted to the counties decreased the number of commitments to TYC because those numbers include misdemeanors and SB 103 prevents counties from sending them to TYC anyway. It's a reach to say that pilot program worked when in fact they were simply prohibited from sending misdemeanors in the first place, but I agree w/you 100% that those funds really need to be given to counties that have a lower commitment rate and less resources in the community, as I've seen first hand many, many kids with mental health issues being revoked and sent back to TYC when they really need a psychiatric hospital. In fact, I've seen that way too many times, and knowing that resources don't exist in those lower tax based communities and thus less services available makes for a good argument to divert those funds to those counties instead of the big four/five who have those resources. It may be Robin Hood like, but so be it.

Anonymous said...

The "misdemeanor money" regions received in current budget was used for providing "innovative programs" on a local basis AND to place kids in county, non-profit, for profit placements. Mid sized counties got a pretty good dose of funds depending on region (the one I'm familar with got about $200K.) Looking at the comitment declines cited above, appears the $ was well used based on cost per day per student in TYC.

There are county departments who have always been at war with TJPC. They want all these state funds but don't want any rules, rules imposed by the State Auditor and legislature.

What's needed in the counties more than anything else is about 10 or 15 retirements and the guy in Tyler should be at the top of the list.

Anonymous said...

8:19 I agree alot of retirements need to happen but not only with county departments. Time for new leadership at the state level, someone who will actually listen and learn from the counties and the JPO's in the field.

Anonymous said...

AMEN 8:28.

Anonymous said...

8:19. Very few standards that TJPC currently have in place or were proposed were mandated by any state agency other than TJPC itself. They have used that excuse for new standards but legislature was unaware they were being referred to when TJPC was using them to force standards on counties. The Smith county chief is right on with his statements. He is not afraid to speak the minds of many in the state.

Anonymous said...

it is truly a testament to Bexar Chief David Reilly and his employees that they are willing to work together and with at-risk youth / probationers.
Too bad the IDIOT "Bill Fitzgerald-Bexar Adult Probation Chief" doesn't have a clue on how to treat his employees OR the probationers!!!!!!!!!!!

whitsfoe said...

You know, I don't know about the county vs. state politics and all that because I've only been in TYC for the last 20 (almost) years, but one thing is for sure: if we stay separate which I think we should, one thing I think would help tremendously is a common access to records. I really wish we had everything (the entire record) automated so we can see what the kid did on probation besides the common application. You would benefit from seeing what happened in TYC. It is a pain in the ass from a centralized stand point to call the TYC facility and get the summary of adjustment prior to TYC commitment and have nothing in the master file. It's been really inconsistent, and that's really, really important for both TYC and juvenile probation to have access to each others records. If anything else, I really hope that comes about because I think it'd help you guys just as much as it would us in making decisions on these kids.

Anonymous said...

Whitsfoe, I agree with your last post. Would love to see the same for Adult Probation. Some behavior that continues could be brought to the probationers attention and addressed.

whitsfoe said...

And that's exactly my point. We look for patterns of behavior prior to TYC commitment, and what they've done in TYC, and that's called measuring the risk or protective factors and determining which outweighs which. It helps, believe me.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Whitsfoe, the link works for me, but here it is again, just in case.

Anonymous said...

To me the true testament is all the departments who truly work for the juveniles. As stats show the county departments took SB103 to heart and worked towards not committing felonies. Of course, Misd were not allowed but if you look at the overall reductions felonies were also reduced.

Anonymous said...

As a 30 year vet of the juvenile probation department i have seen em come and seen em go. After looking over the next round of stupid standards I can see and say it again, I am going to have to spend more time documenting than I am helping kids. It is a real shame we have to CYA all the time. No offense but just because a few people don't have their head on straight now everyone has to suffer. Retirement is looking better every day. Love TJPC staff but they need to get their heads out and see the real world out here.

Anonymous said...

I am a Chief in a small department and have spent some time at the capitol over the last couple of sessions. TJPC fulfills its mandate though I believe that minimum standards need to be defined and implemented.

The juvenile probation field as a whole has reduced its TYC committments but to what effect. In 2008, I saw the largest number of felony referrals to my agency "EVER". I wonder why? I am certain that there are a combination of reasons but looking at changes in our system has had to play a part.

As I have argued at the state legislature, "I supervise kids not offenses." That non-violent offender on paper may be the worse kid I am supervising but I am stuck sitting on my thumbs waiting for the felony offense. I can list out countless specific examples.

Diversion is key but identifying your most riskiest probationers is the most important part. I have had many a felony offender who I knew would be fine and wouldn't re-offend. It is a matter of identifying him/her and no questionnaire can replace the knowledge you gain by working with the kids and families. A juvenile probation officer's relationship with a juvenile and his family can not be measured.

We're getting ready to commit a kid to TYC and he can't believe it. This after he broke into a neighbors house on 2 different occassions while on probation for over a year and has already been in residential placement. " I just thought you would lock me up for a couple of days." The kids know what's going on or at least they think they do.

I believe that reducing our committments from 8 to 10 per year to 1 or 2 has cost our community and I feel ashamed at times for allowing continued victimization. It won't continue here ..... TYC or whoever you might become, you better get your stuff together because we won't be holding the rains so tight here anymore.

and to the state legislature (and mainly Sunset Commission) .... you listened to and read a number of public comments regarding TJPC/TYC merger ...... did you just ignore what everyone said or do you really believe you're just that much smarter than everyone else. Your partners (local Juvenile Boards) have stated overwheingly that they don't want a merged system yet you do it anyway????

If I were to run a business and my partner who put in 65% of the money for the business said no I don't want to do it that way and I postured that I didn't care what my partner thought, I might lose my partner and my business.

Something to consider.

david said...

I have work with TYC for a length of time. I have seen a lot of changes but I am trying to understand this new change that is going to help the gaency. The new CoNEXTion program is going to be enforced by 2/20/2009 or around that time. The program is written but not in detail where we as staff can use it. So it means that it's still a pilot program even though TYC have adopted it. Call it Resocilization, CoNEXTion, or whatever but we are just wasting money again on something that does not work. TYC have spend a lot of money since being the poster of bad publicity. We have install cameras, bought flip cameras ($150/- each), new radios ($4500/- each) and programs, all in the name of making a change. The only thing that have changed is the riffing of staffs. SB103 might be the answer or not? They at Central Office have made changes from the days of Mr. Steven Robinson to now Mrs. Townsend. Where is the changes but the down sizing of each facility. To me, whomever is enforcing Resocilization to CoNEXTion needs to see the bigger picture of how TYC is wasting it money. Crime have risen and TYC have been more of a revolving door for offenders that did not nake the cut back into the system.

Anonymous said...

As with any agency that monitors others, those monitored will always have a grip about the report. That is the nature of the business.

As for the lie about anyone who complains about TJPC being monitored or trumping up ANE investagator shows up...just not true. I guess TJPC is suppose to schedule their required monitoring visit then wait when an ANE report is filed. Just so if there are any findings on the monitoring visit the chief will not cry hes being picked on. They fail to mention that a ANE complaint has to come from from within the department or facility. So I guess a TJPC staff person either had to sneak into the southeast Texas or payoff someone on the inside to get the complaint filed.

There will always be some stress when an agency makes changes. That will ahppen if consolidation goes through, it will happen if it doesn't. There are three or four chiefs out there that want TJPC to not look into thier shops. They have at times out and out lied about standards and changes to those standards. They have done this to Sunset and others in leadership positions.

We should be able to work through change but first people have to be honest to thier goals and objectives, until those are laid honestly on the table nothing good will come of most of this.

Anonymous said...

Listened to Mr.Nelson's comments again....just not very truthful.
"200, 200 pages. 2003, 2000 pages"
Thats the bad thing about recored testamony, you can always go back and check it. I agree the CRM has grown but there could be a reason.

You would think departments would know not to take offenders home and have them work on your house. Granted the fields mistakes are not even in the same ballpark as TYC, but there are issues. 9 out of 10 departments were not to excited about the CRM wghen it first came out. We all worked on it and through it and it si not a problem for alomost all of the state. Nothing in it hurts or impeds "local control"..do you think you should take kids home and have them do work for you Chief? Of course you don't but a chief in your region did and since you did not police yourself TJPC had to create a "new" standard, one that I'm sure you agreed with.

The real problem with the CRM is that it is a minimum set of standards and is used to monitor departments creating an outfor departments that causes the document itself to grow. It should be scaled back to more general probation issues, but with its detail it has become a "its not in there, so I can do A,B,and C". we would all agree that departments should not do A,B and C. But now the chief argues that it is not addressed in the CRM! And next thing we know the CRM now has a new section addressing A,B,and C.

For a very few departments fighting for a counties right to do something they would not even do is in some strange way a destructin of local control...just like sending a kid to west Texas was a good idea..who would know!

We should police ourselves better and when we do not TJPC has to.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the last deal....tried typing from my cell phone! You get the jest of it though I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

I respond to 4:09 this. If TJPC thinks any department out there is abusing kids or doing something wrong, go after them, not the entire state. Don't lump me with someone who did something wrong. I have not seen 1 county in the state that intentionally attempts to harm a child. Why assume we all do.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yup, 4:09, it was the stuff about the Smith County director claiming a jump from 200 to 2,000 pages of regulations that the other probation directors and TJPC staff told me was flat out wrong. That's what I was referring to in my 5:56 comment up top.

Anonymous said...

9:58 a.m. wrote:

"As I have argued at the state legislature, "I supervise kids not offenses." That non-violent offender on paper may be the worse kid I am supervising but I am stuck sitting on my thumbs waiting for the felony offense. I can list out countless specific examples."

Those used to be our General Offenders with multiple misdemeanor commitments. I know exactly what you're saying Chief, as those were the absolute worst behaved kids in TYC until they banned the misdemeanors. I feel your pain - believe me!

whitsfoe said...

Thanks Grits - I was able to open the link.

I wonder - though - how many of those kids, if any, were re-arrested within six months to a year for another misdemeanor offense and/or how many, if any, were re-arrested for a felony offense, and how many, if any, were sent to TYC following their participation in those programs? Any word on that? Don't mean to sound negative - just curious.

Also, what was the selection criteria used to get participants?

Anonymous said...

7:38 PM Most of the data you are curious about would be found at the county level unless TJPC's grant requirements had them track their recividism. Best bet is to contact the counties listed. I know they will be happy to share.
9:58 AM- VERY WELL STATED.
4:21 PM I agree in full with your statement.
4:09 and Grits- The Smith County Chief did have some validity in his claims. The CRM did grow but the overall standards did not proportionately. This current proposed set of new standards will cause both standards chapters AND CRM to grow a great deal over 2003 standards with newly added standards but TJPC has taken rpeptition of standards from several chapters and either combined them or created a new chapter to house them. Therefore, shear numbers may even go down but newly created standards have been added. These are the ones the field has issues with and the cost associated with them. If they would leave 2003 standards alone and streamline them life would be so much better. They have some really screwy new standards and some that will create issues with the daily operations of facilities. It is taking control away from the officers and placing it in the hands of the juveniles.

Anonymous said...

8:23, that is old news. Hopefully the new department will see that even current standards are a farce.

Anonymous said...

I agree the new standards are going to make detention staff have to worry about documentation and holding discipline hearings all the time. It will effectively kill any effectivenes they may have to discipline the kids. Might as well let them out to run free if we can't discipline them for more than a hour and a half as a room confinement. I send my own kids to their room for longer than that when they misbehave.

Anonymous said...

If you believe that the CRM did not increase in volume then you have not looked at it. We are contracted to go by what the CRM states and it did increase substantially in volume. The first page of the state contracts states the department will follow the CRM. Anyone out there that states otherwise is fooling themselves. When we are monitored the standards say one thing but you go by what the CRM states. In the grand scheme of things Mr. Nelson is correct. Verify for yourself. The proof is available if you look for it. BTK

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"In the grand scheme of things Mr. Nelson is correct."

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose we all are. In the particulars, though, maybe not so much.

I'm claiming no personal knowledge in this debate, but other juvie probation directors at that Sunset hearing, by and large, simply disagreed with Mr. Nelson and several told me his comments were a slanted, unfair portrayal.

In that light, let's see if we can agree on this: Nelson's contentions are inexact, overstated (on the number of new pages, etc.), ill-focused and disputed by at least some of his peers among Texas juvenile justice professionals. He's trying to frame his issue in Reaganesque populist terms of over-regulation, but really he disagrees with specific, new policies and complaints about page number increases, etc., are an attempt to shift the debate into a partisan terrain where it doesn't really belong.

That's my impression from the limited number of times I've heard the issue debated substantively.

Anonymous said...

I would say let's contact Mr. Downing and clarify his statements in comparison to what his detractors state.
If he "disagrees with specific, new policies" he is not alone. I disagree with many of the new policies proposed for implementation September 1, 2009 but no one will listen to the working man in the field.

forthekids said...

Try to remember that we are here to help the kids of Texas. I have been a Chief in a small county for over 20 years. What bothers me is that the CRM has taken us away from the kids and stuck at our desk pushing paperwork. And yes if you speak out against TJPC they do retaliate. They have become so far removed from the field. I think they need to walk in our shoes and see that some of the standards are stupid

Anonymous said...

"for the kids" and others, give or list examples, not general statements. No one on here has thier names in here so give an honest example of how TJPC retaliates. If you run a facility they are coming by once a year, year in year out...thats not retaliation. I have argued with TJPC dozens of times, and won some and lost some and thats the way it goes. To say your spending time pushing paper instead of working with kids is confused logic also. Do you really think the new leadrership your so eager for is not going to need reports and data?
I have heard one department make this cry dozens of times and yet when ask he can not to save his life say one thing TJPC has him doing that stops him from providing services to kids, that increased his cost beyond the increases in funding he got, that put a child in danger or would not be ask by who ever would be in charge should TJPC be gone. But it sound great to get up and shout about it. And we ahve all never failed to cash the checks when they role in...and they do roll in!
Increases in funding for the most part flow through to us...every time CJAD gets a dollar central office takes more than half of it before it ever get to the county.

Again hear this, there are things TJPC needs to work on and I hope they are and will. But things are only going to be worse under this new plan if it is someone other than TJPC calling the shots.

Heres a little thought for you..where was TJPC two years ago...they were an example of how agencies should work. TYC gets exposed for the hell hole it was and now a few chiefs that got a bad report or didn't get thier way see a chance to get even for a 3 year old issue...and all of a sudden TJPC and TYC are juat the same. Thats just flat out wrong!

When there is a little blood in the water the sharks so up, when the feeding frenzy starts there gets to be lots and lots of blood in the water. Thats about the time the sharks blinded by bloody water and uncontrolled hunger for more start accidentally eating each other...it might be time to stop and slow down a little before its too late!

Anonymous said...

Everyone is fully aware of the scheduled and statutorily required annual monitoring visits by TJPC. Issues I am aware of are when abuse has been ruled out by internal investigation and local law enforcement on a very minor abrasion as a result of a PRT that went wrong. The JDO was injured more than the child. Everything was resolved until after the chief in that county became outspoken and then all of a sudden they get a phone call stating it looked like abuse did occur. After the investigator spent all day there and verbally stated it was ruled out the chief was vocal a second time in a work group. BAM they receive a letter placing people on probation as a result of that incident. After getting attorneys involved the case was dropped but not after it was discovered TJPC staff investigating the restraint technique were not certified in the technique. This is one of many others that have been described to me. Now the TJPC staff are becoming TECLOSE certified which scares alot of people in the field. This blog is not the forum for these allegations though. Too many incidents out there to describe in this space. I think TJDA, JJAT or TPA would be the forum to bring these issues to light and they have been bringing them up but no one listens OR they just get blown off by those who wish to not admit the true definable issues. As for the blood frenzy i believe that is a wrong analogy. No one truly wishes TJPC to go away bey a majority would like TJPC to listen and act on the issues that have been brought to their attention for the past 2-3 years.

Anonymous said...

We must admit that we do have some sorry chiefs in the commission. The good ones are drug down by the actions or inactions of the bad ones. Some are too timid to stand up for their people and try to make proper changes. You know who we are talking about. Time for some of them to move on.

Anonymous said...

Next weeks conference between couonty chiefs and TJPC ought to be a blast! Grits, you want front row?

Anonymous said...

4:48 that is disgraceful. I have met nearly every chief in Texas and can say I have not met a single one who would not do everything in his/her power to help the children we work with or the employees of their departments. There are some extra-ordinary chiefs in Texas starting with Dallas, Travis going thru Tom Green, Fort Bend, Lubbock, Brazoria on down to Hardin, Wharton, Gregg, Moore, McCullough, Dumas, Dalhart.... you get my drift. For you to make that statement offends me and the many worker bees in the juvenile probation field. Granted some are opinionated and speak their mind while others trudge along. That is what makes this world go round. Not everyone will agree with each other or TJPC but let's face it, I work for the betterment of the kids and as long as I am helping at least 1 I have fulfilled my place in this world. I am proud to be in this profession and no one will stop me from doing my job. Hats off to the juvenile workers of Texas, both probation and TYC. I could write a book on the successes I have been associated with. CJE

Anonymous said...

7:21 VERY WELL SAID. We are all in the business to help kids. We sure won't get rich with money, but maybe rich in our hearts with the good we do. Let's all keep up the good work and survive these trying times. Just food for thought-without the employees the chiefs would not be where they are now. I agree every chief out there works hard for the kids.

Anonymous said...

1:40 "when abuse has been ruled out by internal investigation and local law enforcement on a very minor abrasion as a result of a PRT that went wrong."

Internal investigations and local law enforcement all thought things were ok...isn't that the same lines that were used out here...when the TYC scandal broke...oh it has been looked at and the DA knows about it all...just move on folks nothing to see here...keep moving!

As it turns out it worked out after much stress and worry and I agree that it may have been a gross over reaction. BUT the timimg for your incident could not have been worse (TYC CRIMES) and any reasonable person has to know that and look at what has happpened since then.

I can agree with your 20-20 hindsight view on how incidents may be handled in the future...but again sometimes courses are followed based on issues and reports and attitudes in Austin that have to be addressed there and not what is known elsewhere.

Unfortunately right now we are all being swallowed up by politics and a few like that like to play politics, and that is always a nasty game. But here many good dedicated people are being lead into a fight over when a phone call was made! And the twisting of facts and half truths designed to "get even". IF the TJPC investigation was a retaliation because you spoke out....then is not your attempts to wipe out TJPC and the leadership there retaliation also!

I think the truth is we have all made mistakes and we could choose to learn from them and make the entire system better or we can keep trying to destroy people and careers.

From Harris County to Wink Texas we all are ask to work with a part of our communities that no one wants or really even cares about. All across this state TJPC and departments save lives every day. We can play like TJPC has nothing to do with it and that would be wrong, in small counties thier training,leadership and even audits help us learn a better way to do things. Not to mention the money and the way that is passed thru to us.

I know we do the work, the daily grind and I know we do amazing things but its a partnership. Are there bumps in the road hell yes. Do we always get things just like we, the field want it...heck no.

It really is time to let go of the yesterdays and focus on the tomorrows. If we take an unemotional look at everything there is alot of good in departments across Texas. If we take an honest look at TJPC they have done many many more things good than wrong.

This is not the time to destroy a working system...one that before the TYC crap was considered a positive for Texas...BUT one that could use some fine tuning in a changing environment.

Anonymous said...

12:02
Sounds good but can't see where anyone has learned from mistakes made on overactions and corrected them. Same scenario occured in our area within past few months so it is still going on. No communication? Or just don't care?

Anonymous said...

Just for the record

The current standards for juvenile probation; 341, 342,343,347,348,349,and 351 are 100 pages. The current CRM that spells out the documentation required to prove that we are meeting these standards is 1,811 pages. True many of them are worksheet pages but don't forget that it is printed in a 7 font. Mr. Nelson's comments are not that exaggerated. If you do not follow what is printed in the CRM then you will be found out of compliance. So yes in 2002 there were less than 100 pages of standards (open to individual interpretation) and in Sept 2003 there were 1,811. Don't forget that most of the CRM did not even come out until after the standards went into effect.

Anonymous said...

We can all pretend that all is great in TDCP, but most of us know better. Some of the chiefs need to go and most of know that also. When we get over the veiling of truth and make necessary changes, perhaps we as an agency can move forward.

Anonymous said...

7:14 Thanks for the clarification. While some people want to twist things around, the accuracy is there to justify Mr. Nelson's statements. Just to clarify though the original CRM was written to help clarify MINIMUM standards in place at the time. As the volume of standards increased in 2003 so did the written clarifications and the clarifications became more wordy. Sorta like the Cliff Notes of the standards but in reverse, more detail. While the volume increased as is an accurate statement by Mr. Nelson and others, the CRM was doing more to explain the procedures to take to adhere to the standards. Hard to follow I know but for those working the standards you know what I am talking about and feel Mr. Nelson's PAIN in attempting to follow every single detail. Now the volume will increase AGAIN with interpretations of the new proposed standards so watch out, may be at 3,000 pages come September 1, 2009 unless they are haulted by the legislature.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Regulatory agencies can never 100% please those they govern, 7:35. If TJPC hadn't put out the CRM, we'd be hearing complaints they had set standards but gave no guidance to follow them.

One thing I've learned about the juvenile corrections crowd blogging on these issues for two years: SOMEBODY is going to complain about SOMETHING no matter what decisions are made.

As mentioned previously, to a person, the other juvie directors I've spoken to besides Mr. Nelson say his complaints are exaggerated. There may be some validity to them, but he doesn't help his case by overstating it or trying to portray TJPC as some Big Government behemoth.

Anonymous said...

Grits,, maybe asking other chief juvenile probation officers might be in order. While some are adamant against TJPC no matter what some are so pro TJPC they will say and do anything to protect them.

Anonymous said...

You nerd....some have already posted here and they mostly are idiots...like you.

Anonymous said...

8:57, please refrain from the name calling. That is what will get this blocked. It is a valid request, not talking to them in this blog, but in person one on one. But Scott should not have to. TJPC should.

Anonymous said...

HEY VICKI THANKS FOR THE BUTT CHEWING THIS MORNING, 200 PLUS IN ATTENDANCE, CRITICAL TIME FOR THE STATE,TURMOIL IN JUVENILE JUSTICE AND YOU DECIDED TO ADDRESS THE CHIEFS AS "IDIOTS" -----EXTREMELY POOR CHOICE----- YOU WERE OUT OF LINE-----WHAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IS YOUR FINEST RALLY SPEECH----WHAT YOU DELIVERED WAS A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL VERSION OF "POOR ME" IT SEEMS YOU ARE MORE WORRIED ABOUT YOU AND AND TJPC STAFF --- NOT TEXAS AND ITS JUVENILES IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM