Gov. Rick Perry has named Will Harrell of Austin the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) Independent Ombudsman for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2011. Pursuant to Senate Bill 103 of the 80th Legislative Session, the independent ombudsman will report on individual facilities and serious problems within the commission; create awareness about the office; and review and evaluate procedures established by the commission to ensure the rights of all children are observed.From all I can tell, Will's done a good job and he's brought to light many issues at TYC, particularly involving education, that otherwise wouldn't have been substantively addressed. He deserves the re-appointment and IMO the Senate should and hopefully will confirm him.
Harrell was initially appointed as TYC ombudsman by the governor’s conservator, and has served in the position since May 2007. He is a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and was a founder of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. He serves on the University of Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Advisory Board. He was the 2008 recipient of the Cesar Chavez Award by PODER, the NAACP of Texas Torchbearer Award, and the Texas LULAC President’s Award. Harrell was profiled in the February issue of the Texas Monthly Magazine as one of 35 Texans shaping the future. Harrell received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree and master’s degree in law from American University.
This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
See past Grits posts on the Ombudsman's work: