Thursday, January 28, 2010

Busy day at capitol on juvie, women's corrections

Regrettably, I won't be able to attend two events at the capitol today that look really interesting: the House Corrections Committee meeting this morning on women and corrections and the juvie justice summit going on simultaneously at the capitol. Thankfully, both will be broadcast online and archived, so I'll try to watch them soon. You can watch the Corrections Committee live here beginning at 9 a.m., and the juvie justice summit will be streamed online here.

I received this press release this morning from Texans Care for Children, the group holding the juvie justice summit:
Juvenile Corrections System Acts as Mental Health Provider of Last Resort for Many Texas Families
Panelists at Thursday Capitol Summit on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice will explore the issue

AUSTIN – A Texas parent who resorted to turning her mentally ill son over to the Texas Youth Commission so he could get treatment and the mother of a Texas child with disabilities, incarcerated from ages 10-15, for a misdemeanor are among the families whose stories will be shared at a special Texas Summit on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Thursday. Family members will be joined by national policy experts, advocates for children and state leaders and their staff for a Capitol discussion about the connection between shortages of children’s mental health services and incidences of juvenile delinquency in Texas.

“Providing more children and youth with reliable access to mental health care, not only can prevent crime in Texas, it also gives more of our kids the chance to be successful,” said Eileen Garcia, executive director of Texans Care for Children, the nonprofit child advocacy organization hosting the summit. “By connecting youth who need treatment to community-based services, we can prevent many kids from acting out in the first place – and we can reverse a trend that now has more kids in Texas than any other state growing up to enter prison, instead of the workforce.”

The Summit, whose partners include Methodist Healthcare Ministries and Texas Mental Health Juvenile Justice Action Network, involves first-hand family stories and policy discussions about:
  • The juvenile justice system acts as the de facto mental health delivery system for Texas, and several experts believe this trend is on the rise. Fewer than one in five Texas children diagnosed with a mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, or other condition that puts them at risk of being removed from their home or school actually receives mental health treatment. More than 40 percent of youth involved with the state’s juvenile probation system are mentally ill. In the Texas Youth Commission, a third of all inmates have a serious mental health problem, and not all receive treatment. For example, fewer than half of TYC youth in need of substance abuse treatment receive it.
  • Texas ranks 49th in the country in per capita spending on mental health treatment and suffers shortages of mental health providers in two-thirds of its counties. Nationwide, mental health experts say the juvenile justice system is seeing its worst crisis in decades, as few health plans offer coverage for mental health services for children, states cut back on funding for community-based mental health programs due to budget shortfalls, and the number of specialists able to provide mental health services to youth declines.
“All these factors are converging to suggest Texas should act right now to meet mental health challenges head-on at the time when interventions often matter most – early in life,” Garcia said. “We are pleased that the 81st Texas Legislature took steps to close loopholes that prevented some juveniles from getting mental health services they need. The next step must be ensuring services for all youth with mental illnesses, including those in the juvenile justice system today and those we can prevent from entering it in the first place.”


43 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I read your note that less than half the youth in TYC with drug problems, receive drug treatment, I was shocked. I thought that after the reforms youth were being provided this treatment? How can this be justified?

Alan said...

"Foster Teens, Advocates Address Issues of Aging Out at 'First-ever' Youth-led Hearing" Please read it at http://wp.me/pC3Xj-bf

Gritsforbreakfast said...

2:51, that post cited data that ended in 2008 and didn't include the time period covering most of the recent reforms, fwiw.

gravyrug said...

The lack of mental health care is definitely not limited to juveniles. I've had a few friends with mental health issues that have had serious difficulty getting any treatment, much less proper treatment for their problems. At least two have been in prison for crimes stemming from those issues. Many drug users are primarily self-medicating, and decent mental health care would make a huge difference there.

Charity said...

Having a child in Giddings for the last three years I can tell you from a parents point of view that NOTHING has changed in the services provided to the kids--they still get next to nothing. The only change that has occurred at the facility level is staff are now more hyper-vigilant about being politically correct; therefore, they are crippled.

Anonymous said...

TYC has been asked to do the impossible. Telepsychiatry. 100 to 1 psychologist/student ratios. unqualified case managers. Charity I hope you have asked the legislators for more money to help the youth at Giddings.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not money. TYC has wasted much of the money that Texas hard working people gives to it. Use the money more wisely and get rid of the rif-raf overseeing the drug treatment program.

Anonymous said...

Charity-why is your child in TYC? Do you really expect the state to fix a problem you couldn't? I'm sorry for your suffering, but who are you to criticize? Cherie Townsend is the best leadership the agency has, but even she can't walk on water. All the treatment in the world cannot fix kids born into families that cannot accept responsibility for their own failures.

Anonymous said...

IMO the CO persons (TYC) that are in charge of the Treatment programs there, have little if any real drug treatment counseling experience, other psychiatric counseling experience, real time one on one counseling or group therapy counseling experience. Few of them have a counseling license of any type, and if they did have a license, they let it expire. They could not practice counseling outside of the state agency realm of TYC. So why is it that they are able to make decisions that direct treatment. IMO, Their main concern is to do whatever is favorable to hang onto their jobs. The simple fact that a great number of these unlicensed or unpracticed persons are still employed after the Dwight Harris tenure and conservatorship time of TYC still attests to the fact that they are good at the skill of hanging onto their jobs with no real qualifications. So why would we expect any more from persons that are directing the treatment?

Anonymous said...

This is simply shameful. Charity, and others should contact Mr Whitmire and demand that these 'old TYC'ers' be removed from the agency. TYC can never regain its lost respect with these people still unmanaging the drug program. They are there just to make their retirement date and care less about youth and the treatment they so badly need. Cherie is protecting these people or they would be gone.

Anonymous said...

This can be alleviated by supporting Advanced Practice Mental Health Registered Nurses. Physicians fight against Nurse practitioners all of the time, yet they are the answer to the health care provider shortage. Texas health care should get on board. Because if the mind is un-sound the whole body is un-sound. Perry should know that because Jesus Christ himself said it... " if the eye is unsound..." Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 9:35
Your comment to Charity is uncalled for. In fact you don't know what Charity or her family has been through. Mental illness can not be "fixed" by religion, or lovinig families. IN fact many loving supportive, church going families have a child or two with mental illness. Some are able to hide it better than others. Please don't attack individuals. I don't appreciate your attack of Charity.--- Sandra

Charity said...

Charity-why is your child in TYC? Do you really expect the state to fix a problem you couldn't? I'm sorry for your suffering, but who are you to criticize? Cherie Townsend is the best leadership the agency has, but even she can't walk on water. All the treatment in the world cannot fix kids born into families that cannot accept responsibility for their own failures.


I will tell you why my child is in TYC if you will use your real name.

I have worked and fought for three years to get more money, more therapy, more family involvement. If all the advocacy groups, Will Harrell, or politicians can't change things what makes you think one parent can do it all alone.

Charity said...

I would also ask anon 935 do you blame all your mistakes made as a teen and young adult on your parents? Did you not ever have a mind of your own that got you in trouble?

Anonymous said...

This whole discussion is indicative of how completely out of touch our society has become. All of this "touchy, feely" psychobabble is a bunch of BS. TYC is a place where seriously delinquent kids should go to be punished. We're not talking about first offender kids caught with small amounts of drugs. As a juvenile you've got to screw up pretty darned bad to get sent to TYC. TYC should not be expected to the do the jobs that parents should have done and either couldn't or wouldn't do. It should be a thoroughly miserable place that kids should genuinely desire never to go to; and the ones who've been there should genuinely desire never to go back. It should give them a glimpse of what their life should be like if they get sent to prison as an adult. While they obviously don't need to be preyed upon by corrupt TYC officials, this isn't summer camp we're talking about. If they want to continue their education in TYC and get a diploma, then that opportunity to should be furnished to those who demonstrate they are serious and willing to follow all of the rules to the letter. Those who persist in being disobedient and rebellious should find themselves working in the fields or chopping weeds on the side of the highway while being supervised by some mirrored sunglass wearing mounted horseman with a double barreled shotgun! That would be some really good "drug therapy!" Just my opinion!

JuvieMom said...

Aon 7:46, you have got the be the dumbest person on this planet. You talk all that talk about parents being responsible. I was responsible, I taught him right from wrong, he had/has a good home where he was always taken care of and he listened to outside influences and he went wrong.

It wasn't my fault it was his fault, he choose to do wrong and for that he was sent to TYC.

The blessing out of all of this was that in Corsciana, he got the mental help he needed, he got the drug counselling he needed, he even got his HS diploma, not a GED but a diploma.

After his release, he came home to a mother that loves and encourages him unconditionally, went to barber school and now owns 2 barber shops at the age of 25.

He helps his me pay the bills, he has no outside babies and pays his taxes and employees...so screw that dumb mess you're talking about.

If you haven't done the dance you have no da** idea about the steps, therefore you opinion is jaded, narrow-minded, as as full of crap as most pepople who haven't experienced what we've been through.

Charity, good for you, I know that you did what was best for him.

Your actions more than likely saved his life, I know it did for mine.

Anonymous said...

TYC has and will continue to blame parents for TYC's failures. TYC is a huge 'holding facility' where youth are taught to be worse for their tour of TYC. Since TYC blames parents for their own failure and can't really help youth, why not close the whole agency down and start with a agency that knows how to help youth? Even a private run organization would be better than the current mess in TYC.

Anonymous said...

11:20 As I read the article and comments, TYC isn't blaming anyone, but everyone is blaming TYC for not fixing their kids. They may sunset TYC, but where is this magical new agency going to come from? The funding will still have to come from the same old lege, and where is the workforce going to come?

Anonymous said...

Blaming parents alone, as some commenters here are doing, is something that juvie agencies and their staffs have been doing since before TYC was created.

It is a waste of time to debate such people or to even take them seriously... which is probably why I hardly ever post here anymore.

Bill B.

Anonymous said...

Did your book get published Dr. Bush? Where do I get it?

Anonymous said...

No one blamed the parent. The parent blamed the agency for not fixing her kid. The commenter just questioned her moral authority to criticize the agency. Why is it okay to criticize the people who have actually worked rather hard to help her son, but it's wrong to question her about her part in the process? I wish her and her son well, but when one throws stones one should expect to have them picked up and thrown back.

Anonymous said...

You are apparently good at throwing stones. Rather than fix the problem - the kids - you throw stones since you know you are a failure. You must move the blame from you so you can sleep at night. You are the prime example of why TYC is also a failure - state wide.

Anonymous said...

Did we forget about the report showing that TYC drug treatment increaed recidivism rates?

Anonymous said...

You're correct 212. This also confirms that what little treatment kids do get, is faulty as provided by the TYC. Are they still using druggies to give the so - called - treatment? What a laugh. No, what a tragedy, and misuse of state provided funds.

RAS said...

The one that thinks TYC should be hard core is right, the one that thinks TYC should be compassionate and provide psycho-therapy is right, the one that think the parents are the problem is right, the one that thinks the parents are the best hope for a real reversal of a kids direction is right. Over a thousand kids a year need a variety of approaches and provisions for changing approaches when the harsher ones are deemed no longer appropriate or when the more compassionate ones meet a stone wall that has to be broken down. Most kids need the close cooperation of parents and TYC, some need to be sent to some kind of boy's home to keep them away from their parents or maybe from their hood.

Anonymous said...

I know it's a waste of time to defend TYC. It's not really going to go away though. It'll be good to sunset it. That way the lege can't slap some paint on it and change its name and it won't look like they are not funding their mandates.

Anonymous said...

TYC - Treatment : Oxymoron. Simple. Hit Delete. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

The tyc Texas’ 120 year old state sponsored agency for the mental, physical, sexual, verbal, and academic abuse of children. People who are defensive about tyc are most likely responsible for molesting children. Anon 9:35 is a good example of deflecting, that’s why the child abusers have to post anonymously. I have been able to communicate with tyc alumni that span from the 1940’s to 2008 and they all tell the same story. There are some positive results that come out of tyc but it’s not the norm. Like the Pinocchio story where bad boys are sent to a place and the vial people there turn them into jack ass’s, it’s a good fit metaphor for describing tyc. It’s a shameful culture that began with judgmental farmers and is being perpetuated by team playas. It will never change. Sadly people who work at tyc who actually want to help children are the real victims of that culture.

The leg has been apparently maneuvering tyc to be set up to where it can be turned over to TDC relatively easy so anon 7:46 you may have part of the solution. But until the state comes up with a solution to actually help teenagers with mental health issues we’re stuck funding a jobs program with benefits only a pedophile could love. I think RAS summed up the complexity of classifying these kids and filtering them to the right treatment programs, be it touchy feely or red necks on horses. This is the bottle neck that I think is the root cause of the failure. My example of being sent to tyc initially for truancy, but refusing to have sex with the ugly cowgirl caseworker who was in charge of classification at brownwood reception center had me sent to the maximum security unit Mountain View. Bty, Mountain View replaced the state boys home in Giddings in the late 70’s if anyone has ever been curious as to why Giddings is so messed up.

The phrase mental health treatment in tyc always reminds me of big T, one of the dorm men from back in the day. He would say “medication for your retardation” and we would all file out to the infirmary to get our drugs. Unless you were competing in gladiator night, then you could be held back depending on whose money was riding on you. I suppose we could ask the citizens of Tyler Texas how the mental health treatment tyc offers worked out for them.

Juvie mom I would love to meet your son. He was fortunate to be in Corsicana. The super who was there is a good person but was moved, I speculate, to clean up another facility up north. According to several alumni spanning the 2000 to 2005 from that facility up north it was perfectly ok for some dorm men to rape weaker boys in their cells. I suppose that’s why they had to move the super from Corsicana to replace the super up north who according to some was moved to Austin. Go figure, who says tyc cant adopt practices from other organization, isn’t that what the Catholic Church does.

Sheldon tyc 47333 II c/s
mvssb gssb ftyc

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, from your info. it appears you could have been a real insider in the TYC Austin circle of criminals. The Catholic pass-abusers-around would take second place to TYC's mastery of this scheme. Its still going on and who will disrupt it? Stay on it.

Anonymous said...

I think the Legislators needs to hire a group of people to descend on TYC and see just how much of that wonderful stuff that was told to them in the hearing from the leader is really true. I can tell you not one bit of it was correct information about what is really going on in that place. Nothing is in place and nothing she said is happening. Maybe on paper to make it look good, but not happening.
I was appauld listening to that speech and then the committee telling her what a wonderful job she is doing.
I am not saying she is not doing a good job, I may think that she is being lied to and does not know it.
Mrs.Townsend someone is blowing your dress up on what is taking place in TYC. Well it is not happening in Corsicana that is forsure.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon if my memory serves me right the Super at Gainesville (up north) is Hawthorne. She is from Corsicana, but was a Director of security at this site. Prior to Hawthorne you had Martinez who was moved to Giddings, left and came back to Evins. Prior to Martinez you had Shorten, who was moved to Crockett.

Victims Voice said...

Sheldon -

From a victim's prspective, you - quit frankly - are full of shit. We could care less about what happens to you thugs that walked around in our community victimizing innocent Texans. My daughter was murdered by the hands of a young budding felon such as yourself, so I really have no sympathy for you or those like you. I hope TYC makes life hell for these thugs. They made their bed, now they'll sleep in it. I hope they do turn TYC into a section of TDCJ. You can't treat antisocial personality disorders - you're a prime example.

Anonymous said...

I agree with they that lost the daughter. How terrible. I also think TYC staff should be allowed to continue to beat, drug, rape and misuse youth. Its a hard world out there and these youthful offenders need to learn about revenge and Carma.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that works for TYC after the past three years of discovery is either a youth abuser or idiot.

TDCJ EX said...

So a person can now say I am a”victim”in attempt to silence any opinion other than theirs . Yes losing a loved on no matter how is tragic but it is not the fault of every one serving time and you clearly want revenge not justice . How does brutalizing every human in prison solve anything ? It certainly is not going ot make any one any safer . As 90 + % of those in prison will be released most sooner than later. Does any one think that pole who have been tortured are going to become good consecutive members of society ? If anything they are going to be far worse off than before they went to prison . How does torturing someone make your pain and grief go away ?

I know of a “victims rights activist” whose daughter was killed . While tragic and no one should be murdered , had she not been playing the drug game she would be alive today The sad reality is her boyfriend a low level drug dealer , tried to rip off his supplier and since drugs are illegal they settled it with violence . That does not make it any less tragic or painful but I believe that there should be some honesty in this . If you are going to use your “victim status” in a public forum and worship at the alter of revenge , you have opened your self up to questioning and having unpleasant things made public . . Yes the person who killed is wrong . and should be held accountable .

Calling any one who has done time names and saying that what ever a boss does to any one while incarcerated is just wrong . People yes human beings go to prison as punishment not to be punished . They are still human and despite what is popularly believed they have rights . Most are not wild eyed crazed Hannibal Lectors . That is a myth makes for good TV but is not remotely close to reality Yes I did time obviously . No I am not anti social or any of the thing soften more fiction than fact you choose to believe about a person who has done TDCJ time .

Those who are seeking revenge and wish harm to every one incarcerated have become the very tings they claim to despise and be against .

As stated If you are going to make things public expect that their will be a public response . Simply stating iam a victim's survivor will not end a debate and does not make you right It d oes howw ever make what ever you state public and open for public debate .

Your word belie your intentions you seek revenge not justice . Yes let rape , abuse and torture those young “thugs “that will teach them to be good members of society right? Yeah it has worked wonders so far right? TYC and TDCJ are is a resounding successes ? So it is OK for the state via it's employees to rape assault and kill. If that is not both revenge and hypocrisy I don't know what is. This type of talk shows clearly that “victims rights “ is about revenge and giving the state power to exact it at any cost include incarcerating and or executing the innocent .

If it matters I am the first to say there are those who need to be isolated from society and other humans .With the caveat we do it humanely as possible so we do not become what they are or have the state become the monster in our names .

RAS said...

11:23 the last paragraph was very well put.

Anonymous said...

The criminals deserve the same amount of empathy they gave their victims. However, victimizing them is not the answer. Still, in my humble opinion the victims have more more moral authority to state their opinions than the criminals. There is abuse in TYC, but most of it is of the staff at the hands of the students, clueless management, and the lege.

Anonymous said...

Poor TYC. Everyone and everything is faulty except the staff. Please give all the employees large pay raises. Blah.

Anonymous said...

Wow victims voice worshiping at the altar of revenge. There’s an exorcist named Bob Larson who can help you.

Like the Pinocchio story bad boys are sent to a place to be turned into jackasses, me coming out of tyc with refined and improved anti social behavior was expected. Went I was sent back to tyc for assault who was the victim? The group of boys I assaulted were Seniors who at one time were jocks but no longer played for the school. They were the school bullies. Because the parents were involved with the school and there was some affluent associated with them their bullying basically went unchecked. Until they put a nerdy kid in my locker. He was a nice kid and didn’t bother no one. Well it was time for ol Sheldon to check these punks and check I did. So 5 ex football jock want to bee’s proved no match to a state boy trained in the Mountain View Shuffle. My dad told me it would not have been so bad if I hadn’t publicly humiliated them. I know from my experience in tyc that publicly humiliating them was the only way to make them stop. That nerdy kid is still grateful to this day while one of the jock want to bees told me that was a life changing event, he’s a minister today.

Therefore victims voice worshiping at the altar of revenge who was the victim in this case? If you answered the nerdy kid, the state boy, and the jock want to bees you answered correctly. You could have also added to that list the poor tyc emps who had to deal with my return.
Sheldon tyc#47333 C/S II
mvssb gssb ftyc

Anonymous said...

Well if some across the state gets their wish there will be NO kids locked up ever. The bleeding heart liberals at the Annie Casey Foundation (JDAI) want all kids released to terrorize the communities more. I have been a victim of crime and as a victim I wanted JUSTICE, not fluff BS.
As a juvenile probation officer I see these kids hit our system that if proper mental health care was available to them before they committed a delinquent act they would not be in our system.
TYC is not the place for the lesser offenses because they can't treat them. Shut TYC down, commit only 3G offenses to a TDCJ run facility, let's move on. RTC's are out there that can more adequately treat our troubled youth than TYC can. Save Texas $200 mill.

Anonymous said...

I agree. TYC has demonstrated many times that as a youth organization, it is basically useless. With our curent monetary crisis this agency cannot be justified. The savings from overhead and floating staffers could be giantic. The agency is past its time and value.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head 6:40am, it is time for the Lege to step up and come up with a better plan. TYC has been on the morphine drip now for 3 years and nothing has improved, yes I said NOTHING! It is time to get rid of this useless Agency once and for all!

Anonymous said...

Oh no. TYC clearly still has problems. Starting with the knee-jerk over-reacting politicizing idiot James Smith. Visitors to TYC be ready to cough up your keys at the gatehouse on Saturday and Sunday or else no quality family time.