Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Juvie probation directors grumbling over strings attached to diversion grant funds

To get a sense of criticisms being raised by some Texas juvenile probation directors over new diversion grant funds made available by the 81st Legislature aimed at reducing Texas Youth Commission commitments, see the discussion under Item 7 in the minutes (pdf) from the Juvenile Probation Commission's November 20, 2009 meeting.

Some agencies spurned the process and local departments didn't apply for all the diversion money, leaving enough for roughly 30 additional placements on the table. According to the TJPC minutes, "One [local] board chairman's comment when they declined their funding was that the state gives nothing without a hook and they didn‟t want their neck in the noose when the hook was pulled."

My sense is that local probation directors should get used to this grant-driven mechanism - aiming to tweak rather than overthrow it - because it's worked well for the Lege on adult probation and the topline results have even been good on the juvenile side. I'd be surprised to see state leaders reversing course on those decisions anytime soon.

The TJPC board meets again March 26 in Austin.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

This string is gonna get interesting in a hurry! Grab your helmets and head for the tall grass, TJPC execs.

Anonymous said...

The idea that money comes without conditions is fantasy.

Other than inherited wealth, can you think of any form of funding in society generally that does NOT come with conditions?

BB

matthew said...

Grits, I agree with the comment that the local departments should "get used to the grant-driven mechanism." However, it should be understood that some departments were ready to apply for funds with the support of probation directors only to be stymied by local juvenile boards. The real victims in these political turf wars remain the kids who may benefit from diversionary efforts made available through these funds. It may do the local deciders some good to review the university model where funding for research is never expected but acquried through maintaining grants. It may also do them some good to review Wexler's 1987 introduction of the concept of "therapeutic jurisprudence."

Anonymous said...

Waaaa! Strings attached, good!!! Adult probation is stretched thin with reduced budgets and large caseloads. Juvenile officers have been getting raises every year since the late 90's while their counterparts at the CSCD have been getting the perverbial screwing! When will the Lege realize that if they held juveniles accountable for their actions, paid adult probation more than a measley $2.40 per day that the prison overcrowding WILL not go away!

Anonymous said...

It's all about diversion for the sake of saving a buck.

Diversionary Programs divert individuals from incarcertation, not crime. This diversion talk will subside sooner or later. All it will take is an individual on probation for a property crime to commit a serious offense and its back to lock up.

Anonymous said...

The $2.40 per day for adult probation is an old figure. For FY 2008, the rate for felons was $2.76 per day. However, the taxpayer's portion of that was only $1.24 per day. The other $1.52 came from locally generated funds (i.e., fees from the probationers). Either way, it's still the best deal going in criminal justice in Texas.

Anonymous said...

"Diversionary Programs divert individuals from incarcertation, not crime. This diversion talk will subside sooner or later. All it will take is an individual on probation for a property crime to commit a serious offense and its back to lock up."

Already happening. Except now they're going to try and certify a 14 year old as an adult for that gang initiation killing of that 85 year old woman here in Travis.

Anonymous said...

Juvie probation directors bitch about everything. They have never accepted the FACT that TJPC doesn't work for the for the departments, it works for what's in the states best interest (governor and legislature). For years, local departments have begged the legislature for more and more money. The legislature has given them more and more money but attached strings. Locals take the "strings" out on TJPC, not the legislature. Lesson is: be careful what you ask for because you may get it.

Just wait for all the Hell that will come from the locals when the legislature, thus TJPC, demand that departments positive outcomes from the locals and for the money they are providing.

Within a couple of sessions, the legislature will demand that all 160 odd departments adopt evidence based and best practices models if you receive state funds. Shit is gonna hit the fan then, because the locals will have to upset their little empires and kingdoms do what is right and be held accountable.

And..........that's the way it is.

Anonymous said...

That 14 year old was led by a TYC KID that got released when he should have never been put back on the streets. Is he not the third or fourth TYC this past year to kill someone? Not sure about the number but I believe it is correct.

Anonymous said...

It is only a matter of time before the state demands positive outcomes. That is completely ridiculous not to mention insulting. It implies that departments are not doing enough and if they don't get their act together, the State is going to withhold funding....

Funding based on positive outcomes will only change the definition of success.

Anonymous said...

"That 14 year old was led by a TYC KID that got released when he should have never been put back on the streets."

How do you know that? You got that magic crystal ball?

Anonymous said...

Who cares if he is 14! Certify him as an adult, lock him up, and throw away the key. That is a perfect example of why the death penalty for juveniles should be an option!


Assuming he is guilty, of course.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be "strings attached." If local juvenile probation departments take the money appropriated by the legislature, there needs to be accountability and measurements.

Anonymous said...

8:24 To you I say "bring it!" Our Board believes in outcome based activities. Any juvie board that does not has their head in the sand.

6:34 Dead on track and I'll take the money of the whiners.

Anonymous said...

9:53 not trying to argue with you but I happen to personally know that 17 year old very well. No doubt in my mind that he was leading that kid to gang bangin. YEP, that 14 year old needs to be held accountable too. Not letting him off the hook if that is what you thought I was implying.

Anonymous said...

The $2.76 per day is leaving the adult CSCD understaffed. Even the "Famous Dr. Fabelo" says that caseload size plays an important role in the CSO involvement in a probationers rehabilitation. What I don't get is the Lege "throws $$$$$" at both ends of the criminal justice system (juvenile probation/TDC) but forgets the middle(adult probation) which if not taken care of leads to revocation rates skyrocketing. With 25 years experience as an adult probation officer, reasonable caseloads will allow the CSO to become more involved in the positive outcome desired which is successful completion of probation.

Anonymous said...

Anything to do with TYC youth, regardless of ages, has been a total waste. This agency has proven it needs to be dissolved totally.

Anonymous said...

Nothing has been proven about TYC. The actors in scandal have yet to be tried, and everything said about TYC is anecdotal and proves nothing. That is the problem with the strings attached to funding. There is no way to prove with anecdotal and correlation studies that anything really causes a decrease in juvenile crime. For all we know the decrease was caused by the trend of everyone drinking bottled water. The buzzwords of "evidence based" and "best practices" are the lege's code words for the hoops agencies have to jump through to get funds. I don't blame them for grumbling.

Noel - Best Acoustic Strings said...

String attached? Oh come on..

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