Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TYC produces data to facilitate unit closures: What about TDCJ?

The Texas Tribune has an interesting story, along with an extraordinary accompanying spreadsheet (xls) from the Texas Youth Commission, about what TYC facilities might be closed and who will make the decision. The spreadsheet rates facilities by staff turnover, difficulty of recruiting, cost per day, the condition of the physical plant, and a variety of other factors.

This is exactly the type of information the Department of Criminal Justice should be compiling for the Legislature, given that they've been ordered to cut $75 million and are short another $61 million in healthcare costs. There's no way to cut $136 million - much less if more cuts are required - without closing prison units, but TDCJ so far has refused to consider that option, much less give the Legislature information that would allow them to prioritize which units might be closed. Instead, they've proposed cuts to diversion programming and staff that will set the agency up to fail.

The Legislature should demand similar information from TDCJ to help them trim its budget instead of leaving it up to the agency to decide what to cut. It will require policy changes to actually close prison units, but the blueprint for how to do that is fairly clear. This data from TYC shows what information needs to be compiled to make those decisions, and hopefully we'll see similar data regarding adult prison units before the Lege gets too far into its discussions about budget cutting.

29 comments:

Hook Em Horns said...

Perhaps this is not being discussed because the people governing in Austin do not see this as within the realm of possibility.

The idea of shuddering prisons is worthy of serious consideration by people focused on reality and the truth of the budget deficit. The people who have sold us this steady, unceasing diet of "tough in crime" bullshit and a "crazed" pace of prison building are nowhere near ready to admit they have been wrong.

Has our Governor even acknowledged the depth of the debt or is he still on the East Coast selling books? I am almost beyond any realistic concern or expectation anymore from ANY of the people sitting at the statehouse.

I am not alone because most of the people who got us in this mess were sent back in a landslide.

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts -

1) Decriminalize marijuana already.

2) Looking at the spreadsheet (and kudos to TYC for compiling such data) it should be pretty clear which facilities are on the chopping block. I do find it astonishing that Crockett's budget is $25 million.

3) Whitmire is a grade A d-bag who loves to prance & preen for the media, and the media lets him get away with it. Why hasn't TYC indicated which facilities will close? Because as soon as the name of those facilities are uttered publicly, there will be mass defections by the workers there, leaving to unsafe conditions in the facilities for the months it takes to close down.

Anonymous said...

TYC is top heavy with high salary insulated staff who drain the budget while thinking up looks-good-on-paper schemes that bedevil the facility staff. The more chaos they generate, the more Central Office staffer they need to untangle the chaos. I would say they've got a good thing going all around.

Anonymous said...

The TYC Central Office is like an elephant. Its output is impressive but it takes two men with scoops to deal with the end product.

Anonymous said...

Cut CO in half and close five of the worst/ most expensive youth lockups.

Juvie Mom said...

Not only is TYC "top heavy" with high salaried staff, so is the UTMB-CMC staff who are contracted by TYC (namely Sandra Ferrara). In 2007, TYC closed two facilities and down-sized all of the others, while UTMB-CMC was being granted millions of dollars more to improve the health care of the youth. What health care? To my knowledge, UTMB-CMC never assumed responsibility for the Mental Health Services they were so generously paid to do. Instead they hired an average of 4-5 additional RNs per campus to manage the physical healthcare of healthy teenagers.
Walk onto any TYC campus, you will be tripping over RNs and LVNs doing absolutely nothing with great big pay checks. The Legislators & TDCJ need to compare some of the lop-sided droppings of "healthcare dollars" for corrections.

Anonymous said...

It's all BS. Their data is faulty. They list Al Price as being the worst at recruting special ed teachers, when in fact, they are at full special ed teaching staff right now.

It's just another hatchet job by people in Austin who don't like certain people in certain units. It's widely known that the special ed manager in Austin doesn't like key people in the special ed department at Al Price, even though that department has consistantly recieved rave reviews in the last six months under the direction of these key people, as has Al Price's entire education dept.

Your never going to get good, objective data when it comes from Austin.

Anonymous said...

Now who is gonna believe that TYC Austin staffers have it in for field workers? No one believed it seven years ago, so why think the culture has changed? The 'field is droppings', to TYC central office. Close CO.

Anonymous said...

@Juvie Mom...I am in TOTAL agreement with your comments; this is true...walk into ANY TYC campus and you WILL find the so-called "medical staff" just idly standing around. What a waste of taxpayer money!!

While the youth that NEEDS the help is told to follow some type of unnecessary procedure for up to 2 week of filing out sick calls, etc. By the time the youth is "allowed" to see the Medical Staff, they are WORSE than they were when they started filling out forms!!

So here they go, carted off to the Hospital...COSTING the taxpayer MORE money in medical bills!! It is a no-win situation for the youth that needs medical help...and it is "usual business" for TYC Medical Staff...I am beginning to imagine that perhaps some type of "hospital overcharge deal" is being played out between TYC Medical Staff and the surrounding hospital Staff in the vicinity!!

After all the mis-use of funds and abuse on the TYC youths, something like this is not such an implausible scenario!!

At the end of the day, it is the youth that are suffering...the staff are lining their pockets with "kick-backs" from the hospitals and the youth are being neglected; business as usual in Austin!!

Anonymous said...

11:05 Have you considered a career as a fiction writer?

Michael said...

Scott,

I think the only reason they can entertain suggestions of closing down youth lockups is because they can and always do convert those facilities to house adult offenders. Remember last session when the legislature demanded they reduce the juvenile offenders? The most vocal opponents were the people living in those communities. What was the West Texas facility they were gonna close? Was it Peyot? Anyway, it was converted to an adult facility. That is and always has been the problem with TDCJ. They can't close facilities--never have to this date, including the Huntsville Unit that opened in 1847, still operating today. The economies of these rural communities (Republican treasure chests). You think the legislature is going to make a decision to close down any facilities which would result in the entire city falling part economically? They might close a facility in Sugarland or Dallas, cities within or nearby thriving economies unaffected by prison spending. The problem is that almost all of our prisons are built in Podunctvilles, whose destruction would be all-but-certain if prisons closed. There has to be some other alternative offered to get the support of those who oppose prison closures for these reasons. Perhaps those who lose their job could be offered advice to go get an education, learns their ABC's, figure out how to count past 98, and get a real job!

Hook Em Horns said...

Boing boing boing yeeeee hawwwwww

EVERY SINGLE POST PREVIOUS TO THIS ONE...EVERY...SINGLE...ONE...IS A SHINING EXAMPLE OF EXACTLY WHAT IS WRONG IN TEXAS.

THIS WILL NOT CHANGE ANYTIME SOON!

Hook Em Horns said...

Texas is a massive state (in terms of size) with massive problems all of which can be tracked to the po-dunk crooked politics typical of southern states! ROFLMAO!

Anonymous said...

I gotta agree with you 12/16/2010 10:14:00 AM. If you want to cut the budget, close Central Office, and spread those offices out around the TYC units themselves. That's what is wrong with CO. They sit up there in Austin, insulated from the reality of what is happening (good and bad) on the units. But, I'm not sure it would help that much, since I'm convinced that most of them have no business holding their job anyway. After all, who in their right mind would shoot down a program to allow some of these youth to take college credit courses if they qualify?

Be that as it may, I have occasion to be on the units periodically. And, there are two people in Al Price education that really know what they are doing, and they are whipping it into shape now that they finally have some support from Dr. Carpenter. Of course, this didn't happen until after one of these good people (the diagnostician) was walked off the unit for blowing the whistle on some of the Austinites for breaking education laws. Obviously, they saw the light (and the possibility of getting their a$$es sued off) and brought her back to work with a three week paid vacation. Now, she is working with a new principal there and they really have things on the mend. Education has improved in a major way at Al Price.

Anonymous said...

Just look at the way you people bash the CO. And 11:42 so typical of tyc staff to be defensive and condescending to parents. The CO should be applauded for there effort to look at facility’s based on their ROI. It looks like Crocket, Evens, and Al Price would be the ones to shutter.

11:51 you make an excellent point about Podunkville politicians. On the eve of filing Morales v Turman the acting governor issued a proclamation regarding the greatness of the staff at the Gatesville and Mountain View State School for Boys. Once the facility was closed it was turned over to TDC. Some suspect it’s because tyc didn’t want anyone digging around out there because of the unmarked graves of boys who never left. This tyc facility turn over to TDC set the stage for future facility turn over’s.

Juvi Mom if you have the means have you considered ransoming your kid out? A guy I know had to do this for his kid so he could get him the help he needed because tyc made him worst. Said in 2005 it cost 10k. He was recommended to an attorney who set up the meeting with tyc head guy, or head chimpanzee as he called it, paid the ransom and went to Giddings to pick up his kid. My Dad ransomed me out the first time but it was only 1000.00 back in the 70’s and Jackson sent one of his flunkies with my Dad and his driver to pick me up. My Dad told his driver not to give the flunky a ride back to Austin, lol. There were several others who I know were ransomed out during that time. I know a guy who was in Gatesville back in the 50’s and it cost his parents 375.00 to ransom him out. Inflation and having to get an attorney set up the meet drives the price up, I suppose.
Sheldon

Anonymous said...

Crockett TYC has no less than 15 RNs taking care of about 150 kids. Total waste of Tax Payers money. "Shady" Sandra Ferrara was at TYC Central Office for years and now runs TYC through her Home somewhere in West Texas. She has appointed another RN to run around Texas keeping her eye on the other TYC Units. This is all true; just check it out. This is first hand information; I was there for 8 yrs.

Anonymous said...

Most of the TYC management should be fired and many prosecuted and placed in jail. Too many youth have been abused and employees misused, while management has grown and prospered. Bring in out of state investigators and really look at the corruption, then clean house as it should be.

Anonymous said...

For years, the way you got a Central Office job was to keep quite, be loyal to the local Superintendent and make sure nobody found out about him. Central Office is still overrun with those who got there that way. Some who are there now originally made their way up through the ranks by the prudent exchange of sexual favors (remember who used to head TYC?). Yes, the old barter system.

Anonymous said...

Well Sheldon, if ROI is the most important factor, then let's disc up all that open land around the units, plant produce, and put those boys to work!

Anonymous said...

For Anonymous @11:05...why do you think this is fiction? Open your eyes and STOP trying to cover up for your cronies...in other words, stop bullshitting...YOU know what is happening...you are probably ONE of the LVN or RN's sitting on your ass doing nothing, while youths are being told "go fill out another sick call"--according to policy...you are not SICK enough...screw you!! I know what I am saying because I am a parent...not some lazy slob collecting money for no work!! Unless you are a parent, SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!!

Hook Em Horns said...

Texas is a state of criminals run by criminals! Based on what I am reading here.

Anonymous said...

I couldn’t agree more 6:10am, in fact I have stated that several times here on this incredible blog, Grits. The tyc has for all intended purpose’s set itself up as a prison preparatory school over its lifetime. Name changes and law suits haven’t really changed that agenda over its 120 year history. More obvious today is this implied mission than ever before with its consistently high recidivism rates. Coupled with the hiring practices over the last several decades that have brought in staff who go beyond simply being ignorant duchebags drawing a state check but participate in preparing the weaker kids for older sexual predators they will encounter in prison. The one thing missing is the kids are not prepared to do field work. I don’t think the kids are prepared to do any work, but as a prison preparatory school these kids need to be prepared for their first outing on a hoe squad. The original idea behind the juvenile institutional movement was to reform. The thought that fresh air and hard work will remove the desire to engage in vise. It sounds a little Victorian but you can’t argue with the cost to warehouse these kids today or the results related to a lack of reform as demonstrated in true recidivism rates. That’s why I’m a fan of TDC taking over the job of warehousing these bad kids, while keeping those kids who demonstrate some level of salvageability local. Let the pro’s do the warehousing and find some other gravy government welfare job corps for these depended tyc’s Chester’s and their protectors.

So yes 6:10am as with any business expense it’s about ROI, how much does it cost to keep a kid in tyc’s pedophile paradise, 120k a year, resulting in a consistent 80%+ recidivism rate over the last decade. The reality is that Texas tax payers are paying for a government agency that provides a safe place for pedophiles to work with a steady supply of fresh meat courtesy of the war on drugs. I wish someone could show me where I’m wrong but no one has been able to provide any logical argument to these obvious statements. Some make it sound more pleasant, others are defensive and deflect, while many just hang their head in shame. Today’s tyc is a lost cause and should be returned to TDCJ after having formed a juvenile correctional division.
Sheldon

Anonymous said...

It's obviously been awhile for you, Sheldon. Some TYC units have building trades classes, computer classes, and welding classes, to name a few.

Anonymous said...

Sure they do....and just what do they learn? NOTHING. Get real....TYC is a waste of money, kids and state resources.Go back into your ool and play z and o.

Anonymous said...

Gee 02:06. We're so glad you have such gifted insight. Maybe you could also predict the results of the next hurricane season too!

Anonymous said...

You and Cherie are both pussies. TYC cannot survive on pussy.

Anonymous said...

TYC should have the same Christmas that they have provided for so many youth in the past! Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the work I've seen come out of the woodshop class at Al Price is nothing short of impressive. Some of those boys have developed some real woodworking skills.

Anonymous said...

TYC is a joke,the kids are running the circus,and the supervisors are applauded when they treat their subordinates like dirt.Yes I know this from experience.Higher ups are being protected by head office
labor laws are not being followed,lets get eeoc invovled and the whole agency will be closed.