Monday, February 28, 2011

Bill filed to merge juvenile justice agencies

Reports the Statesman's Mike Ward:
A House bill filed this afternoon would abolish the Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and create a new agency to oversee most of the state’s youth corrections programs.

House Bill 1915 is the first merger bill filed this legislative session after such a move was recommended earlier by the Sunset Advisory Commission, as a way to streamline and improve juvenile justice in the state.

Supporters of the two agencies had earlier voiced hopes for a legislative compromise that could have allowed the two agencies to remain separate, although the filing appears to cast doubt on that plan, since the author and other House leaders have indicated they now support a merger.

Under the measure by House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, the two agencies would be merged into a new Juvenile Justice Department that would oversee programs from probation to incarceration.
Here's a link to bill text and other information.

I know a lot of folks have assumed that a "merger" would mean that TYC is essentially placed under the Juvenile Probation Commission, but this bill abolishes both governing structures and creates a completely new entity, new board, etc.. Of course, that could still be the net effect depending on who's appointed to the new board and Juvenile Justice Department leadership positions, but those may have been premature assumptions. The lengthy bill makes a lot of changes that I certainly haven't digested yet, and anyone interested in juvenile justice policy at any level will want to give it a read. If you do, be sure to let us know of any red flags you notice in the comments.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the new agency employs the same people that are now on board; you can bet it will be a failure. New and qualified blood is needed at the administrative level and hopefully they won't be allowed to become as large as the current one on the TYC side. It will be interesting to see this unfold.

Anonymous said...

speaking from experience 20 years- everyone in Central Office TYC has to go- if your going to start over then the slate has to be wiped clean- the corrections side of the new agency will have to have more of a scared strait approach-some kids don't understand what consequences are until they actually see them-up north they have initiated a program with actual prisoners that seems to be working-bring back "Resocialization" and throw conextions out the window

Anonymous said...

All of those administrators "appointed" to their positions in the Pope-Humpster era and later should be among those let go as well, to include James Smith and his cronies. Otherwise we'll have the same old BS, just in a shiny new wrapper. And everyone knows (except CO) that BS in a shiny wrapper in still BS.

Charity said...

@ 7:02 ~ Research shows scared straight programs actually increase the likelihood of juvenile delinquency.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the new agency will take on the character of TYC? What was wrong with TYC in 2007 is still there - in the blood so to speak. I don't think they can ever strain it out. I don't think that is ever possible. In a hundred different ways, TYC rides along in the same ruts. Those ruts are near a hundred years old now. There has been an attempt to pretty things up but that Lysol fades away after awhile.

Anonymous said...

All current TYCers should be canned and allow a new agency to start fresh with all new staffers and administrators untouched by the present stength.

Anonymous said...

How we got this far out in the swamp makes no difference, but it is time to stop playing like we are not neck deep in it.

Everywhere you looked the hand writing was on the wall and it is clear there will be a consolidation between TYC and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission. If they want to use budget as the excuse so be it, but it is what it is.

If TYC central office leadership has any care or concern for staff or for those working in the remaining facilities, please throw in the towel and tell us the truth. Leaving meeting after meeting and sending emails and reports thinking it went well is just either not very understanding about what is being said or shows a frightening level of political confusion that shows a need for a change. Either way lets get real and move on.

Please do not pass out any more raises or fancy job titles, while it may seem nice at the time it could be placing a fiscal target on our backs when the consolidation starts and the so called savings are being figured.
The new commission may not need 31 directors so having any title that might cause someone to think we are not willing to be reassigned or want to be considered for a position again hurts our chances of continued employment in the new agency.
Last but not least, getting real about consolidation allows for a slower, better planned transition!
If we know nothing else we should at least know that. From Harris and the ill managed scandle to Owens then the Pope and Nedelkoff all poorly managed transitions!
Lets just get real and stop playing games and start planning for the future...and start yesteday!

Just the facts,
jack webb

Anonymous said...

Reading this bill there is nothing new. Same old ways of doing things just under a different name. I thought they would can TYC methods and start over since that is the agency that os broken. Looks like NOT. The legislators don't seem to get it do they. START OVER!!!!! If the probation side is best then scrap the TYC part and put it all under probation. This looks like the McClendon bill refiled with old lege for TYC and TJPC. If it was broke before this merger the current bill will keep it broke after the merger.

Anonymous said...

You can't plan for the future with the current administrative staff. The restructuring will need a cleansing from top to bottom. A good tranfusion, so to speak. One that allows the new agency a clean start. There is no need for a bandaid because it needs a major amputation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with "bring back resocialization and TRASH Conextions". Who ever came up with THAT program????

E V E said...

I am a paralegal student who has a 14 year old in trouble. In researching the Juvenile Justice 'Code' I found out there really isn't one. I have been told the way the law works is that a judge has to consider provisions in: Family Code, Penal Code, Education Code. I think there should be a straight up Code just for juvenile justice as any other law agencies. And, God forbid corrections go private.

Anonymous said...

I that's a good idea, EVE, but I think this is a major step in the direction of more chaos, not less. I hope you can find your child some help.

Anonymous said...

The budget is a great way to explain this merger away to the masses. There is no real savings and once again our elected officials are telling the folks a lie.
Not to say this is not a good or bad idea but these lies have to be addressed. The real savings are with TDCJ but these same elected officials do not have the stones to address this issue. Giving fines for low level (self consumption of pot) is a great idea and long past due, but once again these same elected officials do not have the stones. So lets continue to play these games while no real progress is being made regarding the budget.
Lets allow TJPD take over the juveniles and do away with 3 to 4 TYC facilities. Then we can push these remaining facilities up into the 300 youth per facility and really move closer to the proposed Missouri Model, a Best Practice? What a joke

Anonymous said...

I’m reading the bill, on page 56 of 188, hope to finish it tonight. It reads like Raped By the State but legal documents read that way. I would love to serve on this board as the member who represents the interest of juvenile offenders or the families of juvenile offenders. This I would make time for. Seems I remember that the year of death on some of the graves of children buried at Boot Hill Cemetery in Gatesville was 1915. I have hopes that this bill would prove Jeff Foxworthy wrong and that you can fix stupid.

Replacing all of the current tyc employees with professionals who care about the outcome of their work is a great plan, but unaffordable. Then again, tyc employees have sucked for so long, long before anyone who currently has made their mark for employment at tyc was born, tyc employees sucked. Its tradition. Judge Justice could not do anything with this anti social culture of child abusers except spread it around like manure, where it cultivated and became worse. No doubt tyc gets the cream of the crop of screwed up kids, but by the same token, tyc employees are just as screwed up if not worst since they have done much more time in tyc than the kids. Unfortunately tyc employees do not have a MLOS.

Clearly the tyc employees are responsible for perpetuating this anti social culture. It would be foolish to think differently. But if the majority of the current employees could collectively quit playing games and deflecting at every opportunity, and accept responsibility for their bad behavior the state of Texas just may get something that resembles a program to help more than 13% of the kids become civilized responsible citizens. Sadly, even now the 13%ers need to be re-socialized and civilized when tyc turns them loose. Nicely pressed uniforms could go a long way in presenting a professional attitude, compared to the slouchy unprofessional dress code currently in place today.

Any Bill that starts out with the heading, “A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to abolishing the Texas Youth Commission”, has got to be good for Texas children. Otherwise we might as well roll the whole of juvenile correction institutions up to big momma’s crib formally known as uncle bobo’s farm. Think about it, Fergusson farm would be perfect for the newest version of Gatesville!

Sheldon A Schepps tyc#47333 II c/s
Dallas, Tx 214.534.4281

Anonymous said...

Why is that Corsicana is allowed to run with their staff:youth ratios over 1… meaning… they have more staff than they do youth. All the other facilities operate at .6 - .8 staff to youth ratio. Mismanagement? Someone turning a blind eye? Milking the already supposedly broke state government?
Why does it take 228 Central Office and Annex staff to manage 2000 field staff– way too top heavy, especially considering each facility has numerous top administrators as is. Mismanagement? Someone turning a blind eye? Milking the already supposedly broke state government?
There is more CO staff in a place where there aren’t even students, than there are at the biggest TYC facility (Giddings)? Doesn’t make much sense.
If facilities were directed to run smaller, and more efficiently, then why are Gainesville and Giddings running a 200+ bed facility each? When TYC closes 3 – 5 of their 10 existing facilities, how will the agency maintain that expectation of smaller run facilities – obviously these youth populations that have already been rocked to their core will have to be housed out of the remaining facilities that will only increase their populations. Mismanagement? Someone turning a blind eye? Stupidity?
The juvenile justice system has been mismanaged for quite some time now, and the big brother government is not making it any better – the blind leading the blind. This situation is hurting our youth that are in the system, and this is hurting a lot of dedicated staff that are being drug through the mud helplessly all the while trying to do right by the youth they work with and the staff families that depend on the income to survive.
Intervention from a higher a power is a must. Dr. Phil? Superman? I don’t care… we need someone that knows what they’re doing to get this thing right.

Anonymous said...

It seems to have a larger OIG with peace officers designated to participate in electronic monitoring? Maybe I am reading it wrong. It also keeps apprehension specialists.

I thought that was interesting. How would the OIG deal with abuse cases in every detention center in Texas?

How would apprehension specialists deal with every warrant issued for probation violators, escapees in addition to parole violators?

It would seem that the TJJD-OIG would be a sizable state police agency.

That is just one of a myriad of issues that I am wondering about regarding this merger.

Would apprehension specialists even be part of the new TJJD-OIG like they are in TYC-OIG?

Anonymous said...

That for the endorsement of "Raped by The State"...news for the good of juveniles vs. food for new staff abuses.

Anonymous said...

This bill is really kind of cobbled together, cut and paste in many places. I know that it is just a starting point, to get things moving, but really, where are the changes? Instead of making the OIG larger to meet the challenges of the merger, perhaps it would make more sense to have a statewide OIG for all agencies. I think the OIG should be independent of the Executive Director. The relationship is too close in the current TYC.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope that someone finally looks at the leadership or lack there of among the staff at TJPC in the course of this merger. With over 20 years of experience in juvenile justice, I have learned one thing...neoptisim and favoritisim gets you to the top in that organization. Not your concern for children. Look over time and you will see that intelligence and integrety gets staff "run out". The true talent is in the field AND the "professionals" at TJPC don't hold a candle to the professionals at TYC and at the county level.

Anonymous said...

The bill calls for closure of three TYC institutions. Does the legislature plan on just renaming the agency and calling it new and improved? That would open the door to past history repeating itself. What a shamble that would be and a waste of tax dollars. Guess it remains to be seen. Surely, the legislature will exhibit better judgement in the restructuring of the two agencies.

Anonymous said...

7:08...are you serious! While every government agency has its problems...thats because they are just that government!
But giving a pass to TYC? I agree they are clearly the "professionals"...Central office raises while the state is going broke and the TYC system across the state is shrinking?
But not in Austin where the "professionals" hang out!
Within the organization per thier own web site's organizational chart, with just 8 sections/divisions under CT, 28 directors, 23 managers, 28 program specialist, 16 HR staff, 15 accountants....and the list goes on and on and on. None of these numbers even count the directors and managers in the field at facilities.
Yes by title there are professionals in TYC....dozens and dozens of them! You'd think at least one of them would have stopped to check on the kids!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it TYC-Terror to Youth Commission? No wonder folks are confused. With so many useless managers, what is the problem?

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Finished reading HB 1915. I swear Legal documents read like Raped by The State.
My impression is that our legislators want to begin another cycle in the life and times of Texas juvenile corrections. I’m thinking its number 8. What I gleaned from HB1915 is it’s the same old crap, only with more layers of bloat and bureaucracy to cover the unprofessional/criminal way people in this business are required to carry themselves. This Brookins thing in West Texas really got away from these poor government people, and with communications the way it is today it’s not as easy to hide things anymore. To defend against being “found out” by the media sharks is going to require a bigger boat. Or in this case a bigger agency with more bloat and more layers of bureaucracy to protect itself from the media sharks.

HB1915, in all its glory is about improving on the ability for our juvenile corrections people to protect themselves from the media, while ramping up the throughput of the pubic school to tyc to tdcj pipeline. This bill just puts another ugly dress on the same old crazy monkey that vets should have put to sleep 100 years ago. You can tell what’s important to a person by what they spend their money on. Texas wants to cut education and figure ways to grow an already bloated criminal justice department. Obviously, Texas is not interested in educating its citizens, Texas wants to incarcerate them. Who the hell in their right mind would want to move a large business to Texas knowing our states leadership priorities. Texas is open for business, prison business.

Gatesville VIII, State sponsored pedophilia coming to your molest your checkbook soon. Courtesy of the leadership of the Great State of Texas

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure where you got your data re: scared strait programs- go up to Maryland and research their data-males understand 2 things-pain and consequences-they have to see it or feel it in order for it to sink in-the conextions program is a joke-whoever came up with it should be put on an island somewhere alone-

Anonymous said...

Conextions. How did we get it?
Like everything else in TYC, there must be a political story here. How are they able to keep selling something when everyone knows what it's really like.

Anonymous said...

The problem as I see it is TYC CO staff that helped develop the Conextions program have very few real counselors or licensed professionals work on its development. I think that may still be the case. There may have been 1 or 2 persons that were qualified, but for the most part they were not licensed or qualified counselors. They did not know counseling theory and responded emotionally rather than from an educated counselor postition . They were more concerned about pleasing their TDCJ bosses and then their new TYC bosses than rock the boat. When it comes to working or not working it is pretty amazing what your friends and co workers will resort to in order to stay employed. IMO it is pretty sick.

Anonymous said...

Resocialization was created by the people who were fired for no reason other than they tried to tell the Pope she was going the wrong way. She said, "Off with their heads!" and then they had to come up with something to to convince the world that the white roses had not really been painted red. Pope, along with her march hare and Mad Hatter did a lot of damage to what was already a mad tea party. And now the lege is taking everyone through the looking glass.

Old Salty said...

Resocialization was created by Linda Reyes and a group of very talented PhDs, most of whom, like Linda, had experience in the trenches to go with their clinical qualifications. The program was actually sold to some other states, who still pay royalties to Texas to use Resocialization. CoNEXTions was created by a bunch of formerly 4th level folks who lacked both the clinical qualifications and the experience in the trenches of the former crew. To be fair, they did the best they could with what they had in the timeframes established by Da Pope, but CoNEXTions is not a coordinated program - it is a cobbled together bunch of "stuff".

Old Salty said...

For those of you who say everyone needs to be run off - that is pretty much the Pope approach, and look where it got us. Where are you going to find those "professionals" to replace the folks you run off?

Anonymous said...

The CoNEXTions program has a simple yet solid base. That basis revolves around the most important "rule" of the '5 Basic Rules'... Respect Others. This "rule" applies to us all whether we're under the custody of The Texas Youth Commission or work for The Texas Youth Commission. In a Perfect World? No, all of us in supervision have the duty to deliver a professional service. Excellence, is only driven from within. We only have the power to effect those within our puddle as we are a mere drop causing ripples within our own puddle.- Abel

Anonymous said...

10:52 pm, haven't you heard? There are thousands of professionals that are currently on the unemployment line that would qualify to work for the new agency. Those currently with the agency are not immunized against unemployment. The new agency needs a fresh approach to juvenile corrections. There are many states with qualified people just waiting for jobs. Who cares about the Pope now?

Anonymous said...

Bunk-10:52. Look at what the so-called TYC professionsls have done to our once great agency. Start clean with new ideas that actually work for a change. Look at the kids and staff rather than just look out for Austin's top 100.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that has even limited behind the scenes access knows that the Executive Director of TJPC is being named as the person that will head the new Agency, TYC CO will be cut to the bone once the new Department is in place.

Anonymous said...

Great news! Bou't time.

Anonymous said...

Who out of CO is over CoNextions, all I hear is treatment services but that encompasses a lot of people. Does this person really believe in what they are selling to the field? I have been a Case Worker for ten years with TYC and would tell anyone that Resocialization was much better. Also, it is very evident that after three years of CoNextions it is not working.

Anonymous said...

"After three years of CoNextions it is not working."

It's been a wild three years. A wild, frustrating ride. People have kept their doubts about CoNEXTions to themselves. It's time for an honest review.

Anonymous said...

ANY program (this includes CoNEXTions) that rewards EVERYONE regardless of their behavior - is NOT made up from professionals in the field of working with youth.
Doesnt take a rocket science major to figure out why that program will NEVER work...

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Sheldon for creating his own little ID and tasteless logo. Now I don't have to read even a couple of lines to know which posts to skip.

Anonymous said...

9:24 - You are jealous and it shows in your comments. Are you too a criminal? Suck it up and don't cry on the posts.

Anonymous said...

To 3/4/98 at 9:48, what do you mean who is over CoNextions. IF you have been a caseworker for TYC, you must have been sleeping for the past 3 years. Actually it appears that you are just trying to stir up crap because every caseworker should be able to tell who is over it. identify who is over the program.

Anonymous said...

Another WARPED TYCer.

Anonymous said...

Hell, no one is over Conextions, and there is no such thing as treatment. Allowing youth to do what they want is not treatment. If you allowed your own children to do what they please they too would be locked up somewhere.

Anonymous said...

our country needs to go back to the right because obviously our left wing liberals have created a mess in corrections, immigration, etc. our youth are turning out to be lazy, irresponsible and non-caring due to some parental ineptness but when society reinforces negative behavior-that's the left wingers fault-We need to start at top and vote out obama-