I've been focused elsewhere and have yet to read the lengthy bill, much less analyze in detail exactly what it would do. I'm not sure who has outside of those directly involved in its drafting - I've seen few if any journalistic nor bureaucratic analyses of the legislation so far. So I suspect we'll learn a lot at this hearing about the details of the proposal as well as the interests and criticisms of various stakeholders.
In related news, I should also mention that TYC has created a process for public input on which units it should close. According to a recent message to employees from TYC executive director Cherie Townsend:
At the direction of the TYC Board, the agency will begin a process during the next two months (March and April) of determining which facilities will be closed. This process will be much like that used by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission when they close down federal military installations. We will schedule community hearings in each location where we have a facility. At that time, we will hear from employees and community leaders about the unique features of each facility, what the agency would lose by a closure at that location, how closure would impact the community and whether a specific community has the resources to support an increase in the number of youth and employees at a specific facility.Ironically, if HB 1915 passes the TYC board may not exist by their June 1 meeting, so I'm now sure how all that will be reconciled. In any event, these next few months will be another turbulent, uncertain period for state juvenile justice agencies. Wednesday's hearing will finally pull back the curtain on important discussions that until now for the most part have been happening entirely behind the scenes.
These meetings will probably take place on Saturdays, and I will be there with additional staff and at least one board member to hear the presentations. For those unable to attend, we will establish other avenues for you to communicate your thoughts and concerns. I anticipate that the TYC Board will then consider staff recommendations on which facilities to close at their June 2011 meeting. The closures would be scheduled to take place no later than September 1, 2011.