Friday, May 06, 2011

Juvie justice merger leaves open questions

House amendments to legislation merging the Texas Youth Commission and the Juvenile Probation Commission into a new Juvenile Justice Department (SB 653) have been approved by the Senate, and the bill is headed to the Governor. See coverage from:
The next debate will be over which youth prisons to close. Three unspecified units are slated for closure and legislation that cleared the House earlier this week would let the state sell their property. The decision will be one of the last made by the current commissioners at TYC before the two agencies are merged, and there have been a series of town hall meetings to accept local input on which units should go. There's another one Saturday in Corsicana, where there's not only a TYC unit employing quite a few locals, but Navarro College has programming aimed at training TYC staff and allowing youth to earn college credits through courses taken via video.

Texas Appleseed put out a glowing statement praising the bill's passage, and I hope it's the right thing to do. My biggest concern is the requirement that the Inspector General refer criminal complaints to local law enforcement, which of course is what got us into this mess in the first place, when allegations of sexual abuse were covered up and/or ignored by local law enforcement for years at the now-closed West Texas State School in Pyote. On that score, regrettably, we're back to square one. There's nothing in the bill that would prevent exactly the same thing from happening again.

Also, sticking probation in the same agency as prisons in the adult system turned community supervision into a red-headed stepchild, an afterthought for an agency whose identity is wrapped up in the self-image of a prison manager. That's why, when budget cuts were mandated, TDCJ refused to offer up suggestions for prison closures, instead pushing cuts to probation, parole and reentry programming that will inevitably BOOST prison costs. Legislators, in turn, went along with those priorities because there was no institutional advocate for probation programming making the argument that it made more sense to cut prisons instead.

Whether the new juvenile justice agency will suffer the same bias depends a lot on who runs it and how the transition is managed. Because it was founded based on the concept of closing youth prisons and shifting resources to community-based programming in counties, I'm cautiously optimistic that replicating TDCJ's prisons-first culture isn't an inevitable outcome, but it's a possible one.

57 comments:

Don said...

Scott, how do probation, diversion programs, parole, etc. fare in the Senate budget? Do you think the programs will still suffer draconian cuts in deference to keeping prisons growing?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

The short answer is not as bad as the House budget, but still bad.

What they're doing with juvie - closing prison units and BOOSTING community-supervision funding - is what they should be doing for adults. But for some reason the success at the juvie level doesn't seem to translate. Mainly IMO it's because the juvie agencies were open to change, while TDCJ fought every possible reform idea tooth and nail, prioritizing keeping every last prison open over any other priority. And nobody at the Lege wanted to expend the political capital to buck them over it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the result of what you get when you combine a personal vendetta (Whitmire) with media's desire to sell papers (Ward), with no genuine concern for the people being served by the agency.

Anonymous said...

1046: You're over...go away. You are now history.

Anonymous said...

11:08 be a more gracious winner and dont get mad when someone throws out a useless fact!

Anonymous said...

Grits, does this new bill have the same requirements that SB103 required? Is SB103 now repealed?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, much of the wisdom that clouded up sb103 lives to continue messing things up! But there is nothing that be can be done about it since Madman thinks 103 was such a wonderful piece of work. This piece of sh, no wait, this new piece of legislation has been ordered to be successful so I'm sure there will be awards and plaques for the walls.
Locked up kids turning into locked up adults, but thats just the way it goes.

Anonymous said...

The youth commission has been turning youth into adult criminals for several years...no change here. Get real.

Anonymous said...

By closing youth prisons we shift the responsibility to community-based programs in the counties. The counties knew what these youth were like and they were glad to ship them off to TYC facilities. Now they are getting them back. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

They can't do any worse than the current TYC prison system. The state needs something to look forward to, not the same old failures.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering why the legislature would create the OIG to look into incidents in juvenile prisons in order to prevent another West Texas incident and then do away with most of the oversight of the facilities and defer these incidents to local law enforcement.

I mean.... Do they really think that the Mart Police Department wants to investigate excessive use of force complaints. A local law enforcement agency can even refuse to investigate certain incident whereas the OIG has no choice.

Well, they have opened the doors for increasing abuse with no oversight. Good job Texas Appleseed and the Texas Legislature.....

Hell, why should I care?

Well, let the ABUSE continue!

zoltankemeny said...

"Legislators, in turn, went along with those priorities because there was no institutional advocate for probation programming making the argument that it made more sense to cut prisons instead."

Doesn't TPPF do this to some extent?

Anonymous said...

I think you are misreading the OIG part. The OIG only refers to local law enforcement when the complaint is at a local facility. They still maintain the same level of authority they currently have over state-operated facility.

Anonymous said...

"(c)Criminal complaints initially referred to the office of
the inspector general relating to juvenile probation programs,
services, or facilities shall be sent to the appropriate local law
enforcement agency. Any other complaint shall be referred to the
appropriate division of the department. The board by rule shall
establish policies for the referral of noncriminal complaints."

This requires the OIG to refer criminal complaints at state facilities to local law enforcement agencies.... On the other hand the bill also allows the OIG to investigate criminal activity. It appears that the OIG would have to ASK a local law enforcement agency if they can investigate a criminal complaint... By any stretch of the imagination..... This bill is f______ up.

Anonymous said...

Sec. 242.102. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL. (a) The office of inspector general is established at the department under the direction of the board for the purpose of investigating:
(1) crimes committed by department employees, including parole officers employed by or under a contract with the department; and
(2) crimes and delinquent conduct committed at a facility operated by the department, a residential facility operated by another entity under a contract with the department, or any facility in which a child committed to the custody of the department is housed or receives medical or mental health treatment.


In the part 9:14 quotes, "juvenile probation" modifies programs, services, or facilities. So, the OIG refers to local law enforcement when local programs, services, or facilities are involved. The authority to investigate state facilities remains the same as it is now.

Anonymous said...

Changing the name will not make anything better. Increased money to probation will help probation but wont help the youth prisons.

TYC did not turn any juveniles into adult criminals. They were already on that path before they came to TYC. That is why they are there, right? All felons now in TYC. No misdemeanants. Lets not forget the population,not your run of the mill Austin middle school. The saddest thing is that these changes wont result in any changes. That wont happen until the culture of the direct care providers, and their supervisors, changes. That will never happen with the current leadership.You need to clean house and stop calling the direct care staff "correctional officers" and hire people that have some clinical skills and intelligence.

All that closing more facilities is going to do is create larger, overcrowdedfacilities at the remaining cites.

Anonymous said...

You are saying that TYC direct line staffers are dumb. That doesn't help the situation and shows your own insecurity and frustration. This is over, you should move on to your own level of incompetence and leave what is left of TYC alone. You may feel above line staffers but you are the problem.

Anonymous said...

Scott - does the action delete the requirement for the juvenile correctional facilities (and contracted facilities)still require accreditation by the American Correctional Association?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

If I misread that on the OIG, my apologies. Here's the full text of the passed bill. Anyone interested should read it for yourselves since there's a lot more detail in it besides the brief discussion in this post.

Anonymous said...

All this banter back and forth about what will, won't and hasn't worked is meaningless. Time will tell us who is/was right or wrong. But I truly believe that until whatever juvenile justice agency that crawls out of the slime is administered by people who actually care more about kids than their inflated egos, big salaries and cushy retirements nothing will change. Someone please explain how keeping the same corrupt executive administration is going to make things better? You can wrap crap in silk and sprinkle it with diamonds and, in the end, it is still crap. And the losers are the kids in the system and the people of Texas the system is supposed to serve.

Anonymous said...

10:20am I like your banter, especially this part,

"But I truly believe that until whatever juvenile justice agency that crawls out of the slime is administered by people who actually care more about kids than their inflated egos, big salaries and cushy retirements nothing will change. Someone please explain how keeping the same corrupt executive administration is going to make things better?"

The current Executive Leadership has done a swell job, have they told you this when they drop by your facility for a photo op. I can think of one in particular who believes he is Gods gift to TYC and the World in general, but he will remain as will the others who recieved pay raises during a recession.

Anonymous said...

Well said...

Anonymous said...

I work for a halfway house in San Antonio and there is still corruption and cover up's even at that level that no one wants to look at. The Supt. comes in late everyday and does not work a full 8 hrs. Kids are getting away with threatening staff, using drugs and escaping into the community (this includes sex offenders). Someone needs to look into this asap.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

11:20, have you reported the same thing to the OIG? What was their response?

Anonymous said...

Grits,
Yoy can report whatever you want to the OIG. Their response is ususally that there are no grounds to prosecute, especially if it means they have to get off their butts and do anything remotely resembling work. But they do go to lunch from 11:30 - 1:00 every day and spend a lot of time schmoozing with local law enforcement off campus. And the Special Prosecutor...he tries to send a kid to prison for getting a tattoo, while kids who commit serious assaults rarely go to trial.

Anonymous said...

Grits, your last question about whether probation will become a red-headed stepchild is my own big question about this plan.

As I've said a few times previously, that is basically why the TJPC was created in the first place - bc TYC as originally conceived was supposed to devote about half its resources to local/community based programming but very quickly wound up focusing almost entirely on running youth prisons.

The reasons for it could easily surface again so I hope they have put some iron-clad checks in the bill to prevent that. I haven't had the chance to read it yet.

BB

Anonymous said...

Watch closely the appropriations conference committee. In a State budget are riders and specific line items. The line item indicates what the money will be spent for and the rider will indicate specifics (i.e. Local Community Corrections dollars were created to increase programs for youth in a community and decrease TYC commitments. TJPC Rider 21 talks about youth commitment to TYC by locals.)

So if the new TJJD is going to be directed to the communities the line items and riders will point that direction. On the other hand, if the priority in the TJJD budget is TYC institutions, line items and riders will point that direction.

Advocacy groups, TJJA, juvenile judges, Commissioners Courts, juvenile directors, all will be well advised to watch the process unfold.

Anonymous said...

OIG doesn't want to rock the boat at the facilities.

Anonymous said...

That's why superintendents and field administratots get away with so much and keep hurting the agency. Everyone is afraid to upset the management.

Anonymous said...

Major issue is all of the comments on here about how bad TYC still is and about how they are still covering up stuff is why and how they get to keep playing like things have really changed. Unreported fires in facilities and kids assaulting staff all still behind closed doors!
Madden bragging in public no-less about great the high dollar people are doing makes me want to vomit every time I hear him talk. He needs to get his little right hand girl and just show up at any facility, ask to come on out to security and watch for about an hour! Then we can all pray to God that he remembers what he saw so the next time he takes off on some long winded ramble mumble about TYC and the wonderful job central office has done, maybe just maybe a dull light will go off in his head and recall his visit!
We are not asking for more money that goes to the high dollar Austin bunch, we just need some help, some form of relief and anyone to listen!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like many have been "Raped by The State", again.

Anonymous said...

10:36-Superintendents who get away with stuff are those who are in Chip Walters' and James SMith's back pockets (GH, DH, DB, CS). Most of the others have either quit, retired, or are looking in earnest for other employment. And most of what is considered cover ups of staff misconduct are reported, but CO is very selective about who they chooe to go after and who the chose not to.Being among the chosen gives you license to engage in all manner of abuse of youth, unethical behavior, fraud and corruption. What a world.......

Anonymous said...

10:36 ...you mean things are still happening in TYC? Have you not heard our leader talk on-line at the capital. In hearing after hearing tell all the changes that she has made. Or how the reason she gave thousands and thousands to her inner circle because they were having to do more work! Did you not hear Representative Marsha, wait that should be Madden, talk about all the wonderful things going on at TYC?
And now you come on here and make up stuff about how corrupt the system still is!

Anonymous said...

5:04 AM- lets just say you are correct, but the question I would want answered is what cover-ups, and why would anyone cover up for abuse, neglect, etc?

I guess in other words if you have no proof, dont post!

Anonymous said...

522: You are the typical TYC employee/investigator-bougth and paid for type that TYC is so used to. Just answer posts and not real abuse allegations. Another TYC cult problem. Sleep well ass-hole. You must be OIC or...

Anonymous said...

10:34 PM- you cannot spell and you are full of conspiracy theories, You must work the LN shift. Are you upset because you put in for a LN JCO V position but got turned down? It is so easy for the likes of you to point fingers and make accusations but never give any proof, this is probably where you are in life.

L2P said...

TJPC has been an awesome agency, and I'm sorry to see it go. At least there was an understanding that there is a difference between Houston and Lamesa, Pecos and Austin.

I believe that the long term effect will be to throw the cost back on counties, many of which don't have the dollars to provide treatment beds or alternatives to incarceration The cuts made now will take years to overcome, and our society will be the loser.

Anonymous said...

5/10/10:34-Either you don't work in a TYC facility (perhaps in CO) or you are deaf, dumb and blind because abuse, neglect and mistreatment go on every day at all facilities. To see it, all you have to do is pull your head out and open your eyes. Look at the number of kids who recommit or go on to the adult system. Look at the numbers of assualts (kids and staff) that take place daily. Look at the amount and type of contraband being brought in by visitors and staff. Look and the poor quality of services being provided to the kids. Need more?

Anonymous said...

Wow I am really having a problem with alot of these post here. I hope that you are reporting what you are seeing if you see this abuse. IF you are not reporting what you are seeing then you might as well be doing the abuse yourselves. Come on people, we have endured enough crap the last few years to know that this has to be reported. If you do not feel that you can report it at the local level, you too can contact the hotline that is posted on the dorms for the youth to contact.

Anonymous said...

Sure, then administration from the top will be after you for making waves. Everyone in the system knows the game and most must play along, or hit the highway.

Anonymous said...

The poster said that certain Superintendents are being protected, I would like to know how they are being protected. Because if this is the case I need to know, I have a 16 year old at Gainesville and see him once a month. Is this one of the schools that you are talking about, and who is this person who you state is covering up for these people.

Anonymous said...

YOU are a good example of what is going on and covered by YOU to keep TYC alive. YOU are the problem...Gee, I didn't know.....It gets old...

Anonymous said...

YOU are a DIPSHIT, hope that was plain enough for YOU. Now stop with all the cap's when you type, DIPSHIT.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Had an opportunity to attend an event with a dorm full of tyc alumni that spanned over 6 decades, enough to make a pipsqueak po jizz themselves over potential technical violations. Some of the youngsters were at San Saba and knew that chester bookins punk. It was common knowledge about the sexual molestations that occur between staff and students. It was interesting how the alums of the post Gatesville tyc spoke very matter of fact regarding staff who were engaged in sexual activity with inmates. Apparently it is a much smaller figure of the staff who weren’t engaged in sexually molesting the children. One guy who was at gainesville for several years in the early 2000’s couldn’t think of a staff who didn’t partake in relations with inmates. The general consensus of the guys who were in tyc spanning from the 90’s up till a year ago was if you wanted to get off there were staff who could accommodate you. Staff molesting kids was as normal to these youngsters as the staff beatings were to us old timers from the Gatesville days. We had a fascinating discussion theorizing how tyc went from a culture of physically abusing the children to sexually abusing the children. The conclusion was the staff turnover from hillbilly redneck to team playa was responsible based on the idea that we old timers learned from our captors by having Black kids segregated from us Spanish/White boys because, as we were told, they were more taped into their animal instincts that brought about a higher levels of acted out sexual deviancy.

I got to hear all about brookins exploits at San Saba, what a punk. However he was not the even close to the sickness practiced by many others I heard about. IMO bookins was nothing more than a scapegoat to cover for the wide spread sexual molestation that is as common in today’s tyc as the physical abuse that brought about Morales v turdman. Just like then only a few got hung out to dry for the physical abuse similar to today only a few got hung out for the sexual abuse. Just like then the worst abusers are the biggest defenders. IMO, Today’s tyc staff are some sick ass pedophiles who are very well protected and this legislation to merge is an effort to avoid an investigation like what happened in Gatesville. Some legislators in 69 tried to prevent an investigation but failed. So how ballsy are you really, Becky Oliver?

The stories I heard about gainesville are atrocious. According to several previous alumni there was a white guy who ran the place in the late 90’s early 00’s who insisted on the practice of wide spread pedophilia on the unwanted children. As per the common practice of tyc, he was eventually promoted to a position in Austin. As a parent, if you have a kid in our state sponsored pedophile job corps tyc, make sure those awful people know you are there for him/her. If it’s your daughter be aware Brownwood is the sickest of them all.

As a disclaimer, I’m simply relating the stories of a bunch of state boys reminiscing of bygone days. The constructive purpose is a warning to parents who have allowed their child to be in this situation. According to the state, whose been defending the practice of these monsters under the banner of tyc for a long time, state boys lie. Does anyone really think, outside the 2 agency’s paid drones, the legislative sleight of hand to consolidate the youth corrections is going to stop the 120+ year legacy of child abuse practiced by this horrid state agency and actually gin up programs that could help these kids? Nothing but a name change at a tremendous cost to the tax payers of our not so Great State of Texas.

Anonymous said...

Say Sheldon -

"white guy who ran the place in the late 90’s early 00’s who insisted on the practice of wide spread pedophilia on the unwanted children."

There were two women who ran that place in San Saba during that time period.

Anonymous said...

No, my bad. You were talking about Gainesville. sorry.

Anonymous said...

Late 90 early 2000's at Gainesville was a black dude (Dr. Shorten) who was transferred to Corckett and then a Hispnaic dude (Martinez) took the place over, not a white dude at Gainesville during this time frame

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, you are so full of crap, I would have loved to have had you on my dorm, so I could Resocialized you so you wouldn't have grown up to be such a bitter pimple on the ass of society! Please go air out your bullshit conspiracy theories elsewhere!

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Hey anonymous ass wipe 10:28pm working the night shift are you. You want to try to re-socialize me now or do you just bully children? I pay my maid more than the state pays the people you suck up to. Conspiracy theories, defending your pedophile lifestyle I see. Hey all state boys lie, isn’t that how you people tell it? Let me help you fully understand, if you were on my dorm back in the day, you would be goose stepping to my whims. Using words your state ass can understand, yo punk ass would be my bitch.
Besides anonymous ass wipe 10:28pm, I’m actually a very nice guy; just have a low tolerance for pedophiles and bullies who hide out on the states dime to molest children. If tyc was more like it was in my day I would be supportive. Lower recidivism, who wanted to go back to that hell hole. At the end of the day you know you people are wrong, and if you don’t you are the one in need of help. I am a tremendous success story, and you, well you work for tyc. Need I say more, Chester?

Anonymous said...

Way to go Sheldon. He's just bitter since he's about to be fired even from the night shift. Hangon TYCers. Last of the worst, soon to go.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon,
You a blow hard washed up wannabe gangsta! Nice guys finish last, ho!

Anonymous said...

929: Its obvious that you are a frustrated/irriated/vile/bitter TYC routine-scum/routine drag waiting the final draw-down move. You know you are worthless and the states actions are about to prove it to the world. Go somewhere else to abuse kids, you TYC pervert. Now go away. You are lucky that you haven't been charged with abuse...

Anonymous said...

Some of the youngsters were at San Saba and knew that chester bookins punk. (written by Sheldon)

The story of what happened at San Saba has never come out. If it ever gets out about what happened when LB ran that place, it will be one hell of a story. Behind the scenes, she ran TYC. About one-third of the TYC leadership is still loyal to her.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Well 5/18/2011 7:48 I have those contacts, I’ll have to get more info about San Saba. The tyc has a precedence of closing units to avoid investigations.

5/17/2011 9:29pm washed up perhaps, want to be gangsta that’s funny. More like has been gangsta. I have been accused of being a want to be politician. I truly think it is a shame what has happened to tyc over the last 3 decades with this pedophilia culture fallout from some bad legislation. I really feel empathetic for everyone who has had to work for tyc during that time frame. From my old po Ms Townsend right on down to the cage man. Cage man is what we called the night shift dorm man because he sat in a cage between two dorms bunk rooms. Shame your anonymous ass only abuses children. Like blogging anonymous I suppose it’s safe for you.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...
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Sheldon tyc#47333 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

I have something I’d like to say to the alumni of tyc. Those of you who are out in the free and making it. You are the strongest people when it comes to getting back up after you fall. You know how to take the shit and come out kicking ass.
It’s not about the fall, it’s about getting back up. As much as our police state and the mindless drones who support it try to put us down its about getting back up to fight the good fight again. As we said at The View “Bad to the bone, take no air”