Friday, December 16, 2011

Spriggs takes CASA post; out of running for new TX Juvenile Justice Department

For those speculating who may lead the new Texas Juvenile Justice Department, scratch Vicki Spriggs' name off the short list. The former Juvenile Probation Commission Director took a job at Texas CASA - "Court Appointed Special Advocates" - which is "the statewide association for 69 local programs that advocate through volunteers for children in the foster care system." See the full announcement on their website. Good luck, Vicki!

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congrats & best wishes, Vicki!

Anonymous said...

TJJD is doomed now, I cant imagine having Townsend for the next few years before someone realizes she cannot do the job :(

Anonymous said...

Townsend was chosen for the director of TJJD a long time ago. Everything that we are seeing play out now is simply a formality.

Anonymous said...

How better to send a message to the delinquent youth of Texas that we care and that we want to help them than to select an ED who has so badly mismanaged TYC that it is no better an agency now than it was when "she" took over? But at least her inept cronies are well paid.

Anonymous said...

if its townsend i wonder how long before they realize she's likely to build the youth prison infrastructure and neglect local departments as is likely to happen and is the opposite of what was the intention.

Anonymous said...

Stay positive people. Townsend doesn't have the job yet. I don't know who does the interviewing for the position but surely they will weigh the options open to them.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Stay positive, indeed. If this turns into a flame war against Cherie Townsend I'll just delete the string. Been there, done that, sick of it already. Y'all can do that somewhere else.

Instead of complaining about Cherie or anybody else, why not suggest who should get the job? What type of background, temperament, etc., should TJJD be looking for? If you've been complaining, or are inclined to, who or what would satisfy you? State your desires positively instead of attacking what you dislike. Please. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

How about someone who has a deep understanding of probation in Texas and the interplay between the counties and state as well as someone who has experience in running institutions and doing so in a manner that complies with constitutional protections, the Morales agreement, and best practices? Pre, maybe just someone good at management who knows how to hire people that possess the aforementioned skills and actually believes that ALL your staff are important and necessary and not just the top 10 or so on the org chart?

Anonymous said...

Grits with all due respect ....until you have seen first hand how these people operate, until you have watched them destroy careers of anyone who so much as ask a question, until you had to write report making sure on paper things are good and as you watch all this play out, it's hard to not first try to expose how totally corrupt this process and these people are.
Add to that the abuse issues that sneak out, it is going from bad to worse, much much worse ! The offenders will soon be making new victims and our prisons will again be full.
Grits we do understand your position only wish you could understand ours !

Anonymous said...

I hope the new leader is someone who will revamp the treatment program and take the best of Conextions (it's not all bad) and the best of Resocialization (I liked the program, but it wasn't implemented correctly all the time) so that the youth have a comprehensive system of rewards and consequences. Ideally, every choice a youth makes should be a paired with a possible meaningful reward or meaningful consequence and that's how you modify behavior.

I also hope the new Executive Director is someone who will make the staff feel empowered and not just pay lip service to the "our employees are our greatest resource" mantra.

I may be naive, but I have high hopes for the new agency and believe that with the right people in positions of leadership in Austin and the facilities, we can make this a model agency.

Anonymous said...

I agree with those stating that it isn't over yet. Keep your mind open to the thought of a retired CJPO possibly securing the ED position.

Anonymous said...

Re: naming new ED at TJJD.......
Ain't nobody in the world who can suit 165 prima dona probation chiefs (preserving their little kingdoms) and the hundreds of dead-ender JCO staff at TYC.

Anonymous said...

Cherie Townsend is a good person who has been a Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, something Vicki Spriggs never was. If Ms. Townsend is selected for the position, I think people will be pleasantly surprised.

Anonymous said...

2:03 AM: Ms. Spriggs has been in the trenches with CJPO's and County Departments, something Ms. Townsend has never experienced. If you have been a CJPO trying to receive information from TYC's Central Office, work with parole, visit at a State School, manage their youth in a detention center (JDC's must take TYC youth from counties other than those they serve), waited for hearing examiners to show, had parolees on the ground with no one to contact when community safety is a concern, then you would understand just a small part of our frustration with the (sorry Grits for negative) arrogance of TYC. It begins from the attutude created by the top management.

Prior to Ms. Townsend and her team even being considered, I would hope they would go to County's (oh yeah she is going to different county's now to gain support) ... maybe she and her team should meet with regional chief's associations.

My preference...current or ex-chief that will change the culture.

Thanks Vicki for your leadership. You will be missed.

Anonymous said...

My two cents from a complete outsider perspective:

If the choice is to hire "new blood" from outside either of the two merged agencies, the challenge will be someone not only with the requisite experience and expertise, but also someone who can quickly navigate the complicated political minefield within and around JJ/JP.

It seems to me this sunk Nedelkoff and may have also hurt Townsend. Both were from out-of-state (even though the latter had been in TX for some time before).

Bill B.

Anonymous said...

Let's not give up hope. There will be someone step up to the plate that the state can get behind, someone respected by all and that will get the job done. Nown hoping I am correct, someone please beat the bushes and get a highly qualified candidate to please apply. Several retired chiefs are highly qualified. Who say's it has to be someone from our great state??

Anonymous said...

Couldn't think of a better person to fill this position. 2nd to none, Vicki absolutely has a heart for kids and is truely an advocate for children. Would expect to see some really great things happen under her watch.
GOOD LUCK

Anonymous said...

Just a rumor but supposedly a very qualified adult probation executive is in the running?

Supposedly has a lot of experience in the juvenile system from another state.

Anonymous said...

How interesting that you will shut this conversation down if it doesn't go the way you want it to go!

Anonymous said...

Oh well it is his blog but from reDing the responses I would say that Townsend may have the qualifications on paper but the ability to lead is seriously lacking

Anonymous said...

Working with JP for the past 14 years, I've had more than one occassion to speak with and hear Ms. Spriggs speak. She will be missed by JP Staff. With regards to the new TJJD, unsure as to who the applicants are but I've seen Chief's brought in from other States that eliminate, positions and upset the apple cart. TJJD needs a Child Advocate that is interested in diverting kids from institutions and eliminating costly ineffective programs and services.

Anonymous said...

Is it not our obligation to keep the public informed? Is that "keep it tight" thought process what got TYC screwed up to begin with? I'm not shutting up. Townsend sucks.

Anonymous said...

9:21... Adult probation had this done to them several years ago and a session or two back when funds got tight they took a big hit. Adult and juvenile services are totally different. And if this person you speak of is from outside of the Houston area, that will maybe be worse than what we have now!

Reason being it will be more of the "on paper" this works. With hours upon hours spent designing forms that show progress and thousands of man hours talking about the paper progress. Mean while staff are being written up cause the paper program and reality clash. Kids will beating kids while on paper they shouldn't.

We don't need another brillant mind with any damn letters after thier name! Common sense and real world skills with offenders and a desire to listen would go along way.
We'll buy that your smart, just show AFTER you've listened long enough to understand the issues ! Then use your brain to be a part of the answer !

Anonymous said...

OK. I'm not here to bash Ms. Townsend -- EVEN THOUGH she's consistantly ignored my emails, suggestions, questions, website, etc... AND... I think she needs to step down to give someone else a chance to do the ED position. Having said that, my suggestion would be to let RANDALL CHANCE take over TJJD and see what happens.

Anyone not familiar with him? He wrote a book called "Raped By The State", which told of all the icky nasty illegal immoral things going on at TYC just a few years ago. He was an ombudsman for TYC for many many years, and from what I can tell, seems like an honest and respectable sort of fellow.

Of course, the Powers That Be in Austin tried to ban the book since it made them all look bad... of course! One has to actually be "in the trenches" to know what a corrupt system we're dealing with here; even I as a lowly JCO can tell there's a LOT of fishy stuff going on -- a LOT of smoke and mirrors to try to cover up the reality of what a mess the system has become.

Mr. Randall was pilloried for authoring this book -- no surprise there. But for MY way of looking at it, I'd TRUST HIM to say and do the right thing despite the political expediency... we can hardly ask for more, eh?

Anonymous said...

The new ED doesn't need to "love kids", they need to run a business. We in the field have to love kids. There is no way TJJD should hire Townsend. Her mis-management of funds during the cutbacks was unacceptable. The failure of TYC is why this merger took place anyways. New blood, PLEASE !

Anonymous said...

lol.... are you kidding me?? Randy Chance running TJJD?? Lmao. He couldn't even do his job as a YRS. That's funny.

Anonymous said...

2 observations: The new person needs to manage an agency not be a policy wonk. There's a big job ahead in merging the 2 agencies. Leaders hire and supervise policy experts.

Second, the new ED has to play well with the Legislature & the LBB. I don't see Ms. Townsend and Senator Whitmire ever becoming friends.

Anonymous said...

You lose credability for yourself and your website when you push forward a person for ED who has no chance in hell to ever getting the job.
Secondly I do agree that TJJD needs new leadership but believe the powers that be (Chairman Fisher) will turn a blind eye on what Townsend has not accomplished under his watch while board chairman for TYC.
So like many of you it is time to find new employment, maybe a job where I can recieve a 15% pay increase like the top brass at TYC did back several month ago, this sure would help me and my highest 3years of state emplyment :)

Anonymous said...

THIS WHOLE DEAL IS A TOTAL CLUSTER ........ Blindly driven by some behind the scene hack in the Governors office. Governors office sees TYC kids as throw away kids. It's not a new thing. When it was ok to just transefer the pervs to west Texas , it was because they were messing with throw away kids. Perry knew it before the story broke, again no problem just throw away kids !

TYC stays broke, so messed up that they abolish it and merge it with a high functioning successful agency. And somehow think the person that continued to screw things up will do a better job with a bigger agency , your kidding!

Again it's just throw away kids but even with that no one in thier right mind could think this makes sense. If CT didn't have a good friend hiding in the governors office this couldn't be going how it's going. EVEN this governor who can't remember three things would know this is wrong. But again it's throw away kids and prisons are big business in Texas so a good farm system to keep the adult prisons full is key.

P.S. you Think prisons aren't big business ... Watch who little Jerry madden goes to work for !

Anonymous said...

FYI: Mike Griffith has applied. Lots of experience. At least it is not Townsend. Giving those raises took her out of the running, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Who is Mike Griffith?

Anonymous said...

The only thing I know about Mike is that he is honest, thoughtful and not afraid to try things different. He also successfully managed the powder keg that is Dallas County. He also has been thought of as one to have at the table to be the voice of reason on various topics where a compromise is needed....and hes a great guy!
He also cares about kids and those that work with them!

No way they will consider him!

But does tap dance if thats important!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Griffiths has long been a voice of juvenile probation across the state. He was the most sucessful chief Dallas County has ever had. Hearing here that he is in the running gives me goose bumps and I hope he will be given a chance to help the state to become the best. He is exactly what this new department needs and what the juveniles should want making decisions that effect them.

Anonymous said...

I hear a hotshot from Georgia is now in the running. GOOD. Bring in fresh blood to Texas. This could be the best thing to happen to the new department, someone who can see things for what they really are.

Anonymous said...

So the Arizona plan kind of stunk up the joint, Now we look east to the Georgia! Texas has good folks that understand how the system works, by that I mean the realtionship between the state and the counties.

IF this is to be one big happy family its time to start thinking about it that way. TYC has or had created a huge bureaucracy and maintained it for years, TJPC stayed semi small and passed funds through to the counties and did a pretty good job with 73 or so full time employees.

But add the chiefs and JPOs across the state and the JCOs in all the facilities and TYC may be the smaller agency in turns of numbers of people in the family.

If we are one big happy family, those TYC folks need to stop thinking its all them (even though it kind of is..scandle, poor mangement, special pay raises and all the other stuff) you might want to realize the there are some pretty smart folks on 5th floor. And more importantly you might want to spend some learning from TJPC how to run an agency...one of the Austin American Statesman's top places to work!

Back to Georgia for a second my guess about a third of the popualtion and no where the diversity of counties. Lets check out Rhode Island, bet they handle all 93 referrals!

We have good folks right here in Texas!

Anonymous said...

This is a little complicated to follows:

Lege abolishes TYC because of an epidemic of sick conduct and mismanagement.

Then creates a new agency to "improve" the juvenile system by...not abolishing TYC but combining with TJPC.

Doesn't attempt to keep the TJPC ED, which happens to be the agencywithout problems, but may be keeping the TYC ED as the new director?

This doesn't sound like something that was thought out very well.

Anonymous said...

Just what the TJJD needs, another under-educated, pompus, blowhard from the Georgia juvenile justice system (yes Jimmy, it's you.).

Anonymous said...

I wpold likr to see new blood come in. What we currently have in Texas has been a inept attempt at changing the culture at the state facilities while the county side had to put up with a group that didn't care about the departments, just wanted to police them. Merge the 2 problems and all you get are pompas a##s. I say we bring in this Georgia person to set a new trend in Texas. Maybe he or she will bring a new attitude to the table and instill it on Texas. ANYTHING would be better than what we have now.

Anonymous said...

1:49, thank the to late retired Jerry Madden and the leadership of the Juvenile Justice Association of Texas for this mess! And it clearly shows what can happen when first you trust people to not have a hidden agenda, secondly that common sense will prevail.

Anonymous said...

7:27 AM: I personally would like to thank the foresight of Madden, Whitmire, TPA, TJDA AND JJAT for seeing what the future of juvenile justice in Texas should look like. These and many individuals work hard for years to craft this new department and it is now up to the board to name the proper ED (sorry it sounds like you wanted Ms. Spriggs as did most everyone in the field) then the new ED and the advisory council will need to bring to the board ideas for reforming the institutions and the field. A bright day is dawning on juvenile justice in Texas in spite of you naysayers. BTW I joined JJAT last year BECAUSE of their leadership in making Texas Juvenile Justice what it is today and is going to someday be. Maybe you should retire.

Anonymous said...

"Prisons, mental hospitals, and other institutions are a thermometer that measures the sickness of the larger society. The treatment society affords its outcasts reveals the way in which its members view one another - and themselves." (From the Preface of his book: Accomplices To the Crime, 1969, Grove Press, Inc., New York, NY)

As someone who has spent the last 10+ years working for TYC in Austin I am of the opinion that we are nothing more than rats on a wheel supporting a very sick and corrupt system. It’s no one’s fault but at the same time we who are working the system today do not want the negative publicity. That makes us responsible if we like it or not.

It does not matter who the new director will be, the status quo will continue to be maintained. That’s a very sad situation that speaks volumes about the sickness of our delusional Christian state. I suppose we could ask our students, but we all know how they feel about us. Most of them, thanks to our work in the field, are in TDCJ, while the others who knows. Perhaps if we were to exhume the bodies of the children from our older institutions people might see the need for a real effort to reform the kids sent to us. But we are only willing to give up one black man who not many people liked anyway in the hopes of covering for our sin to the kids we are hired to help.

Anonymous said...

WOW. That's deep man.

Anonymous said...

TJJD is not the solution to the juvenile justice problem in Texas. It is now, and ever shall be among the most corrupt, poorly run agencies in the state from the top to the bottom. The so-called "treatment" program is an absolute joke that does nothing to hold the kids accountable for their behavior and offers them little hope for success upon release. At Giddings, riots are a frequent occurrance. At Evins, kids are setting fire to the security unit and recently, there have been several incidents where kids have tried to escape using ropes made from bedsheets. The good-ol'-boy system is alive and well too. You don't need to know crap about juvenile corrections these days. You just need to be a friend of any of the current executive administration. In the end, nothing will change and the sad part of all of this is that the kids the system is "supposed" to help can look forward to moving on to TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

Well the new department, under new sincere leadership,sure cannot hurt. Looks like next Friday we will see who will take us into the future. Just remember, old ways or new leadership???? I choose new leadership by someone who has a proven track record. Former Dallas County Chief Mike Griffiths is sure looking good to me. gh

Anonymous said...

Mike would be a fantastic leader of the new TJJD.

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Anonymous said...

I think with the supposedly pending lawsuit over the staff who pepper sprayed a youth, got fired, appealed to TYC executive staff was rehired and the superintendent who fired the no good staff was let go, I hate to see Townsend and her group of executives take over. Bad for local jurisdictions who depend on fed $$ to run good programs. All Townsend has managed to do is give her executive staff large raises - and she is from OUT OF STATE!

Go Mike Griffiths, we need your voice of reason and ability to bring concensus.

Anonymous said...

X employee? Maybe not! The people in power over TYC have no damn clue what staff go through everyday and they wont unless these people put on our shoes and work behind these fences.The people in power got to sit in class at college and learn about correction from a book and listening to a professor,then with that degree apply for the position that they are in without ever stepping into the lions den first and getting the shit knocked out of them from one of these kids.Just heads up to the all staff at tyc these people do not care about staff no matter what they say to your face,if they did why do they not stand up for us.I know that its about getting these kids some what back on the straight and narrow but lets be honest big shot people,we need our own system of accountability,control,discipline and rehabilitation not someone elses way from another state.These children in texas are far from how other kids in different states are raised or brought up.You(Austin) need to get of your lazy asses and start over fresh with a system for texas youth and what fits thier needs.Also for the first time in tyc history i think its about time to accually stand up and fight for your staff.After all "WE" are the people who deal with abuse every day as we are in the thick of things,and if you dont think its abuse then come on down and get assulted,spit on,cursed at, having blood thrown one you,right along with human feces.Also latch on to a youth in a restraint that is fighting and go for a ride then get hurt then have people make you feel like shit because you got hurt,but do you people not understand WE are doing are job and accidents happen.So to close if everyone in Austin really dug deep and thought about it and this is for the old school people and the newbies RESOCIALIZATION really did work.So fine tune it and change it up a little and bring it back,because someone elses way is not working for texas youth and you know it...