Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Might Texas close more juvie lockups in wake of ongoing woes?

In response to the latest accusations of abuse and violence at Texas youth prisons, reported Brandi Grissom at the Texas Tribune, "some advocates are urging lawmakers to consider closing more state youth institutions."

Given that Texas youth prison populations have already declined by around 2/3 since the 2007 "reforms" (which, since they apparently haven't reformed much, perhaps henceforth we should just call "changes") while juvenile crime has continued to fall, perhaps now's the right time to finish the remarkable de-institutionalization of juvenile justice begun five years ago.

California is doing the same thing on a much smaller scale to reduce prison populations in their adult system - shifting supervision of lower level offenders to counties in a process they call "realignment." Texas counties may not relish the new responsibilities for dealing with the worst behaved youth that comes with realignment in the juvenile justice system, but by all indications over the last five years it has generated superior  outcomes. It makes sense at this point to double down on the policy.


Anonymous said...

This article at least points in the right directions. And yes, you are correct about juvenile departments going to scream. TYC has served as a dumping ground for many years.

Anonymous said...

The Texas Tribune said:
In November 2010, though, an independent report on the reforms raised concerns about youth violence and gang activity at the institutions.

A February report by The Texas Tribune that analyzed agency data showed the rate of confirmed assaults among youths more than tripled from 2007 to 2011.

And this month, the independent ombudsman for the department said that ringleaders at the Giddings lockup had established a hierarchy in which the weakest offenders were “bought and owned” with drugs, cigarettes and money.

Some believe that youth have taken over the Giddings facility because of lack of discipline.

Does all this indicate that these youthful felons can be trusted with more freedom and less supervision in their home communities? Shall we close our eyes and hope for the best?

Anonymous said...

The TYC/TDJJ population is already weeded down to almost nothing but the most violent offenders and mentally ill. You think the counties can handle these in halfway houses? Some of these are back at the agency because they escaped halfway houses and/or made more trouble in them. And, the population is growing, not shrinking. As a matter of fact, we are all wondering if they will have to eventually open one of the closed units back up.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can send them to El Paso. I hear they have a great program going on out there!

Anonymous said...

lol....yeah lets send them to El Paso and tell 'em to run southwest as fast as you can!!!! lmao... We actually had that happen a few times. They didn't like Mexico and Mexico didn't like them, especially the black and white ones.

Anonymous said...

Well don't leave it up to the advisory council to make the decisions. It was a Randy Turner being _a_a## day at their meeting today. Funny how none of the elected officials were there and 1 smart chief was absent. What a joke. With big issues in front of this agency and a JCO present that had got the snot beat out of him there was absolutely nothing accomplished. We expected more.
Anyway, dump the state facilities, place that budget into county coffers 100% for programming, give incentives for detention centers to act as regional treatment facilities for the small counties to use and close the era on the Texas Youth Commission or whatever you want to call it now.

Anonymous said...

How about the advisory council try to remember what it is, advisory! This whole situation is so out of control, its Giddings all over again but with educated egos. Three chiefs on the board, they are running the agency. Then the same little group loaded up the advisory council and they pick up any slack the three chiefs need to have addressed.

All Randy did was sort of try to bring them back to the stated function of the advisory council. And for God's sake dont bring up matter contrary to Meades marching orders are!

Anonymous said...

Without Mike Meade and William Carter pushing the legislature for representation on the TJPC then TJJD board chiefs would never have been considered. Without chiefs on the board no one would be going to Giddings besides the Ombudsman. Even they do not have experience in operating a department or facility. Without chief's on the board all you have is political appointments who are clueless and any ED with the gift of gab can snowball them. So, I praise Mike Meade and what he is doing to make kids safe. We need MANY MORE chief's on the board so others will understand what is going on out there. As for the advisory council they are doing a fantastic job. I wouldn't want to be on this initial council.
But this track is about shutting down facilities. As a small county we could not afford to send kids to private placements unless we 1) receive a great deal more diversionary funding or 2) there is some type of smaller regional facility set up where we could place kids that receives funding from the state. If you look at their budget and if the facilities are shut down and the budget distributed like a previous post stated we could make it work.

Anonymous said...

Shut them all down and put private placements in charge of them. We need smaller campuses so kids don't get lost in the shuffle. They don't get treatment at the state facilities right now so the kids would benefit. The Missouri Model????

Anonymous said...

And when the large and urban departments get most of the money to house thier offenders, there will not be funds for the many small departments to pay for placements.

And again the rich get richer and rural and small agencies are stuck.

Anonymous said...

That is what the advisory council should focus on is funding streams and how to assist the smaller and some medium counties where resources are limited. If funding is made available most small counties could divert all of their TYC eligible offenders to placements. Sad part is the dwindling population of juvenile aged residents in the smaller communities makes it a hard sell to the legeslature that more funding needs to be sent their way.

Anonymous said...

"...Without chief's on the board all you have is political appointments who are clueless and any ED with the gift of gab can snowball them"

LMAO now that is humorous, to even think that juvenile chiefs are any less political appointments and that they don't subscribe to the gift of gab! LMAO

Anonymous said...

8:47 AM "Does all this indicate that these youthful felons can be trusted with more freedom and less supervision in their home communities?"

From the reports I receive from staff and visitors on site there is absolutely no discipline instilled at the state facilities currently. They run the show and they know it. A highly motivated and structured program needs to be in place. The juveniles respond more to structure than freedom.

Anonymous said...

AMEN on the notion of the kids having STRUCTURE... which is exactly what the kids at Giddings DON'T have. Sure, there's a "16 hour schedule" posted, but like most paperwork there, it's just for show and is totally irrelevant.

My question is -- Will the State of Texas and its citizens, AND the juvenile offenders, be better off or not if these TJJD facilities are closed? As it stands, they're out of control... way too expensive to operate... ineffective... dangerous... and NOT GOING TO IMPROVE unless the whole system is revamped from top to bottom.

That would mean getting rid of all the tired, demoralized, disgusted JCO's who actually work the dorms AND the so-called "supervisors" who do anything and everything BUT supervise. All the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil Admin folks would have to go, too, since they're the ones who've allowed the charade of "treatment" and "rehabilitation" to continue for so long.

For what it costs to keep a kid locked up at Giddings, for no more benefit than it provides society and the individuals involved, I figure the State HAS TO be able to come up with SOME other means to ensure better outcomes... and soon!! The longer it takes to get these issues settled, the greater the chance there will be another major incident at one of the facilities that will force changes to be made.

Like it or not, it's time to fish or cut bait, y'all.

Jco Burned out. said...

The plain fact is that TJJD needs to clean house and that means all of the higher ups! From the useless JCO 6's that hide all day and refuse to deal with the youth to the caseworkers that go and release violent youth back into the population only a couple of dsys after the assault! The place has gone from a regimented structure to a pot of utter chaos due to TJJD's policies and rules that decided to put in-place. Without massive change TJJD is on a slippy slide of Phail. The recent OIG visit to Giddings shows they are attempting to do either damage control or as most of us hope. Change!

Anonymous said...

You mignt see if the youth who stay in counties don't end up in the adult system when they age out of juvenile system. Problem not solved, its just passed on.

However you want to look at it, funding will tell the answer. If there is not funding for community services, the crime rate will rise.

Anonymous said...

Shut them down. Give funds to counties. Let independent auditors look at success of county programs.
Why is someone picking on the advisory council? It's a thankless under paying job that most of us don't want.

Anonymous said...

More bad press.

Anonymous said...

Violent offenders who are staff and offender assaultive do not belong in any "youth" facility. Only a moron could believe a 19 year old (and older) violent offender belongs in any "youth" facility.

Discipline should be the first branch of learning in any facility. Without discipline (please do not confuse this word with "punishment")you forfeit any hope of order.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Austin American May 2
by Mike Ward

Reports underscore safety, security issues at Giddings youth lockup.

In a complaint repeatedly heard from Giddings staff members in recent weeks, the Meade memo questions the management philosophy in Austin to counsel the youths into behaving. "The result of this well-intentioned but misguided management operating philosophy is that it has created a very unsafe environment for youth and staff alike with (the) lack of any true rehabilitation occurring in those out-of-control units."

Anonymous said...

They've lost control out there at Giddings. Brace yourself for horrific news as this mess becomes more and more lethal.

Anonymous said...

If Meade's report and personal observations don't clean out the executive administration (Townsend et.al), then I don't know what will. This is unprecedented as far as I can remember. TYC has never had a board member come out and really lay it down like Meade did. Wow...

His comment that TDJJ lacks a rehabilitation program can be interpreted as CoNextions isn't working and by ignoring that fact, the culture at all facilities have deteriorated and become extremely unsafe over the years. Field staff and Central Office staff have expressed this concern since it began, yet those concerns fell on deaf ears. Pathetic.

If Meade/Whitmire/Fisher or Madden really want the insight how this thing festered over the years and how Townsend just ignored the concern, all he has to do is speak with Mike Davis who left that agency as a regional director in disgust.

Anonymous said...

They need to call in DPS and get back up from TDCJ. The hug a thug approach didn't work and well, now you see the results.... can't say we didn't voice this concern for years now.

Anonymous said...

I had to chuckle at Mr. Ward's article of May 2 where he wrote the Giddings staff had numerous visible tattoos, males were wearing earrings, and wore hats cocked to the side -- that they looked like they were in gangs themselves.

HUH?? So what does that make them... bad role models?? Society has more or less tolerated tattoos and earrings (on both sexes) for the past few thousand years, as far as I know. Staff expressing their individuality in such a manner are NOT what is causing the problems there.

The problems on campus are caused by youth who know there are no consequences for whatever they choose to do, and the lack of backbone on the part of the Administration to permit JCO Staff to impose disciplinary measures in order to correct such behavior.

The article went on to say that Admin had "tried" to get staff to wear uniforms, but weren't successful. Mainly due, I'd say, because most manufacturers don't make uniforms in XXXX-LARGE sizes. The scores of staff who work there that are physically incapable/unfit to do their jobs DOES increase the likihood of people getting hurt -- that's for SURE.

For any meaningful and positive changes to begin happening at the State schools, blame/responsibility/culpability needs to be assigned to the ADULTS supposedly in charge, NOT the incarcerated youth who will try to get away with everything they can. The handwriting has been on the wall for the past couple years, at least, and no one has had the courage to deal with the problem... until now, when it may be TOO LATE to save the Agency.

You snooze, you lose.

Anonymous said...

Thought the merger was going to do away with 2 agencies and create 1?

Now it is just as much 2 seperate agencies as it was prior to merger.

Is it realistic to think that overnight an organizational culture will be transformed, by one person?

If it is so important to bring about quick changes, then the whole system needs to be thrown out and built from ground up. One system, no more juvenile & TYC. It needs to be one system that provides all the services.

Otherwise, accept that change of this magnitude will probably take at least 2 years.

Anonymous said...

We all have to pay for their politically correct schemes. All, that is, except for the central office crowd. They get to pretend that everything is going just fine.

Anonymous said...

Check out Cherie's message to staff on the TJJD website. The Board is meeting today. I agree, w/o consequences, Staff/Juveniles, are not going to succeed. One of the problems is all the paperwork that has to be generated by each and every action. It does not happen by magic. It takes valuable staff time to sit around and figure out which rule/standard/violation they have to write up. It is killing us in the local detention center. Sorry, I have to remain ANON-for now.

Anonymous said...

Heres the first part of her letter

Several recent news reports have highlighted issues the agency has been addressing at the Giddings State School. I feel it is important that you hear from me about the efforts TJJD has made at Giddings and how the campus is currently operating. I assure you that the safety and security of our youth and staff is of paramount importance to me.

As you know, TJJD receives youth from the counties today that are much more aggressive and in need of specialized treatment. Many of these youth have had multiple encounters with the juvenile justice system. In addition to more challenging youth, the agency closed three facilities last year and moved those youth to new placements at remaining facilities. This greatly impacted the youth and staff culture at the receiving facilities. This period of transition was predicted at the time and our programming has evolved to deal with the new challenges.

Most of our facilities were able to manage this major transition and are now operating smoothly. Unfortunately, Giddings experienced much more difficulty managing the transition and has required additional attention to bring the campus culture in line with our policies, procedures and expectations. Senior TJJD management began working directly with the Giddings staff last fall to address areas of deficiency. When we did not see improvements within an acceptable time period, we took a more direct role in operating the facility and ultimately replaced the management.

Actions we took at Giddings include:

· Dorm programming routines and procedures were changed to address the causes for the disruptions, along with the way youth are moved within the facility.

· Safe housing assessments were updated on all youth to ensure safety.

· Youth who were major contributors to campus incidents are being prosecuted for crimes they committed at Giddings, and some were recommended for early transfer to TDCJ.

· Since December 1, we have hired 69 new staff, including 58 JCOs, at Giddings

· Experienced staff was assigned to all three shifts to provide leadership.

· Additional training was provided to all Giddings staff to ensure agency policies and procedures are understood and followed.

· Experienced staff from other facilities arrived at Giddings to model professional behavior, train staff, and assist with youth supervision.

· A bullying/extortion reduction plan was implemented.

· The Associate Deputy Director, Continuum of Youth Services, was temporarily assigned to Giddings to provide leadership and oversight of campus operations.

· A new Superintendent was appointed on 4/17/12.

· Daily monitoring continues to ensure that policies and procedures and expectations of the agency are being implemented in every area of operation.

Anonymous said...

here's the last part...
We are continuing to adjust our programming to deal with the particular needs of our youth population. I strongly believe it is imperative that we are able to hold youth accountable for their actions and ensure the safety of our staff and youth at every TJJD facility.
In recent weeks, I have taken some additional actions at Giddings. The first is that a specific dorm is on lock-down and will remain that way until youth behavior warrants a change. I requested the presence of OIG investigators during hours when we have observed the most assaultive behavior. In the Redirect Program, we are focusing specifically on a Violence Reduction Program with higher staff ratios and a rigorous structured treatment program aimed at behavior change. We have also increased the number of cells used for the program. Finally, any youth who is pending a court hearing for transfer to TDCJ-ID will remain in security until the court date.
I am also making a change to our Redirect Program at Giddings and throughout the TJJD system. The Redirect Program is a specialized program within the security unit for youth who engaged in certain serious rule violations. Youth are placed in this program following a due process hearing for those behaviors because they present serious risk to other youth and/or staff. I have issued an emergency revision to this policy to include all assaults or fighting (not just those that result in bodily injury) as one criteria for admission and removing the maximum number of days in this program. Youth must meet behavior and treatment goals to be released from the program. When all factors in an assault meet the requirements for criminal prosecution and/or request for early transfer to TDCJ-ID, we are doing that. I have assigned additional experienced staff to facilities to role model the accountability that is expected of youth as needed. We have also disciplined, including termination of employment, staff who do not utilize the training and supervision provided to them to hold youth accountable, and thereby endanger other youth and employees.
Best regards,
I X'ed out her number as a courtesy

Anonymous said...

here the last part...

Additionally, in all facilities, we have increased random drug testing to include 20, rather than 10, percent of the youth population. We have increased the frequency of K9s on campus to search for contraband. These searches are occurring at the gatehouse, the entire campus (with two K9 teams for large campuses), and high risk areas and times (visitation). Our agency policy requires cancellation of visitation privileges for any family member who brings contraband to a secure facility. For violations of the law, we work with law enforcement to insure that there is also an arrest.
Since making all of the above operational and policy changes, the Giddings campus has shown significant improvement in all areas of operation. Youth assaults on staff and other youth have fallen dramatically and order has been restored in the classrooms, cafeteria, recreation areas, and the dorms. Reports after recent visits by the Independent Ombudsman and TJJD board members have indicated the facility is functioning effectively and safely. If you would like to visit with youth from your county, I would be happy to assist you with either personal visits or by video/teleconference.
Please be assured that the safety and security of every TJJD youth and staff member is vital to our ongoing mission, and I will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure this. The changes we are making, both at Giddings and throughout our system, are designed to improve and maintain safety and security so that we can provide a rigorous program of rehabilitation with which to engage our youth. I also want to assure you that while we address the challenges in state-operated secure facilities, we have not changed our commitment to earlier intervention in the community. At this point in the development of our strategic plan, all of our efforts are focused on the community. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or Linda Brooke for more information. The best number to reach me is my cell phone, 512-217-XXXX.

Anonymous said...

The letter sent to the field is in three parts due to its size and the space allowed for comments here.

Sorry for any confusion these cut and paste attempts may cause.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ms. Townsend, for even smoke and mirrors. Your assertion that Job Number One is safety and security on the Giddings campus will be seen as so much hooey by anyone who works there. It sure sounds good, but does not address the basic problem of why things have gone haywire.

It would maybe help if you were to personally get a notebook and make some unannounced visits to the campus. Tell the administration you just wanted to walk around on your own for a few hours, and to take some notes. Do this for each shift, just stop here and there, on the dorms, the cafteteria, the school, and talk with the JCO staff, the youth, the supervisors -- IF you can find them -- and whoever else you meet.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Bet the reason you don't is because you would be afraid to see and hear what REALLY is going on, and, maybe fear for your physical safety as well. For good reason, too -- Giddings is a dangerous place. For EVERYONE.

Or didn't you know? A little hands-on exposure to the reality of what happens there might change your tune. Might be worth a try, huh?

JCO 01 said...

Miss, Townsend? I'd love to see just one of the Pure bullshit things you just fed us to have happened? Where are the 58 JCO's you hired? From that I know half of them already quit. One was assaulted already. Yet none have turned up on sole supervision. I'm still doing 2-12 hour shifts a week. We do not see any relief in sight. Oh and for the Student to staff ratio's? We still have shifts where we do not have the state mandated ratio on the dorms! Now we have a good dozen JCO 6's that vanish on campus daily but do not handle or deal with the youth on the dorms at all! Just check out the Café! You can find them all sitting there eating food they had one of their group leave campus and bring back in on our Taxpayers dime!
Dog? What dog? I haven't seen one in many years on campus! As it stands your smoke and mirrors is beginning to get old. I suggest you resign and every one of your cronies needs to leave and lets get some people with backbone running the place again. After tossing a well working program for Connexions you have to question your motives and who is getting the kickbacks?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it odd that nothing ever changes until TYC/TJJD make the news? In 2005, Ray Brookins, the golden boy of executive staff, single handedly brought down the agency. In 2006, San Saba and Evins erupted and Evins went under the DOJ agreed order, where it remained until February of 2011. And now Giddings is off the chain. The problem is the lack of a viable, effective treatment program and a corrupt, self-serving executive staff who are absolutely clueless and could care less as long as their equally corrupt and incompetent local administrators lie about conditions in the field to make their "masters" look good. Look at the number of experienced juvenile justice professionals who left TYC/TJJD or were run off. Look at the people that James Smith imported and see how many remain today. They left for a reason. It didn't take them long to read the "writing on the wall" and to figure out that they were only secure as long as they didn't make any waves. Look at the times in the past couple of years when problems have developed. Townsend sends out a bullshit email about accountability and changes that she was instituting that should have been in effect all along, if the DOJ agreed order and ACA standards were being adhered to. Situations like the one at Giddings do not happen over night. CO knows about the problems, but chooses to continue to turn a blind eye. If you ignore the problem, it isn't a problem.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cherie,
If things are going so well at Giddings, and staffing isn't an issue, why did they have to hire 58new JCO's? And if they are to be properly trained, they won't be available (qualified) for several months...if they're trained right, right?

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? Please Jesus tell me you guys are joking, per Statesman atrticle by Mike Ward

EVERYONE in the system knew of these problems in November and the "hiccup" in December. Everyone knew of these and many many more both major and minor hiccups throughout TYC. The Chair of the "new" board, was the chair of the old commission, the now caring Mr. Meade and others all knew and stuck thier heads deep in the sand to give the Directors job to Townsend. So acting all amazed at these stories is a level of hypocrisy that could only happen in the old TYC, that is in reality the new TJJD.

The dynamic Mr.Smith tells the board assaults "increased by 200 points"...points? My guess is that should be per cent, but points in guess sounds better.
The "new" director and her point man also announced that the development of "calmimg areas"...are you kidding me? It seems with no clue as to just who these kids are, the ones that beat on staff and other kids, the kids that buy and sell the weaker of the population...they now get to go to calming areas! Being sent to "timeout" probably didnt work for this population in the second grade, pretty sure in thier current environment it wont either.
If this were not laughable enough, this next little bit of programing should maybe get someone on the cover of Texas Monthly as the Bumsteer winner. Again in an apparent lack of understanding of just which kids counties are sending to TYC, we are going to let them sign a "gang peace treaty"...really!
Ask any indian how well that little treaty system works!

Anonymous said...

Approximatley two years ago I sat in a room with Townsend and others and stated that the current treatment progarm was ineffective and staff and youth were in jeopardy. I went on to state that consequnces had to be meaningful and effective for youth to internalize their actions and learn from their mistakes. I was told that "I was from the old Resocialization way of thinking", and that "I was correctional". I did go onto to state that even my own children were consequnced for not abiding by curfew and this was part of learning to make responsible choices.
I can go on and on about this and other conversations where Townsend was present, comments she had made about the youth were not at fault for assaulting staff but rather the 'Poor implementation of treatment programs at Giddings, and the staff were at fault". This meeting was attended by at least 30 other staff at CO when she stated this. And you are just now attempting to address these issues that you yourself was the employees fault and not the youth assaulting employees. We can also talk about how it was brought to your attention over two years ago about the ineffective "Redirect Program" and how a committe was formed to tweak it based upon youth behavior, and you allowed to other sttipulations to this program at the time (serious bodily injury and oral/anal penatration) but that was it. You have never listened to those out in the field, you have a disdain for those who actually do the work as if they are beneath you. I would not state this if it was not true and it can be proven as such based upon the amount of witnesses in the room when these were said. For the sake of this agency, the youth and staff, step down before you are told to step down.

Anonymous said...

How could they have thought that these wrongheaded programs would be effective? What kind of theoretical world were they living in?

Anonymous said...

The more she talks, then deeper it gets. Whitmire is going to lite that ass up when tries this "lip service" on him. 200 points? What the hell is that? Points? Has anyone ever heard of using points to measure activity on campus? This is another ruse.

Cherie Townsend, you are the most disrespected and misguided/ignorant ED this agency has ever seen. And that includes the Pope. It's not just field staff that disrespect you, it's CO as well.

Anonymous said...

Does everyone remember when Townsend first met the ledge when she came on and they started grilling her into changing the program. Townsend said if things don't get better, she won't be here meaning she'd leave.

Well I ask this: Are you having trouble finding the damn door Cherie?

Anonymous said...

"Hey Townsend.....don't let the door hit ya' where the good Lord split ya!" Your days are numbered! The more you talk, the more obviouse it is...

Anonymous said...

Stan felt he had to keep his little clique around him-hell they were the only ones he trusted. He had known them for 15-20 years and knew they were solid soldiers. He even put Dwight Harris' brother in as number three out there at Giddings. He was so used to the old way being successful that he didn't change a thing, except just enough to fool those who needed fooling. Those fools had never been a problem for him all those years, so he thought, why worry now.

I guess we can now see his soldiers take the stand for him. He took care of them and they will all sing the same song--nothing changes.

Anonymous said...

5/04/2012 06:45:00 AM "The Chair of the "new" board, was the chair of the old commission, the now caring Mr. Meade and others all knew and stuck thier heads deep in the sand to give the Directors job to Townsend."
Yes Fisher was the chair for all those years of TYC and shoulda known better but the rest of the board were duped by the governor's office into believing Townsend was the best thing out there. Meade has seen the light and is trying to turn all the other non-chiefs into believers that things are wrong at these facilities and there needs to be a change. Without Meade these things would not be at the level of attention they are now and from talking to him we JCO's have a friend who "gets it" and understands we and the juveniles are suffering through this mismanaged cluster @#$% . Everyone needs ro ralley behind this man because he is trying to make a difference. Heck fire the board chair and place Meade as chair. Replace ALL the non-chief's with chiefs and make something happen that is good for the state.

Anonymous said...

12:01 You are exactly correct. The board meeting today had nothing accomplished by anyone but Meade and a small few others. So many sat on there hands and said nor did anything. Replace everyone but the chiefs. Make the chief's on the advisory council the new board. Get rid of Townsend. Heck, shut everything down, start over with the county departments taking the lead. I bet I can get a job at a county department or facility and be much better off than working in the hell hole formerly known as The Texas Youth Commission.

Anonymous said...

What did they discuss in today's board meeting?

Anonymous said...

This just continues to be a big joke and the only way it's going to change is if the Board wants it to change. Here are some facts I think most of us "peons" would agree upon:
To many people running things and making policy that have never worked with the youth or promoted up through the ranks.
Townsend should never have been re-hired to run the merged entities.
Until the criminals quit designating what T.V. they are watching, being allowed to pick out their own video games, play slipnslide, and just overall being given the run of the campus things will not change.
Staff have to be given more tools to work with the youth.
The "kids" are being treated better than most of the families of the people they've victimized--how screwed up is that.
The Good Old Boy system is alive and well.
Retaliation does exist and is tolerated--file a grievance and you will learn this first hand.
It's still who you know as to what you get, including positions.
There are still more supervisors in positions because of who they know than because of what they can do.
Supervisors to busy sleeping with other staff to focus on their priorities. The list is endless.

Anonymous said...

That's called nepotism and cronyism. It's what TYC/TJJD is run on. That's what our agency is all about. There is no fair play.

Anonymous said...

There are things worse than a director trying to hold on long enough to "earn" her full retirement !

One is a board chair who promises transparency and then from day one has been an active part in the hiding , manipulating reports and flat out straight up lieing to help cover, not just these last fiscal " errors" but also the abuses that have been on his watch with the old TYC and the "new" TYC. And part of his ability to do this is the fact that he's a preacher, really a preacher wouldn't lie or not have sincere care for kids.... Would he?

The other messed up thing worse than a director hanging on us a government that instead of admitting they sit up a board to make the wrong appointment, continues to allow us to travel down this road to hell! It's bad for kids and the future as we keep digging deeper and deeper into this hole. Eventually she will be able to retire, and the next person will have a task of biblical proportions to correct all this mess! Yes Mr. Fisher I said biblical ... Read up on it!

Anonymous said...

Hey John Whitmire and aids.... if what the American Statesman reported in Saturday's edition is accurate, then here's another prime reason to place the agency right back into conservatorship. Those change orders on thos construction contracts required board approval before it could be approved, and despite Townsend saying she fixed that problem, well - eh-hem- she lied. No she's refusing to disclose these files even they were discussed openly in the meeting and in public? How is THAT not covering something up. Her Arizona banking General Counsel gave her that advise as well... what a bunch of crooks. I think Kimbrough needs to return and clean this house.

Anonymous said...

Keep them closer to home in their communities. Here we have a mother who blames the TJJD for doing just that.... watch the vido and see the story below.


Anonymous said...

The articles by Mike Ward in the Statesman appear to be the result of an agreement between Ward and certain legislators. In exchange for "inside" information, Ward is careful not to critically examine the behavior of people like Senator Whitmire.

The article in the Statesman today very much smacks of a witch hunt. Having been involved with contracts for building projects for more than three decades, I can tell you that there are always change orders. No contract, no matter how tightly written, can account for all of the issues that come up during the course of the contract. I can see nothing that was done poorly by the agency.

What I do see is Ward carrying the water for those who wish to depose the agency administrators for purely political reasons. Just watch politician pile on in a completely disingenuous attempt to appear to be acting on behalf of the oppressed.

I challenge Senator Whitmore to run the agency. Can you imagine the disaster? Odd, that those who criticize the most are often those with absolutely no first-hand experience in leading any organization.

Anonymous said...

They need to audit education next....


Anonymous said...

2:24pm I find it ironic that you state,

"Odd, that those who criticize the most are often those with absolutely no first-hand experience in leading any organization".

Really, well this is what you have now leading this agency. When was the last time a JCO staff was asked what do you believe would help make this place a better place for youth and staff, and not just some bullshit event where Central Office staff show up and let you know they feeel your pain?

I find it laughable that anyone ever thought Townsend could ever lead this agency;

1) During/after conservatorship she brought in as General Counsel someone with no Juvenile Justice Exp
2) She place as her #2 person over a Juvenile Justice Dept a person whose job was as the Chief Financial Officer
3) She allows a Person from Maryland with no real leadership exp run the facilities

We can go on and on but the truth is, Townsend really needs to head back to Arizona, she has been a dismal failure. You can attend as many seminars and read as many books as possible but it still does not translate to leadership.

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:24....you comment relating to purely political reasons was a bit strange . Seeing as how Townsend got the job was purely political. Where it not for the governors office, should I say her friend in the governors office, she would somewhere else and the much needed reform would be than a paper program.

How's CASA doing these days? Can't find many scandalous headlines over there....hmmmm?

Anonymous said...

Stan's mistake was when he came back to Giddings and set up the same old culture. He surrounded himself with the pre-2007 group of insiders and his administration had one motive--to serve him and his loyal insiders. If he had taken his retirement two years ago, he could have stayed in the shadows. His loyal insiders will lie for him until they die and face their judgment for a lifetime of corruption.

Anonymous said...

11:18 am posts an informative link.

Amidst all the drum-banging for community placements and probation by Grits and Mike Ward and Whitmire, we rarely see this side of the story.

I know it costs more tax dollars to keep a youth in secure custody rather than probation, but ask the parents of Eric Forrester if it was worth keeping the teen who killed him (who was on probation for multiple offenses) out of secure confinement. Hell, even the relative of the convicted killer blamed the juvenile justice system for being too easy on him and continually placing him on probation and now one teen is dead and another serving a life sentence.

But I'm sure that's a question that Grits, Mike Ward, and Whitmire are going to avoid asking.

Anonymous said...

So let's just review where we have been...now we are at least no longer sexually assaulting kids, and that's about it!
BUT we seem to be ok with kids assaulting staff, kids selling off the weaker ones and there is such a culture of that type going on that kids want to be in security for thier own safety, and we are ok with that! And we are also good with pumping experimental drugs into kids .....seems we are good with that! Oh, almost forget, state is going broke, and with that just a few got big raises, no problem!
Honestly the list Townsend management screwups is so long it's really not even funny, but the governor and Whitmire and Madden are all good with it! OR THEY WOULD PUT AN END to this nightmare!

It's bad for thier little law, it's bad for staff that are busting thier ass to help kids, it's bad for kids that are wanting to change, it's a mistake that with each day gets worse. Waiting for another session, another year, another month, week, or day is just plane wrong!

Everyone working here knows its completely out of control....somebody is going to get killed! TJJD will make a quick drive through issue a paper response and send some flowers!

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

From the TJJD web site.

Capital and Serious Violent Offenders

The Giddings State School operates a Capital and Serious Violent Offender Treatment Program for youths that are committed for murder, capital murder, and if the offense involved the use of a weapon or deadly force. The program helps these young people connect feelings associated with their violent behavior and to identify alternative ways to respond when faced with risky situations in the future. Participants in this program are required to reenact their crimes and to play the role of both perpetrator and victim.

The Giddings Capital and Serious Violent Offender Program has gained worldwide attention and been featured on several national news programs. It is one of TJJD’s most promising specialized treatment programs. Research shows that participation in this program reduced the likelihood of being re-incarcerated for any offense by 55 percent, and for a felony offense, by 43 percent.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the young men in the Giddings Capital and Serious Violent Offender Program live on a dorm. There, they are rewarded for bad behavior. They are in the program mentioned above while, at the same time, they are in the Conextions program. Conextions is where the problem is.

Anonymous said...

AMEN 8:37!!! Let's bury that Conextions puppy. It never has worked.