Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Violence at youth prisons blamed on lax discipline, structural problems ignored

Mike Ward at the Austin Statesman on Sunday offered a worm's-eye view of violence at youth prisons from the perspective of juvenile correctional officers (JCOs), many of whom, as anyone who reads Grits comments knows, blame increased violence on the head of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Cherie Townsend and lenient security policies on TYC campuses ("Workers trace youth lockup's problems to soft discipline," May 13).

Voicing the views of a dozen employees, Ward pinned the source of current problems to the period "after 2009, with a new management team in place at agency headquarters in Austin, some of the more punitive aspects of life inside the lockups were relaxed." What that ignores, though, is that many of those "punitive aspects" - particularly the first-resort use of pepper spray, which certainly boosted JCO's on-the-ground power over youth - were ended because of successful lawsuits. Moreover, the lawsuits and changes that ended use of many adult corrections practices among juveniles were largely spawned from reporting from people like Mike Ward, for example in a 2007 article voicing extensive criticisms of pepper spray use in juvenile facilities.

Further, the 1984 Morales v. Turman settlement (TYC's version of the Ruiz case) remains binding on TJJD and restricts a variety of the more punitive measures suggested mostly by folks from the adult prison system over the last five years.

In the past, Grits has argued that framing the debate around use of force levels or harsher discipline misstates the problem. If TYC's history is any indication (I haven't followed juvie stuff nearly as closely in the last year or so), the Juvenile Justice Department suffers from absurdly high turnover among frontline staff, who aren't paid very handsomely and must live in places like Giddings or Brownwood, which makes it especially difficult to staff specialized treatment positions. So TJJD isn't getting folks, say, with educational backgrounds in juvenile development, they're essentially competing with Walmart for employees. A report by the Sunset Commission in 2010 found a 25% turnover rate among staff at youth prisons, down from a high of 48% turnover in 2007, but still among the highest of all state agencies.

And while last I heard, TJJD has said it's meeting its 12-1 staffing ratio, the changing demographics of youth prisoners (less dangerous offenders diverted, more dangerous offenders concentrated into fewer units) may mean even that number is too high. Grits asked back in 2007, "Why not make youth prisons safer by staffing them properly? The unspoken answer: Because staff cost money, and by comparison pepper spray is cheap." Because I've had to quit tracking the agency closely, I can't say if that's a causal factor now, but it sure was when the identical complaints were aired in 2007.

Either way, these safety issues are really symptoms masking a more fundamental, underlying disease: A frontline staff neither trained, experienced, nor numerous enough to manage facilities which were designed along adult models rather than for the specific needs of youth.

The best solution would be structural, not just punitive: The Governor's blue-ribbon panel on reforming TYC recommended abolishing larger youth prisons like the one in Giddings in order to end a "punishment culture" that permeated the agency. The complaints aired by Ward IMO amount to revanchist nostalgia from disgruntled adherents to that "punishment culture," not sound advice for how state leaders should operate the system.

The blue ribbon commission recommended shifting away from larger adult-model facilities entirely and opening smaller facilities closer to urban areas so youth can be more closely supervised and have more interaction with their families. But nobody wanted to spend more money on youth corrections, and in fact legislative leaders exerted tremendous pressure to spend less. So rather than shift to smaller facilities as recommended, the Lege paid for a little remodeling and new security cameras, but stuck with the large-facility model. With the same large facilities populated by a more concentrated group of more serious offenders, however, the shortcomings of that approach were only exacerbated.

That decision, far more than any recent disempowerment of JCOs, explains why Texas youth prison problems were never truly fixed: The Legislature sought the best advice from the top minds in the juvenile justice field, got it, then ignored it because it would cost money. Now they wonder why things didn't turn out well and are looking for someone to blame. Cherie Townsend may not be perfect, no one is, but some of her legislative critics should find mirrors if they want to disparage those truly responsible.


Anonymous said...

Here's how the staff sees it:

"The consequences for bad behavior were watered down or done away with. Without that, the system broke down — again," said one Giddings correctional officer. "It's tough to just talk nice to kids who can kill you and expect any good result. The philosophy was wrong."

The American-Statesman interviewed a dozen Giddings employees — from correctional officers to program staffers about the violence, which included reports of drug use, gang activity and extortion, as well as assaults on youths and guards. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because agency rules bar them from talking publicly.

Without exception, the workers blame the spike in violence on a series of policy changes implemented under Executive Director Cherie Townsend's command in the past two years that removed consequences for youths' bad behavior — preventing officials from locking them in secure cells or removing credits for completing programs required before they are released.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yes, 8:02, that's the revanchist mentality I was referring to, longing for the return of a "punishment culture."

Anonymous said...

Discipline was sacrificed in order to allow the youthful criminals to engage in gang activity,extortion and assaults on youths and guards. Consequences were removed so they could act with impunity--just as they did in their home communities. These actors had their own values and they didn't want to change.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:52, it sounds like you cut and pasted a comment from a TYCer on Grits in 2007. Haven't we already seen this movie?

There was no golden age before "discipline was sacrificed." Long before Cherie Townsend got there, TYC employees were saying the exact same things. Then when Dimitria Pope cracked down (resulting in successful litigation against the agency), TYCers complained about her, too. After 5 years of watching this process, IMO these are not really specific criticisms of any particular leader but more of a mantra that's repeated no matter who's in charge.

Texas has already tried doubling down on a failed approach: Large youth prisons are still failing, while the youth diverted to smaller community-based programs have NOT caused juvie crime to go up (in fact it's massively dropped). Time to finish the job and just get rid of the youth prisons at TJJD and give money to the counties to manage juvenile offenders. They do a better job.

Anonymous said...

I have worked at a county youth center, and they have same problems that TYC/TJJD have. They just do a better job of covering things up.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Grits; however, the whole problem with that agency is the failed treatment intervention (call it CoNextions). I'm all for sending the less violent ones back to their community and sending the hardened assholes (which represents the vast majority of the ones in the institutions) to the adult system and thus closing the remaining units. Let the clucks who want to cluck do so in the adult system. I believe that's what Whitmire is wanting.I believe that would be justice.

Anonymous said...

First, the offenders we are talking about have already been in several "feel good" yourself programs already! Thousands have already been spent on why they feel how they feel, and why they have no daddy in the home and every other social ill that can be blamed for poor behavior. And in spite of all of that they have continued to commit felonies and make more victims.

Having said that, they can still change! But first they need to realize they are not going to keep making victims, they do not know what is best, they have no positive reference piont from which to even start thinking about thye next day.

The problem is it can not be done with memos and loafty speeches. The cook on up through the superintendant have to buy into the program and all be on the same page. The programs have to have clear cut goals and objectives so the kids and the staff can constantly monitor where each kid is along the way. Defined behavoir changes and plans when there is a relapse...all much more concrete not a bunch of abstract theoretical bull. These kids can change but they are way past theory!

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, it is a lax in discipline that has resulted in the increase in assaults on staff and juveniles.

The front-line staff at TJJD are no less qualified than the staff that were in place 4 years ago...yet the assaults have risen over the past few years.

In fact, I would argue that the staff in place now are more qualified and have been through extensive training compared to the staff before reform efforts.

If delinquents are placed in an enivornment where non-compliance is tolderated or minimized, they will run the show...which is what has happened.

Folks, it is a prison and it should be ran like one.

Anonymous said...

Appropriate staffing and family contact will greatly reduce this violence. It's one thing to have formal authority over these kids, but family contact has the greater influence on correcting behavior, even in the adult system.


Gritsforbreakfast said...

10:39 writes, "Folks, it is a prison and it should be ran like one."

Okay, perhaps they should run it like this prison, which has far lower recidivism rates than most US institutions.

As it turns out, the "environment where non-compliance is tolerated or minimized" is in fact these larger institutions, which is why the Gov's blue ribbon panel suggested a shift to smaller, Missouri-style facilities would result in closer supervision and better outcomes. Compliance can be imposed by force only occasionally, isn't a long-term solution and does nothing to rehabilitate. Force is sometimes necessary but cannot be the go-to move. You'll get better results imposing "compliance" through structural reforms like shifting to smaller facilities where youth are more closely supervised.

Sometime check out the movie about Temple Grandin and cattle stockyards, where she redesigned facilities so cattle calmly led themselves to slaughter because of the design of the facility instead of just because men were beating them and yelling at them to force them into the chutes. That's the sort of fundamental rethinking needed for TJJD. Just building on the failed large facility model won't work, crack-down or no.

TJDO, thanks, good observation about the similarity to the adult system.

Anonymous said...

There is a big problem enforcing attendance at school. When you don't have anything to do but sit around in the dorm all day, you find trouble to get into.

BB said...

Scott Henson,
Open your eyes and at least try to be objective here. Watch 'Lean On Me' with Morgan Freeman. He makes a powerful and relevant statement in this movie: 'If you can't control it, how can you teach?'

And look up that data from July, August and September of 2007 like I asked you to!


Anonymous said...

IMO, I'm with the poster that said all units should be closed. Employees have been trained over and over with absolutely no change. It is a diseased agency and it needs to be gutted. Upper management decides how the facilities are run. No use in implementing programs they are not behind. Waste of tax payer's money. When is the state government going to admit their errors with this agency?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, GRITS, for providing the opportunity to cuss and discuss what the problems are at TJJD and how to maybe solve some of them in a "Temple Grandinesque" sort of way.

The problems at TJJD aren't going to go away if Ms. Townsend is in charge or not... or staff wear uniforms or not... or even if the kids get pepper sprayed or not. Staff training in Corsicana is now two weeks long as compared to just a week when I started -- so the problem isn't the lack of staff training, either.

The MAIN problems are, IMHO, as follows:

1. The CoNextions program, which has no effect other than a negative effect on staff AND youth, is un-enforceable, holds no one accountable, provides no incentives, and is seen as being counterproductively useless by EVERY JCO and youth I ever spoke with.

2. Discipline needs to be reinstituted, and need not be punitive or painful to be meaningful, effective, and decisive in helping youth turn their lives around. Bring back marching, for one thing. Bring back 55 minute on-dorm time out's where youth are to just sit in a chair and not speak or interact with their peers. Require all youth to get uniform haircuts, even if they claim to be Rastafarians... if they say they are, fine. They can just wait until they get out to grow their dreads (and smoke pot, which some also claim is integral to the practive of their "religious freedom"). There's much more that can be done, if Admin has the guts and will to declare THEY are in charge, not the kids.

3. GET ENOUGH STAFF! Whoever says there is a youth/staff 12:1 ratio is lying, crazy, or on drugs. IT IS SIMPLY NOT HAPPENING, all across campus, on any shift. Many staff are working 2 twelve hour shifts a week. This is going to cause more problems as time goes on.

4. Demand more accountability from staff in regards to punctuality, timekeeping, FMLA abuse, not sleeping on the job, not coming to work on alcohol/drugs... institute random drug tests on ALL STAFF, and see how many UA's are dirty! The supervisor 5 & 6 JCO's are just as out of control as the youth at Giddings -- demand that they get their butts BACK ON THEIR DORMS, WORKING, instead of hiding out and totally avoiding it. This has caused the morale on campus to hit the skids more than almost anything else, and also contributes to the increase in dangerous and violent youth behavior.

Some big problems... some easy solutions. Why not try them and see what happens?

Anonymous said...

There is a philosophical divide. Nowhere is this more evident than with the issue of personal responsibility. Some believe that violent youth should not be criticized or impeded. Having consequences for bad behavior, for these critics, is unfair, unjustified.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

1:45, that's absurd! It might make you feel better to fantasize that those you disagree with hold ridiculous views, but the philosophical difference is not whether there should be "personal responsibility." The disagreement how best to instill it.

If I beat you until you do what I say, your actions do not demonstrate "personal responsibility" but merely that the strong may dominate the weak, which is a lesson most of these youth have already learned along the way. Instead, a la Temple Grandin (or the Dog Whisperer), the better tactic where possible is to guide youth (or cattle, or dogs) through incentives and defined choices, to instill HABITS of personal responsibility which can be sustained without coercion when you're not standing there to threaten them.

12:26, good comments. Certainly there are many potential discipline measures besides pepper spray and solitary confinement. Your #s 3 and 4 are especially telling. If units aren't adequately staffed and those on the job aren't rested and focused, that likely explains a great deal of the rise in violent incidents.

BTW, while I've never heard anyone with a good thing to say about the CoNextions program, nobody ever says (besides "more discipline") what treatment regimen might be more effective. We're pretty much past the point with this agency where mere criticism is helpful if solutions aren't offered. So to folks who want to gripe about CoNextions, what would you do instead?

Anonymous said...

The issue with coNextions is this (I will offer solutions as well).
If a youth is a sex offender (court ordered) and he pulls his penis out to the nurse during medication line and tells her, "you want this". There is nothing in CoNextions that will allow you to drop his stage from a 4 to a 2 or a 3. Basically there is no reinforcement that his behavior is wrong and a swift immediate response via a due process hearing to correct.
I would add some teeth (not punishment) to this and other areas where youth are beating the piss out each other, staff, and allow a due process hearing to be held to drop a youths stage. Now this can be seen as punishment but in reality it's a life lesson that when you do certain things that in most cases would be a crime there are repercussions.
I would allow those youth who follow the rules and abide by the youth code of conduct (has not been made yet) to expedite to family furloughs and greater opportunites for off campus with aproved family members. This goes hand in hand with rewarding those with tangible rewards for doing the right thing.
CoNextions does none of this but rather allows youth to become more violent and abusive so when they leave they have digressed rather than learned anything on why they went to TJJD in the first place. There are mnay ways you can change the culture at these facilities, it just takes a leader who will realize that these steps are not punishment but rather positive reinforcement for a desired result, that will help them in the future from going back into a correctional facility.


A Texas PO said...

Scott, you make a great point in the post about these units being in the middle of BFE which results in the agency's inability to obtain and maintain the people with the types of education, training, and experience that will greatly benefit the wayward youth. I've muttered the same words about TDCJ facilities. How the hell do you staff a unit with qualified personnel when the nearest town in 30 miles away and the local Walmart pays better? When I ran a SAFPF caseload, it boggled my mind that the nearest halfway house was 130 miles away. Texas likes to make huge landgrabs when it comes to building TxDOT's highways and stringing powerlines through our neighborhoods, but no politician is willing to fight back against the NIMBY crowd when it comes to facilities that will benefit offenders (adult or juvenile) and the greater community by rehabilitating and reducing recidivism. Isn't that why we're here? TYC/TJJD was never meant to punish punish punish. I recall seeing a story on 60 Minutes years ago about a juvenile corrections model being utilized in Missouri that created more of a home atmosphere that had some pretty good results (much better than Texas, that's for damned sure) but just like most things in this state, we don't care what anyone else is doing, we have to re-invent the wheel by using what TDCJ has.

I'll get off my soapbox now, but discipline didn't collapse in TYC/TJJD because Cherie Townsend has an "I believe the children are our future" mentality. Discipline collapsed because of piss-poor management within TYC that led to abuses of children. We tell adults that they can't go overboard on punishment, yet from the posts I see here, there seems to be this mentality that carrying a TYC/TJJD ID should allow you to do all the things a parent can't. There are much better ways of getting through to a kid than through reciprocating violence. After all, the majority of these violent youth didn't get that way because everyone has been nice to them in their lives.

I was never a fan of the term "Hug-a-thug" that was bantered about TDCJ for years, but it sounds like many TYC/TJJD corrections staff think that is exactly what the new policies are all about. Maybe if we built some small units closer to more populated areas, we could get some talent in the doors that knows the difference between motivation and bullying.

Anonymous said...

TYC/TJJD wanted this new treatment approach with the youth. When we had discipline and structure, we were accused of beating them. Yes, I know...many of you will say that all of us old pre-2007 staff were beating the kids when we weren't screwing them in our spare time. The fact of the matter is that there was a handful of pervs and child abusers that caused the entire agency to look bad. Many of the great juvenile justice professionals were ran off or escorted out the gate because of false allegations. Now the crap has hit the fan, and all of sudden, we want discipline. Well, good luck with that now that you have all these hug a thug Administrators. Hell, I would get on the roof right now if I could get someone to bring me some Blue Bell icecream!

Anonymous said...


What will smaller Units do? The population has already been dropped substantially, and we have more staff now than ever. What will being in a bigger city accomplish? We can't compete with WalMart, so why do you think we can in a larger Metropolitan area? Working with these type of youth that are committed to TJJD is much different than working with the average adult inmate. It's also different than working with the Juvie Probation kiddo. These kids are the throwaways, the ones that the Counties can't handle, the ones that there families couldn't handle, the ones you see on the streets and you lock the doors inside your car. It takes someone that has been in juvenile institutions to understand how to best train staff and implement programs that facilitate change in the youth. Politicians and CO intellectuals can't put humpty dumpty back together again.

Billy R. Hollis said...

What BB says is true...no control, no treatment. A balance between the two though, is essential. The kids understand violence, yelling and threatening. Those are the tactics that have created a good part of the mess TYC/TJJD is in now. They should pull Chester Clay's video from 2006 out of the archives and have institutional staff watch it. No matter what you may have thought abot him, his words are as true now as they have ever been. We went down the wrong path with the corrections philosophy and we continue to pay for it today. The use of force, of any kind, was always supposed to be the last resort. But anyone who has ever been in the institutional environment knows that sometimes it is necessary, despite all of our best intentions. But it should not be used maliciouly or in retaliation. I would much rather see a kid make a good decision based on the chioces he has to correct inappropriate behavior than bribe him with a coke and a candy bar. What happens if you don't have the coke and candy bar next time the kid is in a critical behavioral situation (Shades of Resocialzation!!!!). It's supposed to be about making good choices, learning to take responsiblity for one's actions. I sometimes would ask staff how they would feel if they were treated the way they were treating the kids. Pie in the sky? Perhaps, but it's obvious to me that the what is being done now is not the answer. I'm done now. Besides, no one is listening anyway.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the continuing coverage of JJ issues. The rhetoric is heating up. I think leadership of the agency has become an issue, but very concerned that the idea of reform is connected. It seems that treatment and responsibility are being viewed as mutually exclusive.

If the JCO's are not keeping ratios, and some of the staff are not even appearing on the dorms, how do we know that the treatment program will not work.

Not knowing enough about the treatment protocol, it does seem that some level of sanctions and incentives are needed to incorporate.

Is there an EBP basis for CoNextions? Has it or something it was based upon been used effectively in other institutions?

What would it take for JCO's in general to get behind a therapeutic model? In other words, if there were incentives and sanctions, would that be enough?

Anonymous said...

Grits said: "Instead, a la Temple Grandin (or the Dog Whisperer), the better tactic where possible is to guide youth (or cattle, or dogs) through incentives and defined choices, to instill HABITS of personal responsibility which can be sustained without coercion when you're not standing there to threaten them."

True, however this takes time, we have also created an revolving door system where the youth expect stages every month and a step down or home NLT thier Minimum Length of Stay. To istill changes that took 13 or more years to develope takes time. Recently "in 48 hours" showcased 3 youth who committed 2capital murders and burned the victims in a car in Dallas. They said they were in the Juvenile system in Texas. All i can say is it takes time to change. The TJJD needs to recognize this.


Anonymous said...

Informative link:


Responding to pressure from probation chiefs, district attorneys and prison guards, Gov. Jerry Brown has done an about-face on a revolutionary plan to shutter California's youth prison system that was once the nation's largest -- and arguably the most notorious.

Just four months ago, a small section buried in the governor's belt-tightening budget caused a massive stir in the juvenile justice world. With annual costs per inmate at about $200,000 and its population down 90 percent from peak years, the youth prison system should stop accepting serious and violent youthful offenders beginning next year, the Brown administration concluded.

For prison reformers who have long battled 23-hour confinement, education in cages and endemic violence, Brown's Jan. 5 recommendation to eventually shift all the young inmates to county facilities was a startling and welcome move.

But in a revision of the budget released Monday, the governor now calls for upending his previous plan. The change came about after howls of protest from corrections officials, who flooded Sacramento budget hearings with demands that the Division of Juvenile Justice, or DJJ, remain open.

Counties, already struggling with an influx of adult prisoners shifted to their watch under other state budget reforms, simply couldn't handle these most-difficult youths, they argued. Prosecutors warned that without state-run youth lockups, more juveniles would be sent to adult prisons.

Anonymous said...

As for the ones being held in the adult system:

“They just do not know what to do with these kids,” Deitch said of jail staff."

lmao.... bet they're not offering video games and popcorn and seeing their places burn likes what's happening in this agency!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments Scott. It really is time we start to face the BASIC problem - treatment takes money and the legislature doesn't want to pay for it. We do need smaller facilities; however - be they state run or county run - treatment still takes money. I am a long time TYC/TJJD employee and certainly agree that large, state run facilities aren't the best solution. I'm ready to hand the treatment of these kids back to the counties and see if another model will work - 'cause what we have isn't working. That being said, the other truth is that this is a large state, with many small & poor counties in 'remote' areas that aren't going to be any more able to recruit quality treatment providers than the state has been, so you can't really give all the kids back to individual counties. There will have to be some type of regional 'bundling' of services/facilities. Because we do need SOME secure beds - some these 'kids' really need to be removed from the rest of us (admittedly, I say that just because about 5% of them SCARE me completely.) I'm not completely sure I accept completely the conclusion that counties do a better job - the fact is that, for the most part, the state operated facilities have all the county's 'failures' and that means we START with the ones who have already shown they don't respond to what the counties already have. Maybe the questions we should be asking is what more could they do with the money spent on state operated programs and how many would just certify?

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

Great coverage of this article by Mike Ward Grits, and its cool the way you turned the post around to more positive dialog. It’s a topic that easily brings out the worst in some of us. The next regime should vet these comments for feasibility.

The current TJJD population would be better served in a youth offender type program offered and managed by people who know how to manage this type of populous, and the child advocates who think they do, TDCJ.

The legislation is in place to fund local county corrections through the new juvenile justice agency eventually managed by local county probation departments. The right person was brought in several years ago to set the scene providing the catalyst where elimination of the old tyc culture is considered the best solution.

Hypothetically, Crain Unit Texas Department of Criminal Justice Juvenile Institutional Division.

It’s a bountiful valley suitable for growing all types of edible crops. Working in corrections is a prestigious position amongst the local indigenous. There will be no need to hang out at Wall Mart for its rejects to hire to manage and supervise these felonious young men.

T. Bayes said...

I have to agree with Sheldon. He should know because he's been there. Send the hard asses on up and send the wannabe's but never could be home - but only after seeing what's about to happen to the idiots who never took advantage of another "chance."

Rid TYC. Eliminate the whole idea. If juvenile offenders can't behave in their own community, then one option exist: TDCJ. Just do it. I support Whitmire and his thinking behind this endeavor.

No one could possibly fix what Cherie Townsend has broken.

Thomas Bayes

Anonymous said...

Grits: I remember a few years ago in San Antonio that a Chief of Adult Probation was under scrunity for trying to get subpoenas to identify commentors on blog sites (yes I read a lot you wrote back then as I do now) to hold them accountable; well, it may be fact or fiction, I don't know.... but apparently Cris Love, the OIG chief at TJJD is identifying people posting on this blog as well - or so they say. I had a few friends call me and mention he came and saw them on the issue despite the fact they commented - AT HOME. NOT AT WORK. AT HOME.

What kind of bullshit is that?

RAS said...

As for competing with Walmart; JCO IVs make $18.90 /hr. Turnover among new hires is over 90%. The alternative to coNextions is the
Resocialization program it replaced ( and was so bad that TYC got visitors from around the globe to find out what Texas was doing so well) As for the smaller units in bigger cities; smaller = more money per product unit, bigger city means higher cost of living. That means a double price increase. And to grits who still thinks discipline equals physical contact-- WORK A HALL -FOOL.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

11:29, if you have any direct evidence of that at all, please let me know. My email is shenson[at]austin.rr.com. I'd heard nothing about it.

RAS, how many of those dropouts do you think end up working at Walmart? Probably as many as end up working a hall. Also, perhaps you missed my comment above that "there are many potential discipline measures besides pepper spray and solitary confinement." Try to argue against what's actually said and not whatever caricature in your head you're angry at after all these years.

BTW, at least for once y'all have limited the name calling to me, which is quite an improvement from past juvie strings, so thanks folks, for keeping the discussion civil.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Another thing, @ Billy Hollis and 10:06, I do realize that there is a subset (though even after recent reductions, still a subset - the ones 10:06 finds "scary") of TJJD inmates who require straight-up incapacitation that the counties can't handle, whether they're placed in smaller facilities or funneled up to TDCJ. I'm not naive and I don't want actual predators either released prematurely nor preying on other youth at TJJD. I just now think the solution may involve doing something else with those other youth. As Billy said, "what is being done now is not the answer."

My larger point remains that the Lege wanted to do this on the cheap and so ignored the central advice given them on reform. Ham2mtr says a Temple Grandin approach would "take time," which is true. That's why I wish they'd acted on the advice when it was received instead of waiting until failure repeated itself five years later.

Anonymous said...


I don't think failure repeated itself. It was never fixed. The Agency formerly known as TYC was never headed in the right direction. The powers that be wanted everyone to believe that changes were being made that would have a positive impact on TYC, but it was all smoke and mirrors. They passed some laws, changed the name, fired a bunch of people some good that could have helped fix TYC, some that should have never been there in the first place, and said everything was better. There was no oversight, (except by maybe the Ombudsman), and the reason there was no oversight is because nobody knew what to look for to determine if it was fixed. They all have their heads buried in the sand in Austin. The lawmakers don't possess the experience to know how to fix the Agency, and the few remaining folks at CO are running scared trying to kiss a mile of ass to hold on to their jobs.

hamrman said...

Having been in the Army back in the 60's and gone through basic training for 8 weeks we had several "misfits" that didn't want to be there and did all they could to create havoc, but by the time basic training was over, these people were compliant and had some self respect and self discipline . . .All it took was the constant negative price they had to pay for their actions in the form of running, hiking with full pack, low crawl pit, plenty of PT (physical training), cleaning up latrenes, and then more of the same if they didn't seem to come around to the correct thinking . . .We have been way to lacking with yhoung people in discipline and what we see is the results of letting them do what they want to, when they want to and how . . .The military was good training for many young people when we had the draft (they had no choice), but even now when people join the military, they get a heaping good dose of discipline. So, my answer to the viloence at youth prisons is let the ex-military drill sargents come in and shape them up !!!!

Anonymous said...

You know, at the gut level that seems to make sense. Certainly, the military offers the kind of discipline and structure that many of us assume these young people may have been lacking. The Boot Camp model became very popular in the '90's for precisely that reason.

Unfortunately, studies of Boot Camp style programs for juvenile offenders have universally shown very disappointing results. Therapeutic models have shown far more success in terms of reducing recidivism rates among young offenders. Since tax dollars are so scarce right now, my vote is going for programs that have been proven to work - even if they don't ultimately satisfy our desire to express our ongoing frustration and anger with the kids bad behavior. In the end, I want them coming back to my community rehabilitated - and would like my tax dollars used to best achieve that goal.

Anonymous said...

If the inmates are violent, blame the staff:

If units aren't adequately staffed and those on the job aren't rested and focused, that likely explains a great deal of the rise in violent incidents.

Anonymous said...

In 2006 as a part of a security audit team, Stan D was told by me and others that Giddings had serious security and discipline issues. The team gave him suggestions to fix it, and a corrective action plan. For the past 6 years, staff have been sent to Giddings to help out and try to keep things in order. It looks like it finally came to a head. The should have listened 6 years ago.

RAS said...

Grits--A BMP wasn't solitery confinement, they came out of their cells to do school work and Core work assignments until they completed the first phase then they started going to regular classes until noon then back to security to do the core work and then their cell, then all day in school for a week, then school and behavior group on the dorm, then back till bed time for a week, then back full time. No solitary confinement unless they refused to cooperate doing anything. I'll say it again and you won't hear it again; if you haven't worked a hall your ignorance of juvenile supervision is almost laughable to the people who have acquired insight through experience and training by others with more experience. No kids shouldn't be pepper sprayed because their misbehaving, but I've never heard of a kid being seriously injured by it, can't say the same for PRTs not to mention the staff that have been fired because someone thought they were too rough in their restraint.

Anonymous said...


Great post. Could not agree more with your points here.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, we will always need somewhere for the bad of the bad to be sent to. However, the current system is doing very little to rehabilitate these youth so they can return a productive citizen. With a direction change the current administration might be able to pull it off but there needs to be a complete philosophy change. We don't need to go so far as a boot-camp model but a stricter, structured daily routine would go a long way in putting responsibility back on the youth to carry forward. I believe the current administration should listen to the county chiefs who operate facilities and learn how they are dealing with the youth who in past years would have been sent to the state facilities but now remain in the community. Advocacy groups need to remain on the sidelines for this one and let practitioners handle business.

Anonymous said...

It will never happen, the Advocacy groups and parents of committed youth interpret strict and structure as abuse. Once you try to hold the juveniles and/or staff accountable, they run grab a hold of a politician, and the pendulum swings again, and we are right back to the current model. Rewarding or ignoring the youth's negative behavior, and staff scared to hold them accountable because they will get nailed by OIG.

Anonymous said...

I say we start making the parents pay child support until the kid hits a certain phase. That, or, if we are seizing the social security check those parents are getting while the kid is in the institution, that we stop it when the kid hits a certain stage. However, the only way that would work is if that kid wasn't just given the freaking phase. That means, fire James Smith.

Anonymous said...

Here is a tidbit of Cherie's memo that was sent out today:

Jay Kimbrough, my special assistant on safety and security issues, has been with TJJD for a week. We have met with several board members and Jay has met with numerous staff, both in Central Office and in the field. He has visited the Giddings campus twice during this time and has plans to visit all TJJD facilities in the near future. Jay has received and read several anonymous correspondences and has asked me to let you know that while he wants to hear from staff, his preference would be for staff to identify who they are and where they work. This would greatly assist him in determining the nature and extent of the problems that are being brought to his attention as well as allow him access to follow-up information.
I understand that our employees may be concerned about identifying themselves in their correspondence. Several anonymous letters have mentioned the fear of retribution should it become known that they are voicing concerns.
Let me be perfectly clear on this issue: I will not permit any form of retribution or retaliation to be used against any employee who voices concerns. It is illegal and unethical and any supervisor found to be engaging in such conduct will be immediately disciplined. Every employee should know that they not only have the right to be heard but that they have an obligation to report unsafe, unethical or illegal behavior. Therefore, I encourage you to remain in contact with your supervisors and facility administrators about your concerns. If you don’t believe your concerns are being adequately addressed, please contact me or Jay Kimbrough with the assurance that you will not be subject to any form of retaliation.
Thank you for your continued support of our youth and our agency mission. I look forward to working with you to overcome our current challenges and making all of our facilities safe and secure for you and for youth.

This is 2007 all over again!

Anonymous said...

Giddings(capacity 300) seems to be in the news more than the other units. For this example lets say Giddings population is 275. Let Giddings leadership look at the offenders there and select the 100 kids that cause the most trouble.

At the other 5 units look for the 100 biggest problems and exchange those two populations. Most units have empty beds, and there is enough space throughout to handle the numbers moved from Giddings along with few moved to Giddings. At the end of the day you have the toughest to manage kids all in one place. Over staff that with a clear overpowering ratio.

Focus on treatment at the other facilities and consequences in that order. At Giddings, verey very clear structure and consequences with the offenders goal to be behave in a manner that will get you transfered to one of the other units.

Advocates would like the programs and "freedoms" of the other units BUT would have to understand the demands of the very tight structured programing at Giddings.

The offenders wishing to take advantage of the many opportunities offered in the other facilities and programs could do so. Those wishing to test the systems resolve in changing thier behavior would find a place for that also.

Last but not least, we take your biggest problems from your campus and all hell breaks lose again...it might mean part ofthe problem is staff and not so much kids!

Anonymous said...

Thats it! the culture has changed! I know so cause I read it myself!
Right from the horses mouth! Call me or call Jay, dont care which one, just call...call me call me call me!

We want, no we need to hear from you!

Some body call Stan! Tell him "we" over reacted to HIM CALLING someone, but its all water under the bridge...call me at the office
or Jay at BR549....

Bet ya 5 right now the first person to call Jay instead of CO will be sitting right next to Stan

Anonymous said...

You're damn right 4:36 p.m. I would not trust her one bit and Stan is the perfect example of why.

Anonymous said...

"I will not permit any form of retribution or retaliation to be used against any employee who voices concerns. It is illegal and unethical and any supervisor found to be engaging in such conduct will be immediately disciplined. Every employee should know that they not only have the right to be heard but that they have an obligation to report unsafe, unethical or illegal behavior."

My ass! Explain Stan!!! She's talking out of both sides of her mouth!

Anonymous said...

Basically TJJD needs to do a better job of keeping violent and predatory youths away from weaker more immature ones. Simple to say of course. However this may come into conflict with the previous efforts of "regionalization" where youths were moved to prisons and placements near their families. Regionalization is a great idea unless the youth's family members are also gang members.

Also, I do not think "punishment" is the answer to TJJD.

I also think that there would be less staff injuries from youth assaults if self defense were taught in their training.

I will tell you a dirty little secret...

Self defense is not mentioned in TJJD policy. Self defense is not taught or recognized. Where a citizen on the street has the right to defend themselves; a TJJD staff member has to use a convoluted "primary restraint technique" which all of the youths know and have grown to expect. TJJD needs to recognize and make policies regarding self defense. Many youths and staff members are harmed because of this great oversight.

Anonymous said...

Lydia Barnard is responsible for most of the corruption in TYC. Stan trained her. They've had a good ride for many, many years, rewarding and protecting their dirty bunch.

Anonymous said...

Lydia Barnard has been gone 5 years now and has absolutely nothing to do with this mess Cherie Townsend and James Smith have created. Get a life because you're living in the past you idiot.

Billy R. Hollis said...

I find the excerpt from Ms. Townsend's memo to be quite interesting. I know for a fact that anyone who speaks up about anything illegal, unethical and that such conduct will not be tolerated is simply not true. Back in 2005 I sent a letter of concern to CO regarding the Brookins incident and received two letters of reprimand within two weeks of each other and more harassment than you could shake a stick at. While the Superintendent at Evins, all that had to happen was for one of the upstanding "locals" to call CO to tell what I had allegedly done or said and they were automatically believed and I had no chance to defend myself. Perception I believe they called it. If I was perceived to be anything, it was taken as gospel. All the good that was done at Evins vanished in a puff of smoke. If you'd like names of my detractors, you just have to ask. And heaven forbid I asked to speak to Ms. Townsend. One of her many "Directors" would get to her before I spoke to her and made sure she knew what a trouble maker, malcontent or a racist I was. After numerous corrective action plans that I could not possibly hope to complete successfully and a negatve performance appraisal, I knew that the next step was another bad appraisal and termination. Constructive discharge I beieve it's called. Don't believe me? Check my personnel file. As I said before, they can take my job, my money, and everything but they can never take my integrity. And I truly hope that TYC/TJJD can find a way out of the darkness. I wish them all luck. Peace, love and hari krishna all you groovy guys and groovy gals.

Anonymous said...

There's something I learned long ago when dealing with govt entities. People in Townsends' position will make promises of protection for whistleblowers, while on the other hand, the agency they work for will retaliate against them left and right. The reason they do this is because they can. If Stan successfully sues TYC for retaliating against him, what does Townsend have to lose? The short answer is nothing. And, TYC loses nothing but taxpayer money. I've always thought that violating whistleblower laws should be constructed like a civil rights violation. On a civil rights violation, you can actually sue the individuals, and not just the entities. And, you can sue for treble damages. I bet we would have a lot less retaliation against whistleblowers if this were the case.

Anonymous said...

If that 7 ft. idiot operated outside of the policy in her dealings with Stan, then her ass can and should be held accountable outside of the agency. Hell, she's been violating personal policy since day one.... she not using reason and good judgement. For that reason alone, all of you should sue the idiot.

Anonymous said...

Changing the thread topic slightly here - it's great to see some positive news regarding TJJD.


At least San Antonio media outlets don't mind feel good stories, unlike Mike Ward and the Statesman.

Anonymous said...

How dare you, 11:23...posting positive news about TJJD. Don't you know that is verboten around these parts.

I won't hold my breath waiting for Grits to put up a new blog post discussing this.

Anonymous said...

Executive Director Cherie Townsend is not the first or only person to be smitten with the belief that it is unfair or somehow wrong to hold people accountable for their actions. This notion has seized hold of our opinions and has become firmly rooted. Just look at colleges where some students are awarded high grades for poor performance.

Ms. Townsend, unfortunately, stepped out into thin air when she decided to impose this notion on the very institution where it would cause the most mischief: a youth correctional agency. She probably thought everyone would be in such a paroxysm of political correctness that they wouldn't notice. Well people did notice and most were appalled to see her moving the agency in the wrong direction.

Everyone is allowed to reconsider a bad decision, everyone is allowed to take corrective action. In this case, no time remains--it has gone on entirely too long and with too high a cost. Hopefully, we can change course and move in a responsible direction.

Now is the time for sober reflection and a honest re-assessment. If a correction is not made in the next three or four months, others will step in and make sure it happens. I wish Director Townsend well and hope she makes this major correction on her own.

Anonymous said...

The calming area, and pizza parties, and activities come from what they have done with the halfway houses and it doesn't mean it is working that is to stop their outburst or violence. People who want to treat these kids like their own are nieve to the reality of what these kids have been through and how they perceive reality. You don't rehabilitate by giving them all the power.. and my kids don't get wined and dined like these kids. Sure it might be nice for them to get some activities at the institutional level, but part of their justification was to make the halfway house different or create desire for them to go on to the halfway house - in fact, they now coax these kids to get them to agree to come to the halfway house as though it is a product/commodity being advertised. And who ever said/what was the issue w/Resocialization???? How did that program have any baring over what happened to those boys in West Texas? Meaning the abuse to those boys was about the administrators there and the "cover-Up" when it was going on and thereafter - How did changing to Connections fix any of those programs and changing/expanding business services? And why did they take it upon themselves to change anything but the issues underlying the problem - yet, we still have the same problem, lying, covering up, pretending a problem doesn't exist, nothing different - same TYC, same "type" of people, same structure, no matter what name you want to call it. Just don't do a thing about it unless it hits the media/newspaper and then it is still questionable as to whether or not anything is really "done" to change what really is -

Anonymous said...

FYI - CO can say "pick up the phone and call them direct" all they want, but use to be there was and probably still is policy that says employees are to follow the chain of command, meaning they are to start with their supervisor, etc. otherwise, they are subject to disciplinary actions.

Billy R. Hollis said...

There was nothing wrong with Resocialization, 12:08. It contained all of the elements needed to give kids the skills they need to be successful in the free. The behavior phase is what was being abused. Whant to keep a kid longer, give him one more than the number allowed and SHAZAM!, he stayed. That could have easily been fixed. I think one of the main problems with CoNextions, is the fact that, unlike Resocialization, it was implemeted piecemeal and there was no viable training provided to staff who were responsible for implementing the (Dare I say it?) program. I seem to recall that the training consisted of a 2-4 hour "overview" to get it rolled out by the established deadline. It does nothing to address any type of skills development, personal responsibility for the kids' offenses or anything even remotely akin to behavior modification. Early in the initial development, an analogy was drawn that compared CoNextions to
"filling a swimming pool". That did happen, but unfortunately the pool was filled with raw sewage. And the rest, as they say, is history. And if history repeats itself, there is a chance that something from that past history may hold the solution to all of these very real problems. Could it be any worse?

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to guess how long the TYC/TJJD facilities will remain out of control? Is it getting harder for them (CO) to stiff-arm those who advocate for discipline and accountability?

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:48 .... There are some good things, it's just that the employees thought the merge would make real change, we had faith that someone actually gave a damn.
It is more clear each day how no one really cares about this place. I guess big prison industry is bigger than we thought, and having a minor league to get them ready is the goal.

So yes there is a small plus but when compared to all the rest of this crap it gets over looked. It's kind of like waking up on 9/12 .... And searching for a positive and all you can come up with is how well those planes flew into the twin towers!

Anonymous said...

It's a shame when a board member who is a chief juvenile probation officer discoveres just how bad things are at the facilities and in the course of trying to do the right thing by bringing it up to the proper channels is now being called a trouble maker. He interview me awhile ago, I spilled my guts, now people around here, the same ones who advocate for change, call him a nosey chief for trying to get a better working environment for us. What a shame. Keep posting all you others about negative things but since Mr. Mead has been coming out here things have gotten better and not because CO wanted it to. The rest of that board needs to get out more.

Anonymous said...

I like the way Mead is putting pressure on Townsend et al. by making his presence known at those facilities first hand. That's what a good executive director is supposed to do. I recall the good ole days when Robinson and Burnham would show up unannounced and walk the campus and they did that frequently. It kept everyone on their toes and cultures very seldomly deteriorated like they do now. Mead is doing the right thing by walking those facilities and talking to those front line staff. If any of you have the opportunity to share your concerns with him, by all means, do it. He's seeing what you are seeing. Maybe he should be Townsend's replacement. He sure seems like a valid leader unlike Cherie Townsend and James Smith.

Anonymous said...

Before you guys make Meade the new director, trust me he already has that spot in his sights. It was just a few short months ago he was throwing Ms. Spriggs under his bus and marching Townsend around as the perfect choice.

He is a member of our Chiefs association and I have watched him do his magic for several years now.
He is very intelligent and can sound as sincere as any human can be. His motives always seem honorable with the safety of the children his first priority. It was the safety of the kids that made him aggressively fight the implementation of the hotline for kids in lock-ups. He "investigated" the proposed plan and at a meeting on the subject presented his findings, only he didn't really present all the facts, just the ones that agreed with his point of view.
When the rest of the story was reported he stormed out of the meeting and his long running feud with TJPC began. To his credit he later admitted all the problems he predicted had not happened and the hotline was a good thing, but his anger over having been questioned never ended.
So be aware that there is always a personal agenda and he is either the victim, the hero or both. As long you are with him and his cause of the day he is a friend, just do not cross him.
But do not trust him...the list of people in his wake grows every day!
Past leadership of TJPC, Townsend and and Stan at Giddins, all at one time or another worked with him on a subject, plan or program! Hasn't worked out to well for any of them.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like he will fit in great at TJJD...another douche bag in a position that they can handle!

Anonymous said...

OK now I'm pissed! Yall wanna know why they closed all the facilities in West Texas? Take a look at this. It's very disturbing because it's just the way of life out there! C'mon folks!!!


Anonymous said...

Look at all the good staff who were either ran off or left because they knew TYC/TJJD would never become a place where staff were appreciated and youth actually knew responsibilities. The list grows and still no change, I understand Kimbrough is on board but he is there to make the Governors office look like they made a good decision in choosing Townsend. Bottom line it will not change until programs change, this will never happen under current leadership, zebras seldom change their stripes.

Anonymous said...

09:26 -- Keep up with the comments. When people like you tell it like it is, eventually others will listen and respond... I hope. TJJD is on the ropes and doesn't have much time left before someone is gonna have to declare a TKO.

Anonymous said...

TJJD has already received it's TKO. Townsend is just hanging on the ropes unconscious and clearly not leading now that they brought Jay Kimbrough in. I think the delay is that the gov's office is trying to find a place for her to land to save face on this very bad decision; however, the problem is, no one wants a loser like Cherie Townsend in their camp.

Anonymous said...

The issues in the agency are similar to what we experienced in 2007, but in many ways worse now. In 2007 it was much clearer who was in favor of fighting to help the kids.

There was a division but the leadership was so outspoken, unprofessional, and just flat mental, that it was understandable to question the intent of the people that supported them. There were so many people that genuinely wanted to help the kids AND had dedication to the agency.

The agendas of those in leadership now are more ambiguous which has on many level greatly intensified staff's fear to speak out on behalf of the kids as well as themselves. When we lose the ability to voice or thoughts and concerns because of fear for jobs we all(staff and the kids)suffer.

The number one priority with the operation of every residential program (i.e. secure, non-secure, and contract care) is safety. Our philosophy has been safety and security is top priority because if a youth doesn't have that then it is impossible for them to focus on, or succeed, with their education or treatment.

So my question to everyone is how to we find a way to bring safety and security to TJJD? How do we encourage the staff that are killing themselves to make a difference in the lives of our youth. There are so many good staff that are exhausted and hanging on because they want to help our kids and they are trying. Talk to our kids, ask them and I promise you that you they will tell you. It will not be the staff that do not hold them accountable or look the other way. It will be the staff that hold them accountable, but they are consistent and fair and put forth a genuine (and often exhaustin effort) to get to know and really understand our kids.

We have so many positives in the agency right now, but they are not often spoken of or internally supported or promoted. There are certification programs in several employment fields, the PAWS Program(thank you Cris Burton), Independent Living, Epiphany, the online classes with Navarro College, the transition program in San Antonio and the gang program in Houston. These programs have been successful and help the kids.
Why do we promote the negatives rather than the positives?

Anonymous said...

"So my question to everyone is how to we find a way to bring safety and security to TJJD?"

Get rid of Cherie Townsend and James Smith. It's really that simple.

Anonymous said...

Why would we expect any less from the directors and executive staff at tjjd, they are at the same level as the kids. I heard the general counsel tried to stab her assistant and made unethical requests. her assistant filed a complaint and now the general counsel has resigned "due to medical issues", so she says.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Fair enough Anonymous; other than the dated TYC and Me propaganda what are TYC kids doing today?
These kids who have sought rehabilitation from our states answer to curing sever/chronic juvenile delinquency,
What are the kids doing today who have been in TYC during its various cycles of foolishness. Cycles of foolishness that sound like 2007, no 2004, no… more like 1995, wait isn’t it similar to 1986? No I think it’s the big one like 1949 or the other big one 1971, no its more like ….

The people who make decisions regarding TYC/TJJD don’t appear to know the agency’s history. Because the agency has always been about covering up various forms of abuse the agency’s history is hidden from most people. Because the agency’s history had to be hidden you people as a whole continue to repeat the same mistakes.

The institutional division of TJJD needs to be shuttered AND the Juvenile Institutional Division of TDCJ needs to be created. And yes Crain unit would be a nice place for it.

Who Gets a Childhood by Dr Bill Bush should be required reading for people working in this agency. I was just reading on page 192 and it sounds like what you have today at Giddings. You people calling the shots keep making the same mistakes, WHY? Dr Bush does some amazing research into the states TYC tombs’ pealing back the covers on TYC’s history. Now you can know the history and stop doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you about Dr. Bush's book and about needing to do something different.

The area where I disagree would be the idea of just sending youth to the prison system. That can't be our answer to juvenile justice.

I do think additional youth can be treated in the community. I think the large institutions need to be shuttered. Smaller group homes with college educated and well trained staff working with the youth. In other words, TJJD would get smaller, but the savings would be reinvested in staff, training, programs, etc.

A decision has to be made for continued reform where accountability, consequences, rewards, sanctions, and rehabilitation mix. It can't work at one extreme or the other.

I'm not saying that TDCJ couldn't do it better than the current TJJD. I'm saying that real change has to happen, and the staff , politics of the day, public pressure (all of the historical reasons for a collapse of previous reform)

Anonymous said...

Treating ALL juvenile offenders using the same program is ridiculous. This standardized modality has created a fill-in-the-blank and check-the-boxes
procedure. Co-Nextions has done nothing but hand over operations to the youth. The facilities have grown more and more chaotic since CoNextions was implemented.

I know, from personal experience, that one or two (usually one) youth can stagnate an entire class. No one learns, the teacher and the JCO's have no recourse, Program Supervisors just throw the CoNextions manual at you (figuratively) if you ask for help or support. There's no recourse.

ONE kid can keep 10 others from learning and working the program. LOCK HIM UP!!! Call it "Level Two" of the treatment program.

If I was crafty enough in writing the 225, sometimes the virus would be taken to security. And, almost always, the other kids were thankful - sometimes they even said so.

TJJD is the only treatment some kids will ever have the opportunity to receive. Is it too much to ask that we effectively treat those youth who want treatment?

Right now TJJD facilities are criminal training grounds. If a kid isn't rotten to the core when he comes in, he probably will be when he leaves.

What a mess, Senator Whitmire, et al. Spend some money and FIX IT!!!

Oh, and no, Ms. Townsend, I won't be signing my name here. I walked through TYC's "open door", ONCE.

addypotter said...

Wow! This is a crazy story. Youth facilities like this and other sites should have phase 1 environmental site assessments. I hope things change soon or that things get shut down.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article. I’m a few months behind on my comment, however would like to give a much needed “Amen” to the TJJD competing with Wal-Mart for employees. The caliber of JCO’s and supervisors hired has declined significantly. At a half-way house in North Texas they actually have the JCO’s give all types of medication to the youth’s without any type of nurse or medical supervision. Two youth recently escaped from that facility as well, the 2 JCO’s who were not paying attention when the youths were at rec – didn’t even realize they were missing for a good 45 mins. Of course no disciplinary action was taken against the JCO’s. A supervisor at that same facility caught a youth with K2 and just told him to throw it away (in light of a recent outbreak of K2 being smuggled in, they didn’t need another youth with K2 showing up at the facility). My point being…. Lack disciplinary actions for both staff and youth are both contributing to the issues at TJJD. Selective discipline for youth and staff has led to free for all basically for certain staff members and youth’s.