Wednesday, February 12, 2014

'Closing a troubled symbol of Texas juvenile justice'

Check out this excellent story by Maurice Chammah from the Center for Public Integrity examining the closure of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department's Corsicana facility, formerly the "Texas Orphan Asylum," examining the history of the facility and the problems that led to the Legislature finally closing it. The article opened:
When the Texas Juvenile Justice Department released a report in June 2013 recommending the closure of the Corsicana Residential Treatment Facility, the authors presented an arresting image. The campus in Corsicana, Texas, they wrote, “continues to pose a risk to the vulnerable youth population it serves as hazardous debris and glass are continually unearthed after rain or strong winds.” The roughly 90 youths at the facility, most of whom had been diagnosed with severe mental illnesses and who had committed crimes, were using the glass and debris to "harm themselves." Many of the buildings, the authors noted, "warrant complete replacement."

When Corsicana was finally emptied by the Texas Legislature in December 2013, many in the world of juvenile justice reform already viewed the facility as dangerous and unsalvageable. A federal Bureau of Justice Statistics report found that in 2008, 23 percent of Corsicana inmates reported having had sexual relations with staff. Violence was up as well; in 2012, the facility was responsible for 32 percent of all violent incidents in the juvenile justice agency, despite housing only 10 percent of the agency’s youths.
It hadn't always been this way.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

A sad time in a way, but far overdue. These youth were used and misused by staff and each other for years. My book "Carnal Society": The Texas-National Sex Scandal, exposed the horrors in the rogue agency. After many of the abusers that ran the agency were fired, justice has been somewhat restored and the public faith improved.

Anonymous said...

We continually look far into the past to exploit the current and future. There is a new agency, new administration and for the most part new staff in the state facilities.Juvenile justice professionals across the state recognize the giant steps that have been taken to improve the quality of care for the youth in these facilities. The treatment of the youth in state facilities have improved vastly under the current administration and will continue to improve despite critics attempting to discredit it with false assumptions. Understand the youth sent to the state facilities are the youth that you and I do not want on our city streets because of their criminal behavior.They are not saints. CR

Anonymous said...

I think there may be a correlation between the housing of most of the state's mentally ill juvenile offender's and the percentage of violent incidents occurring at that facility.

Anonymous said...

*offenders

Anonymous said...

Anon 01:23 PM,

When did 2013 become "far into the past"? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

"The treatment of the youth in state facilities have improved vastly ... despite critics attempting to discredit it with false assumptions."

In 2007 they were saying that it was all a false issue. Still doing it.

Anonymous said...

"The treatment of the youth in state facilities have improved vastly ... despite critics attempting to discredit it with false assumptions."

In 2007 they were saying that it was all a false issue. Still doing it.

Anonymous said...

Even in 1988, the agency was emerging from MvT related to constitutionality of confinement. Leadership has always been problem #1.

Anonymous said...

Now if they could close down the rest of that town, the state of Texas would be far better off.

A Former Corsicana Tiger

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Anonymous said...

The Evins facility has not changed, still major issues.
The Mart facility recently fired a superintendent.
The Giddings facility still has major issues with gang fights and assaults.
You can blow your own horn all you want, but with only 5 facilities you should have no issues.

Anonymous said...

What a winter it has been. Lots of rain, freezing temperatures, wind blowing to beat the band week after week. Navarro Mills reservoir is full. With all of that rain and wind and the fact that weather “continues to pose a risk to the vulnerable youth population it serves as hazardous debris and glass are continually unearthed after rain or strong winds.” there must be a gold mind of glass and items unearthed since no youth are there. Mike Ward, Maurice Chammal, John Whitmire, Grits why not get together for a spring trip and come see how much artifacts you can find

Anonymous said...

That is terrible, the fact that 23% of the youth reported having sex with staff. Unforgivable, oh but wait, you did mention that "most of whom had been diagnosed with severe mental illnesses...". What was the number of confirmed cases, you know where the youth was telling the truth, you see sometimes they have trouble with the truth, kind of like reporting. If you show the allegations then show the result of the allegation.

Anonymous said...

maybe all those dead bodies will uncover themselves now!

Anonymous said...

Allegations are still happening they are just happening somewhere else now.

You know if a writer was going to write such a good article then they should do some research and at least get the picture of the correct Orphanage and not the IOOF Home that stood across the street. I have heard horror stories about that place too.

Anonymous said...

A new agency, new administration and new staff... Too bad nothing has really changed despite the naïve supporters who think it has. It's easy to assume that things have gotten better when the new agency, new administration and the new staff continue to cover up abuse.