In a quote that must be music to the ears of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Whitmire declared that, "In all my years up here, I don't think I have ever seen a program as dysfunctional and legally challenged as this program - and that's saying a lot." In recent years, such comments have often been aimed at TJJD, or its predecessor agency TYC. Finally, they've elevated from the bottom rung of agency dysfunction! Or maybe the floor just dropped.
Regardless, while addressing issues of agency management and eliminating the jurisdiction of a biased Montgomery County judge who oversees the program, the reforms do not address the most immediate problem with Texas' civil commitment program: Where if anywhere can the state house them in the community without being pushed out by NIMBY backlash? Nobody knows, and the clock is ticking to find a solution. The Chron article concluded:
The bill, however, does not address a critical housing shortage facing the agency.
The roughly 175 men currently active in the program are living in halfway houses, jails and boarding houses under round-the-clock supervision.
The private halfway houses, however, have demanded the men be removed by August. The agency has no room to house the men or those who are expected to come out of prison throughout the year. Because of that, officials had asked for the changes to take effect immediately so they can move ahead with plans to buy or lease a new facility where the offenders outside prison can be confined while they undergo treatment.