Wednesday, March 28, 2007

TYC public hearing today lets Lege hear from new faces, conservatorship may be announced

I'm headed up to the capitol this afternoon to watch public testimony before the Joint Committee on Operation and Management of the Texas Youth Commission, at least for a while. I could watch it from home on the computer, unemployed blogger that I am, but no, I'm going to put on a jacket and enter the pink dome to discover the scuttlebutt in the hallways. The things I do for you people! (My three dogs have all informed me they think I should take them on a long walk instead. Despite my fear of disapprobation from Rep. Woolley and the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, I plan to ignore their pleas and visit the Lege.)

This should be an informative afternoon - a first chance for the committee to hear from others besides themselves and a few handpicked administrators. So if you care about what the Lege might do about, because of, or to TYC, don't miss it.

(For those who couldn't attend, here's the link to the archived video of the hearing.)

RELATED: On the Texas Observer blog, Jake Bernstein says that Speaker Craddick, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Gov. Perry have scheduled a press conference upon adjournment of the House where they may announce a reversal of Gov. Perry's insistence on a "special master" instead of a legally sanctioned conservatorship. (You'd almost think the Governor is a Grits reader!) If it happens, that should give the hearing a different tone.

In addition, allegedly abused TYC kids and family members gave testimony yesterday, reports Channel 8 News, to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. Here's more from the SA Express News.

UPDATE: The hearing was a bit of a disappointment for some of the reasons already identified by Grits commenters, so I came home early to give those dogs a (shorter than hoped for) walk and to take a nap. I'll try to get a summary of some of the highlights up soon. Until then, see intital MSM coverage, and also coverage from the Texas Observer. MORE: From the Dallas News, the Houston Chronicle, the Austin Statesman, the Back Gate, and Patricia Hart at Burkablog. This post from the Texas Politics blog raises an issue I've discussed regarding adults seeking parole - whether admission of guilt should be a requirement for judging rehabilitation.


Anonymous said...

You absolutely rock. Thanks for making this available.
I'll walk your doggies for you :)

Anonymous said...

I wasted my time and money going to the hearing today. They had a bunch of sad stories which they listened to attentively that had no substance to be used to correct wrongs. Senator Whitmire was one of the rudest people I have ever seen. He and others legislature members treated all TYC staff members as hostile witnesses. The posting at TYC lead many to believe they were invited to give suggestions on what was working, what was not working, needed programs, or any general information they could share for improving TYC. The hearing was little more than an ambush for the TYC staff. Many became very upset and the crowd had to be settled by Whitmire.

The entire thing was a staged media event! I arrived with documented evidence of wrong doing and problem areas that would have proved the case many were putting forth. I got totally disgusted at the circus and left after dumping my evidence with OIG and one of the Senators. I am done; stick a fork in me! My mom and dad were right; politicians are self-serving egotistical people that are not to be trusted any farther than you can throw an elephant.

Senator Whitmire should be ashamed of his behavior. I teach values to little criminals who show more respect for people than Senator Whitmire.

The sad thing is that several of us went to Austin to try to make things better for some kids that needed help, using our own money to get there. Most of us sacrificed over $200 dollars in lost time and travel expenses for nothing. It may sound strange, but I felt just like I was watching the administrative people from TYC central office while I watched the hearing. Senator Nitwit will probably not get much response from people at TYC should he ever call on us again.

As for Kimbrough saying all TYC employees will have to reapply their our jobs; I think we should all go home and draw unemployment and let Jay Kimbrough take care of all 4000 youth himself. Kimbrough is another arrogant individual who thinks he is a gift to the world. Most people know him as Rick Perry’s lap dog. I would like to see how tough he is when he is guarding 25 boys (17-18-19-20 year old), several of which are Mexican Mafia, Bloods, or Crips weighing in at about 225. Kimbrough would wet his pants!

Anonymous said...

I think the only thing to positively come out of the hearing today was the public notice that there ARE parts of TYC that are positive for the youth. I'm not a teacher nor did I work in the education dept., but that section of TYC is most likely the ONLY part of the agency that truly works for the kids. It's not totally perfect, but they do good. I saw what they do, I saw the care, I saw the work. It definitely needed to be brought up and I'm glad it was. It's hard to remember the good when it's hidden by so much corruption. And, most likely, the reason the education dept. does so well IS because they have run themselves separately from the rest of the agency.
As far as the rest of the hearing. Wow. Not sure that accomplished anything other than more anger.

Anonymous said...

God BLESS the TYC staff that had the balls to get up there and tell some of those blowhards to stuff it!

Whitmire is a BULLY, plain and simple. I am convinced he stays up late at night memorizing soundbites to spout off in front of the cameras. And Hinojosa? Please. Trying to intimidate that caseworker from Giddings. HA! She shut him down. "Excuse me? Excuse me??"

It was refreshing to see some TYC representation that could get up there and coherently and passionately make a case for themselves and the agency without fear or being BULLIED.

Anonymous said...

The Senators, Whitmire and Hinojosa have gotten much, much better at listening to TYC staff as the night wears on. They still have their pet peeves and they perk up when they hear something that supports their agenda. However, they did make statements in support of JCO, teacher, and casework staff -- people on the line every day! Hurray! Heard tonight that Ed Owens will have us paying overtime every month it's earned! All the committee members got plenty of invitations to visit facilities at anytime, dressed like a new JCO, so they can everyday reality we face. I extend the invitation to Jay K. and Ed Owens to do the same.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame the Senators for getting aggravated! I was screaming at the computer screen telling people to SHUT UP AND GET TO THE POINT!! MY GOSH! You have a chance to say IMPORTANT things to these people and you ramble on for 10 MINTUES about things that have NOTHING to do with ANYTHING!! We don't need to know about your Grandkids, we don't need to know about every *&^%$ detail about the last 15 years in your life!!! Did they turn around and look at all the other people waiting to speak?? This was not the "bond with your Senator" hour. You knew you were going to talk- how about next time you make every secound COUNT and get to the ISSUE!!! AUUUUGGGGG!!!!

Anonymous said...

This seems to me to be a stale circus act that papers such as the DMN and Austin Statesman can continue to get stories from for cheap and little research. Whitmires antics of insults rolling of the eyes etc is the definition of grandstanding and an over the top lawyer (which is he is)....
This to me isn't about sexual abuse or corruption anymore It's about avoiding other problems in this state...

Does Gov Perry have anymore A&M buddies he can appoint to this agency? Jay K had a nice little gig there...I'm sure more are to come

Anonymous said...

Well, the new acting General Counsel is an aggie, too...hmmmm...

I think I'm beginning to see the conspiracy!! LOL

Anonymous said...

laugh all you want...but all i see is buddies and TDCJ people looking for a new place to roost...

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott,
Do you have an email or link you can post so we can contact Mr. Perry directly? If you could direct those of us who would like to tell Mr. Perry our thoughts regarding his actions on this, that would be very kind of you.

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to wonder just how close Rick Perry and Jay Kimbrough are. Is there a special relationship other than A&M? Kimbrough is taking the focus off of the real problem and away from Rick Perry. It looks like another Cover-Up! Is Rick Perry tied to the sex scandal in a more direct manner? Rick Perry brought Ed Owen in to run TYC, after he did a sex scandal cover-up at TDCJ and got caught. Rick Perry appears to be doing everything he can to screw up the investigation of the real bad guys. Do the sexual deviates at TYC have pictures of Rick with the donkey?

Before you discount my line of thought stop and think for a moment. Why would Rick Perry pull in Ed Owens after the state paid out on a legal action Ed was a defendant in related to serious sexual misconduct at TDCJ? I think somebody at TYC is being protected by Rick Perry. I am seriously beginning to think we have a pack of perverts plugged into high positions in our state government and corrections agencies.

Anonymous said...

Jay Kimbrough is the hatchet man for Mr. Perry just look at his record.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Here's the info on how to contact the Governor.

Anonymous said...

The behavior of a couple of the senators was disappointing.

Anonymous said...

This was a joke and a waste of time they don't give a damn about JCO staff,We get beat up everyday by the same old kids and pay is very low do somehting about it

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the site Scott. I have sent Mr. Perry my opinion of his ethics. I hope everyone else stands up and says what they truly feel about what he has done. Below is more information that his website offers.
People, we are ALL disgusted. Saying nothing is saying it is okay with you what he has done. Let him know- from YOU, how you feel about his decision to appoint these people.
Scott (Grits) also has provided links to the Senators leading this committee. Let them know too.
It may not change a thing- but if you stand your ground and say how you feel, you can at least say you didn't just stand in the background and watch it all happen.

The Office of the Governor
Thank you for your e-mail message, which will be reviewed by the Governor's office staff. We value your opinion, and the Governor is kept informed regularly on the issues of concern to our citizens.

If your submission was a public information request, Office of the Governor policy requires these to be sent by facsimile to (512) 463-1932, by electronic mail at, by the U.S. Postal Service to P.O. Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711, or by hand to the State Insurance Building lobby located at 1100 San Jacinto Boulevard, Austin, TX 78701.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am curious. Since this whole explosion of trying to clean out TYC of the riff-raff, is there anyone out there who has filed a complaint either though the email address or phone number the OIG's office provided that has actually had a result from it? Has anyone contacted you? Did you get a tracking number or anything allowing you to follow up on what you complained about?

Anonymous said...

Does Whitmire receive money or support from Southwest Key?

This dog and pony show is to bash TYC and move to contract placement. It will beintersting to see what the crime rate on the little children is in a year.

We will also see local schools get their funding cut because the little criminals are not in school on a regular basis.

I know all the people of Texas want the violent TYC youth in their local schools. I hope your children are not raped or murdered by a released TYC youth but it will happen.

Remember they are poor misunderstood youth when they atack you or your family member.

Anonymous said...

Did i hear right that mr. perry is only going to let his staff talk to the ledge off the record, not under oath concerning when his office found out about the west texas tyc scandal?...So is little brother learning from big brother about how not to make a promise to tell the truth?...this tyc stuff smells really bad...

Unknown said...

TYC doesn't deserve to have people making excuses for their behavior or treatment of kids in their care.

For Whitmire and Perry to act like they had no idea these things have been happening right under their noses are blatant falsehoods.

Last year (June 2006) I wrote both of them regarding the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center in Lubbock. Although its not a TYC facility it is still overseen by our government and receives their funding from the state govt.

My 10 yr. old 57# boy was falsely accused of a crime and held in the juvenile justice facility for 10 days. He was locked in his room with no water or electricity, forced to wear a dress, harrassed repeatedly by guards, threatened, and was given "false" cavity searches and drug checks. That's just to name a few.

I was so appallled I sent EVERY Texas member on the Senate and House committees regarding criminal justice about the ordeal.

Both Whitmire and Perry said they would look into it immediately. Perry sent me a letter saying essentially he felt my child's rights were violated and wanted the DOJ to investigate. We never heard from either again.

It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to assume kids held in the juvenile justice centers in Tx. aren't getting treated any better than those at TYC. Unfortunately, no one has looked into the treatment received at those institutions.

I know in the past 1 1/2 years there's been 2 suicide attempts and 1 alleged rape (that I know about) in Lubbock's facility.Sounds like the same old, same old.

When are we going to start caring about our kids and demanding better treatment for them than this??


Anonymous said...

Hi all,
here is another website to check out for info as well on the TYC mess.
I see by some postings- you've already been here Grits :)

Anonymous said...

Are there any TYC employees out there who can tell us who is really gone from TYC because of this? Either fired, suspended or just "noticeably gone"?
I have heard of Dwight Harris, Neil Nichols, Emily Helm, Ray Worsham and then the arrest of the Marlin Superintendent Jerome Parsee (but, did he just go right back to work?). Are they really gone or are they still walking around? Is anyone else gone?

Anonymous said...

Whitmire, you are a public servant, not a self servant. That goes to the rest of the members at that ambush. Smoke and mirrors as usual. I am so sick and tired of politics. It's all about symbolism over substance. My father was right, the vast majority of our elected officials are arrogant dimwits.
The Texas Youth Commission was and still could be a effective organization. There are many, many dedicated and honest hardworking employees at the Texas Youth Commission. There are also many former employees who were lynched by the TYC for doing the right thing. Those are the people who need to be heard.