Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Youth Commission News Juggernaut

Several more items related to the Texas Youth Commission deserve Grits readers attention:
  • The House Corrections Committee will hold hearings Thursday and Friday to hear bills related to TYC.
  • Capitol Annex also has a discussion of two more top TYC officials - Linda Reyes and Neil Nichols who quit rather than be fired.
  • Lisa Sandberg at the Houston Chronicle reports that a grand jury is finally hearing testimony regarding alleged West Texas sex abuse cases.


Swan said...

If you haven't seen it yet check this out.

Anonymous said...

check this one out at the houston chronicle blog:

TYC, another missed opportunity

Today's news story outlines how Gov. Rick Perry's staff knew early on that a pair of sex abuse cases at the Texas Youth Commission's West Texas State School were not being prosecuted.

But the governor's office also missed an opportunity to see the broader TYC scandal coming.

In April 2004, former TYC Inspector General Randal Chance wrote a book called Raped by the State, outlining abuse allegations in TYC -- especially at the West Texas State School.

Chance sent an email to Perry's office complaining that TYC employees were threatening him over his self-published book.

Chance's e-mail was forwarded to TYC by Perry criminal justice advisor Janna Burleson and copied to press secretary Kathy Walt and the general counsel's office.

An e-mail from TYC Chief of Staff Joy Anderson to the governor's office said the book was an "angry, rambling, racist, sexist attack against the agency'' and "offered little detail that would enable us to investigate further.'' Burleson wrote back: "No need to respond to him (Chance).''

Even if the book was the ramblings of a disgruntled former employee, the email exchange shows neither TYC executives nor the governor's office tried to investigate whether there was any subtance to what Chance was saying.

Chance said when he did not hear back from the governor, "I assumed they did not take it seriously.''

Chance had said he should be treated as a whistleblower, but both the governor's office and TYC decided he did not have whistleblower protections because he was a former employee when he wrote the book.


Posted by R.G. Ratcliffe at 10:40 AM in Gov. Rick Perry, TYC | Comments (0)

Anonymous said...

My name is Dionne and my husband is a pediatrician in Lubbock , Texas . My 10-year-old son (now 11 and STILL not tried for any crime) was falsely accused of a crime and held for 10 days at the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center .

While this is not a TYC facility, it is a state-administered facility nonetheless. While being detained there, my son faced some of the same kinds of abuses suffered by those held at TYC. He was locked in his room for 3 hours at a time for "not shutting a door correctly." On yet another occasion, they turned off his electricity and water, stripped his bed and took all the letters and pictures off of his wall.

My son, who is very small, was hazed repeatedly by the detention officers and was threatened and told not to tell anyone. One guard told my son to go to his room, lean against his wall and get ready for a cavity search; He didn't even know what that was. He was also placed in the middle of their pod by a guard who pulled out electric clippers and told my son they were shaving his head. He wasn't even allowed his weekly phone call home.

When he didn't eat all of his food they threatened to make him wear a dress. These are just a few of the things that we know about. After a little research I found out that in the past 2 years there have been 2 suicides and at least one allegation of rape.

When I complained to the Director, Les Brown, about how my son was treated he had me banned from the building as an attempt to muzzle me. I reported the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center to the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission but it took them almost a year to investigate and file a report. The report agreed that my son's rights were violated, but not all of these violations rose to a "significant level." TJPC also agreed that some of these violations and abuse did rise to a level requiring action however only one individual was disciplined (one detention officer received a three-day suspension), with no other consequences to anyone else.

Ironically, my husband does many of the physicals for kids entering the S.T.A.R. program here so he has heard from other parents about how their kids were mistreated at the juvenile justice center and whose parents, like myself, were "banned" from the premises when they complained. Apparently, the leaders of the Juvenile Justice Centers - charged with helping and supervising our kids - would rather ignore problems at their sites or, sadder still, disregard the victimization our kids might be going through.

I hope the investigation into TYC will lead to other investigations of the institutions that our children are locked in. The Texas House and Senate members serving on the Juvenile Justice & Family Issues and Criminal Justice committees,or Governor Perry respectively, can not claim ignorance on these issues because we have sent each of them a packet detailing the abuses that occurred in Lubbock . I sent all of these via certified mail and received all tags back.Governor Perry sent us a letter notifying us he planned to forward this to the Dept. of Justice for investigation.We never heard from him or his office again. The only interest I ever received was from my Texas State House member, Carl Isett. Representative Isett does not even serve on these committees but offered his assistance nevertheless.

We want to bring these abuses to a larger audience, and let others know its not onlty TYC that needs investigating, but all institutions that are responsible for the care of our children. We tried to get the Governor and our congressmen to check into Lubbock's juvenile justice practices. Maybe now, with the TYC abuses coming to light, they might actually do something for the kids detained in Lubbock.

Anonymous said...

Grits- Ok the Senate and the House are no longer talking about TYC. For two days meetings have been canceled about TYC issues. Do you know why they have balked, could it be they have no clue what they are doing. I have been told Alan Pulanski may be taking over TYC in some capacity but once again "Nobody is talking". They keep saying they will close three to four TYC facilities (Marlin, San Saba, West Texas, and Evins), once again no body knows. They say the "Plan" submitted By Mr. Ed Owens had to have specifics and the bloodletting in Austin is not yet over, but nobody knows? This whole issue has become one of the biggest jokes in State Government and nobody has stepped up to the plate to give any plan or direction. Can you look into this and provide some answers, it would be much appreciated, thanks

Anonymous said...

I'm disgusted. Whitmire is a liar. The tape doesn't lie. There he is, along with Chuey, and all the others, walking away and not paying attention to what the former TYC Executive Director was trying to tell him regarding the WTSS situation. What a joke, the "Dean of the Senate" sports a dunce cap. Nice. See you at the polls Whitmire. You're consituatants are looking at you now. And then you want to seal DPS offical misconduct? You’re gone.

Anonymous said...

Dionne - what a sad story. I hope you and your family eventually get some satisfaction.

re: Whitmire - the worst. I believe some (Madden especially, Dutton) are sincere, and they have had the balls to accept part of the blame for this whole mess. Whitmire's been too damn busy dodging any culpability and blaming Bush from 12 years ago!

I thought I read that Dwight Harris was 'asked to appear' at a hearing today, and that Mayor Alfaro was coming in.

Hmmmm...anybody think maybe they canceled the hearings in part b/c neither of these fellows is under any sort of control by them anymore, and they really don't want them sitting in front of cameras and a microphone 'testifying' now??

*bok* *bok*

Okay, who is Alan Pulanski??

Anonymous said...

To the poster who mentioned Randy Chance, the former Investigator for TYC who wrote the book Raped By the State:
Mr. Chance attempted to "uncover" corruption in TYC using the least affective methods (in my opinion). He published a book that was unedited for spelling and grammar errors (made him look unintelligent), spoke of things that had nothing to do with the abuse or agency (hence the rambling accusations), he changed the names of those he accuses (rather than being willing to take a stand) and the most important issue that makes him less than effective- he RETIRED from the agency after 20 years rather than resigning and refusing to be a part of the abuse. HE IS COLLECTING RETIREMENT CHECKS FROM THE SAME AGENCY HE DISPARAGES. I worked with Randy Chance. I can say this with full knowledge of what he said and what is happening-Randy's credibility is diminished every time he cashes that check. My question to Randy has always been how much longer would it have taken him to say anything if the cash in his pocket wouldn't have been affected.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of TYC Investigators (the ones who are paid by the agency to investigate the stuff within- not the local or state officials there now). Has anyone heard what has happened with them? Anyone seen them still walking around? Did they all get fired?