Thursday, May 31, 2007

TYC's Marlin unit will become adult prison

The transfer of the Marlin unit from the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is nearly "a done deal," a spokesman for Sen. John Whitmire told KWTX TV this week. Marlin is a small town southeast of Waco where TYC currently does "orientation and assessment" for every kid entering the system, so now that will have to be done elsewhere. According to KWTX:
the plan that’s in the works calls for processing new female inmates through the TYC facility in Brownwood and new male inmates through the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart.
On average, youth spend about 52 days at the Marlin unit before being assigned elsewhere in the system. This is the first, concrete announcemement of long-rumored TYC facility closures, and before commenters ask I don't have any new information about the fate of the John Shero or Victory Field units. The facility in Corsicana where TYC handles youth with severe mental illness was criticized as being in an unsuitable setting, so its role could change, too, though I've not heard anyone advocate its closure.

It's obvious, though, that between setting up O&A operations at new facilities, gender segregating youth, and addressing the situation in Corsicana, TYC's reorganization will require reshuffling different units' functions in ways that will potentially create staff shortages for specialized positions in the near term.

The move will expand TDCJ's capacity by nearly a thousand beds, but it's not as though TYC employees can all just get jobs there. Before this session, JCOs at TYC got only a quarter of the training time TDCJ COs receive, so most employees can't seamlessly transfer to work at the adult prison. Plus, TDCJ has less need for caseworkers and teachers than straight up prison guards.

During session there was talk that Marlin would become a DWI treatmtent facility, but no word yet whether that's what will happen. Any TYC or TDCJ folks who know more, please inform us in the comments.

UPDATE: More news from Marlin! The Back Gate reports that the shuttered VA hospital there will re-open as a prison hospital. KCEN-TV reports the hospital will provide women prisoners mental healthcare.


Anonymous said...

If the present leadership closes more than two units it will come back and bite the state of Texas on the Butt.

By having this ratio of 1 staff to 12 youth you must suppress the campus population. Which means these campuses that can hold 350 youth would have to go down to 250 or 260 youth.

If they have not factored this in how about the judges who will continue to send these General Offenders (misdemeanors) but as VIO-B's, this will happen so lets hope they have plan that is far reaching and not short sighted.

The appropriations for smaller units is not funded so no new construction is in the mix unless they go with a pilot program that was discussed where TYC will build one unit like this outside Houston.

The problem I see with all of this is nothing is concrete and the plan the agency has is not written. Closing just to close make no sense and not having a contingency plan is even worse. Of course you will here contract beds, but this is not a solution for those of us who work with the youth. I guess we will sit and wait.

Anonymous said...

If the plan is to close John Shero but wait until the last minute to tell staff, I think the "leaders" in Austin should be ashamed to look at themselves in the mirror.

Sit and wait, I will not. I am actively interviewing, have put my house on the market and will get as far away from TYC as I possibly can. I can't help but wonder if there will be any employees left by the time our bumbling "leaders" get around to telling us what's going on.

I have worked for a number of companies in my life, but I have never worked for an agency that cared less for their employees than this group.

Anonymous said...

Things are going downhill fast here in Marlin. No leadership and knee jerk reactions have left the inmates pretty much in control. They know they will probably get out in 9 to 12 months no matter what they do. They know JCO can only restrain them if they are hurting themselves or others. It will be dangerous here soon.

Rumor is TYC will wait till the last minute to give employees any information for fear the employees will use up all their sick time. many have already left and more are leaving soon.

Libs and the MSM have really done a number now and the good people of Texas will eventually be the ones to pay. Some of the poor darlings released last month have already gone home, committed crimes and are back in TYC.

I get the impression that some dont think TYC should even exist. Juvies in TYC arent locked up for missing Sunday School.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@2:00 - Just curious? Which "Libs" are you talking about: Jay Kimbrough, Rick Perry or Ed Owens? ;)

Also, the MSM (and blogs) are not without fault in this, but the media makes neither laws nor policy nor runs institutions, so there's a limit IMO to how much blame can be assigned there (as to "Libs"), as opposed to people actually running the show. best,

Anonymous said...

Eventually the pendalum is going to swing back to a more correctional environment for juvenile criminals.

Some of these younger offenders could benefit from a community setting and possible rehabilitation.

However many are just hard core criminals that if not for their ages would have been in TDCJ. They have criminal mentality that unfortunately more often than not - is evidenced by recidivism and an unwillingness to comply while in TYC.

That is the part the libs and MSM do not seem to report accurately on - or even appear willing to dig into.

So we will continue to pray for the victims and that law abiding citizens of Texas...and those that wait in TYC employment limbo. God bless MAOU, Victory Field and John Shero with peace and patience during this time

Anonymous said...

The latest word out of Austin:

As of September 1, 2007 Psychiatric services will no longer fall under TYC - but will be managed by UTMB.

There is also rumor that other services now managed by TYC will be under the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Grits have you heard any further information on this?

Anonymous said...

It is still a very scary thought that there could be a move for more urban juvenile facilities. This puts gang affiliated youth right in the mix for those associated with these gangsters to have contact.

Look at EVINS, Al Price, and Henry Wade in Dallas. Friends, Aunts, Uncles, cousins of youth that are gang affilates are employed there. Youth have been known to make threats to staff and their children of hits on them in public for not abiding by their wishes.

Has anyone thought of these issues in a serious manner? And what of the youth that are not from urban areas? Would they move them far from home? Just food for thought in this day of soured milk.

Anonymous said...

Maybe UTMB can take over JCO staff. I know they sure pay their folks a hell of a lot better.

Anonymous said...

Psychiatric services are already under UTMB. Do you mean psychological services are to be moved to UTMB? We have been hearing that rumor for a while...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I thought everyone pretty much agreed UTMB couldn't handle what they're assigned to handle now?

Anonymous said... just nailed it.

Victory Field is getting the same shaft as John Shero. By that I mean that they don't want to tell us anything, yet we are supposed to be good stewards of the agency while awaiting execution. It totally sucks!

Anonymous said...

Psychiatric services require an MD. Psychological services only require a Phd. This is something to do with the license required for counseling vs medical care. It makes sense that UTMB already provide Psychiatric services, and that "they can't handle what the already have". The Psychological services may be less complex and costly.

Regarding a prison and prison hospital in Marlin, very interesting that they failed to announce these plans until after the budget was passed by the legislature.

I wonder what they're going to do with all the new prisons they're spending money on?????

Anonymous said...

5:47 PM No - it is actual Psychiatry. They are paid contractors from TYC (handled under the Health Services Division in TYC) Recently under George Willeford MD prior to his retirement - most just work inside the UTMB clinic. But the "vote" if you will, will have them now paid by UTMB and under their jurisdiction. Supposedly the psychiatrists will be having a meeting to discuss all details financial and otherwise in the very near future.

I have heard also the rumor of psychology going under UTMB. But no official word. Have also heard rumor of nutritional services and casemanagement going under UTMB - but you know how ya hear things these days. :)

Grits: It is my philosophy that in most any agency there are generally too many chiefs and not enough indians. So to me it is pretty much "half dozen of one/ six of another." ;)

Anonymous said...

Since Perry wasn't able to sell the Texas Lottery, perhaps he can sell the prisons to Corrections Corporation of America and they can house the overflow from Calif.!!

It is a capitalist soceity so I'm never surprised to see that it is "all about the money".

Anonymous said...

6:01 PM
Yep the trouble is the money all tends to stay at the top and not filter down to us peons in the field!

Isn't that right, "$35,000 a year richer Governor Good Hair"?

Anonymous said...

Folks at John Shero have been looking for jobs for a while. We all know that it's a done deal. Just wish they would have the b@lls to tell us man to man (no sexism intended).

Anonymous said...

I think that all this secrecy about closings has another dubious purpose. In my opinion, all of the changes that have been authorized by SB103 are the product of a self-serving wannabe dictator and a gaggle of grandstanding politicians who have no idea in the world about how to make their master plan work. The purges in Central Office have left the agency with little or no real expertise in juvenile corrections to plan the change over and implement the "plan" (Hmmmmmm, there's a plan?). Add to that, our new executive leadership has no concept of how to administer this program and to compensate for their inadequacies and ignorance, they rely on the tactics of not communicating with the field, instilling fear in staff, retaliation and intimidation to try and give the impression of control and order. These tactics were among the cornerstones of the campaign to oust Dwight Harris and his regime and were identified as major contributors to a problem-laden agency that is TYC. Isn't it funny how they seem to have made a speedy recovery and are flourishing again in Central Office?

As for closings, whatever. I won't waste anymore time or energy worrying about it. Marlin is in the news slated to close soon, and John Shero is in the LLB to be closed no later than March 1, 2008.

In a nutshell, Jay and his cronies should have taken a lesson from the University of Science, Music and Culture...PPPPPP (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance). Something else I learned in the USMC that has served me well in life is "Take care of the people that work for you and they will take care of you."

Anonymous said...

Dr. Pap - amen brother (or sister)

As a USN veteran you are right on. Have your brother's back and he'll have yours. From the top of the order to the bottom.

A lesson not seemed to have been learned in the lege or CO.

Anonymous said...

Just got word that UTMB received 44 million for youth services from appropriations in the next biennium. Haven't heard the dollar amount for TYC. Any news on that?

Anonymous said...

Just looked up salaries on the UTMB website for psychologists.

A staff psychologist ranges 36,230 - 59,780.
A responsible psychologist ( masters level with 2 years experience) ranges 43,250 - 71,360.

Heck - considering my salary with TYC - I say I hope UTMB does take over psychology. My kids "gotta eat". :-O

Anonymous said...

I would still like to know exactly what is on Senator John Whitmire's agenda....

The extreme hostility to employees of TYC, the favoritism of TDCJ, the potential gain in revenue for urban areas....

Can someone with more political "know" than me please expound on this? Thanks

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@7:56 - Good question, and hard to tell. To judge for yourself I'd suggest watching some of the hearings on TYC BEFORE the media storm, e.g., the one in Edinburg on 8/30/06, video feed here. Maybe that will give some clue to root motivations beyond what's been said since the news broke, which has all been pretty much political theater. Also look at the filed version of SB 103 to see what his committee wanted to do BEFORE Pyote.

And if you come to any conclusions, naturally, please share them. :)

Anonymous said...

Hell we all knew Marlin was going... logistics with Mart I, II right up the road with empty beds because they couldn't fill the place with employees was a given. John Shero fits a need for TDCJ given it was built for them anyway.

But folks, wait. I want to call attention to the Sheffield Boot Camp.

We spent 8.9 million on that facility and it’s a state of the art facility, acoustic boards to drown out the noise, technology via the surveillance system like none other. Its capacity is 120. And let me tell you, some of the finest Texas you'd ever want to meet live out there. So what, everyone is in everyone's business... they don't seem to mind that. Kids from the intercity get BIG time country values.

I live in Austin but I love going out there. Deer hunting... whew... the best.

BUT the fact remains... we built a state of the art facility there when "Robin Hood" was still alive which caused the Irran/Sheffield school district to keep a hell of a lot money in the district given that kids in TYC were counted for in their "average daily attendance." Not that Robin Hood is dead, so are they --- an astonishing 8.9 million dollars later, not counting the houses we built out there which blow away ANY state housing we offer anywhere else.

I'd hate to see my 8.9 mill go and collect dust. If they look at that place, and how nice it is, I'd hope TDC would do something with it... if not, cap it at 96 beds and let's let those cadets enjoy some good country values. Many that graduated from there are in Iraq now.

Evins deserves to go before Sheffield. They've been a problem since I've been in TYC for 14 years now... TDCJ can use those open bays all they want. Besides, we don't really like the fact that so many drugs are coming in the Valley and making in that facility.

Anonymous said...

Whitmire was defeated in the 1992 (?) democratic election, but came back in a run-off and has run unopposed ever since then…. He’s looking to take the lead role in a new HBO gangster series that’ll replace the Sopranos…. Well, at least until the elections come around…. Any word on the guy that defeated him? Is he still alive?

Anonymous said...

Sheffield Boot Camp is the MODEL our current leaders whine about, except for the fact it is remote and not in whitmires District. Come Gallegos stand up for your district and tell Whitty Hell No you cant have Sheffield.

The Texas Youth Commission just built mobile home pads next to the facility for 16 homes (cost about $300,000 just two years ago), last I heard the Katrina folks did not use their alloted trailers, make a deal and bring them to Sheffield. This would solve your housing problem and keep a very good program in place.

But wait that would take thought and insight, something this agency has been lacking. Hell move El Paso next to Sheffield and this could justify saving the place.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the former TYC employees can get jobs at the prison unit once the changeover is complete. If you can work in TYC then you can adapt to TDCJ without much problem. I know because I have worked for both and I actually preferred the structure of TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone out there heard anything about Victory Field becoming a TDCJ facility? If so, I'd like to hear about it. The word is out that we are NOT built for TYC.

Realitycheck said...

So, has anyone realized that now that TYC is discharging all youth that are 19 and above and the impact it is going to have? All these TDCJ people have come in, taken over, and now that we are getting rid of alot of the youth, they have made their agency more populated, therefore breaking down our agency even more. They don't want to hire us TYC folks, but they want our facilities, wake up people. Juvenile justice and rehabilitation is going to all but be forgotten. Put the youth in jail, etc. Is it me, or does anyone else see anything wrong here? Am I blind, or just plain. Meanwhile, if you are not yet looking, you may want to start job hunting before it is too late. I notice that it was sure quiet about Marlin until now, Victory Field, San Saba, I would be looking if I were you. But we did keep West Texas I guess, no offense to you Pyote folks, but I don't know too many of my co-workers or their families that want to go and live there.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone. CO does not care about what the people in the field need. Guess they have forgotten who really is important in the daily operations of TYC. Those new policies and changes can not happen if JCO's and other staff are not there to make those changes. We have a right to be informed on the might happens and is going to happen changes, closures, etc. We have families also. We are those kids family when we are at work. When staff just leaves it hurts the kids.That is another support system that just walked out on them.
Corsicana is losing staff right and left. The education dept has about 5-6 teachers looking for jobs. What CO has came up with for teachers there is unbelievable.Wanting them to become certified in several core subject areas. Teachers in the public school settings are hardly ever certified in several areas. CO says find another job, now is the time. I don't see teachers beating down the door to come to work there. It has taken two years nearly to hire the vacant spots now and one has not been filled as of today.
What teacher would want to come to work or apply at a scandal ridden place with Sex Abuse all over the newspapers!On top of that post a job application that says work over time and on call. You have to work 12 months out of the year. But CO wants to make it harder on the ones that are there and have been there for years.
Now there is newspaper articles saying that the Legislator is not happy with CRTC. First we have ever heard about this. Maybe we are up for down the road changes or closure. Find another job, you bet and most are looking.This is not the way to keep employees and not just Education staff. CO is sending the message that we are not needed and can be replaced at the drop of the hat and that is not the way to treat those who are doing the job. That makes for disgruntled employees and moral is lower than it has ever been in this agency. CO needs to change their way a bit , don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Whitsfoe- Check out Whitmire's cash on hand.Last filed in Jan. 2007 he is at 3 million?

Wonder why so much?

Anonymous said...

To all my brothers and sisters in TYC - irregardless of where you are stationed....I understand your frustration, as I feel it myself. Whether we are Education, JCO, psychology, PSW, nutrition or supporrt service... or the medical staff on the campus - WE ARE TYC. We work together daily in the care of these kids. Sometimes sacrificing time with our own families for the good of the team.

But now - we feel under the gun and at the mercy of powers that seem to have no regard to our lives, feelings, livlihood. And to put it plainly - it sucks the big one.

And to make matters worse - it seems like they are spitting in our faces by the clandestine manuvers that come so easy to those in ultimate power.

The answer - hopefully it is forthcoming. Hopefully it will be straight and without clauses that only a Harvard lawyer can decipher. Just know my brother and sister - that we are all in this boat and hope that soon life will have a semblance of normalcy. God bless us all.

Anonymous said...

I hear anons 4:18 and 11:03. Something is definitely going down, and I feel it every single day. We have TDCJ staff "helping out" at our facility (VFCA) because there are not enough JCO's. No logic there. If we weren't on the list for closing, then why don't they hire new staff to cover the shortage? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. People are quiting right and left; many of them in high ranking positions. Teachers are looking for jobs too, but who wants to hire them? After all, it was a TYC Principal in West Texas that started this school no less!! Oh what a tangled web we weave... When will this nightmare ever end? All we want to know is what is REALLY going on on, and how much time we have so we can plan accordingly. The uncertainty is maddening and not fair to any of us AT ALL.

Anonymous said...

There are still department heads that need to be replaced.Start looking at Parole.They are leaving us in the dark.No one is saying anthing.This secrecy is what got TYC leadereship in trouble in the first place.The practice is to make themselves look good in front of the new guys running the agency.

Anonymous said...

You made an excellent point 8:06. It does seem that TYC intends to keep their long-time tradition of keeping secrets. But we already know that it doesn't matter how much sh!t gets covered still going to stink!

Anonymous said...

to anonymous @4:18 - How do you know you wouldn't like it in Pyote? Have you ever been here? Monahans ISD is one of the best school disctricts in the state, state of the art equipment and facilities and great FOOTBALL! WTSS is peaceful and quiet and we have some great scenery - if you don't mind a little wildlife here and there. And you can't beat the friendly people here...I can't help but promote it...I belong to the Chamber of Commerce so I would be remiss if I did not:) Despite the 'information' the media has put out, we are very proud of our facility and have numerous employees who have been with us for more than 20 years. There must be something worthwhile here for people to stick with us for so long.

I choose to remain positive about all of this although it is growing more difficult every day. However, I believe the field staff are, for the most part, united in our mission to help these kids and as long as we keep that mission in sight, I believe we will work this all out and be better for it - eventually.

Anonymous said...

I am not bashing the folks at Pyote. I admire all the work that you do and know some of the staff from WTSS and they are great. I am just saying, some of us could not handle living in Monahans, we are use to a big city. Does not make us any better, etc. I personally would love to live in the mountains where no one is, or an island, where no one is close by. I can't stand the heat out there or the snakes!

Anonymous said...

Not to stir up rumors but the West Texas population just keeps on dropping. On one of these strings it was posted that WTSS was not taking in any new youth. Can someone confirm this?

Anonymous said...

WTSS is continuing to take youth. If I am not mistaken, most facility populations have dropped. We have received several students from Brownwood.

Anonymous said...

Have any come from MOAU?

Anonymous said...

Wow.. Our new Boss is now official.. Ed Owens ..accepted. Per the News Station....Now we have him for 2 years. and guess who took his old job???? Pope, yes.... Pope!! God Help us all.
And with Dr. Novy taking over Rehab and all of Education.. God Help us all.
Yes, he is letting Venita take over Special Ed.. but, remember..he is a Micro it really does not matter who he appts, he is still really in charge!! God Help us all

Anonymous said...

i think one post on the appropriate string would have been enough. Wow...

Anonymous said...

Gosh.. how I love to read this!!

"That was not the policy I asked for, and we're going to change that policy," Jay Kimbrough, the agency's conservator, said when asked Thursday about the apparent conflict between the policy and Harrell's past.

"It was my intention that our policy follow that of (the Texas Department of Criminal Justice), that people who had Class A and B misdemeanors in the past five years not be allowed to work in correctional positions. But TDCJ does allow people with misdemeanor convictions to work in other positions, and that's what I intended to allow at TYC."