Saturday, July 14, 2007

TYC privatization scheme measures wrong performance goals

Examining further materials from the Texas Youth Commission request for proposals to provide contract care to incarcerated kids aged 10-13, I was disappointed to read Exhibit K (uploaded here) identifying how private residential facilities' performance would be measured. Residential contract compliance will be measured on these eight topic:

1. Percent Positive Releases

2. Percent Negative Releases

3. Escapes Per Year Per 10 Students

4. Percent Escapes

5. Felony Arrests Per Year Per 10 Students

6. Misdemeanor Arrests Per Year Per 10 Students

7. Confirmed Mistreatment Per Year Per 10 Students

8. Percent Early Movement [from the program within 30 days]

So basically they're measuring performance based on student misconduct only if it's criminal, "confirmed" staff misconduct, and whether kids escaped or completed their incarceration term. (See Exhibit K for definitions.)

Are those the only ways to measure a residential facility's success, especially one aimed at pre-teens? Those performance measures evaluate the warehousing function, but what about measuring whether contract care is meeting kids' needs?

How about meeting educational goals for kids? Where are the performance measures for that? What if a performance measure were the number of kids who left the facility able to read at their own grade level? That might be helpful.

Kids get a medical and psych evaluation when they first come to TYC. Shouldn't one of the performance measures for private facilities be to demonstrate whether kids received adequate treatment and counseling to address problems identified at intake? Shouldn't you measure that so facilities where kids aren't getting appropriate care don't have their contracts renewed?

For that matter, focusing only on "confirmed" abuse by staff leaves open the question of who's doing the confirming at private facilities, which often aren't very well monitored. All abuse complaints should be reported as well as the percentage that are confirmed. Similarly, there is lots of youth misconduct that doesn't result in arrests for misdemeanors and felonies, but these criteria indicate TYC doesn't care what the kids do so long as they're not arrested. Why only measure performance based on arrests?

I'm just spitballing here, but this list of performance measures to me seems woefully inadequate. I care about private facilities' performance on a much broader range of issues than these
narrow criteria would indicate.

This RFP has already been closed and bidders' proposals are all based on meeting the eight criteria named above. That could leave the state with an inferior product that supplies little oversight on the topics that really matter. What a mess.


Anonymous said...

How about kids who enter with a substance abuse habit and kids who leave without one having been clean for a year? How about kids who come in with no contact from their relatives and who leave with at least one relative in regular (monthly) contact? How about a basic skills test including kids who enter and are unable to cook a meal, use a washing machine or read a train timetable, and kids who leave with all those life skills and more? Bottom line is, are these kids going to be productive citizens of the future or are they just being prepped for life in TDCJ?

Anonymous said...

TO Sunrays Wench:
My experience as an employee of TDCJ indicates they are preparing for TDCJ.

We must spend the dollars on the TREATMENT of these juveniles; not warehousing them. Warehousing is what TDCJ provides the adult offenders.

Reducing the Adult prison population will only be accomplished if we can really habilitate/rehabilitate juvenile offenders. This can only be accomplished by employing adequate, professional staff to work with the offenders (from intake into the Juvenile Justice system through their progress of becoming productive citizens).

Our money and efforts must be on the "front end" (juvenile offenders) to preclude them from entering the adult system.

Staffing (funding) priority should be one the units, not the Central Administration.

The "Ledge" really imploded TYC.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Correction: "on the units".

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Obviously they won't assess risk factors to determine what kind of treatment these kids need. Simply put, it's called warehousing.

Anonymous said...

The performance measures you cite are what the agency reports to the legislature and are included in the strategic plan. Agency policy requires all youth to be assessed at intake. This assessment includes determination of specialized treatment needs and an educational assessment to identify academic needs. There are also performance measures related to educational progress. HOWEVER, if a youth is in contract care, educational programs are provided by the school district where the youth is located and these youth do not appear in the statistical analysis of educational performance measures. There are also some waffle words in the General Administrative Policy regarding placement decisions that allow for placement into contract care or specialized treatment programs for medical conditions or chemical dependency and other mental health needs. These contract programs are monitored by the agency's Quality Assurance staff and educational programs are monitored by the education department's education and special education liaisons.

WHEW! So, yes, there is some consideration given for oversight of contract care programs. (Now I sit silently wondering if I dare use the dreaded BUT.) I think you can see the holes.

Anonymous said...

Grits, Thank you once again for the valuable information relating to TYC. Two things here amaze me. First of all, how do you find this stuff that we, as TYC employees, should already know? Secondly, why aren't you getting the six figure income that Dimitia Pope is getting? Someone who cares enough about the agency to keep us informed the way you do, certainly deserves to be well compensated. I hope someone out there is making it worth your while. I have donated before, and if I didn't live in constant fear of losing my income in the near future, I would have a nice monthly check drafted out to you. If and when the fear of losing my job ever ends, that is exactly what I plan to do. To me, you are the most valuable person in the agency simply because of the relevant information you make available to its employees, not to mention a place to vent frustrations and ask questions. You are consistent, reliable, tactful and very much appreciated.

Central Office...I hope ALL OF YOU are listening!

A daily GRITS reader and frequent commenter of the posts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Grits, another home run!

Texans should be ashamed of this whole mess. These are children for heavens sake. With proper care, they have a real chance at a good life. Looks like the managmement of TYC really doesn't care.

The question now is -- what can be done. Contracts can include requirements that were not in the RFP. Then the lawyers and all involved can hash out the details like change in price and possible financial penalties.

Anonymous said...

You all just don't get it!!!!

Once again it is all about money, not the TYC youth or staff. This is a money making project. If you actually provide real tretment then the bottom line will suffer!


You can talk about this till the cows come home but the big money folks don't give a damn what you think! In fact if you screw with them enough they will have something for you and you will not like it!

Anonymous said...

I do not believe it is about treatment. The administration that is being replaced by TDCJ persons, in my view have very little treatment experience. DP does not like Resocialization. It had its problems, (mainly understaffing)but it is now politically to speak of it. So she said it was dead, appointed Dr. Novey to approve of something else. The Transitional Treatment Program is 98% the same Resocialization program. I don't really think he knows that and I don't think she DP knows this. This is why you see RFPs with flawed indicators or ones that don't much basis in Rehabilitation, it is because there is virtually no counseling experience or education with all these new administrators that are making decisions about treatment.

Texas could do better.

Grits, can you get access to the secret Blue Ribbon Panel report?

I'm not sure why this is such a secret at TYC.


Anonymous said...

I really wish someone would just stand up and say "This is the plan fellas." I am so tired of this day-to-day nonsense. I just want the five year plan.... what's it going to look like five years from now? I can't imagine because no one seems to have a vision of the future. But if I were a betting man (and I am), I'd bet sunset will put us right under TDCJ. It looks like our organizational structure is aligning with TDCJ's model, so the transition will be smooth, but so terribly wrong.

Anonymous said...


I get it and your correct the almight dollar is going to win every time. Money making deal off of kids. Dollar signs for these contract places. Why in the world do you think there were 15 of them jumping at the chance to take these kids. Not to save them , but to obtain what they will bring to their pocketbooks. Money and lots of it to those in charge.
TYC going under TDCJ, well where are we now? We are under TDCJ,just not on paper as yet. TDCJ castaways are running the show. DUH! That piece of paper or name change is not going to change anything at this point. It seems that they believe farming us out to all these places is the best way to make everyone look good and look like were fixed. Keep only the badest of the badest at the larger facilities and shut down the rest. Its coming. The train is rolling into the station.
What makes me sick to my stomach is reading about the screw ups and these people are blaming it on everyone else but themselves? I have read and heard that no one makes any decision in CO without the "heads" approving it.
Its not finding placements for kids its selling kids. It is giving these cities like Houston and Tyler TYC's that they have wanted for a long time to generate revenue for the cities. They want the income for their towns. That my friend is "selling kids for money" so others can benifit from the jobs that these kids will create for the communities. Somewhere in that project they will provide a bed, bath for the kid and some wore out clothes. Makes me sick. I know for a fact that some of these little guys in TYC are getting help and attention and they are learning right from wrong. They have people in TYC that they know cares about them. Now we are going to yank them up and send them somewhere else and make them more unstable than they are now. Oh well, they are just a product on a shelf waiting to be bought by a contract vendor who happens to be shopping in the store and they fit its profile.
Sorry just had to vent as I work with some of these little guys and I see the good in alot of them that just needs someone to honestly care about them.

Anonymous said...

You'd hope a judge would think twice about putting a felony offense on kids that young, but they will.

I'm going to advocate for the 10-13 year olds from a different angle. I'd want them out of TYC facilties. I wouldn't want them exposed to what these older boys are about to be facing here pretty soon.... please look at Whitsfoe's recommended reading on the "Stanford Prison Study." Good stuff...

Anonymous said...

One thing that is overlooked in the success rate is the home environment. We can do really good work with youth, but if there are not changes in most of the homes, than you sending youth right back to the same environment that caused them to get in trouble. We need to make sure to provide the parents the tools to help their kids. Some of these parents do not want to have anything to do with their kids for a various reasons, one, they are sick of someone telling them how bad they are of a parent, two, they could care less, three, they are involved in the justice system themselves, four, denial. Younger youth are very difficult to work with and make changes. The parole officers have a tough job, they have to approve homes that they know are not going to work for the youth, but the state cannot afford to keep a youth until they are 19. Parole Officers can refer parents to services prior to their child coming home, but not many follow through. They resent it or say they do not have the time. As working in both areas, residental and parole, it can be very frustrating for all who work with the youth. There are so many parents out there that if we as TYC employees let them know that we do not blame them, want to help them, and have empathy for their situation, it would go so much better. I hope that some of the changes TYC takes is to work with the families, I know places like Houston parole and Dallas Parole do, but it needs to be statewide services for all the district offices. If this becomes more active throughout the state, with the parole officers working with the residental or institutions, maybe we can see a more success rate.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Nurit, make me philosopher-king (or in this case, I guess, conservator) and one of the first things I'd do is revamp the strategic plan from the bottom up. If your goals and measuring sticks are about warehousing, that's where you'll put your priorities. This is just a micro-example. The TDCJ folks have the mentality even worse, but the old strategic plan shows it existed at TYC, too, before the implosion.

To the daily Grits reader - First, thank you so much! The reason I can find such info, I guess, is a) that I'm not busy caring for TYC kids all day, and b) based on some rather unique work experience I know a lot about how government works inside and out, where to look and what questions to ask. I also know quite a bit about corrections, though I don't have a background in juvie stuff at all. In truth, often what's really happening on the blog is I'm learning about the issues for myself, in many cases, and I write it up as I go.

Finally, I think I'm with 6:10, ultimately, and wonder what is people's opinion: SHOULD 10-13 year olds even be in TYC? Especially on the younger end, pre-teen, I'm not sure it can be justified and maybe the counties should be handling them, anyway (NOT privating, but send them back to the locals). Whaddya think?

Anonymous said...

Children with mental problems should be receiving treatment that works. Results should be measured against the best practices available in mental health today. In other words they should be doing these kids some good. Caregivers should be held accountable for results that help kids stay out of the criminal justice system.

Other children should be treated at a local level. Clearly some kids are really difficult. Regardless, they should be getting the best care we can provide, not the worst punishment!

Anonymous said...

Follow the money! It is a the root of all of the lies, misinformation and the perception on the part of the TYC overlords of a need for secrecy.

In my opinion, the first step toward true recovery is to send all of these TDCJ juvenile corrections wannabes back from hence they came (Ed Owens, Dimitria Pope, Bruce Toney, Jim Hurley, Mary Woods, Billy Humphries, et al). They will ultimately destroy what is left of TYC and ensure that today's TYC kid will be tomorrow's TDCJ inmate!

Anonymous said...

Well I have been busy today but I will jump in. 10-13 year olds should be in TYC and not private facilities based upon standards (even though we are lacking here lately) TYC is a helluva lot better than contracts.

If we really want to separate the 10-13 year olds from the older youth why not open a campus for these needs and staff it with folks that can deal with these youth (they are difficult, bouncing off the walls).

The reason we will not consider this idea is based upon closing more facilities. I know you do not want to hear about this but it's true. By shipping off these youth it leaves TYC more flexibility to close more campuses.

I just wish these parents would stand up and say "Hell NO" your not sending my 12 years old to some contract facility.

Speaking of parents where are they now that the session is over with and the cameras are not rolling?? Get off your couch and advocate for your kid. Tell your rep that you do not believe your child will receive any treatment from a contract facility, did I say treatment. I am sorry this is a word we at TYC no longer understand so I guess it is OK to send all youth to contracts.

As a parent who cares for his children I would do anything for my kid/kids and this is the main reason I stay with TYC (hoping I can change just one youth). But I really do not see this anymore based upon the lack of care and concern we now have.

What ever happened to the slogan "Staff are our most valuable resource""?? I honestly believe this and now days this is just killing me that we no longer believe this.

I know we were screwed up under the previous administration but I had hope and belief, this is slowing going away and I am about to lay down my cheerleader suit and lay down like everyone else.

No one really cares anymore about their peers or the youth, this is getting really sad.

Anonymous said...

It sounds reasonable that TYC will eventually (sooner than we think) come under the TDCJ umbrella. Brad Livinston got one hell of a pay raise to $181,500, the highest paid state agency head. He's gotta do something to earn that money.

Intrepid Critic said...

Hello Grits! I took this name in your honor.

Truth be told, I really do believe you are letting the new TYC admin off to easy. You and I will never agree on a whole host of items due to our diametrically opposed personal beliefs. Your tenure at the ACLU tells me that. While I may not agree with them or you on a lot of issues I will respect your opinion.

I also believe you've done everyone at TYC, me included, a great service with this blog. Thanks.

Now onto the not so good stuff.

I'm surprised you left out the other RFP's that were on the Texas Register. One RFP for 15's and up in a secure facility and one for a nonsecure facility with a statement at the end of each that more than one contract can be awarded. If only 2 of each are awarded then 300 more youth will not be in TYC facilities. That's a heck of a loss.

I agree with Chuy on the subject of whether these 10-13 year olds should be locked up in TYC. They definately do not belong in a low budget, for profit, contract setting. They have usually been abused at one time or another and are easy pray for perverts.

Another important point that has not been discussed is the fact that these lovely young creatures committed a felony of a bad enough nature and level of recurrance that the judges determined that society was safer if they were incarcerated in a secure facility. The best time to straighten these individuals out and give them even the slightest chance of a noncriminal future is right now. I say "Hell No" to probation or any of that other mamby pamby slap their wrist and talk them into compliance sociology crap. They've been getting over their whole lives because of this approach and it is time to stop cottling and start teaching children that they can not get away with murder or any other crime just because they are minors. Group the younguns in a secure TYC facility and break your foot off in the crack of their A$$.

Maybe they will get the point that the criminal way of life is a literal dead end, maybe they won't.

Age or lack there of is no excuse for fellonious activities. It appears that for most people, as long as you were not the victim of the criminal act then it wasn't really that bad of a thing or that big of a deal. Amazing, you see I don't care if the criminal with the gun in my face is 4 or 40, that's still not right.

As for the posters comment about nobody caring anymore, I'd just like to say, I still care about the kids and I believe everyone coming here to read, post, and learn, CARES!

The reason I'm so PO'd about this whole debaucle is; "I care".

Some people will state that we don't care about the kids, we just don't want to lose our jobs. These people are idiots!! Of course nobody wants to lose their families livelihood and worse yet because of a bunch of political grandstanding in the lege and maniacal power hungry TDCJ administrators needing room for promotion. Most of us could have taken a Much more monetarily rewarding path but we chose to care for children and be spiritually rewarded.

Like I said: The reason I'm so pissed off is, I DO CARE!

Anonymous said...

Chuey et. al,,, hang bro. I hate it too, but rest assured we are facing off with TDCJ personnel, hopefully making them think twice on that UOF plan that was submitted.

Newp.... we are resisting this thinking.

Anonymous said...

Grits, excellent work.

Twice in TYC's history - in the 1950s and the late 60s / early 70s - there were serious proposals on the table to place youth facilities under the direct supervision of TDCJ (then TDC).

So it is ironic that this has now been accomplished in a de facto fashion - by simply appointing TDCJ people to the most important leadership positions over TYC.

Also bizarre: if the root problem was a perceived overdependence on prison-like features, why would anyone think bringing in TDCJ people was a good solution?

Like the Kimbrough report's recommendations, this privatization scheme smacks of a concern with short term maintenance (and appearance) of order. And it seems arbitrary and unrelated to the well being of the kids - as many posters have already pointed out.

There is no clear reason to farm out any of TYC's functions to private providers. It doesn't demonstrably save money or improve the treatment of kids. In the past, private facilities have been mostly disasters. Why do this, and esp why now?

Grits, has any real justification been given yet? Maybe leadership feels none is needed since this wasn't made public and doesn't seem to have passed any oversight. What does the new ombudsman think about it?

Not a move that inspires confidence.

Bill Bush,

Anonymous said...

Mr. (Dr.?) Bush,

Are you sure that you don't want to be our executive director? I'll help you pack, move and unpack, wash your car, cut your lawn,do your dishes...whatever it takes to get a "real"juvenile corrections professional in that postion.

Anonymous said...

Dr. papschmear,

Thanks for the kind words, but I am nowhere close to being a "real" juvenile justice professional. I'm a historian who has studied these issues closely, and has spent some small time observing in juvie facilities and courts, and a couple of years observing in group homes, but that's it.

There is a different, and valuable, knowledge that comes from having worked daily with juvie offenders, and being truly responsible for carrying out their rehabilitation program. I simply don't possess that experience. Some of my views, in fact, have been formed thru speaking with staff at facilities in the past.

The truth is that no one person is going to have the answers... IMHO what needs to happen, and in some ways is happening outside official channels, is for experts of various backgrounds, system professionals, staff employees, and families to combine their efforts. It also might be useful to gather some insights from ex-offenders.

So far I feel that there has been a depressing lack of imagination on the part of the lege and TYC officials. A more open ended search for solutions is very necessary, not a quick fix way to restore order and remove TYC from the public's radar screen.

Bill Bush,

Anonymous said...

Is it pretty much a consensus no one has any faith or trust in the new leadership? I haven't seen one comment here of late that would even come close to supporting their actions.

I agree with Bush @ UNLV... if we're trying to move away from harsh, punitive treatment of juvenile offenders, then why are we bringing in puppet masters of this ideology to lead us? It makes no sense. This is what our legislature gave us? Elmer, Elmer, Elmer.....

Anonymous said...


I was wondering why newspapers like Dallas and Austin,etc. have not printed this information on farming out the young kids? If not why doesn't someone inform them of the new plan? Not all TYC folks read Grits and parents should know?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@ 10:11 -You'd have to ask the MSM why they aren't covering it, I don't have a clue. I never understood why they didn't report on the settled lawsuit alleging Ed Owens covered up sex abuse allegations at TDCJ, either. Who knows? Maybe they just don't want to acknowledge they got scooped by a blog? Either way, I guess it just means more people should read Grits! Spread the word!

Intrepid critic: Try not to assume to much from my past employment at ACLU, and I'll try not to assume to much about your decision to work in youth corrections (see the Stanford Prison Experiment re your comment "Group the younguns in a secure TYC facility and break your foot off in the crack of their A$$."). My opinions are my own and differ from ACLU's on many things, which in the end is why I'm not working for them anymore.

Bill, not only has no justification been given for privatization, TYC spokesperson Jim Hurley said he didn't know about it until a reporter called to ask him about it last week. (I have no clue why that reporter didn't report it.) If the top brass aren't even informing Hurley, it's a safe bet they haven't revealed the plan or justified it to anybody. Personally I wonder if legislators knew about it. I never heard one word about the idea till I saw it in the Texas Register.

Best to all,

Anonymous said...

Intrepid Critic, I strenuously disagree with your claim that it doesn't make a difference if the offender is 4 or 40. That's just plain nonsense. A 4 year old is drastically different from a 40 year old. No one with a lick of common sense could disagree with that. A huge problem with TYC and the Texas juvenile system is its failure to see the difference. Please take a look at the information on this website to understand more about the critical differences between a child and an adult:

Part of the training mandated under SB 103 includes learning about adolescent neurological, psychological, and physiological development. You should be first in line to receive that particular part of the training.

Maybe Grits won't judge you, but I will. Research shows that your "get tough on kids" approach is one of the least effective and most harmful approaches you can take with young offenders -- even those who have committed adult-sized crimes.

If you care as much as you say you do, take the time to learn about what kind of "help" is really going to benefit these young, troubled kids the most, rather than just spouting off your opinions.

Anonymous said...

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Well put.

Anonymous said...

IMO, the decision to turn to contract service providers is a mirror image of what Ron Jackson did in the '80s as part of settling the Morales case. Bush, what do you think?

What TYC needs to do is create a STATE-OPERATED continuum of care that includes smaller facilities, more therapeutic programming, etc.

One of the unique aspects of the state of Missouri's system is that it is all STATE-OPERATED.

Rather than contract out for a program no larger than 48 beds, Missouri found smaller-sized buildings that it could lease and moved its kids and its staff out of the institutions into the new environment.

I would like to see a serious discussion in the MSM and on this blog about why TYC is not pursuing that course of action, and instead is following the losing strategy of privatizing the specialized programming.

Oh, wait, I forgot. Follow the money.

Anonymous said...

Just want to resurrect the question:

Where is the Blue Ribbon report of Juvenile Justice Professionals on the future of TYC?

Does it recommend hiring adult corrections professionals to run the juvenile justice system in Texas?

Does it recommend contracting out to private contract facilities the most difficult youth to work with (age 10-13) and who are also the most likely to recidivate?

Does it recommend moving youth closer to home and then in the same breath recommend moving all the girls to Brownwood and all the young boys to Bell County?

Does it recommend using high intensity pepper spray?

How does any of this make any sense? and yes I know, follow the money but that does not do it for me.

This is serious. This agency is on the verge of collapse. Institutions are having daily major incidents. Staff are getting hurt. Youth are not receiving treatment.

This is extremely sad. Texans should be outraged. The mainstream media need to be collaborating to provide weekly public reports of the state of this agency.

Anonymous said...

Grits 10:11

This info needs to get out to the staffers at TYC and the public, parents .If the news media would sniff around they would find more "interesting" news going on at TYC.

Anonymous said...

NO ONE is in a better position to tell you what works and what doesn't work in juvenile corrections than the kids themselves. I once asked my classes to write essays about the characteristics of a good leader on the dorms. These essays were so full of LOGICAL information, our superintendent (of VFCA-in 1998) read several of them out loud during a mandatory meeting.In a nutshell, the kids wrote about all about fairness, firmness and consistency (in their own words of course.) They also said a lot about the need for good role models who actually care about them. Another common thread was the resentment of constantly being punished for the wrongful acts of their peers (i.e., overuse of group punishments, restrictions and lockdowns.) None of them like to snitch, and they feel they are constantly pressured to do so if they want to go home. This tactic may work in some cases, but the hatetred and intimidation issues that stem from it are often detrimental. Many youth are afraid to snitch because they will get paid back in the form of physical cruelty intiated by whomever they snitched on. This is probably why they learn to respect and admire the staff who will watch closely what goes on, and hold the youth accountable in an effort to protect everyone on the dorm.

These are the things that work. If the agency needs answers, they should turn to its most important source-- the kids. They know what works and what doesn't; and the solutions they provide will be the most needed ones and the ones most likely to work.

CO, put this idea on your list of solutions. If you are truly here to help the kids...start by talking to them!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:07 am said "Part of the training mandated under SB 103 includes learning about adolescent neurological, psychological, and physiological development." This is easier said than done, regardless of what is mandated. Until everyone from the top down buy off on treatment instead of punishment, this will not happen. One of the main problems with Resocialization wasn't the program itself, but rather a lack of commitment on the part of staff and their inability to understand and implement the concepts of the program themselves. This isn't to knock our staff, but simply say that sometimes when these PhD's all get together and develop a treatment program, they tend to believe that other PhD's will be implementing and overseeing it. Thus it is written at a level that requires a PhD to understand it. Sometimes, it may a bit more challenging for staff who don't have a PhD to understand and implement such a program.

Also, in order for this new program to be effective, we need to ensure that we train staff appropriately. We have to stop cutting corners on both quality and quantity of training that we are providing our staff. We have to have people in the key training positions that know and understand juvenile corrections training and not somebody's TDCJ buddy.

And to Whitsfoe...How do you have faith and trust in anyone in CO given the lack of communication and outright lies we're told on a daily basis, the indescriminate appointments of TDCJ people and the continuously demonstrated disregard for professional ethics, professionalism and total lack of care and concern for the people in the field.

"The people should not be afraid of the government, the government should be afraid of the people."


Anonymous said...

Anon 4:58 hit the nail on the head. The kids respect staff that care, are watchful and conscientious, and are fair and respectful. I have heard this again and again from the kids, and have seen it in their reactions to staff. I have seen some little bitty women maintain complete control of groups of tough kids because they are vigilant, confront every infraction, use fair and measured discipline, and most importantly, give and demand respect. I have seen these same groups of kids nearly out of control when supervised by big, burly, macho guys who play discipline games, use intimidation and show no respect towards the kids. (I am a male, by the way.)

The one thing that has kept me on the job all these years is that TYC always had an official policy that this kids could change. While there were many at all levels who obviously did not believe this, at least this was the official policy, and at least many of us did believe it. Though there were better opportunities for advancement at TDCJ than TYC, many of us chose to work at TYC precisely because TYC offered the hope of rehabilitation.

Will we get that same hope from for-profit organizations?

Intrepid Critic said...

Anon 11:07

I will be happy to be the first staff in line for the adolescent developmental training you mention, as long as you are first in the line for the “Reading Comprehension Class”.

I hope you didn’t disagree to strenuously and pop a hemorrhoid or something worse. I am stunned that a person with your knowledge of all those big words couldn’t comprehend that the simple statement I wrote was about being a victim and not about age. I am glad that you have noticed a difference between 4 and 40 year olds.

Please let me clarify what I failed to correctly express.

I never stated anything about the developmental stage of the 4 or 40 year old or what should be done to a 4 year old for anything. I don’t know how you got whatever it is you got from that paragraph. I was merely trying to get the point across that most people will minimize the damage inflicted by a criminal act when they are not the victims of the act and the perpetrator is a youth. Also, the harm done to the victim is what concerns him, not the age of the one doing it. The act committed is still a crime and all the justification in the world will not make it right.

Also, isn’t judging me just a statement of your opinion. So, why can’t I state mine? Another little thing that seems to have slipped by your watchful eye is: this is a “BLOGSITE” and not a scientific research and data reporting center. I hope you don’t mind but a lot of us are stressed and frustrated by the new chaos at TYC and this is the best place we have to find information and vent.

As to the segmentation of 10 to 13 year olds, I believe I should have clarified that position a lot better. By breaking your foot off: I mean, these children should have clearly defined narrow boundaries with swift and immediate rewards and punishments based strictly on their actions. They should not be abused or neglected in any way but they should definitely not continue to be coddled. They should be rewarded for good behaviors that are above normal expectations and not because they haven’t been too bad or are simply breathing.

As for your “Research”, anyone can take any data set and manipulate it to their ends. The “get tough on kids” attitude that you are describing is not what I call getting tough on kids and never occurred. In fact it’s a joke. How many crimes do these kids have to commit before we incarcerate them and try to give them redirection? What would you like, 20, 30, or maybe 50 crimes and victims? How many of our staff will be assaulted before we give these kids serious consequences. These kids have been taught by people 1ike you that there are no repercussions for there actions while they are under 16 because they are little innocent babies.

Obviously, I don’t agree with your approach and you don’t agree with mine. However, I will admit that the actual best solution is somewhere in the middle. You need to remember that yours is not the only valid opinion and you sit in judgment of no one.

You'r a F'ing idiot. go back to CM school.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry that my choice of words offends you somehow, and I agree that the answer probably lies somewhere in between our two opinions.

But, "f'ing idiot"??? Can you tell me exactly how that's compatible with your assertion that mine "is not the only valid opinion" and that I "sit in judgment of no one"? Maybe you think that nobody but you should get to sit in judgment of others?

My reading comprehension is fine, thanks. In speaking about the impact of violent crime on a victim, you waxed poetic about what should be done to the perpetrators of a crime, regardless of their age. That's what I was responding to.

When you say that the "get tough on kids" attitude never happened, and bemoan how many times a child has to get committed (to TYC?) before being incarcerated (in TDCJ?) in order to really turn their life around, I'm frankly shocked. I have read the comments of many of your colleagues on Grits who are aghast at the influx of TDCJ staff, policies, and attitudes. But, it seems like you will do really well under the new regime.

You know what I think would really show those 10-13 year olds? How about a mini-chain gang? Would that be a real "get tough on kids" program that you could support? Hell, why not lease 'em out as convict labor?

It's a fact that penalties for juvenile crimes increased and more youth were transferred to the adult system across the nation in the mid-'90s, regardless of whether it's been "tuff enuf" for you.


Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is that when Resocialization first came out, it was moderately successful in decreasing recidivism - enough to impress other states to pay Texas for the right to copy it. Then came the swing to 'get tough' and be more 'correctional'. Essentially, Resocialization went out the window years ago, primarilly because 'get tough' Chester did not believe in it or support it. And look where we are now. Getting tough on juvenile crime really worked! Tell that to the 79 year old woman who was just raped and beaten by a 19 y.o. who had just been released from TYC after 4 years of 'get tough'.

Intrepid Critic said...

Anon 11:07/8:40

Thanks for proving my point about your level of expertise when it comes to being an idiot!

Your reading comprehension level is fine? Oh yeah, sure, whatever. If it is as great as you claim, then how did you get, what you got, from what I wrote? You appear to make things up in your mind. Could it be a lack of medications? What part of take your daily meds did you NOT understand when the doctor gave you instructions?

Nice attempt at spin with the crap about me judging you. I believe this is a quote from YOUR post: “Maybe Grits won't judge you, but I will.” Are you a CO spin-doctor looking for love from Pope?

As for your tuff enough crap, where does the chain gang for kids come from? As Ron White would say “You can’t fix stupid.” and “If you ever have a thought, just let it go.”

As for the 20 year old and his rape of an elderly lady, it is quite apparent to me that after 4 years of your expert therapy and oh so effective model of resocialization that it was us get tough now people that caused this whole incident.

That’s sarcasm. If you didn’t get it, feel free to find some one without cranial rectifusion to read and explain the concept.

He should have been in the state pen or under it.

Oh wait a minute, I’m so sorry.

It was obviously the old ladies fault for not giving him 2 different failed interventions, followed by a huddle up, followed by 2 more failed interventions; from some other imaginary old lady victims in the room, followed by a time out, followed by 2 more failed interventions, followed by JCO 6 counseling, followed by 2 more failed interventions, followed by ODS counseling, followed by 2 more failed interventions, followed by case manager counseling, followed by 2 more failed interventions, followed by threatening him with a write up (225), followed by 2 more failed interventions, and finally he may have left without causing her harm.

Gee, it sounds like she failed to follow your flow chart or he failed to recall how to break the offence cycle you so rigorously taught him to regurgitate at PAT so you could feel special and successful.

I wish she had followed my flow chart in this situation to help him permanently break his offence cycle.

It goes like this: Ching, Ching, BANG.

Since it isn’t his fault and you believe in your ability to retrain this type of individual to be a productive member of society through the use of verbal interventions: how about if you take him home right now and start to work immediately. It shouldn’t be a problem for you since you are the great swami of sociology. Just remember to give him the correct interventions in the correct order while he’s raping you or you can’t take away his cookies.

That’s also sarcasm. If you didn’t get it this time, then please find some one other then your previous choice (also without cranial rectifusion) to read and explain the concept.

Harsher punishments? You're right about that. The problem is they have to commit 40 crimes before they recieve that punishment. Oh, yeah, really tough! Whoopee!

Oh, yeah, you’re an idiot! But, I’m worse because I didn’t break my offense cycle and I got into an argument with an idiot. Oh well, remediate my C phase, I'll get it back next month anyways.

I’ve always believed in the idiom “ Don’t get in an argument with an idiot because they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.


Anonymous said...

Yeah man. F em. Just line em up and spray em with OC. That will certainly help them not to reoffend.

40 crimes? please. There are hundreds of kids from Harris County that have only 3 or 4 referrals on their common applications. with at least half of those referrals listed as technical probation violations.

In the case of the kid who just got out, you need to talk to the judge and attorney about why he wasn't a sentenced offender who could have been sent to prison when he couldn't get his act together in TYC. It certainly didn't help that Mr. Special Master said he was being abused because he had been kept past his minimum and that he needed to go home.