Friday, August 24, 2007

Statesman: TYC pepper spray policy violates 1984 court order

The history of the Texas Youth Commission's 2007 "reforms" so far is mostly a history of policies announced and then retracted. When Jay Kimbrough was conservator, he at least had the cojones to make a decision in the face of serious problems, but his successor Ed Owens seems to flinch whenever he sees his shadow.

First they're going to shift 19-21 year olds to TDCJ, then for some reason they can't get there from here. Then they're going to privatize prisons for 10-13 years olds, then announce they won't. Then they're going to parole offenders who've remained past their minimum length of stay, then they're not. Over and over TYC announces some new reform then almost immediately retracts the idea the first time it's criticized.

Now I'll bet dollars to donuts the same thing happens with the recently announced policy to use pepper spray more widely on TYC youth, which I've argued is an excuse not to address the agency's serious understaffing problems. Providing further evidence the present TYC administration simply cannot handle the job they've been assigned, the Austin Statesman's Mike Ward today reports ("Pepper spray use at Youth Commission draws ire," Aug. 24):

National experts are questioning whether expanded use of chemical agents will limit injuries or cause further trouble inside Texas' juvenile lockups.

"It's not a reform at all. It's a step in the other direction," said Patricia Arthur, a senior staff attorney at the National Center for Youth Law who is considered an expert on chemical agents in juvenile lockups.

"It doesn't address a problem. It will only compound it."

Steve Bercu, an Austin bookstore executive who was a lead attorney in a landmark lawsuit two decades ago against the state over unconstitutional conditions in Texas' juvenile lockups, was more blunt: "That's something they shouldn't be doing. It's definitely a violation of the settlement agreement. No question."

Youth Commission officials said Thursday that its lawyers are looking at whether the change conflicts with the 23-year-old court settlement and said the pepper spray is a water-based formula that is milder than the one used at Texas' adult prison system.

So the new pepper spray policy apparently contradicts a longstanding court settlement governing TYC's use of force. Hmmmm. I guess when your general counsel has no background in juvenile law, these things happen. And happen. And happen.

Let me say this plainly as a close observer: TYC today is dysfunctional and paralyzed by incompetent management, and the "reforms" implemented by the Legislature did nothing to solve its fundamental problems. This agency is in crisis.

Expect the pepper spray issue to figure prominently into next week's legislative hearing on TYC, but I hope it doesn't dominate the discussion - the agency has too many other serious problems for this to be the only thing they talk about. Hell, they could talk about TYC for a week and not discuss all its problems. I'm beginning to wonder, God help us, if a special session won't be needed to sort out the mess.


Anonymous said...

I just read the Statesman article, and agree with your assessment.

Strangely enough, the part that appalled me the most wasn't the article, or even the attached documents (Will Harrell did a nice job here IMO). It was the reader comments section.

The mindless, bloodthirsty garbage that some readers spewed out in that section made me wonder if the explanation for TYC's current state isn't even simpler than we all thought. After all, these are the ones who vote for our politicians.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

There are way too many issues that are trying to be dealt with at the same time. It is apparent that the agency is still running on reactions instead of actions. But that is the history of this agency, and sad to say it has not improved.

Anonymous said...

Why did they take the reader comments section off the on-line version of the Statesman? Put it back Mike Ward!

It sure appreared to me that the public in general was supporting the agency's action. I think Ward is biased. That's not the public reaction he was looking for, so he took down the public comments. I really wanted to hear more of what the public in general had to say about TYC's actions.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill,

How do you access the reader comments? I read the article this morning before you posted and didn't see them? Let us know!

Thanks, Doc.

Anonymous said...

Ward is reprinting and stealing material. This same story was written in the Dallas Morning News about two weeks ago. You know, Emily and Doug at the DMN are at least covering all aspects of the story and getting both sides (arguments for/arguments against) whereas Ward appears to be taking a one sided approach. Like I said at 2:15, he is biased. He's got something against TYC. I think he maybe pissed because the TYC-OIG is investigating that leak and now no one will talk to him. It's really suspicious as to why he shut down the public comments. I'd like to hear what the Statesman readers are saying, not just the TYC people on this blog (not that you all don’t matter because you do). Can anyone at the Statesman explain why they took down the public comments?

I think I’ll call him and ask why he did it since he left his phone number and e-mail address (; 445-1712.) I think the best way to get them “fair and balanced” is to boycott that paper and call their internet sponsors and complain.

On a different note, wouldn’t it be interesting if “District Judge Jeanne Meurer, who has decided not to seek re-election in 2008, after nearly two decades of dispensing juvenile justice and working as a passionate children's advocate” came on board at TYC. That’d I’d like to see.

Anonymous said...

Judge Meurer running TYC? Now that I'd like to see.

Are you out there Perry staffers?

Anonymous said...

It's sounds like sour grapes from some TYC wannabe in regards to Mike Ward.

Is the pressure getting to you now that the newspapers are picking up what has been actually happening at TYC Institutions?
Who cares if this is the same info from another news source, as long as it's in the news it helps shed light on this situation we are in.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the fact that Ward's ex-wife used to be TYC's Public Relations person has anything to do with his bias.

Anonymous said...

What bias are you all talking about? Mike Ward only reported the facts and quoted experts in the juvenile justice field. It was a better article than the one in the DMN. I agree that you sound like a former TDCJ employee.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the bias but a person who wants to lay blame on Ward because he at least has the convictions to publish what TYC is doing right or wrong.

It matters little if his wife worked for TYC or not. The issue appears to be how many parents of 10 to 13 years would like to see their children pepper sprayed. please get off this macho business that they did the crime so they get what they deserve.

Why would TYC's OIG want to pressure Ward, unless once again we have a paranoid Administration who would rather spend their time hunting down and punishing staff for making statements rather than come up with a plan to lead this agency.

Anonymous said...

The key question, Statesman staff, is why did Ward take down the public comments link. Give me that reason. Why?

Anonymous said...

Because imbeciles like you wanted to read the crap that was being posted like, they deserve it, use a gun, get use to it your going to see more at the pen.

Real thoughtful and intelligent people making posts like this make you wonder who would want to read this crap?

Anonymous said...

I honestly doubt that Mike Ward concerns himself with the internet site. Why are you focusing on Mike Ward when the agency is in such trouble? The administration directed the use of pepper spray even after Will Harrell told them that it was against the Morales vs. Turman agreement and that it was unconstitutional and when the Blue Ribbon Panel evidently recommended against its use. The administration arrogantly proceeds with what they want to do with regard for the law. Now that is a model juvenile justice agency, isn't it. Another important thing that was addressed in the article, is that employees are told not to discuss issues with the press. The admin wants to proceed without the knowledge of the public who pays their salaries and for the offenders' treatment, etc. Focusing on Mike Ward is a diversion from addressing the real issues.

Anonymous said...

That should have read that the admin proceeds withOUT regard for the law. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Hey Austin American Statesman staff, is it wise to have Mad Mike write articles on this agency knowing that his former wife who was their PR spokeswoman found the grass greener "on the other side?"

Mad Mike should let someone else cover that mess. This is ATX baby…

Anonymous said...

Whoa… Statesman staff, now you touched on, but didn't answer the question. You called me a name, ok, but that doesn't really explain why the public comments were taken down. Why did that happen because some were opposed to the use as well? I wanted to know why all public comments were taken down.

Can you please explain that??? Please???

I’m not a TDCJ expulsion, but I think Ward has some explaining to do based on what evidence he has in front of him as opposed to – whatever angers him.

Is he mad as they suggest? Or Mad like needing help?

If Mike is out there in cyber land, maybe it’d be best for Ward to respond. Otherwise, the Austin American Statesman has proven once again to be unreliable.

And if you want to push the issue, I’ll give you facts where you’ve been wrong before, and why the DMN is your best news source. Now dare that….

Anonymous said...

Look, anyone can tell you are highly defensive with this subject about Ward, why is that? Could it be that he is touching a nerve and you are squirming?

Why is it important to have readers comments posted that are not relevant unless of course they were experts in the field, that is something all of TYC seems to be missing right now "Experts".

If I am guessing you are one of these so called experts who sit around all day in Austin pondering your next mis-step and hoping like hell it does not get published in the Statesman. If you would spend less time worrying about screwing up and more time doing your job this conversation never would have taken place.

Anonymous said...

Journalists expect to get complaints from people like you's part of the job. Leave the guy alone; he does not have to explain anything to you. He's paid to cover the news his way, not yours!!!!

Anonymous said...

8:23 Mike Ward did not sound angry in the article. You are the one that sounds angry. Maybe should do some exploration about what exactly is making you so angry.

Anonymous said...

Typical Austin American Statesman. No one should expect anything less. Go figure.

Goodnight Statesman.

Anonymous said...

The statesman has every right to do whatever they want with their website. I didn't read the comments but can certainly accept Dr. Bush's asssessment that Texas politicians really are representative of the Texas population and that is why this state should be ashamed, but isn't because they have no shame. Kill those who don't commit capitol murder, try to kill those who are mentally retarded, lock up those children who are incorrigible, torture the mentally ill, spray those damn criminals, i mean juvenile delinquents.

Texas has a long standing and storied tradition of complete and absolute failure when it comes to criminal justice, juvenile justice and mental health.

I also don't know how anyone can say anything negative about the statesmans coverage of TYC. Aren't they the ones demanding, while clearly demonstrating the know absolutely nothing about the system they are talking about, that all these (now) adults who committed terrible crimes (when they were children) were given long 40 year sentences (actually to 40) should be sent to prison. Don't they realize that many of these kids were too young to even be tried as adults when they committed their crimes and that if they were old enough to be tried as adults they weren't...

I would be all for Judge Meurer as Executive Director...

Anonymous said...

9:05, this is 8:44...Sorry, but you are dead wrong! I am a TYC employee and I have been for many years now. I don't even know Mike Ward, but I know he's the journalist, so his reasons for taking out the comment section are not for you to decide. Like I said, he's the journalist, not you. I agree with 8:55...go explore your anger issues before they get worse.

Anonymous said...

Harrell needs to stay within the scope of responsibilities as established by the legislature. He's gone outside his purview.

His memo is disgraceful. It's full of grammatical errors. He should have proof read it. It is amateurish.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree, Will Harrell has not gone beyond his purvue. He actually has the vision to be proactive as opposed to reactive in protecting the rights of TYC youth.

The memo is terribly written in the presented form. I doubt it was the final draft.

Anonymous said...

It is the OC man that has gone beyond his purvue in coming to TYC from TDCJ. no experience for the position. no clue what he is doing. Contributions thus far...

Abandon the use of physical intervention techniques designed to reduce injuries. Now you just have at it as long as you are acting in good faith. Whatever, why do you think they bother to make physical management programs.

Impliment a change in policy, without changing policy, to escalate the use of OC spray on youth who are not presenting an imminent risk of harm, but merely to establish compliance. and oh, by the way, TYC is bound by law not to do this.

Send all the "violent youth" a letter telling them that they "better be good or else." i think the brilliance of this idea has been thoroughly addressed in previous grits postings.

Mandate changes in security unit policy, without changing policy, that place youth on suicide watch at greater risk.

Steal a watermelon from a TYC staff and volunteer appreciation picnic and be made to return it by da pope.

Have TYC youth wash car.


Anonymous said...

Speaking as a recently departed TYC administrator I can truly say that the current incompetence at the top was a key contribution to my decision to leave the agency. Ed Owens, Jay Kimbrough and Dimitria Pope are totally incompetent at the jobs they have been assigned.

Owens was supposed to retire at the end of this month, has he even lost his cajones about that?

Pope is the poorest excuse of an executive director TYC has ever seen, and I've worked for all of them who served in the Commission. This person needs to leave before she gets the state into so much trouble that she has to bear the liability for it.

As to sour grapes. I have a passion for behaviorally challenged youth and they need people who can work with them, understand them and try to get them back into society as productive citizens. Youth are civilly adjudicated to TYC, not criminally convicted. There is a big difference under law, and it is clearly obvious that not only do the Legislators not understand their own legal system, but they have placed persons over the Youth justice system who are even less clueless than they are.

If the governor would stop preening his hair and dreaming of higher office and do his job, instead of cheating like he did at A&M as a student, maybe he could see and understand that he is a fool and needs to correct this mistake and get the picture right this time.

Anonymous said...

Thus the reason why the DMN gets all the bucks. The AAS needs review by BELO. I wouldn't wipe my ass on anything they print.

Anonymous said...

It a sad mess at TYC.\

But pat yourself on the back if you still work there! Because inspite of all the crap, we are carrying on! We are all still there taking care of these kids and hopefully fulfilling there unmet needs each day.

We are all still trying to do the best we can for them during this time of trial and error. Mostly error.
We show up for work, we talk to the kids, we carry out our daily duties the best we can and we react to the situations they give up daily in the best way we know how. We know that we could be gone at the drop of hat or one mistake but we continue to dredge thru the days.
They in CO may be in charge, but only in the CO as we are in charge of what we do daily and how we react to the situations given to us by these kids.

None of them can take our pride away in what we do daily for the ones that really count and that is those kids we are in charge of trying to help daily.

Anonymous said...

It may surprise those who do not work for TYC to realise that a lot of the kids are very worried about the current state of uncertainty in the agency. They do not feel safe from peer predators. For a lot of these kids, sad to say, TYC has been the best they have ever had it in life. Up until now, they have been relatively safe - they get three meals and a snack every day, air conditioned and heated living quarters, a bed with clean sheets that they do not have to share, and staff who have protected them from predatory peers.

It makes me sick to think that a few bad apples have tarnished the entire agency, and have led our political leaders to create the absolute mess that they have created.

I don't know what Brookings had on Chester and Lydia that they worked so hard to cover for him. I do know that Neil and Linda worked very hard to convince their boss that Chester needed to go. They succeeded. I could not understand how Lydia got to stay, until I learned that she was bragging that she was a close relative of the governor. How could he protect her and sleep at night? I wouldn't protect my own mother if she did the things Lydia did! And Ray Worsham - sold out to these two. When one of his own investigators was getting too close to the truth of what was going on, he moved the job location, knowing full well that that investigator could not move because of family issues. Disgusting! These people sold out the kids and they sold out all the decent, hard-working employees of TYC.

I really don't blame Ed Owens and D Pope for the mess. I blame the people who got us into this mess, and I blame Senator Whitmire for his over-reaction in demanding that people who had no involvement in the scandal, and who were working hard to correct the problems be fired - His tirade at Owens about how Owens didn't understand - "I want heads to roll, do you understand? I-want-heads-to-roll!" Thank you Senator. The kids thank you, as well! Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Old Salty...where've you been? I've missed your input on this website.

Anonymous said...

Old Salty, if the name of the game is blame, add Hinojosa to the list. He was adamant about heads rolling and the closure of facilities, also. He wanted the children closer to urban areas but did anything he could to save those facilities in his backyard like Evins, Tamayo and Beto House; even though Evins was under DOJ watch. Don't you recall the visit to Evins by Pope, Owens, and several other so called dignataries? When has he ever admitted the the atrocities that went on at Evins and when did he
shout for the closure of that facility?? Instead, because of two really sick individuals and several incompentent leaders, he wanted West Texas State School shut down! He never wanted to hear about all the good years and the good work our employees did year after year after year at WTSS. He used the scandal to take the limelight off of Evins and directed it at WTSS. He wanted WTSS as a trophy to present to gov goodhair at any cost! I am by no means saying that I condone what happened nor that it should not have been reported. I am saying that employees did attempt to report the suspicions and or allegations but the leadership swept them under the rug and supported Brookins. I am saying that the scandal was the start of this freaking political game being played at the expense of the youth
and employees of the agency!

The lege and gov goodhair have appointed/hired the most incompetent leaders in the history of the agency! Is it any wonder we are in a state of utter desperation, frustration and crisis?

The current leadership has terminated, run off and "retired"
anyone who and everyone who had any juvenile correctional expertise. Not all of them were part of the corrupt good ole boys and gals! Some of them did try to stand up for the right things with integrity and fortitude, but they were out numbered by the guys/gals wearing the black hats. Thank you Whimire, Hinojosa, Gov Goodhair, you are reaping what you planted and should be ashamed and red faced.

It is time for the legislature and gov to step up to the plate. Those of us still out here dealing with the crisis daily, aren't here for the money nor the glory. We are there for the youth we serve and care about. We are not using them as political pawns nor did we place incompetent people in leadership roles. In spite of this, we are still out treading water and trying to bring some honor to an agency that has been sent to hell in a handbasket. The barrel of apples has been thrown out because it contained a few bad apples!! Even us people in the trenches know you throw the bad away to save the good ones and not the whole barrel.

Both the lege and gov need to come learn some juvenile corrections expertise from employees in the trenches not from the air conditioned and air polluted offices they reside in. We should make them at will employees instead of elected officials, maybe we could get a honest and hard day's work out of them and they would not have to depend on incompetent leaders for feed back on making decisions regarding our agency. If not to our liking, we could just let them go! We shouldn't have to keep incompetent people in office just to have a legislature or a governor, right?? It should not be used as an excuse to keep these people in office. We should call for reforms on how we elect politicians in Texas!!

Thanks for the ear, I'm just a little person in the trench!!

Anonymous said...

What about Operation Grade Skip?

Anonymous said...

I've been in CO for a long time and I think Judge Meurer would be an excellent choice for Exec Dir/Commish. That might be enough to convince me to stay.....

Anonymous said...

Absolute agreement with 7:41. This whole thing was not about WTSS. It was about Evins the whole time. Chuy Hinojosa danced with glee with the WTSS info because it took the real focus away, EVINS. His name is on the name plate at Evins as the state rep at the time of its construction. He did not want the real deal to come out about legislative blunders regarding funding cuts, staffing cuts and open bay dorms. He allowed for these things to happen during his shift. Theft, corruption, graft had also been the norm there for many years. Even Judge Evins said, "Hell, we don't just tolerate corruption in Hidalgo County. We demand it!" But alas MUY MACHO does not allow for one's mistakes to be publicly recognized and self accountability is un-pronounceable to him. It is sad that those folks down there in So. TX have to endure him full time and the State of Texas has to endure him while he's in Austin.

Judge Meurer for Executive Director! Give her a shot.

Anonymous said...

When the Statesman piece first appeared on site, it had a link called "What do you think about pepper spray?" I clicked on it and was treated to a near-deluge of hate-filled, almost pornographic descriptions of what "should" be done with the juvies.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Statesman web master, rather than Mike Ward personally, made the decision to delete the comments. Either way, I agree with the commenter who suggested here that the choice was probably made out of embarrassment and maybe a little shock.

On another note, I met Judge Meurer a few years ago and spent a morning observing in her courtroom. She is an outstanding, tough-minded, and decent person for whom I have a great deal of respect.

She would defnitely be an unusual choice. I can't think of any instance historically when a juvenile court judge took charge of a juvenile corrections / rehabiliation system.

Bill Bush

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To all who have suggested Judge Meurer to replace the current conservator/E.D. combo, I completely concur. She'd be great, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Problem is that she's too smart to take this boondoggle over. And... why would she want the drastic cut in pay and time to herself. Like said, she's too smart. She's in a great position mow to change things for the better for troubled youth in need.

whitsfoe said...

I just wonder if something’s going on behind closed doors with the guvna and the judge. Her announcement and that upcoming public hearing makes me wonder if something's being planned. She indicated she’s going to stay involved in the juvenile justice field according to that article, and well, she's had her stint with juvenile probation, so we're kind of it? Who knows? I've never met her, but from what I'm hearing, she's a tough woman, kind of like Sandy Burnham. Makes you kind of wonder? Board member maybe? Anyone else making that connection, or am I off base here?

Anonymous said...

Judge Muerer does an excellent job. Did you know that Mike Ward's ex-wife is her love interest?

whitsfoe said...

Oh and what the heck is "Operational Grade Skip?" lol! What the hell is that??? lol!

Anonymous said...

Judge Meurer's love interest is not of interest to me as a TYC employee. What is of interest is her record as an advocate for the youth of Texas, her integrity, and her no-nonsense approach. Having sat in observance while she listened to a TYC request for transfer, I was impressed by her ability to balance toughness with fairness.

I say if she wants to tackle the mess Owens and Pope have created, she should. She at least has knowledge of juvenile laws, rehabilitative efforts, and integrity.

Meurer for ED said...

I'm with 3:25. Lege folks, you listening? We need Judge Meurer. She's tough, fair, and extremely knowledgeable about juveniles, families, and the law.

Anonymous said...

7:41 You hit the nail on the head. For the life of me I have been wondering what Brookins had on Lydia to make her so protective of him. I wonder if he knew of her involvement in the abuse of youth at Evins during the riots in 2005? There was an investigator down there, named Eduardo, who apparently knew too much, because Ray Worsham trumped up a case to dismiss him. Eduardo, where are you? If you are reading this, please chime in with what you know. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

For those of you who know Judge Meurer, what would be her take on this pepper spray policy?

Anonymous said...

If you think about it, Brookins and Harrison both must of had something on her. They both got promoted in the midst of the sex scandal over the screams of most WTSS employees (with the exception of three who still remain loyal to Harrison), and rumor has it they keep in close contact with him. But that's just rumor.

They were part of a coverup that still makes us angry and ashamed to have worked with them. So may good people have lost their jobs because of them. I often wonder how they sleep at night.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who would support Judge Meuer you are very astute. I know her personally. Here is a woman who is advocate for children and understands the law, and the effects TYC has on children. I think she would be an excellent addition to TYC, but she would never be accepted. She is too smart, understands Juvenile Justice, and would tell the TDCJ group just what they can do with their politics.....

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


The only way any of this will come to light is if our retired/fired/misplaced TYC staff go to this hearing on 8/29/07 and address this with the panel. Or of course you could be our voice?

Unfortunately/fortunately the majority on this blog site are still employed with TYC and if we came forward would be fired soon after. The State representatives need to know the truth while there is still time. Those of us who have stayed with the agency believe the youth have a chance and can/will be productive once they leave. But, under this leadership the goal is to have no treatment plan, wing it when it come to use of force, no educational plan. If this trend continues, yes, we will become a Jr. TDCJ warehousing youth until we can move them up the ladder.

Also, we all say were are doing the best job we can as Professionals working with these youth but are we really doing them justice when all of us are looking over our shoulders?

The new job titles keep growing at Central Office, I thought we were suppose to focus on the field? Instead we continue to add news job that we never had in the past to make our friends who are fleeing TDCJ happy.

Anonymous said...

From Austin Chronicle

Judge Jeanne Meurer
State District Judge Jeanne Meurer has been a member of Travis County's bench for so long that even her longtime aides have to think about how long it's been (16 years); we think that's a good thing. Meurer is the take-no-crap judge for the county's 98th District that, aside from other civil matters, presides over the county's juvenile court. Meurer rarely seems preoccupied by thoughts of winning re-election, and she's good at making tough decisions – sometimes unpopular decisions that seem to come from the heart.

Anonymous said...

So much focus on Harrison and Brookins has allowed other major players to get off scot free. Lots of folks knew that the new supe at Beaumont, Mr. Ayo, knew what was happening at WTSS and did exactly nothing. Now he's one of Broncho Billy's hand-picked stooges. Kiss enough tdcj ass and you've got it made!

Anonymous said...

Not to worry, Bronco Billy will be ecsorting him out the gate, it's just a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to take Bronco Billy out the gate!! Passing notes in meetings demanding changes to policy - hand written with statements like "make this happen today". . .clearly, the man has no clue . . . can we say 'roid rage!

The Real Bronco Billy said...

Here's some famous, but scary, Bronco Billy quotes from the actual movie. What's scary about it is that I can see our own "Bronco Billy" saying the same thing. Enjoy.
Dr. Canterbury, Head of Sanatorium: Billy, my considered diagnosis is that you have the worst ailment known to man - no money!
Antoinette Lilly: Good morning!
Lefty LeBow: What's so good about it?
Antoinette Lilly: Smell that fresh morning air! Look at the blue sky above!
Lefty LeBow: Have you been drinkin' some of Doc's Snakebite?
Bronco Billy McCoy: Now look! I don't take kindly to kids playin' hooky from school. I think every kid in America ought to go to school... at least up to the eighth grade.
Young kid: We don't go to school today, Bronco Billy. It's Saturday!
Bronco Billy McCoy: Killin's too good for you!
Antoinette Lilly: But why do I hate him so?
Lorraine Running Water: The Apaches have a word for that... it's called love.
Antoinette Lilly: Have you ever been married?
Bronco Billy McCoy: Sure. A long time ago.
Antoinette Lilly: Did you love her?
Bronco Billy McCoy: With all my heart. Sometimes that just isn't enough.
Antoinette Lilly: What happened?
Bronco Billy McCoy: I caught her in bed with my best friend.
Antoinette Lilly: What did you do to him?
Bronco Billy McCoy: I shot her.
Antoinette Lilly: What! What about him?
Bronco Billy McCoy: He was my best friend!
Lorraine Running Water: He's like all men... a big kid in a man's body.
Antoinette Lilly: Are you for real?
Bronco Billy McCoy: I'm who I want to be.
Bronco Billy McCoy: Go ahead, let the tears fall in the beer.
Antoinette Lilly: I'm not crying!
Bronco Billy McCoy: There's nothing wrong with cryin'.
Antoinette Lilly: The smoke in here is hurting my eyes!
Lorraine Running Water: Do you understand what Bronco Billy and the wild west show are all about? You can be anything you want. All you have to do is go out and become it!
Bronco Billy McCoy: You should never kill a man unless it's absolutely necessary.
Bronco Billy McCoy: I've got a special message for you little pardners out there. I want you to finish your oatmeal at breakfast and do as your mom and pa tell you because they know best. Don't ever tell a lie and say your prayers at night before you go to bed. And as our friends south of the border say, 'Adios, amigos.' (and add: "and enjoy that peppa.")

Anonymous said...

What is being overlooked here is that TYC first instituted the use of pepper spray about 8-10 years ago when Steve Robinson was E.D. The same arguments were used at that time. Most Superintendents either ended up locking the stuff up or severely limiting its use, due to overuse by many staff. (They also found that it was not terribly effective)

Howard, perhaps you can answer this one - was the subject of the Morales case brought up when pepper spray was first instituted? I know that Neil was the premier expert on Morales, since he was the one who primarilly brokered the final settlement. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

I found the comment section on the Statesman. It's on the blog.

Go here:

Anonymous said...

Howard: same concern as Old Salty. I don't remember Morales being brought up (and I was here for the end of Morales and Steve's directive to restrict the use). Without any basis other than brief contact with Judge Justice and the monitors, I suspect PROPER use of spray (e.g. to prevent serious injury, i.e. pretty near the cut off for okay to use deadly force) would have been approved with constant and effective overview. Especially since the other choice would have been tasars. Justice wasn't stupid or mislead into thinking even then that ALL the children in TYC were just misunderstood. He recognized that there could be seriously dangerous youth present.
Unrelated comment: as I recall, most contact with you had to do with hearings and/or such questions as "what do you recommend for a kid who may not be guilty (as charged)?', clearly not Contracts. One of thinks I like about Neil is that he made use of all the attorneys for all things; must have a great learning experience. Did you, in fact, have a particular title like "for contracts?" (pure,unmitigated curiosity).