Wednesday, October 03, 2007

For once in Coke County, SB 103 worked like it was supposed to

Having criticized the Texas Legislature for leaving many of the Youth Commission's biggest problems unaddressed while claiming to have "fixed" the agency, I should give credit where credit's due over the decision to end the contract at the Coke County facility. The Dallas News reported today something I'd heard as a rumor: That the facility's rapid closure occurred in response to a highly critical report from TYC Ombudsman Will Harrell, reported the News ("TYC investigates how prison's 'deplorable conditions' escaped detection," Oct. 3):

"There is a greater sense of fear and intimidation in this facility than perhaps any other I have been to," Mr. Harrell wrote. He also noted that:

•Some young inmates were kept in "malodorous and dark" security cells for five weeks. They were allowed to leave, in shackles, only once a day for a shower.

•There was an "over-reliance" on the use of pepper spray.

•Inmates "complain regularly of discovering insects in their food."

TYC announced Tuesday that its inspector general's office, as well as Department of Public Safety troopers, were investigating. TYC spokesman Jim Hurley said other agencies, including the state auditor's office and the attorney general's office, could join the investigation. (Ed. note: See the pdf of Harrell's report.)

We must acknowledge that in this case the process appeared to work as it was intended. The new Ombudsman reported abuses after a personal visit to the facility, the agency followed up rapidly, and action was taken to rectify the problem. That's how things were supposed to work when legislators enacted SB 103. I've said before the Lege added new layers of oversight but didn't address TYC's fundamental problems, but in this case the added oversight caused conditions to improve for these youth.

So score one for the Lege on TYC - I haven't felt able to say that much, so I'm glad to congratulate them when their new system works for once.

Meanwhile, over at Texas Prison Bidness we get more background on the Geo/Coke County history of problems:
Coke County was home to one of the worst scandals in private prison history back in the 1990s when GEO, then called Wackenhut, hired a man who’d been arrested for a sex offense against a child, to work as a "lead careworker" at the prison, which then held young girls.

The man, Rufino Garcia, sexually assaulted 15 year-old Sarah Lowe, and continued to harass and threaten her after her release. Wackenhut settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money. Lowe, distraught because the lawsuit allowed the company to avoid responsibility for the incident, committed suicide the same day the settlement was finalized.

Again in 2007, a Coke County staffer was fired after TYC learned he had a previous conviction for exposing himself to a child (while a juvenile). The staff member maintained that he revealed the conviction during the hiring process. ...

The overall operational problems continue to mount for GEO in Texas. In July, Idaho moved its prisoners out of GEO's Dickens County in the wake of an inmate suicide lock-up siting "squalid" conditions.

The company then drew fire in Laredo for an apparent quid pro quo deal involving scholarship checks exchanged for zoning permits and water and electrical hookups. The company was also recently sued over alleged medical neglect of an inmate at it's Pearsall immigrant detention center.

Good blogging from TPB, huh?

Earlier this summer, the Dallas Morning News examined the Coke County unit's record and discovered it had more sustained complaints than any other TYC contract unit. It was clear from their report that big problems existed there (see this interactive graphic from DMN and click on the Coke County unit). Here are just a few incidents reported by DMN:

[A staff member] has filed with a Tom Green county court for child support on a child that she claims was fathered by youth. [Youth] was a resident at Coke County from 01/18/02 through 05/17/02.

Youth states staff instigated the fight between him and his roommate. Youth states they were told by staff that they wanted to see them fight, and as long as they did not see blood, they would not get into trouble.

Officer Green admitted to having a relationship with resident [youth], including allowing the resident to "rub up against her" at different times, as well as bringing in contraband, such as food, candy and hygiene items.

Youth alleged that staff gave youth a camera and cell phone. Staff also exchanged letters with you and [youth] reported that [youth] and staff were having a relationship. The staff resigned on 12/13/06. ...

Youth stated in a 5 page letter that a former female staff brought in contraband items such as snuff and cigarettes. Staff also allegedly performed oral sex on the resident in the fire exit hallway on the dorm in return for the youth assaulting an officer.
So it's not that agency officials didn't know before now. Even if they hadn't been out there and the four employees paid to monitor the facility weren't doing their jobs, these problems were all reported in the state's leading newspaper. There's really no excuse for administrators not acting faster when they saw the Dallas News analysis, except, I suppose, that there's only so many hours in the day.

But that's why I say SB 103 worked in this case - TYC administrators appeared to listen to the Ombudsman's views when they'd ignored the media and hundreds of youth complainants. So thank heaven for small favors, and in this case thanks to legislators on behalf of 200 kids formerly housed in squalor in Coke County.

UPDATE: See the Austin Statesman quoting local officials calling the closure a "publicity stunt" and claiming the move was unjustified. Sen. John Whitmire defended the closure and called for an investigation of the nine other lockps operated by the Geo Group in Texas. The Dallas News confirms a report by a Grits commenter (below) that seven TYC employees were fired as a result of the Coke County imbroglio. In the Abilene Reporter News, local officials say TYC is on a "witch hunt" and put the total number of local jobs affected (including Geo and at the school district) at 180. The San Angelo Standard Times reports that 140 Geo employees in Bronte were dismissed from their positions Wednesday. Also, "Millions are still owed on the private facility. ... Bronte's economy may be crippled without it."


Anonymous said...

So this is how we got those great bill passed…………….

Anonymous said...

ever thought about coming on-board with Will?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Been there. Done that, whitsfoe. I wish Will luck, but I don't want to work for him again, even if I might like the job itself. I don't think it'd be good for either one of us.

Anonymous said...

How many kids are at the Coke county facility and where is TYC planning to put them?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

197, and they all went to Mart.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for repeating this news Grits. I just finished reading about it on one of your earlier posts. I got a couple of days behind... unusual for me!

Anonymous said...

Hiring Will Harrell as ombudsman was the best thing to come out of SB103. I have met the guy, and was really impressed. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

All of the Coke County didn't go to Mart. 40 of them went to Crockett.

Anonymous said...

Not all youth will be permanently assigned to Mart. They will be moved to several facilities and many are being reviewed for release eligibility.

List of employees terminated by Acting Executive Director, with no right to grievance or dismissal mediation:

North Region Contract Specialist: Larry Isbell 17 years 9 months TYC service

TYC Quality Assurance Specialists:
Valerie Jones 7 years 5 months
David Roberson 2 years 9 months
Brian Lutz 2 years 9 months

TYC QA administrative staff:
Patti Frazee 2 years 9 months

New QAS staff member, hired 9/1 and still in training (not yet reported to CCJJC)

New QAS staff member- transferred from John Shero facility after its closure- 1 year 11 months

Resigned: North Region QA Supervisor Lynne Parra 20+ years (back from retirement)
South Region QA Supervisor Elizabeth Lee 13 years 4 months TYC service

Anonymous said...

Will Harell ???????? The best thing ??? Better look that one up I dont think He had anything to do with this one !!!

Anonymous said...

Did Harris County's review officer go to Coke County before TYC's people did?

Anonymous said...

Will great job! You have really worked hard to make things better for the youth and TYC is lucky to have you.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work, Will!

Anonymous said...

10:12, do you even read the blog posts before you comment? The Ombudsman's report is posted right on the Dallas Morning News website, which Grits links to in his post.

Anonymous said...

Interesting local (Bronte) quotes and reactions here:

Anonymous said...

The San Angelo Standard Times article at has some interesting comments attached.

Many of the comments concern how many people lost jobs, what the City of Bronte will do, and problems with the local Independent School District that just lost 40% of their students.

There are also some of the usual, "these kids were monsters" and it is all their fault type rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Grits, you missed it on this one. The closing was nothing more than a publicity stunt by Dimitria Pope to show that she was doing something that appeared positive.

Anonymous said...

No, 1:45, you are the one who's wrong on this one. I'm not a Pope supporter, but this was the right call.

Remember the youth are why we are supposed to be here.

No one deserves to be forced to live in the conditions those youth lived in. That's why we have constitutional rights, and their's were being violated.

Anonymous said...

Ten years ago, under the management of Whackyhut, Coke County insisted that there was something in the water that was getting the girls pregnant. TYC's solution at the time, (after all part owner GWB was governor) was to swap out boys for girls.

Anonymous said...

Why are they complaining that they're on a witch hunt? After all the abuses in the system that have gone unchecked for years, it's high time someone starts making heads roll.

Whoever is doing it, keep it up.

Anonymous said...

I need to give John Whitmire an "Atta-boy" for publicly reporting the Private prison lobby people crying to the lege. It is a shame Madden didn't announce it.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

My level of trust for anything that comes from TYC or the State of Texas is rock bottom based on their past performance. That said, I don’t think we will ever know the true motivation for the sudden closure of Coke County. It existed in its sordid state for a long time and had TYC staff on location. It might be nice to see the QA past reports on the level of care to Central Office since the new management took over. I would also like to hear what the fired TYC QA staff has to say. It is very convenient that the people fired are now “at will” employees. There will be no chance for a hearing to bring out the truth of why they were fired or any circumstances related to the situation. At will employment by a state agency enhances the ability of the agency to cover up its mistakes and wrong doing.

There is something wrong with this story. If there was such massive concern for the poor mistreated TYC youth why was it allowed to continue after Ms. Pope visited last month and saw the same things Will Harrell did at a later date. I tend to think the welfare of the youth was secondary at best. I cannot help but feel TYC administration saw a good publicity opportunity and made a major production out of it.

If TYC keeps handling its business in the manner it has in San Saba, Marlin, and Bronte there will be no small towns that want a TYC facility. Investments in public utilities are put in place by the community that still have to be paid for if TYC decides to leave or gets closed by the Legislature. School systems are built to accommodate the educational needs of the TYC youth in addition to the local youth. Then over night the school system is put into a crisis because of TYC’s inability to properly manage their agency. People employed in connection to a TYC facility are suddenly unemployed. Housing values crash and tax rates have to rise to cover debt service on local government bonds.

My question is why didn’t TYC administration fix the problem at Coke County in a manner that was good for the TYC youth and the local people? The answer to that question is that TYC does not have enough employees to run the state schools much less take over a contract facility on a short term basis during an emergency situation. The Coke County affair is another example of the incompetent administration running TYC. Even the village idiot can close down a problem unit but it takes a top notch administrator to save a unit in trouble.

Anthony Mikulastik

Anonymous said...

"There is something wrong with this story. If there was such massive concern for the poor mistreated TYC youth why was it allowed to continue after Ms. Pope visited last month and saw the same things Will Harrell did at a later date. I tend to think the welfare of the youth was secondary at best. I cannot help but feel TYC administration saw a good publicity opportunity and made a major production out of it."

Last month was just a few days ago. You're taking a wild stab at guessing the sequence of events here. For all you know, they visited within the last 2 weeks.

You think it's most likely that the Harris County juvenile probation rep, Will Harrell, and Dimitria Pope all conspired together to falsify and exaggerate reports of poor, mistreated youth just so GEO could look bad, and they all could look good?

And you can't put all the blame on TYC for Coke County's conditions. They deserve some of the blame, but GEO deserves an enormous helping.

Anonymous said...

Pope has been on board for several months and she is just now visiting all the TYC units 2 weeks ago. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Harris County people and Will H. have been in place for a few months. Looks like they were all on top of the situation!

Anonymous said...

From Anthony's 9:27 comment
"I would also like to hear what the fired TYC QA staff has to say. It is very convenient that the people fired are now “at will” employees. There will be no chance for a hearing to bring out the truth of why they were fired or any circumstances related to the situation." Me too! How about Madden and Whitmire find a way of giving those staff immunity in exchange for their giving such information at a hearing? (only exception to the immunity would be perjury at the hearing)...(I can hear Howard now: can't do it, 'taint legal :)

Anonymous said...

The locals who are defending this facility sound exactly like the Coryell County locals who prevented attempts to close the Gatesville training school many times between the 1920s and the 1970s.

Despite an unbroken parade of abuse scandals (including murders of youth by staff, and staff by youth), they always heaped uncritical praise on the "great job" being done, and on the high character of administrators who presided over conditions that differed little from this Coke County institution.

Always the locals reminded "outsiders" that closure of Gatesville would hurt the area economically, and that the juveniles were violent and dangerous monsters. In fact, evidence suggests that sometimes mass escapes were encouraged to remind "outsiders" of their alleged ignorance.

IMO, these are all good reasons (among many, many others) why such facilities should not be located in isolated rural areas, which become too dependent on them for jobs, exacerbating the desire to preserve the status quo at all costs, even if it means inmates living in filth, fighting each other for guards' amusement, being physically abused, and receiving barely even a rudimentary education.

What these folks - esp that ridiculous mayor - who are defending the indefensible don't seem to grasp is that their comments don't encourage sympathy. Their economic investment in a facility shown to be abusive is a mark of moral corruption, not commitment.

No one is going to feel for laid off staff who are perceived as having sanctioned or participated in abuse. And nobody will pity local homeowners who cheered those abuses on, when their property values drop.

Instead observers will view these consequences as, to quote tough on crime proponents, "just desserts," and pretty mild ones at that.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

Also love the line by San Angelo rep Blair about the kids being plied with "brownies and Cokes" to lie about abuses.

Is he serious?


Anonymous said...

I believe Blair is the County Judge of Coke County not the San Angelo State Representative who is named Darby. Why don't you get your own facts right before you bother to post!

Anonymous said...

He could be serious - believe me, it's happened. And while we're on the subject, I'm getting really tired of some of you blasting the rural communities where some of our facilities are located. Some of these rural facilities are home to many of the best citizens of this state - who would give the shirt off their back to one of our youth if he needed it. Don't speak about what you don't know about and if you think you know, don't bunch us all in together...cause that's not the case. Stop Hating! as our T-shirts say :)

Small Town Girl

Anonymous said...

Actually, the rural communities are far better for the youth because of the lack of urban ties in those areas.

The Edinburgh and Beaumont facilities are racked with gang problems of all kinds. Drugs come onto campus regularly, not intermittently, and the quality of staff is on a par with the underpaid GEO staff.

No, the rural areas are actually better, because the Cost of Living can better support the inadequate wages that the State pays these employees.

The Bronte complaint is that these low wages actually created inflation in their poor community.

Anonymous said...

I encourage everyone to read Harrell's report. It shows problems but not the sort that one gets fromreading the media accounts.

Anonymous said...

Bill the reality is small communities will not want TYC or TDCJ in the future if situations like Coke Co. continue. No larger towns are going to welcome any type of prison in Texas and never have. I also doubt the local town folks had anything to do with the operation of the contract unit. I think the locals are collateral damage! Other people screw up and the locals get to pay the price. The TYC administration has been in place for a while and they are just now discovering a serious problem that is supposed to have existed for a long time? An old saying fits this to a “T”, “The buck stops at the top”! If it happens on your watch, it is your problem not anyone else’s. Why couldn’t there have been a better solution a lot sooner. A solution that was much better for everyone that would have shown great leadership would have been a nice change. I have to say I would call my local elected officials to voice my opposition to TYC or TDCJ opening a prison near where I live. My opposition would not be based on fear of the inmates but how we the tax payers would most likely get screwed by the state.

I hope you all get this sorted out and fix what’s wrong. I hope the TYC leadership will try to do better as they consider everyone involved in future decisions. Maybe some will learn from their mistakes and want to do better. A little more honesty and a little less pride might also be a good thing for the folks in CO.


Anonymous said...

Allow me to clarify my earlier comments a little.

First, anon 3:49, you're right and I'm wrong about Blair. My bad. Doesn't really change the substance of my comment, though.

Second, to those who feel that I insulted small towns: My criticism was not intended to be a blanket smear of small towns or the people who live in them as "bad" or "backward" or anything like that. And if it came across that way, my apologies (FWIW, much of my extended family comes from rural east Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee).

Instead, I was trying to suggest that the Coke County mess reflects some well established criticisms of locating juvenile rehab facilities in small towns. I didn't express myself very well, though, so let me try again.

Agencies have often chosen these locations b/c they allow for lower salaries, but they also tend to be too far removed from a range of professional support services, and discourage qualified personnel from working there.

Also, when such a facility becomes the major employer in the area, it fosters an unhealthy economic dependency that encourages even well meaning people to discourage scrutiny of potential problems. This is what I meant by the phrase "moral corruption" - it warps people's thinking, and drives political reps from the area to defend their turf at all costs, facts be damned.

Lastly, and this speaks to anon 5:27's point, there is a long standing and deep difference of opinion among juvenile justice professionals / experts about whether juveniles are better served by being placed far away from or nearer to their families.

Since the invention of juvenile justice, the majority of offenders have come from urban areas but have been placed overwhelmingly in rural areas. It was cited as a problem when TYC was created in 1949, and again during a lege investigation of TYC in 1969, and yet again in the Morales case in the 1970s.

And now in 2007 we're still debating it.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

Folks, trust this:

When former Texas Commission on Jail Standards reps visited that facility and said they would have shut it down within the first three minutes of their entrance, TYC knew there was a problem.

When you have the SAO assisting in the investigation, you have to wonder about a little problem called a kicker. The kicker kicks on the green, know what I mean?

Anonymous said...

Hats off to small town girl... honored to know you as an adult. Back off Bill, she is right or perhaps more accurately, she may be right, in part for the same reasons 5:27 notes about urban areas. TYC has had problems getting approval for Halfway Houses with 15-30 kids who have successfully completed a program in those big cities; nobody wants a 30-50 bed Missouri plan unit in their backyard.
25 years ago, there tended to be 2-3 people in line for every filled job on campuses in those small towns, even when the oilpatch was booming. Benefits, supportive co-workers and supervisors made a difference. At the time, contract placement was for special care; now it's for lowest bidder. "Get tough", extend the age, extend the sentence era has combined with fewer benefits, less skilled supervisors and a sense of integrity lower than any student in TYC (for both the legislature and the upper echelon in TYC.) If you think urban locations are the answer, I remind you to look again at Al Price. Near Beaumont, not far from Houston... $6-8 million to get the land out of the swamp (back when a million was worth a million) and IT HAS NEVER WORKED!!!!

Speaking of small town girls, why has nobody raised the issue (or did I miss it?) that female students go to Brownwood, (nearly the exact center of the state since San Saba closed), while male students are placed close to home? Isn't this gender discrimnation? Don't girls need their families as much as boys?
'night all.

Anonymous said...

Okay, once again let's review the logic in all this. The 197 youth were at Bronte--but instead of taking them straight to Brownwood they instead emptied Mart II of 150+ of their youth--put them on buses and hauled them to Brownwood and Crockett. Then they brought the 197 youth from Bronte to Mart II. That might work in TDCJ, but did anyone bother to think about the education piece here. These students are all enrolled in TEA accredited high school classes. Which means that through all this change there have had to been over 500 transcripts reviewed, schedule changes redone, tracking down of class schedules and not to mention credits. Unreal! Come on! Mart II has now had 3 major overhauls of more than 200 students being dumped on them in less than 2 years. Al Price came from Hurricane Rita, then Mart I this past summer,and now Coke county. No wonder they can't keep educators or staff for that matter. They are worn out, beat up, and just flat burned out from having to clean up everyone else's messes!It is amazing that anyone shows up for work.

Anonymous said...

Bill (10:12 here); it has been suggested that rural vs. urban may not be the issue. Try getting into or out of Austin during in the time it takes to get from Bronte to the major hospitals in San Angelo (experienced in gunshot wounds to oilfield accidents, not to mention heart and neurosurgery) or West Texas to Odessa, again with the skills, including a Texas Tech med school program); a half hour to one hour drive in the country for specialists to come out.. or would it be better to tie that specialist up in traffic, sometimes for hours in the case of an autowreck.
The issue may be extraordinary initial assessment and a professional determination (based on the best criteria) what the kid needs and where is it best available... and that may include getting the child away from his or her family or transporting the family to the kid... we do both for kids in need for medical problems, why not for kids in need for social/psychological problems.... oops, I forgot, this is Texas and they must be punished.

Anonymous said...

10:23 your so right about all the paper trails to keep up with all of these moves. Don't know what is really happening at Mart but it must be a nightmare.
Education, Education of these students is what CO office and Legislators want to happen for the kids. GED's and Highschool Diplomas. Well that is what they say, but the real thing is they want clean floors, tons of paperwork and meetings more than education of the kids.
Teaching is on the back burner and if you can fit that in fine. They scream and holler teach, teach , teach but they put so much paper work on you and demand so much other than time to teach the kids. Teacher has no prep time , grading time as it is taken up by paper work and meetings(pat team, ards,staff meetings, beet, training,transition paperwork,STP's, IEP's,lesson plans,cleaning, dept meetings,staff developments and what ever else they come up with)that take every hour of the day.
What happen to just being able to deliver a lesson to a class and have the time to plan that lesson. What happen to plan and prep time each day like Teachers are suppose to have. It is gone by the way side. Teacher aides are not helping teachers in our place, they are cleaning floors or visiting. Aren't they suppose to be assisting kids in the classrooms and teachers? They say they are assigned to help, they are hired to help, but with them also other duties take away from the education of kids.
We need our education depts like public school, whole class teaching and kids in a class on the same grade level and not on five or six grade levels at once in a classroom. You can not successfully teach a room full of kids with everyone of them in a different book and grade. Classes with kids in the 6-12 grade all in one room. They wonder why it is so hard to find good teachers and when they do they will leave soon.

Anonymous said...

I get a little tired of all the whining by teachers. Compare yourselves to public schools - Come in at 7:30, hour off for lunch, flood the gate at 3, no mandatory attendance at PTO, student dances or other extra-curricular activities, JCO staff in the hallways and in the classrooms to enforce discipline for 3-10 kids in a class as opposed to the public schools where there are upwards of 30 kids in a class, and the teacher is on his/her own. Not to mention in public schools the kids often smuggle firearms into the school building - yeah, it has happened several times at the High School right across the street. Oh yeah, you don't have to go to school board meetings to defend your actions when some parent brings a complaint that you are not teaching her little darling just right. Get a grip! You are the highest paid folks in TYC, yet the low-paid JCO staff get to be with the kids for 8 straight hours. The caseworkers, who have just as much, and often more formal education than you, have to work irregular hours, including weekends, and have to take work home with them to keep up. Poor teachers! Y'all have it so rough!

Anonymous said...

Folks get your facts right, neither Will Harrell nor the Harris County Monitor called for the facility to close or even mention removing the kids. They MISSED A GOLDEN Opportunity to show SB103 works. What you have is a good management team in place that did what was necessary to take care of the kids.

There is nothing in SB103 that aided this process. Its all about a strong leader.

The town people they have as much greed as the company. There is no love for them bad kids and everybody in hear forgets them kids are in kid prision. STUFF IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THEM WHILE INSIDE. BUT ITS HOW YOU HANDLE IT THAT MATTERS.

Anonymous said...

11:26 I don't know what kind of education you have at your place, but most of the facilities have teachers that work their butts off. They were not hired to be JCO staff, but are. They are not hired to be janitorial staff, but they are at TYC. And the hour lunch and walking out the gate at 3:00? You've got to be kidding! Most work lunch at their desk trying to catch up on paperwork, because they have to cover another class during their conference period. I agree with 10:23 about the transcripts and credit issues with all the moves. That is not whining on the teachers' part, but rather that is a tragedy to the youth. By this I mean that credits get lost, or paperwork is not completed in the night moves, etc... So, the student arrives at the new place with incomplete records(STPs, IEPs, transcripts, GED certifications, LPAC recommendations for example) of his education and has to retake classes, and sometimes they lose grades (they may be an 11th grader, but the credits don't follow, so they are bumped down to 10th). Not to mention all the correctional issues like their updated phase assessments.It is very difficult for the paper trail to follow the youth with all the transitioning to different facilities. This issue is about the kids, not the teachers!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@11:26 - If this is an example of strong leadership, why didn't they take action when the Dallas News published its expose this summer? The reason I think this is evidence SB 103 "worked" is that administration ignored reports from the media and longstanding complaints by kids, but reportedly acted on the Ombudsman's report, which is an office created by the new law. There were chances to know about this and act before now.

Anonymous said...

10:55 sounds like a teacher who used to work for me at Shero.

Let me make a sort of an introduction here. I was one of Shero's educators who chose to leave TYC, because Eric Young wanted me to go to Vernon Victory Field. I have had enough of closing things down. It hurts too many people, myself included.

10:55, I still have little sympathy for you. If you would get off your butt and out of the teahcer's lounge, you would accomplish a lot more. Your coworkers are sick of your negativity and if your supervisor doesn't write you up shame on him/her.

Anonymous said...

Under the new legislation, county's now have to deal with their own misdemeanor offenders, no matter how many violations they may have! No misdemeanor offender may be sent to TYC, leaving the county's to care for any violation, so detention centers will now be full! I agree, no county in a rural area will desire a TYC facility, who in their right mind would? TYC is downsizing anyway and giving their facilties to TDCJ as fast as they can give them away to reduce prison overcrowding, all you have to do is check to see they have given several facilities already!

The report, in all actuality, from what I read, shows no major areas of concern significant enough to warrant closure! It was a short report, consisting of approximately one to two pages, and if this was the worst facility ever, why wasn't it closed first? Don't you close the worst facilties first? Common sense dictates to me, the worst is first to go! From what I have read, and yes it is true I don't have TYC in house facts or hidden details they don't bother to release, information is now coming out that Bronte was not on the funding list for this biennium! If this be true, which I truly admit rumors abound, then something is truly amiss at TYC, but there is always something amiss at TYC so follow the rumors and the truth may just follow.

The GEO group is not, by my own admission, one of the best run organizations in the world, however, they are still under contract by the Feds, TDCJ and were under contract with TYC, so evidently they still have some semblance of organizational skills. They were over 40 personnel short in their staffing in Bronte by their own admission.

The real tragedy here is the simple fact of economics, this will adversely affect the local community for years to come, and the 7 fired employees careers will be affected without recourse when in truth it is TYC's own fault, not these employees! I do not agree that these kids were monsters, however I do agree that the kids there were some of the worst in the juvenile justice system who failed in parole, probation and were TYC's worst and found this as an opportunity to shut down a facility and be moved to another under TYC's latest fiasco based histrionics!

Anonymous said...

Let's get one thing straight: the worst in TYC commit new crimes after being released and are recommitted to TYC by the courts. Most of the youth in Coke County were revoked for parole violations, such as failure to report to their parole officer, truancy, etc. Revocation for parole violations is meant to get their attention and reinforce to them that parole rules are something to be taken seriously. Coke County was supposed to be a parole sanctions unit. It did not house the worst from TYC.

When a group from TYC went to Coke County to investigate, the Warden and Director of Security tried to prevent them from talking to the kids! The Deputy Director for Youth Rights for the agency (TYC) that contracted with Geo went to Coke County and they tried to refuse her access to the kids! Do you people who are defending the Coke County facility even begin to understand the implications of that? Old Salty

Anonymous said...

But Old Salty, that's the whole point. Why did it take more than those two visits to prompt action? If GEO was restricting access to youth to the contracting agency, TYC, then they were already in some type of breach of contract anyway - correct? Not criticizing, just trying to get clear on the chain of events here. How many visits does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop (or poorly run contract facility)?

Anonymous said...

Tyc staff have always had problems with people in education and think they are loosers. Well, as for many years in TYC the same issues have came out on this blog.
Get off somewhere around 4-430
Make a good salary
Educated with a college degree( did that to make more money in life)
Do not have to be JCO staff
Some think they have a do nothing job.

For the one that said, you use to work for me but I quit. Bet there is a lot who are glad of that with your attitude towards Educators. I am sure the kids did well where you worked. You are incorrect I have NEVER worked for you and I am glad of that. I believe that would be a thinking error on your part.

You are all wrong and until you have walked in the shoes of an educator in TYC don't bash them! You don't have a clue.I guess you don't appreciate your teacher of your kids, grandkids in public school either, you must hate them for not doing your kids homework for them, or sending something home for you to do.

I would say that most teachers in Education have equal to or more degrees. But the degree does not make the person it is what they do with the knowlege they have. There are alot of good people that work at TYC for the betterment of the kids with no degrees and they do a hell of a good job. So leave out the degree thing.

If you hate Teachers so much, maybe TYC will do away with these do nothing people and you guys can rasie them all the time by yourself. Since we are so useless we can get a job in another school district and make those big bucks, but we choose to work 12 months out of the year instead of 9, boy that makes alot of sense! work extra to help kids at risk.
Every position at TYC has problems with the way they are treated and the work that is put on them. No one has the right to say anyone is whinning. Are you whinning because your in your position? Guess you are if your complaining about it.
Stop blaming all teachers for a few bad ones where you work. That is like saying we are all guilty of the crime of sexually abusing kids because we work at TYC and we all should go to jail for that. With this kind of thinking about Teachers it makes one wonder what your teaching the kids in your facility! Judge everyone for everybody else's wrong doing.

Anonymous said...

10:04, your copious spelling and grammatical errors aren't really helping you make your point. I'm pro-teacher, but proof-read, dude.

Anonymous said...

Just another show of disrepect.If you did not have something positive to say to the last post then why say anything at all?

If grits is about someone writing correctly maybe we should all just stop writing. Check out other post and start correcting them. What is wrong with people who work at TYC?
I do not work there and glad I am not employed at this place.
I bet I made some mistakes here too.

Anonymous said...


There is a thing called constructive criticism. I would serve you well to learn to accept it more graciously.

Anonymous said...

how in the hell would YOU serve someone better? Whoops did you make a Typo? The master!

Anonymous said...

The events I described happened immediately before the sudden closing. Old Salty