Sunday, February 01, 2009

House rules alter juvenile justice playing field

I'm just now getting a chance to look at the new, formal rules (pdf) approved by the Texas House of Representatives last week, which altered significantly the roles of a couple of justice-related standing committees - particularly on juvenile justice topics.

Reps. Jerry Madden and Harold Dutton went head to head over who would have jurisdiction this session over juvenile justice, with the Democrat winding up with the short end of the stick. Madden chaired the House Corrections Committee last session, which was charged with overseeing the Texas Youth Commission as well as the adult prison system, while Dutton chaired a now-defunct committee called Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, which bore responsibility for the juvenile probation system, criminal procedure related to juveniles, and family law.

The change could be especially critical because the Sunset Commission has recommended merging the Youth Commission with the Juvenile Probation Commission. Previously those inherently interconnected agencies were regulated by different committees in the House, but the new rules will shift the entire debate - at least at the committee level - to Corrections.

The new rules expanded the House Corrections Commitee from seven to eleven members, and eliminated Dutton's old committee. That explains why he was the sole House member to vote against the rules in a 147-1 vote.

Indeed, based on broad support for Madden's changes to the rules (121 members voted against Dutton's motion to reconsider), I wouldn't be surprised to see Speaker Joe Straus retain him as chair of Corrections, even though Madden was a holdout Craddick backer until late in the process. That said, Dutton has plenty of seniority to get on whatever committee he wants to, and based on his interests, he'll likely remain a player on justice topics, if I had to guess, and may even himself wind up on the expanded Corrections panel. (Committee assignments in the House have not come out yet.)

The family law issues from Dutton's old committee were transferred to another newly merged committee - Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence - which combines the House Judiciary Committee with a now-defunct panel called Civil Practices, increasing the number of committee members to eleven.

Meanwhile, the Law Enforcement Commitee was renamed "Public Safety," and was expanded form seven to nine members. Its jurisdiction, though will remain the same as the committee chaired last session by Rep. Joe Driver of Garland.

Similarly, the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, chaired in 2007 by Rep. Aaron Peña, was expanded from nine to eleven members, but retains the same jurisdiction as before.


Anonymous said...

Grits- do you think the Ombudsman's suggestion of raising TYC jurisdiction back to 21 will get any traction in the newly configured committee?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I really have no way of knowing. We don't even know who's on the committee yet.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

FYI - I just deleted a comment related to the idea of a TYC-TJPC merger. That person is welcome to try again if they can bring themselves to write something without the obscenity and vitriol.

Anonymous said...

What would they do about employee "conflicts" if the two combined?

TJPC is county, not state retirement.

TJPC has a different healthcare, not BCBS.

PO usually make more the casemangers.

Holiday schedule is a lot different for state employees.

How would these issues be solved? I know not a huge issue, but something to be thought about.

Anonymous said...

3:00 - Where on earth are you getting the information you posted?

TJPC employees are STATE employees and have all the same benefits, health care, retirement, etc. of any other state employees.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I read this on one of your posts:

Senate Criminal Justice Committee:

John Whitmire, Chair
Kel Seliger, Vice-Chair
John Carona
Rodney Ellis
Glenn Hegar
Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa
Dan Patrick

Do you have any idea when they will meet?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 7:53 - probably in a week or ten days, I'd guess. There's nothing scheduled yet.

Anonymous said...

For the record, TJPC are state employees. Counties pay all kinds of different salaries for DO's, PO's, etc. Most counties provide medical but some don't. The holidays provided are somewhat the same, give one or two.

Anonymous said...

I apologize about the oscenity. I was just giving an example of what the youth at TYC will be able to do in the therapeutic community. The youth are allowed to tell each other and staff exactly what they think. I used an example that I had heard before. I don't think it's appropriate for the youth to be able to do that. I'm an old TYC veteran and maybe I'm desensitized. I've been called every name in the book and I've heard everything. I don't curse and I tried to teach the youth on my dorm not to do it. When I left there were still consequences for cursing. It's disresspectful and inflammatory.
I encourag anyone interested to research CoNEXTions, and the rule changes at TYC. Although staff assaults are up, the injured staff are strongly urged not to press charges against the youth responsible for the injury. If staff does file charges I believe a grand jury will decide whether or not to accept them. I don't see any merit in that.
I'll just say that I agree with that attorneys blog about the generator. I've been going back over the history of TYC and really taking the time to read old sunset commission reports. I encourage others to do the same, especially the report from 1996. I see that there is an issue of the day, recommendations and new rules that follow and statistics produced to sell it all.
All of this is a bit hard for someone who genuinely cared about her job and helping the youth, to swallow.

Anonymous said...

Grits, this is 7:53 again.

Thanks for your reply, and thanks for keeping us abreast of the actions of this legislative session (and the last one for that matter.)

I truly appreciate everything you do and have done in the past to keep us informed, and I aplogize for all the rude comments you have had to deal with here on this forum. It seems there is always a rotten apple in every bushel, but it wouldn't hurt to let you know that the good apples appreciate all of the factual information you consistently provide.

Anonymous said...

“All of this is a bit hard for someone who genuinely cared about her job and helping the youth, to swallow.”
Not sure that was the best choice of words spoken as a representative dorm man/woman for an agency like tyc with its reputation. I think you meant its hard for you to swallow the negative publicity about your employer where you have built a career around, not that it’s hard to help youth swallow. Although I got a chuckle, thanks.
I would like to read you original post, send it to me at Don’t worry I won’t be offended, I’ve heard it all, I was a victim of tyc’s therapeutic methods. Thank Gd not the ones in place over the last 20 years, those would have been heard to overcome. Like I always say sticks and stones may break my bones but words will scare for life.
Sheldon tyc#47333 c/s

Anonymous said...

To clarify, TYC and TJPC staffers are all State employees. Probation departments (while governed by TJPC) are still County-run departments (usually under a Juvenile Board) and, as such, the employees are County employees. I do not think a TYC-TJPC merger (however horrible an idea it is) would affect the structre of individual probation departments.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you had a terrible experience at TYC. I don't for one minute deny that there were undercover staff that did rotten things. What I want you tell you is that there were also many, many honest, decent employees that cared about you and all of the other youth at TYC. I being one of them. I can assure that the majority of my collegues and I were intolerant of shady staff.
I believe you think I am upset because I have built a career around an employer that is receiving negative publicity. No, I built my career around helping others, most specifically juveniles. I realize that you have a great deal of animosity towards TYC and it upsets me that you had a bad experience there. I'm sorry to say that there are bad apples in all organizations, especially in the field of corrections. Because this is so, doesn't mean that it is necessary to kill the whole organization. I'm sorry, but there has to be a place to send serious offenders. I would like to see reforms made to the agency that improve the whole system. What I hate to see now are the staff and youth being injured at higher rates because the environment is so terribly chaotic and unsafe. I believe nothing productive can come out of many of the changes and new programs being implemented. I would like to see a great deal of careful thought and consideration put into this issue by our law makers. I am telling you that I have question about why it is now feasible to merge the agencies, when it was not in 19996.
I read the sunset report and other archives from 1996 and confirmed what I thought, the problems and concerns now faced are more or less the same as they have always been. There are no easy because the issue of juvenile correction is a very complex one. Knee jerk reactions do not work in this business or any other. It is better to work with whole truths rather than halfs or partials. There is no need for me to republish what I said the first time, I said the same thing the second time in a better way. I was a little upset when I posted the first time because I had been talking to close friends that still work at TYC who are really having a hard time. They are very decent honest people that work hard. I also was reliving my own bad experience at TYC. It is never good to respond to anything in anger or frustration. I was wrong. You and I share something in common, we both had a bad experience at the TYC. I was with the agency for a long time. I had always had good evaluations and I did many extra things at TYC, like training and teaching. I was really passionate about my job and trying to right, so much so that I was a little to vocal. The facility suddenly changed me to a new supervisor who was mentally ill. This person was a pathological liar. I later found out the this cruel, unethical, unstable person had faked their entire background. This person was a con artist and fooled many, but not me. I knew my days were numbered. This individual made my life a living hell. This person would pull me out of mandatory meetings to do other things and then write me up for not attending the meeting. They lost my time sheets and then wrote me up or not turning them in, and would say I was late to work when I wasn't. It was the most helpless feeling. I was angry, frustrated and depressed. This person set me up and fired me. When I tried to tell the truth no one believed me. I tell you all of this so you will understand that I empathise with you. I am so opposed to mistreating people that I am a zealot about it. I always was that way and my experience just made it worse. Now, becasue I saw some bad things and because I had a terrible experience does not justify me hating the whole organization. I cannot judge the agency based on my experiences. I know better. I believe in TYC, I believe in it's mission. I know good things happened there because I witnessed them first hand. It need repair, not demolishion. I believe that things can always be better. That is my hope for all and for you. I notice that you post quite often and it often gets pretty heated. I have no animosity towards you at all and hope that you are now successful. If the legislature asked you to come before them and offer suggestions on how to best repair the problems at TYC how would you prepare and what do you think you would say? No cursing or mudslinging allowed, Be as rational as possible, that is if you care to answer. I would like to learn something from you.

Anonymous said...


I thought TYC retirement is ERS and TJPC is county and district retirement.

TYC has insurance through BCBS with no cost to the employee. I think TJPC has to pay a small portion for their insurance.

I think TYC gets 2 or 3 more holidays. That's a big deal.

Maybe I'm wrong about all that.

Anonymous said...

6:13 - Once again...TJPC is a state agency. The employees are state employees just like TYC and all the other state agencies. Same insurance, same benefits and YES even the same holidays.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is no difference. We have the same everything. Besides, Maybe some of us are that petty, but I hope not. Anyway if we were merged it makes ssense that if there were differences there wouldn't be anymore because we would be one agency. Again, That is not the major issue.

Anonymous said...

6:13, unless things changed the last few years, TYC retirement is ERS and the money that I got from the county which was taken out of my check for retirement was not ERS and did not transfer straight over like we normally do from state job to state job. Maybe things have changed.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, Sheldon. I doubt if anyone else read 10:09's comment the way you did. I wonder why Grits didn't zap your reply.

I think I might actually know 10:09, and if I'm right there was no more caring person in the facility when it came to the youth. Actually, TYC is full of people like her, but you'd rather dwell on your own trials and tribulations. Every time I read one of your posts, I feel a little less sorry for you.

I suggest you bring yourself up to date with regard to TYC. The agency you describe is nothing like the agency I worked in for over 10 years.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"I wonder why Grits didn't zap your reply."

Three reasons: 1) TYC comments have become so unconstructive I can barely stand to read them anymore, so I haven't looked at this string since my last comment on Sunday, 2) Sheldon didn't smear individuals by name, use obscenity, etc., which is the main reason comments get deleted, and 3) he was responding to a commenter who, though off topic, I'd invited to restate her position (sans obscenity).

Sheldon's comments tend to overstate and oversimplify things, but that's no different from many TYC staff who comment here. I try to be consistent, but I'm not your Mom. It's really up to y'all whether these TYC comment strings are worth reading or not.

Anonymous said...

This was on local news station and I wonder how this is going to affect us with all the cuts we are already seeing in TYC. What will the legislature think of next?

AUSTIN (AP) - Legislative leaders have asked state agencies to cut about 2.5 percent from their current spending in an effort to avoid mandatory funding slashes in an increasingly tight state budget.

In a letter dated Friday, Republican House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked heads of state agencies for their recommendations to cut costs.

While the national recession has impacted the Texas economy, the 2010-2011 state budget is not facing the dire circumstances other states are grappling with.

But Friday's letter indicates the level of their concern.

Many lawmakers have quietly speculated that the state budget squeeze will be significantly relieved by the economic stimulus package pending in Washington.

Anonymous said...

If concern over the direction the agency, TYC and juvenile corrections is headed has nothing to do with who is in charge of juvenile corrections than I guess I too, am oversimplifying and off topic. It is my opinion that a global perspective is the best perspective. Certainly what is happening at TYC is a reflection of the changes made by our leaders. That seems on topic to me.

Anonymous said...

Its not the people it’s the culture. 4:39 post back to me underlines the issues with a group of former inmates who I have been in contact with that were at the new kinder gentler tyc over the last decade. The mind games and the verbal abuse IMO makes tyc less effective than in my days.
It’s not a few bad apples it’s a culture and even good people in a bad culture will appear as bad. The kinder gentler tyc might no longer hand cuffs kids to the wall while staff take turns beating them to a pulp. Now you tyc people use some form of punitive group, decon, ppc, conextions, to fully psychologically mess up a kid, which appears to be a proven method for generating product for the corrections business, see for example tyc recidivism rates.

8:40 wow, there is no doubt there are hundreds of good people still in tyc some with tyc numbers and perhaps even some with emp numbers. It’s the culture, and I don’t expect someone with the skill sets who would accept a job from a tyc, let alone stay employed past 90 days, would have the faculties to fully understand or comprehend what a bad culture can do to an organization. But just to give you tyc people the benefit of the doubt, Jim Collins book Good To Great is my reference when I’m called to clean up an organizations.

Now you tyc people have one tyc victim crying about abuses from the 70’s and you people go into hysterics. What’s going to happen when thousands of tyc victims start crying about abuses they have suffered at the hands of you tyc people over the 120 year child abusive history. What about those child molesters in west tex when the former inmates start telling their story or how about the sweet little mom and pops at bwood when the atrocities are finely told.

One bad apple or a group that can do nothing, both are to blame yet no one is to blame, it’s the culture. The tyc perfected the sweet face on the outside yet under the covers the abuse happens, while some people say “oh how we love the kids”, other say “oh how we hate these little bastards”.

Look I started blogging on these post just for fun, some tongue and cheek insults at the red nick and affirmative action emps at tyc, but after reaching out to former students in the last year and learning some cool stuff watching Obama getting elected, well lets just say I’m on a mission. I want to tell the stories that tyc don’t want told, the stories of generations of children who were caught up in the abusive of a state agency created to help them.
87% recidivism rate, yea as a whole you tyc people are a failure and an embarrassment to the great state of Texas. Your story should be told.
Sheldon tyc#47333 c/s

Anonymous said...

I can understand why TYC and TJPC employees are worried about the future. I know they were anxious to find out about the committee and it's members. Those individuals will be determining their fate. The staff show up for work each day anticipating more job cuts and facility closings. The information they get is from the gossip mill. Past decisions by Madden and co. were made rapidly with little thought and the agency was left in turmoil.
Just a comment- The environment at TYC in unstable and dangerous and the employees are just worn out. Many of them are looking for new jobs. Of course they are frustrated, tired and depressed. Many of them just want to be heard, but this blog is certainly not the place for it. Fortunately, there will be a place for TYC employees to go very No one can possibly understand what it is like unless they have worked there. I have, so I understand. It's a dfferent world, no doubt.
I don't think the majority of TYC people posting ont his blog meant any harm. I believe many of the just saw it as a ray of hope. I am sorry Grits, I think many of them have gotten the message, especially after yesterday. I know this former employee does. Sorry for being off task, it won'thappen again.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you start your own blog?
I understand quite well about negative cultures, both inside and outside the system. This is not the forum, but I would like to know what you think should happen to juvenile offenders who repeatedly violate te rights of the general public. I know you see yourself as a victim, I'm not doubting that you are. Victimizers are often victims themselves. What do you propose we do with juveniles who commit serious crimes? We don't want to send them into the adult system but, they can't just be left on the streets. Give this some careful consideraton. Inform yourself and educate yourself. Before you blast CoNEXTions, research the program. You will find it is the opposite of being punative. It is fine for you to make fun of whatever you like I just encourage you to know what it is first. I would like to know what an affirmative action red neck is? Red necks are usually not associated with affirmative action. You support Barak Obama. What is his position on affirmative action and what has any of that got to do with TYC and the criminal justice committee? I'm off task for responding to this so I'm signing off now.

Anonymous said...

I must agree w/Sheldon. Many attempts are being made to again veil the tragedy of the real TYC. It has not improved much in the past few years, has probably gotten worse. Abuse still goes the papers, even if it is hidden here. Be al least truthful about the situation. More coverup for youth mismanagement is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, you intrigue me.

I am one of the "you tyc people" you continually refer to, but I am one of the "good" emps caught up in what you refer to as, "bad TYC culture."

Okay, let's say that is true. What do YOU propose "us TYC people," and I'm only talking about the ones who actually give a shit about the kids...what should we be DOING while we are on the inside of this bad culture to help fix the problem? PLEASE DO TELL us how you think we can help, and maybe some of "us TYC people" may surprise you. If the answer means changing a culture...then so be it, lETS CHANGE IT. Doesn't it make sense to you that the people on the inside of the "bad culture" are in a prime position to actually DO something to change it?

I can assure you I am JUST AS PASSIONATE as you are about the cause. Just because I work there does not make me a lesser person than you, or have any less passion about the TYC culture than you have. I can also assure you I am not the only one on the inside that shares your passion about this. PLEASE DON"T CONTINUE to shred the "emps" to bits if they are willing to be part of the cure. After aLL, You can't heal a wound if you just keep throwing salt in it.

If you have the answers, then why don't you start sharing them with us? I too think you should start a blog...I assure you I would be a regular reader...and I would also go to greater lengths than you might think to help with the cure.

C'mon Sheldon...get a blog started and let's get on with it!

Anonymous said...

I’m afraid I got off topic not to mention the liberal usage of the you people phrase. I have started a web site. It’s how I’m putting together the stories from the poor children who have been victims of tyc. I was listening to a recently released tyc inmates horror stories on the train this morning, and it brought a tear to my eyes, he was at McFadden, go figure.

There has been a lot of work by the counties to reduce commitments on the front end with positive results. More work needs to be done on the back end to reduce the effects of tyc’s therapeutic results of 87% recidivism. Classification is key, some of these bad ass boys need to go on down to Clemmons farm or a tyc version, while some need real therapeutic help. Although this means nothing until the state can truthfully answer the question for tyc, are we in the corrections business or are we concerned about public safety and helping kids who got in trouble? With tdc its easy we’re in the corrections business, and business is good. But with tyc, well… We really need to answer the above question about tyc’s business model.
I’m assumeing that the above question will never be answered, it has yet to be answered since Morales vs Turman and today’s tyc is not much different than the tyc of my day, 75-77. What I’m working on is to form a group of former tyc inmates who have overcome the adversity of being subjugated to a tyc culture, who “broke norms” and did not go to prison who are leading successful lives. I know, needle in a haystack with this group. You know the people who have actually done it. It would be great to partner with local tyc parole officers but even better to go and speak with the kids who are about to get out. Again the business model question comes up. Does tyc care enough about the kids in their charge to allow them to visit with my group prior to their release? There may be all kind of barriers to prevent this and then again perhaps not.
I have done and continue to do my home work.
Sheldon tyc #47333 c/s

Anonymous said...

12:48 sorry I failed to addres some of your issues.
Affirmative action emps and red neck emps are two separate group objects with their own unique positive/negative attributes and properties. The individual object can change things, like a white country boy who speak fluent ebonies. I was a systems and controls engineer and I manage people objects in a personnel system the same way. It’s not personable but it’s been effective so I won’t change my methodology.
I did not support Obama, I just admire how his people got him elected. The America public was victimized by a victim, fascinating. I vote as well as physically and financially support the republican party, even though the party is full of liberals like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. LOL
Again, I have done and continue to do my home work.
Sheldon tyc#47333 c/s

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, I generally agree with your comments and you support the revelations of abuse and mismanagement revealed in "Raped by The State"? I have heard mixed emotions about the book, but you, as a victim of the system knows better than most others. Best.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts regarding “Raped by The State” was that it was hard to read because of the literary style of the author. Unfortunately, because of the literary style combined with the author being an ex employee it makes it very easy for the “head in the sanders” to discount the work. My thoughts on the content are that Chance, I think that’s the authors name, barely scratched the surface of the abusive culture and the ingrained policy to keep it hidden.
When I dog tyc, I focus on the culture. I was there and I can tell if someone is lying about being there if they weren’t. So when I hear their stories, they are IMO very believable. I may say bad things about tyc that people don’t like to hear but it’s hard to argue my content, unless you really were never there, ever. The nasty comments woven into my content like the “you tyc people” is more a reflection of my disdain for the agency. I have come to call it troll baiting on this blog, and sadly, I get a charge when I catch a troll. Therapy from tyc is a lifelong process and I still have work to do. Remember folks, I went to the best high school in the world to learn manipulation tyc, once I learned to read and write, it wasn’t taught in tyc, I could coble words together, well let’s just say I write some very effective proposals.

I thought about writing something similar from a state boys perceptive but I have decided to put something together that would help tyc kids being released to avoid becoming part of the 87% recidivism calculation. How to be a 13%er would serve a more constructive purpose than to hop on the tyc bash wagon for profit.

It’s been about a year since I read the book, I think I’ll try to read it again in light of what I have learned since.

Sheldon tyc#47333 c/s

Anonymous said...

Sheldon asked:

"Does tyc care enough about the kids in their charge to allow them to visit with my group prior to their release? There may be all kind of barriers to prevent this and then again perhaps not."

TYC banned felons from working or volunteering for TYC. Do you or any of your former TYC friends have a felony conviction? If so, you're SOL, even if it was "way back then." If not, volunteer all you can.

Anonymous said...

BUT you musn't forget 5:39, TYC rules ARE made to be broken. If you don't believe me just follow the TYC GAP (policy) Manual changes, or better yet, read SB103 fron the last legislative session and then look around...LOTS of rules are being broken!

Sheldon...I like your idea of getting TYC to let you visit with the kids. If they won't let you, well....what does that tell all of us about TYC?

Keep up the good work, and hey...what's the name of your website? I'd like to go there.

Anonymous said...

If you really do your research you would comment about how different cultures exist at different facilities and that different facilities have different recidivism rates.


from what i have seen the "culture" at TYC is better than the culture the vast majority of the youth came from.

Anonymous said...


looks great man. keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Ah, hell, anyone wanna slam Crockett, so we can get the comments shut down? This string has lost touch with the topic.

Anonymous said...

808: You're only trying to justify the abuse TYC dishes out to youth. Many come from abusive atmospheres, but TYC then re-enforces that same atmosphere, since its OK. Is this what you think TYC should continue to do? If so, you need to leave TYC.

Anonymous said...

OK OK I'll start a tyc blog so we can go round and round and leave grits out of all this meshugas. We are sooo way off topic on this thread.
• I want to talk about jco Spain and the idiots in hr that would hire 25 and under to work a dorm at Mountain View 2, Mart. Come on, most seasoned mature adults do not have the skills to deal with the manipulative tendencies of state boys, but a kid, from Waco, what are “you people” thinking? And there are policies preventing successful former state boys from telling current state boys how to make it in the free world. LOL
• I want to talk about the latest recidivism value I have heard, 92%.
• Economics for JCO’s having one boy click on another has gone from 2 cigarettes to a snicker bar in the last 30 years. How can y’all afford that on your salary, or is that something you can expense in the name of control? My dorm men just got the cigarettes from me since I ran the contraband store in return for favored status, is that still how its done now?
• What happen to state talk and the system of counting White, Spanish, and Black, was is just replaced by ebonics?
• State boys from high profile families having perks but still get to see the ugliness. I really did not want to go there but what the hell.
I appreciate the shout out for the IG website with my profile, there is a nice pic of me in my biker attire, and I think there is a pic of me with a couple of my vato’s in front of Terrace dorm 4 from 1977. My wife thinks it would be fun to post all the pics we have with dignitaries, but it wasn’t personal, we had to make contributions, or by a plate at a specific table to get those.

I appreciate all the emails I have received from both the good apples and those of you who have issue with me calling you out for child molestation or the covering of such. Remember I went to the greatest school in the world for manipulation and I coble my words so that the guilty parties will get real pissed off, so don’t be stupid and kvetch about me in an email, it’s not anonymous. I’ll get the blog set up in the next week or so where you so you can attack me from the shadows.

Anonymous said...

10:23 forgot to sign off.

Sheldon trc#47333 c/s

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.