Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Perry reappoints Harrell as TYC Ombudsman

Governor Perry today announced he's renominating my old boss Will Harrell as the Texas Youth Commission's independent Ombudsman, according to a press release:
Gov. Rick Perry has named Will Harrell of Austin the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) Independent Ombudsman for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2011. Pursuant to Senate Bill 103 of the 80th Legislative Session, the independent ombudsman will report on individual facilities and serious problems within the commission; create awareness about the office; and review and evaluate procedures established by the commission to ensure the rights of all children are observed.

Harrell was initially appointed as TYC ombudsman by the governor’s conservator, and has served in the position since May 2007. He is a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and was a founder of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. He serves on the University of Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Advisory Board. He was the 2008 recipient of the Cesar Chavez Award by PODER, the NAACP of Texas Torchbearer Award, and the Texas LULAC President’s Award. Harrell was profiled in the February issue of the Texas Monthly Magazine as one of 35 Texans shaping the future. Harrell received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree and master’s degree in law from American University.

This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
From all I can tell, Will's done a good job and he's brought to light many issues at TYC, particularly involving education, that otherwise wouldn't have been substantively addressed. He deserves the re-appointment and IMO the Senate should and hopefully will confirm him.

See past Grits posts on the Ombudsman's work:


Anonymous said...

Scott, wanted to let you know the outcome of the Dymond Milburn case in Galveston - that's the one wher a 12 year old honor student was beaten by four male officers in her yard after being called prostitute - medical records documented her injuries. As a Galvestonian, I am filled with horror that the DA made her go through a felony assaulting an officer trial after her ordeal. For this juvenile trial, the courtroom was filled with uniformed police officers staring down the jury, which seems to me to be a Section 1983 violation.
There's a very good article here
in the Houston Chronicle documented the appalling case, as well as the obvious intimidation job done by the DA and the GPD against Dymond and her family.

Anonymous said...

Charles Kiker here:

Congratulations to Will.

JTP said...

No doubt Harrell's re-appointed will be confirmed. Who would even have a chance to be Ombudsman besides him? With his political clout, along with the fact that he basically authored SB103 and the description of the Ombudsmans' function, plus his resume that you summarized, what legislator would dare raise an objection?

There is one aspect however of his past investigative efforts which bothers me a little. It seems that he has expanded his definition of the job and he is attempting to function not only as a traditional Ombudsman, but also as TYC's rogue auditor. It looks like his office sometimes takes a very broad view of their task in order to expand their power base, almost without inhibition. Of course the agencies internal audit department can't chose most of what they evaluate, since they audit at the request of the Exec. Commissioner, whereas the Harrell's Ombudsman role allows him to choose his targets, even if the Executive Commissioner would have him do otherwise. Of course, the job title is Office of the "Independent" Ombudsman, which means his role is not meant to be submissive or subject to the E.C.'s influence.

I think his biggest problem a.k.a.(political blunder), came last year came when he followed his staff's lead and declared that there were hundreds of TYC investigations that were incomplete. While there was a grain of truth to his assertions, his numbers were premature and off the mark, and his method of presentation became a media event, much to Msrs. Madden and Whitmire's consternation. Unfortunatly, the resulting media circus just seemed to fuel the fires of those legislators, judges, and DA's, who would like to see TYC disapear because of its' apparent internal chaos. Maybe it is good that Harrell is so skilled at working the media to his advantage. It certainly makes him untouchable as long as he doesn't Grand Stand on the wrong issues and bring the wrong media attention at the wrong time, to the wrong people. I do believe that, despite his apparent love of the media spotlight, he has a heart and passion for what he does for the underdog, which is one reason why he made it to that elite list in Texas Monthly. Even though his Ombudsman function is naturally focused toward finding the flaws within TYC, it would be nice if he could occassionally let people know what he sees that does work. This next few months is going to be very trying for Juvenile Justice in general and TYC in particular. Will Harrell can play a powerfull role in the genesis and transformation of the agency, or he can contribute to its' ultimate demise. That's a lot of power. The Governor's Office must have a great deal of faith in their recommendation for re-appointment. Let us pray........

Gritsforbreakfast said...

JTP, I'm personally glad Will has asserted his independence and defined his role broadly to address bigger issues at TYC. Nobody would be paying attention to TYC's education issues, e.g., if he had not done so. I don't see any problem with that. In fact, it's the reason the office was made independent and not an adjunct of the agency like at TDCJ.

Anonymous said...

I am not so fond of Mr. Harrell and his office. I think he and his employees have abused their positions and power by going outside the scope of their legislative functions. I also believe the majority of his reports (all of which I have read) lack valid statistical data and are manipulated to fit whatever conclusions the good Ombudsman would like to present to the Legislature to continue to justify his position. Here's hoping they don't confirm him, although I know they will since the Governor has recommended it. I would have to say that Mr. Harrell is a typical appointee considering the current politicians that are in Austin.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

9:45 says the Ombudsman's office is "going outside the scope of their legislative functions"

I call "horse hockey" on that. What do you think are his "legislative functions"? Do you even know, or are you just unhappy he's been critical of agency practices like "self paced" learning for special ed students and overuse of solitary confinement?

SB 103 said "The office of independent ombudsman is a state agency established for the purpose of investigating, evaluating, and securing the rights of the children committed to the commission, including a child released under supervision before final discharge." There's nothing inconsistent with that mandate and producing the kind of public policy reports he's done, even if they may have been critical of the agency.

Anonymous said...

The last time TYC had an Ombudsman, in the mid-70s, he was appointed not by the legislature or the executive but by the judiciary, Judge Justice in the Morales case.

The moment that the Fifth Circuit overturned parts of Morales, TYC fired him.

You better believe that "legislative mandate" is the only thing protecting Harrell from a similar fate. If he really exceeded it he would have been gone, esp during the Pope era.

Did not know Harrell helped found TCJC, and speaking of which, Grits, you and readers should check out Part 2 of our TYC history report. It's on the TCJC web site.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

All TYC staff who yearn for reform, TYC youth and their families and parents, advocacy groups, thoughtful lege staff, county folks, judges, and others who read this blog should step up now and celebrate this. The Governor has re-appointed the primary critic of his own agency. How often does that happen?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know more about OIO data. Two folks here say it's off, but neither offers contrary data.

This objection of going beyond "scope" sounds positive actually. If more folks would have gone beyond their "scope" in the interest of youth before the shit hit the fan, we would not be having this conversation about an ombudsman going beyond the "scope".

Anonymous said...

It's refreshing when government actually confirms the right man for the job. Will Harrell has been a true advocate for the kids and I'm glad he is able to continue that good work.

Anonymous said...

I think the lege still has to confirm and some of these are not to pleased with the ombudsman, do you remember the Pope and how she is no longer with TYC, this should give you a clue.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he will at least get a hair cut and wear appropriate attire to hearings and public speaking engagements.

Anonymous said...

Haircut and proper attire??? I am sure your one of those that thought prohibition actually worked, get a grip. How one conducts oneself and their personal appearance is irrelevant, unless of course your Michael Phelps and you get caught with a bong in your hand and Kellog's pulls their sponsorship. How stupid of Kellog's, now who in the world will eat their crap other than the pot smoking munchie eaters. But it's all about appearance and not common sense.

Anonymous said...

Will Harrell is a good choice. It is nice to see someone with a criminal record working at TYC. Will is an example for the TYC youth that even if you make a mistake in life you can still be productive person with a good paying job. Will Harrell may not have been 100% correct on all of his reports but he was always in the ball park. You have to understand how difficult it is to gather information in TYC because of its size and history of cover-ups. Will Harrell has done an outstanding job considering the circumstances he has had to work under. Also he is one of the few people to last more than six months on the job. Good luck Will.


Anonymous said...

I agree with 8:02, cut your hair and wear proper attire to hearings. Most folks with a criminal record got fired from TYC.

Anonymous said...

I am surely praying that after the next election we will see headlines like : Gov. (anyonebutRickPerry) appointed someone to something...

I believe it is evident from his track record that Gov. Perry needs to go. He pandering to the industry money, along with some shady appointments cries for his replacement.

Texas, like most Southern states, enjoys its love affair with the Republican party and its strong conservative views. Too bad those views went out of date in the 50's.

as a note to my Repub brothers, Women have won the right to vote, Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation, and you can no longer flog people publicly for having sex outside of marriage...

Anonymous said...

Wow, those of you focusing on Will's appearance are really superficial idiots who are missing the ball. The point here is that he is an advocate for youth that no one speaks out on behalf of. Who cares what his hair looks like?

BB said...

The Governor needs to be very careful with Will Harrell. He makes his decisions based on his personal opinions and political agendas without concern for harm to the youth or the staff. For Will it is not what is in the best interest of all parties involved, it is always about Will getting his way. Will occasionally has good intentions, but he lacks true character and he does not have real experience in the world of Juvenile Corrections. It is unfortunate that he has the political support and the legal connections to drive the operations of the organization. The Governor will regret this appointment if there ever comes a day when his ombudsman does not get his way. He will then discretely utilize his legal connections once again against the agency and the Governor to achieve his objectives.

Anonymous said...

Will Harrell is my HERO. I had a
boy at TYC for 2 1/2 years. Will helped when we needed intervention and saved us all from going down the tubes.
Thank you again, Ponytail Dude! I don't care how you dress and look, it's what you can accompolish and the goodness in your heart! I have never met a man with your integrity in such a position and I am no youngster!
God Bless you and your staff.
I love you Will Harrell!
P. Angel

Anonymous said...

In the 1970s, TYC staff complained bitterly about the long hair and dress of Steven Bercu, the lead attorney for the juvenile inmates in the Morales case.

Bercu told me that it drove staff crazy when he showed up at TYC facilities with hair down his back, blue jeans, and an open collar, and staff were compelled by court order to allow him to speak with juveniles.

BB (that other "BB" is NOT me, to be clear)

Whitsfoe said...

I've met with Will on many occassions. My experience has been that his questions are meaningful and on target. It's good to know we have someone to call when we see potential problems that could draw more negative consequences for this agency. He's acted on everything I said might be a problem, that's for sure. And in turn, many of us have acted on issues he's brought forward. So it's a good working relationship, and has been since he's been here. He's an excellent advocate for those kids and should be reappointed. I can only imagine after learning the TYC system for the past two years that he'll even be better the next two. So with that, as Will often says, peace-out!

Anonymous said...

Its odd that others with criminal records were fired, however the governors boy is alowed to play in TYC with his criminal records. Yeh, all about change for the better and reforms! Bull manure.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I just removed two comments attacking people not named in this post. Stop smearing one another, people, or I'm shutting this string down.

BTW, Will's so-called criminal record was a Class B DWI. Those at TYC were only fired who had past felony convictions. If you're going to anonymously attack others (and personally, I consider that the act of a coward), at least be honest with your comparisons.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well...for those of you who seem against the Ombudsmen I am going to jump out on the limb and say you are probably workers of TYC or some membered branch thereof, so let's just set the record straight. First, Mr. Harrell is not "the governors boy". In any political circle there are many who know each other. The governor and Will - know each other...so what. The chief of staff use to work for the governor...so does that mean the governor really didn't corrective measures with the youth who were getting raped and beaten? So, let's blog about that one shall we? And if Mr. Harrell were the governors boy then wouldn't he actually side with the chief of staff and governor on many positions? HE DID NOT. He informs them, he educates them as to the errors and legal issues that may, that will and have arised. So, that point is irrelevant and void. Second, to the author of 2/10/2009 09:27:00 PM - you want to "see the right" of his work. Let's look at the Galloways, the Moores, the advocates, the volunteers, the Medlocks, the Civil Rights Projects, the media named and those unnamed BY CHOICE...all names which you probably don't know because if you did - then you probably would have had to read the very public "see the right" articles and countless measured times and trials that Mr. Harrel put in WITH THE NOW CHIEF OF STAFF - FORMERLY RIGHT HAND AND EAR OF GOVERNOR PERRY flying to the units of the beaten, shutin, hushed youth voices of TYC that ended with a loud neutral opinion, highly observed voice to right the wrong. So, you didn't pay attention because "see the right" of the corrected was loud and clear. Read the reports, hear the voices now...you probably can't because the same gentleman you are attempting to find flaw in and "abuse of power" "has to much power" actually has none - only a voice of reason. Third, the "media" circus. Without them even the TEXAS RANGER would not have been heard. Your looking at the plant and not the root. That point is equally moot. Fourth, I'm too am personally, publicly, organizationally am glad Mr. Harrell AND HIS STAFF has asserted independence without fear and without titled respect but neutral respect for the youth...and for the law...all which he and staff are positioned, degreed and qualified to do. I guess you would want them to hide things under the table, like the OIG, or AG or even those famed DA's. Maybe they too could be a Brookins or Parsee and then nothing would be done but the continum of rape, abuse, uneducated, drug running, medically negligent staff that was and still remains there - but in smaller portions. He and his staff have defined his role broadly to address bigger issues at TYC and without them nobody would be paying attention to TYC's education issues, UTMB failures e.g., if he had not done so. I don't see any problem with that. In fact, it's the reason the office was made independent and not an adjunct of the agency like at TDCJ. Its there to not have a thumb of threats or friendly favors done. And he too has to be confirmed. You are so right "let's pray" that the same flawed and delayed legislature move with ease and fluidity in a continuous nature to assure the people, the youth and the parents that someone is out there - protecting without a favor, a kick back from a contract, even so much as a friendly word or supportive measure but does his JOB, FOLLOWS THE LAW (which I will even address the last snit remark on the felony thing in a minute) AND DOES IT BY THE SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE CHILDREN WITH CONNECTION TO THE PARENTS. WHICH IS SOMETHING TYC AND TDCJ LACK AND WHY THEY REMAIN IN A FLAWED STATE OF AFFAIRS AND CONSTANT SUSPICION AND INVESTIGATION. Therefore, that arguement is moot.
Fifth, as far as the felony....Mr. Harrell was not the one to immediately terminate staff that had felonies...in fact, that was the worse idea for that agency to do. If they had functioned and fashioned themselves to retain those "felons" that were productive, without sex offender convictions, have not held another conviction and other ingredients that could have made that piece of the pie sweeter for all - who else do you think those young men and women desire to listen too? Yes, that is right...SOMEONE WHO NOT ONLY KNOWS THE SYSTEM (um, he has a law degree) BUT HAD TO GO THRU THE SYSTEM (um, innocent and good people do get caught in the system) so when you need a testimony....a moment to get those youths to talk and to trust...do you honestly think its going to be the wonderful writings and positions that you offer? I assure you, that is a big fat NO! That is why TYC could be productive and rehabilitative for those youth - but they are not...they push paper, they cattle herd those kids, and they have NO testimony. i have absolutely no qualms or concerns for Mr. Harrell and he being anything on paper but what he is. THE OMBUDSMEN. And he should remain as such. For all the readers out there that do support Mr. Harrell and his staff...please forward a letter of support to his office so he has support in his knowledge, in his hand and in the faces of the confirmation committee.

Office of the Independent Ombudsman

6400 East Highway 290, Suite 202

Austin, Texas 78723

(512)533-2770 phone

(512)533-2702 fax

And remember the definition and purpose of the Ombudsmens office..

SB103, Sec. 64.002.

" The office of independent ombudsman is a state agency established for the purpose of investigating, evaluating, and securing the rights of the children committed to the commission, including a child released under supervision before final discharge."


In short, give the support for he has done everything that was required, everything that was needed and everything demanded. You don't have to like him - respect him because he DID NOT FALL SHORT OF WHAT HE WAS ASKED TO DO!

Anonymous said...

Your point is eloquently made 1:56pm sometimes a simple analysis of the facts weighed against the ultimate benefit instead of making assumptions and running with a feeling is the better way to go. I agree with you that Will Harrell has done an exceptional job given what he had to work with. A task I'm sure those placing petty complaints would be lacking to do so themselves. I am not a parent of a child in a TYC facility nor am I a staff member at TYC just a tax payer who is sick of paying taxes for children to be raped and beaten. Mr. Harrell has done what he is supposed to do and I hope he gets the opportunity to continue to do his job. Thank you for posting the address I have already sent my letter in support.

Anonymous said...

I don't really care how a person looks as long as they can get the job done. I'm certain that the qualities that have made him perfectly capable of being effective in his position has little to do with the length of his hair... i guess if you read your bible Delia tried to siphon Samson's strength by cutting his hair and yet when the hair was cut Samson remained Samson. That was irrelevant and petty. So dare I say that if he were to get a haircut does that suddenly change the man? If such a simple action could result in such an alteration to a person, perhaps the person making such childish comments could try growing their hair and perhaps they would grow into an adult.

I am a family member of a youth that was in TYC incorrectly he was exonerated but only after two years of pure hell, horrific medical condition, pepper spraying, attempted room entries, deaf ears even from Gov. Perry, NO action from Jay Kimbrough. The only one that I did see and that did act was the jean wearing, long hair, law degree having, straight talking Will Harrell. Thank you for the address 1:56pm my letter support is on its way as well.

Thank you Mr. Harrell and staff for your endless efforts and thankless job.

Anonymous said...

I like to read sensible adult readings on affairs that truly affect American society; however, it is deeply saddening to see some of the irrelevant writings from people regarding such a highly important matter. I am not a parent of a TYC youth but a former worker. I advocate and work for those in need. These youth, TYC reform, even the deaf and blind government bodies that had the authority to make change, that had the knowledge of wrong doing and yet did nothing. Don't be disgruntled because he does not agree with what was going on, do not be disgruntled because he does not stand idly by and welcome rapes, beatings, uneducated youth, drugs in the prison system, administrative bodies that spend thousands of dollars on office furniture and carpet but offer nothing towards increased nutritional standards, rightful medication diagnosis and distribution, corrective classification systems, administrative balancing, legislative urgings, governor accountability, type of person. Welcome the fact that he has done his job when others have failed and refused to do so. Welcome the fact that he had enough sense to listen to the parents, to take action, to listen to the youth, and to listen to the public who demanded change. If all you can really do is complain about his physical appearance then you really missed the boat on listening to the complaints of the children, of the parents and of the people. If all you can do is bring up a misdemeanor charge in some futile attempt to murky the waters for the readers or confuse the readers then I will add murky water remover solution. Pay attention to the issue at hand.

1. Did Mr. Harrell meet his job requirement - YES

2. Did Mr. Harrell step in and build a bridge to rectify the problems at the TYC facilities - YES

3. Is he a neutral body to offer corrective measures for TYC and an able body for the youth - YES

4. As he met the definition of ombudsman - YES

Therefore, 1:56pm I agree fully with everything you said. And I disagree with even allowing statements about dress code to even be read. I am sending my letter of support. Along with all the countless bodies that support Mr. Harrell.

Thank and have a wonderful day!!!

Whitsfoe said...

Allow me to add #5 for you, and I am a TYC staff member by the way:

5. Has the agency improved with the presence of Will Harrell? 100% without a doubt. We now have a system where parents and kids can be heard that is independent of the agency and that's a huge improvement. Will and his staff take their role in this agency seriously, and because of that, I think TYC has become a little more credible than prior to SB 103. We still have a lot of work to do, no doubt about it. But having a watch dog like Will looking over our shoulders makes those of us who want to do the right thing feel better knowing we have an OIO who will identify those with bad intentions that make us all look bad. And Harrell will act. My letter's in the mail. Keep up the good work Will.

Anonymous said...

You're full of crap about only felons being fired, if you don't know you've been lied to. And among the felons fired was a landscapper who had a burglary charge from the 60's. It was a witch-hunt. People were fired who disclosed their crimes and people were fired whose crimes were adjudicated. They fired one guy that got a pardon for god sake.
Harrel is a know nothing punk, quit sucking his a--.

Anonymous said...

Your FOS 4:30. I know, because I was there. They only fired people for felony offenses. Nobody with a misd. got fired you moron. Why not take your negative self somewhere else and suck your own ass. People like you really misrepresent this agency. Troll along idiot.

Anonymous said...

Keep kicking asses and taking names, Will and staff.


Anonymous said...


The only reason that only felons were fired by TYC was because of Harrell's conviction. At the time Harrell was to be hired, every TYC employee with a Class B misdemeanor adjuication, not necessarily a conviction, was suspended per the Conservator's fiat. Those suspended emplyees with misdemeanors are very thankful Harrell was appointed because that is what saved them from being fired.

Howard A. Hickman

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's just not true, Howard. I tracked all that very closely on this blog. Jay Kimbrough only ever announced they'd fire ex-felons. There were rumors it would go further, but they were never more than that. Misdemeanants weren't ever "suspended," as you claim, and no policy was retracted because of Will.

Anonymous said...

Kimbrough sure was moving in that direction of firing Class B and A Misdemeanors, but I think someone downtown made it know that several serving in both chambers have these same convictions in their past (mainly for DWI's I bet). You can't work for TYC but you can serve in the ledge? Not sure if that's what went down but it sure was being discussed out loud by a few.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I agree it was discussed, and rumors were rampant. But Howard's wrong that misdemeanants were ever "suspended," and also that there was some policy change made on Will Harrell's behalf.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

Anonymous said...

Grits, we realixe that you are buddies but let the real truth be known!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

7:15 - You don't know what you're talking about. I left ACLU under Will under some very nasty circumstances and I have no personal reason to defend him. However, neither do I have any reason to make up things about him as some have done here or to misrepresent history when I know full well what the truth is.

Anonymous said...

Hey WILL !!

They need you up north

Pa. judges accused of jailing kids for cash

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – For years, the juvenile court system in Wilkes-Barre operated like a conveyor belt: Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses.

The explanation, prosecutors say, was corruption on the bench.

In one of the most shocking cases of courtroom graft on record, two Pennsylvania judges have been charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Will Harrell. I first heard about you in the Texas Monthly and it was my wake up call. I thought Independent Ombudsman, not like the "Ombudsman man" back in the 70's who was a tyc flunky. I asked to see that guy and those bustards' put me on the medication wagon 4 times a day.

With a dynamic leader there are always going to be those who love you and those who hate you. I think its safe to say with you Will the line could be drawn between those who abuse tyc kids and those who want to protect them. Those who don't seem to like you are following the way of the punk {state boy definition in use} and posting anonymously. Sounds like some are running scared, hope there're in you sights.

Who better to relate to the kids than someone who's been through the system I always say. Perhaps you can get my group Iron Guardians in the door to visit with those boys up in gainsville. Those people up there couldn't coordinate to save their life, or my guess, their afraid of one of those kids telling us something they don't want told. Its always been the case. We could use some carte blanche and we would be happy to report back to your office after we go each time. We could go to mart and Corsicana too. We went to mcfadden once but that hasn't happened in a while. humm

Thank you Thank You Thank you Thank You Thank you Thank You Thank you Thank You times a bazillion times for being there to protect tyc kids from from those atrocities' committed by tyc culture. I wish we had you when I was a kid but I'm glade your there now.

Sheldon tyc#47333 II c/s

Anonymous said...

There were employees who were not allowed to work for a period of time due to Misdemeanors.

Anonymous said...

There are still felons in TYC, who have contacts with management. They ride the low road and keep extra quiet.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I have nothing against Will, but I read his report about Victory Field, and I know he'd like to close it down. His appointment may be the last nail in the coffin for VFCA.

JTP said...

The original Grits post was about Harrell being re-appointed.

Apparently from some of the comments here, some of his ardent supporters believe that he is some sort of "savior" figure to be revered for challenging the "evil" empire of TYC. I suppose if you see all of TYC as a reflection of Brookins et all, you might be right. However we all know that the numbers of reported arrests and convictions posted on the OIG webpage, post scandal, don't seem to support that idea. Yes Will Harrell has focused on several programatic issues that need to be looked at such as education, use of force, use of isolation etc. He is a real person, who happens who has devoted himself as an attorney to be an advocate for the rights of others and, from what I have read about him, has been effective doing so in many other areas, especially with regard to prison issues. However neither he or his staff is not beyond constructive critisism. For those who can't accept some observations and concerns of others who post here regarding how he or any other public servant goes about achieving their task, without getting bent out of shape, I say you are entitled to your entitled to your opinion. But I also say, that I can support his overall performance and still point out what I believe are problems in his methodology. We are all guilty of generalizing or coming up with inaccurate statements. That should get a corrective factual response if merited. Instead there is name calling and derision. Don't make the mistake of "throwing the baby out with the bath water" by suggesting that everyone has to see him as a hero or they are jerks. If everyone who blogged marched goose step in their comments and opinions, blogs would become unconstructive for those who read and post, not to mention boring as hell. In fact I say thanks to Will Harrell because he has stimulated so much discussion here AND because he is "Will Harrell - Independent Rogue of an Ombudsman for TYC". (No, that was not an insult!!)

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:48 writes: "There were employees who were not allowed to work for a period of time due to Misdemeanors."

Personally I know of only one case where that was true, and in that instance the DPS database incorrectly listed the employee as having a felony conviction when it had actually been reduced to a misdemeanor. It's just not true that the agency "suspended" misdemeanants, ever. If you have proof otherwise, please produce it. IMO that's a false claim.

Anonymous said...

Grits For Breakfast -

I did get suspended for a DWI I got back in the early 90's. I refused to blow. He asked me about a blood draw. No. I know my 4th amendment rights.

I was one that did get suspended by Pope and Kimbrough. I got reinstated two days later. Jay Kimbrough called for it as was explained to me. Ms. Pope said do it, and someone said no. They told me to just stay at home.

I accepted responsibility, and then they called me back. I never had a problem with drugs. I admit I did with alcohol. I've been in AA ever since and am still going.

I am a Class "B." It's the first time, as I never wanted to get an "A" on a status in this class. I learned.

If that's what all these people are bitching about, let them whine. As far as we're concerned, Will Harrell is no better than the rest of us which makes him one of us. I think Howard has a point but I aint going there since Kimbrough actually appointed Will - which was a good appointment.

DWI's will mess you up BIG TIME. Point being, just don't do it. But I don't think that someone's relationship with his/her employer ought to be effected by one DWI.

It's wrong to place more weight on one night than the years of responsible advocacy that Will Harrel has brought to TYC and Texas.

Anonymous said...

Jay Kimbrough changed the policy when he hired Will Harrell after he found out Will had a DWI record. Under Kimbrough's original policy Will Harrell was not eligible for employment at TYC. Will Harrell was treated differently but it did save several others from being fired because it forced Jay Kimbrough to make the change which allowed Will to work at TYC. Will Harrell's DWI saved all the TYC employees with misdemeanor records. All this said, I am sure Will Harrell earns the $75, 000 to $80,000 the State of Texas is paying him. He has a law degree and a good understanding of the legal areas of his job.

Grits there does seem to be a measure of bias on your part when it comes to Will Harrell. No doubt Will Harrell is good for the youth at TYC and I am glad he is there but the rules were changed for him to be able to work there.

Anonymous said...

I have no respect for Will Harrell. He came in on a weekend, spoke to a few kids on one dorm, spoke to a couple of employees and wrote his first report on Victory Field all those many months ago based on that. Many times, descriptions blown out of proportion, have been repeated over and over again without anyone at VFCA being asked to respond. Everyone just ASSUMED because Will said it was so, it was so..it wasn't. Those of us who worked at VFCA during those days, know the truth, but we will never be asked.

Anonymous said...

I was an inmate at Giddings and Mart and treated very badly. I met with Mr. Harrell...alot of the staff have vented to Mr. Harrell about the things suffered in those places. I know you don't agree with him all the time...but I can tell you, that the work he does behind the scenes...the work he does on the front line...saved my life and gave confidence to those beat down by the injustice. I was innocent and eventually exonerated. My life was damaged and my childhood stolen. He at least saved my life for me and gave a voice where it was once ignored. For the other former inmate....I too, am glad that he is there. Not only for the past but for the present and the future. So much still goes on, so much pain and wrong still exists. I am not looking for an immediate change...but I am looking, I am expecting, I am demanding change. And I believe he can do it. I have witnessed it...I have felt it. Yes, he may not make the decision you like...but at least he is making a decision. And that is more then what was given to any of us that have been incarcerated, wrongfully convicted, daily "gladiator fights", delayed releases, lied on, lied to, talked about, left out, put up, shut up, shut in and some dead. To all those who didn't even make it out alive...you that are posting did not nor do not live behind those walls. So, you really don't know the real story...only what is released. Mr. Harrell needs to be reappointed if only for consistency and tracking changes but mainly because he has made changes. I know.

Anonymous said...

Correction 4:30 it would appear that you are an employee, probably one that was terminated, there was no witch hunt and your language indicates that you are unable to hold intelligent conversation or make your point with some class.

4:56 I do agree that there has been some misrepresentation but don't get drawn into the negative.

Grits did leave ACLU under some "nasty" circumstances; however,
the ombudsman, prosecutors, defense attorneys, legislature and the "common public" rely on and read this blog with due diligence

To Sheldon 8:42... I commend you

There can be working relationships within disagreements and there can still be hand shakes within different points of view. Stay on topic regarding the reappointment its not about "the evil empire" 8:55 it is completely about offering support where justification of support is needed and deserved.

Harrell covers numerous systemic and programmatic issues, he is human, he is an advocate and he is the right person for the ombudsman office.

Stay on topic and do not rely on an emotional flavor but rely on the evidence, the facts and the developmental changes that have happened. Any person, any agency will always endure constructive criticism; however, constructive criticism falls by the way side when it becomes an issue of vulgarity, of personal appearance and an issue of dirtying the waters

8:55 independent rogue was not needed yet again allow me to redirect you on the course that needs to be directed.

It is for support of reappointment

I am not concerned with how much money he earns because he has to earn his pay, he has the qualifications, he has the testimony, he has the history, he has met his mark and he deserves to be reappointed regardless of personal flavor or personal opinion. He will make his mistakes because you can't please all of the people all the time but you don't need to rape or beat any of the people any of the time. He has an excellent understanding of what is needed, what has happened and what direction it needs to go in. Give him the support and give him the respect that has been well earned.

On behalf of the children, on behalf of the parents, on behalf of the advocates and on behalf of those that need Harrell's appointment we stand in agreement and offer a multitude of support that will come... that has come.

Anonymous said...

Ms. or Mr. 11:04

The OIO has done several more reports on Victory Field since the first. Mr. Harrell was asked not to go because of threats to his safety that were posted by you or others right here on this Grits blog.

You are there and you don't need to read them to know what is true. If you want those reports to change to the positive, do something about the problems and don't spend your time posting invisible comments.

Please come back and post a correction to those reports. They are quite real.

Anonymous said...

11:25-how can you say they are quite real unless you were there with him. Most reports that came from him were published months after the fact, but no one came back to check and see what was corrected and what wasn't. I know there are many exagerations that once John Whitmire got a hold of them, voiced them over and over again. Don't check for improvements, just keep wagging the dog so that if it is repeated enough...it had to be true.
Lots of minor things were blown out of proportion and you feel pretty powerless to get anyone's attention to say hey!!, it is not that bad.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Y'all are going to believe, 10:35, what you want to believe, and I can't stop you from claiming (anonymously, with no sourcing) that some (un-cited) policy was changed to accommodate Will. But there were more than 500 people at TYC with A or B misdemeanor convictions when that debate was going on, and the bottom line is there was never a time when all those people were suspended, even temporarily.

I was only ever aware of one such case - the one I described based on a DPS database error. 9:20 says they were sent home for two days because of an old DWI - I believe them, though that was never disclosed or reported publicly anywhere before now. But at the time I was in touch with many of those (quite worried) misdemeanants on a day to day basis, and if they'd all been suspended I can pretty much guarantee it wouldn't have remained a secret.

Anonymous said...

Well, lets wrap this one up. Most of the comments on VFC are going to be biased. Please understand that the report is not meant to be read as a personal attack against an individual nor an attack to a company or the unit. The report is simply just what it is...a report. I can tell you as an advocate CURRENTLY of a youth in VFC - things may not have changedsd you think. I don't get paid, I don't have the ear of the legislature, I don't have any reason or gain in the matter. I can simply tell you that in regards to this youth, to other reports, some - many...items have not changed. Stop taking a personal "feeling" and realize the work at hand. When a report is completed, the staff and the OIO has investigated, been informed and then reinvestigated, witnessed, viewed or been given information that may be marked confidential. I understand it is a job, a career that butterflies into you having to take care of your family....but regardless of the adopted belief system that "all inmates lie", "that they are vicious criminals" they are afforded the rights within the constitution, within the civil rights act and within humanity. Mr. Harrell and his staff may offer their qualified findings...it still up to TYC and the legislature to adhere to them. He doesn't make the law, he doens't make the policies for TYC, he in fact didn't even make this mess...but he is attempting to clean it up and that is more then what many TYC staff, many legislature, many judges, many DA;s, many informed personnel did. Remember, the Texas Ranger even had problems...workers have written BOOKS (Raped by the State) well ahead of time before Mr. Harrell stepped in. I understand that it is personal for many of the readers, but by the blogging here...if in fact Mr. Harrell was threatened because of his report...so were the Martin Luther Kings, so were the John F. Kennedy's...so were the whites that marched with the blacks, so were the Obamas. So, many avenues and only one path. He is walking his. Offer the support because in truth he has done his job and did it without a personal feather to it. He and his staff are doing a great job..and if wrong is exposed...the exposed it is. If you disagree with him - then go to the meetings, go to the legislature, go to the administrators of VFC. But make absolutely certain your claims are valid, without prejudice, without personal flavor and with evidence. Because that is what he came with. Pictures don't lie, everyone couldn't be wrong. Different units, different staff, different time periods and yet the same story. Before Mr. Harrell, during Mr. Harrell and prayerfully NOT after Mr. Harrell. Stay on task...DID HE DO WHAT WAS ASKED OF HIM? And the answer is yes.

Anonymous said...

Its such a shame that so many TYC people still pretend that horrors don't still occur in TYC. If you really cared about kids and proper treatment, you would be glad to have Will on board. Face the true music and get with the program. Continual denials of abuse don't fly any more. As stated...its documented even in detailed books (state rape), and seperate investigations.

Anonymous said...

Grits - 10:35 here. You are the one who is not correct about Will Harrell having the TYC Policy changed so he could keep his new job. I followed the case and have the TYC Policy printouts from before and after Will Harrell was hired. There were articles in the Statesman about this topic. Jay Kimbrough's excuse was that people working for him went too far excluding the misdemeanors from TYC employment and ordered it changed which just happened to put Will Harrell in the clear. Kimbrough's change of heart occurred just after Will Harrell's DWI arrest and conviction on a lesser charge became known.

TYC to adjust hiring policy
New youth advocate would have been an ineligible hire because of misdemeanor conviction.
By Mike Ward
Friday, May 25, 2007
Texas Youth Commission officials are preparing to back up a bit on their hard-nosed policy against hiring anyone with a criminal record, including the most serious misdemeanors.
Without an adjustment in the policy, the commission's new ombudsman might be out of a job.
Public records confirmed Thursday that Will Harrell, 42, just hired as the $85,000-a-year advocate for incarcerated children at the scandal-racked agency, was convicted in April 2004 in Travis County on a charge of reckless driving, a Class B misdemeanor. (Plea Deal Down from DWI)
Under a Youth Commission personnel policy put into effect April 13, in a get-tough move to rid the agency of convicted felons working as guards and caseworkers, no one convicted of one of five types of crimes can be hired, including those convicted of a Class B misdemeanor within the past five years.

Next time try Google Grits!


Gritsforbreakfast said...

Well look at that, an anonymous TYC commenter actually came up with a source for their claim instead of just asserting it without any reference. What a refreshing change of pace! Good for you, I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

The truth comes out about Will and the new TYC Cover-Up. Some are exempt from crime, others not....more TYC coverup from the governor to Harris!

Anonymous said...

Regardless for the change in criteria, it is nice to know nobody lost their job over a misdemeanor. Let it rest, the guy has done a great job, Hell I am sure most employees have DWI's especially after these past two years working for TYC. I have learned to go home and drink responsibly after a long day in the tranches at TYC. Lets move on, get of Will's back, if your not employed it has nothing to do with a class B.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the point is really about Will Harrell! I believe it has more to do with the spin Scott puts on certain topics. Scott shows a real dislike for any TYC commenter who does not agree with him. His response to being shown he was wrong tells it all. Scott basically responded like a spoiled child who is used to having his way and never being challenged. Scott's reply was snide and patronizing and you don't need additional documentation to prove that case. Had Scott be more gracious the topic would be dead. Yes Scott you do stand corrected.

Happy Valentine's Day to All

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 4:18 - As 3:37 said, "nobody lost their job over a misdemeanor" - that's the key point and I was reacting to (false) claims that all TYC'ers with misdemeanors were "suspended."

As for the statement, "Scott shows a real dislike for any TYC commenter who does not agree with him." My dislike for these TYC strings is not because people "disagree" with me, it's because the tone in these comments nearly universally devolves into nasty, personal, name calling, often filled with obscenities and expletives (including some deleted from this string). The typical stance (as you've done here) is to impugn the motives of anybody who says anything you don't like. What's more, nearly every time such comments are submitted anonymously by people who never, EVER back up what they say with documentation. For once, you did and as I said, I stand corrected. But if you think my beef is with people who "disagree" with me, you don't pay much attention to the TYC comment strings on this blog.

If you don't like what you read here, by all means, leave and don't come back. You won't hurt my feelings one bit.

Anonymous said...


You are wrong. People who had misdemeanors were suspended on Kimbrough's order. You forget, I was there at the time, and I know names of who was actually suspended and in many cases for what specific offense. His initial order was to suspend those with Class C misdemeanors until it was pointed out that traffic tickets are Class C misdemeanors. I suggest that in the future you think before you state that what I am saying is "Not True." I was there; you were not.

Howard A. Hickman

Gritsforbreakfast said...


There were more than 500 TYCers with A and B misdemeanors. You earlier claimed "every TYC employee with a Class B misdemeanor adjuication, not necessarily a conviction, was suspended"

That's simply false.

Anonymous said...

Howard Hickman,

I have to say you are right as well, I know that several at our facility were suspended but then I saw some return after a period of time.

Anonymous said...

We got suspended with pay. A lot of Superintendents jumped the gun and started the process just trying to show the conservator and Pope and Ed that they were "on top of things." At that time, there was a witch hunt going on and the sups were being targeted. I still have my letter, but like I said, I was only out two days and got called back telling me they made a mistake and apologized. No problem, no harm. Just glad to be back. Been promoted twice since then :). But I think the confusion here is that some of the sups jumped the gun in an effort to save their own asses, and back then, Pope et.al wanted it all reformed "yesterday" so people were just making hasty decisions. That's all. I'm not bitter about it. I understand why they jumped the gun. I just wished it would have lasted two weeks instead of two days :) I knew back then this wouldn't hold up. And to your credit grits, I didn't know about your site until after that happened; otherwise, I would have e-mailed you too.

Anonymous said...


If we are using quotes, you said "Misdemeanants weren't ever "suspended," as you claim, and no policy was retracted because of Will." That is just wrong. The order did go out to suspend them all and I know of cases where the suspensions were several months; at least one of those was the same offense as Harrell's. I remember the show of the TDCJ goons escorting that person out of the Central Office. The order was retracted because of Harrell's situation. It was only after that that the actual numbers were known when the background checks were completed weeks later. All that were known at the time of the order were suspended. No one jumped the gun; they were following orders and reversed when they were told to do so, which was after Harrell's sitation was known in the Central Office and before it was in print.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Howard for giving us the correct information. Once again, Harrell is a political appointee that will grease the governor's pole to keep his job. Sad state of affairs in TYC. And for Kimbrough, actually being stupid enough to want to suspend employees with Class C misdemeanors. Goes to show what an overzealous jack ass he is. I can't image Kimbrough being Chief of Staff or Chief General Counsel, whatever the heck is over in the Governor's Office. He couldn't manage a McDonald's on a good day.

Anonymous said...

I commend Mr. Hickman for his unwillingness to work in the environment established by the governor, under Ms. Pope, and leaving the agency on his own.

Go grease your own pole and stick it up...

Anonymous said...

sorry misread. thought you were bashing Mr. Hickman.

I really don't think Mr. Harrell has to do much to keep his job. The environment in TYC did, and continues, to justify his position.

Anonymous said...

The tone of this comment string is all the evidence one needs to see why any Ombudsman needs strong backing from outside the agency to do the job in any meaningful way.

The argument over misdemeanors strikes me as so petty and nonsensical that I can't help but think something else is at issue here. My last recollection on this thread was that Grits and most TYC poster alike agreed that Kimbrough's decision to fire staff with both felony and misdemeanor records was a stupid one.

Or, are we to believe that those raging civil libertarians in the governor's mansion and the legislature are giving Harrell special treatment out of some sort of fervent commitment to reform?

Or perhaps it's that abiding alliance between the Texas ACLU and the Texas Republicans.

Maybe Will Harrell and Rick Perry are both members of the Illuminati.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Will, I think the Governor has made an excellent decision in re-nominating you!

As a youth that has spent time in TYC, I can honestly say that Will is the best person for this job. What Will brought to youth at TYC is a face of a person that cares. Someone that will honestly sit down and find out what issues are plaguing the agency and who will take the appropriate actions to rectify the situation. Someone like that is a rare find and I am grateful that he spends day in and day out to help better this agency.

I admit that the first time I met him, I was surprised to see the dedication to his job especially during visitations on Saturday and Sunday, where he would go and talk to each of the parents, always with a legal pad in his hand to jot down the issues that many of the families faced and to offer help whenever needed. I was there and witnessed the excited reactions from the youth when Will came down to talk to us. The youth in TYC trust him and for good reason. He has done a wonderful job and I hope that he will have the opportunity to continue the great work that he has done.

Good luck!

Will Harrells last cigarette said...

All appointed/elected jobs need Term limits....

didn't he get caught in a bunch of lies last fall? nice reward him....

He's nothing special to say the least

Howard for Bailout Chief said...

Howard's telling the truth Grits. The reinstatements occurred after Will's apointment. Days afterwards. Will made good on that promise to take of staff as well! And he did.

So, THANKS WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hickman needs to be lead monitor of the bailout.

Anonymous said...

I really do not think these MORONS who continue to stay focuses on the misdemeanor works for TYC. Generally when you have this much crap being thrown around it is based upon a rogue staff that was caught doing something inappropriate with the youth, Harrel"s office caught them, and now they have to register in their home town based upon this, get a life folks.

Anonymous said...

Wow, 11:22. Are you really a "youth that spent time in TYC"? That was a very well-written post. Whichever school district you attend, kudos to your English teachers.

Anonymous said...

To the writer of 2/13/2009 07:05:00 AM. I didn't write the one at 11:22 but the one at 11:21. And yes, I was a youth incarcerated for a crime I did not committ and my mom was one of the one's that sued TYC and went to legislature and advocates for the youth and adults in the prison system. I would say kudos to the teachers of the school system; however, it was my mom that educated me. She fought for me to get my college materials while incarcerated. She fought for me to finish high school and regain some normal ground again. I was not educated in the prison system. My school days in prison consisted of cross word puzzles in jail and then during mail call my mom would make me work on college material, readings of Earnest Hemingway and send it back to her via mail and during visitation she would have me recite case law, english words, anatomy and even correct my letters to her. She still has all that material. I can't say at that time I thanked her, but I left exonerated for a sexual crime that I did not committ and above many other kids in the school system currently and now very, very thankful. The alleged victim lied and the court transcripts can prove it. Arguments went on for two years while I was incarcerated because the judge refused to let me out on bond because she and the DA hate my mother. They lied as well, altered documents and currently that county - Collin County, has alot of suspicion on their legal antics. In turn after all the things you encounter in the prison system...education isn't one, medical treatment isn't another, Those are just a few things that Mr. Harrell defended and things that even I currently fight to change. I would not have known how to fight in that arena verus the gladitor arena we had to fight in while incarcerated had I not 1) had a mom 2) met and greeted Mr. Harrell and 3) Been introduced to Mr. Udashen - excellent attorney. I needed good people at that time. I am focused on grassroot advocacy now - like my mother and trying very hard to put the memories of TYC, the abuse, the nightly screaming of the rapes, the staff that are beyond corrupt out (Not all of them) of my head. I can not. My mother works hard for me, I know this...but the only thing TYC and the county that I was wrongfully convicted of gave me was - high medical and dental bills, anger out of this world and documented "acute post traumatic syndrome". I disliked my mother for being so hard for so long - and now I see the reward and understand. I disliked her for defended other kids - but now realize the need....I hated Mr. Harrell for not working faster...but now respect him because he did work and worked as fast as the sytem allowed. I understand now that even his hands were tied because the state, the county, the governor all were informed...all had my paperwork...some even came to visit - but nothing was done. My mom and Mr. Harrell kept on fighting when others kept on lying. So, 2/13/2009 07:05:00 AM. I am unable to thank anyone except 1) God the Father, Christ the son and the Holy Spirit...all who kept me sane and safe 2) My mother and Scott Medlock from the Civil Rights Project. She didn't give up and she endured and continues to endure the wrongs of a system for defending and revealing and 3) Mr. Harrell who came to visit me when no one else did. Listened, even when governor Perry would not and acted when TYC refused. Yes, 2/13/2009 07:05:00 AM I was really a youth incarcerated in TYC and forced into many acts that God will have his judgement on many people someday. My story has been told in the media, in the lawsuit and my life altered. I do have to say thank you to the high court for seeing the truth. For those of you who do not understand, for those of you who refuse to understand and turn away from the truth the work of Will Harrell and his staff and many others... - For me...gave me a voice. I am not a coward, I will defend Mr. Harrell openly. My name is Airick Browning formerly inmate #1143177 and this is my story. No, thanks to the school system...I was incarcerated at the age of 15 - my youth stolen by a system of prejudice and lies. Incarcerated in a system of rape, beatings, drugs and fighting. If I didn't have the support and strength of my family, my mother, my nana...Mr. Harrell's encouragement, Scott Medlocks legal knowledge...- I assure you I would be everything the system imprisoned me in and trained me for for two years....a monster. Instead, I am in school - learning, playing sports again....as my mother says "regaining the land which the locust had eaten". I am still angry. I am still having nightmares - but I am still pressing on. Will Harrell has my support because I know the true story. Its not about the misdemeanors or even the felonies...its not about who likes who and who has a ponytale...even at 18 I know that. Its about and should ALWAYS be about the CHILDREN OF TYC. And that is what he is about. My name WAS #1143177 of the Texas Youth Commission, wrongfully convicted and sentenced. Now my name is Airick, school loving, athletic playing,family having, criminal justice degree seeking, youth advocate, stronger man of God. I openly lend my support and my story to Will Harrell because I know the truth.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grits, have you ever considered having a former TYC inmate write a guest post here?

Might be a disaster given the tone here sometimes, but reading Airick's post below made me think that there just might be a chance (however slender) for something approaching a constructive dialogue.

Anonymous said...

What's the matter 7:05am? Was it the fact that you didn't having anything of merit to add to the discussion or was it because an 18 year old did and can write better than you can? You do have those that are gifted despite race, age or whether or not they were in TYC.

Jesus also was in prison and still commanded language quite well without the benefit of a Texas public school system... go figure.

To 12:34... I commend you. What a horrific experience for such a young man who is obviously intelligent beyond your years. I wonder what your life would have been like if our justice system functioned properly and kept personal feelings out of the court room much like what needs to happen on this blog.

I am very proud that you had the integrity to stand up for yourself and not let a severely broken system break your spirit. You will always have those that will be narrow minded and ignorant despite their age in numerical years. Perhaps one day God will touch their lives and open their eyes so they can see how naive they truly are.

Grits, I hope you don't allow any written ramifications or slurs to come to the youth that have had the courage to publicly post here while those making the comments hide behind the veil of anonymity.

Sheldon... Airick... I hope you both continue to receive the rich rewards God has intended for you and that you use your testimony to touch the lives of others.

Beth James

Anonymous said...

Kick some tyc tuckass Airick.
Those people will rot in hell for the abuse and cover up they perpetrated on all of us former state boys. It’s a culture of cover up that attracts the lying pedophiles of Texas to work there. No misdemeanor or felons at tyc, but if you’re a child molester or an enabler of one well tyc has a low paying job for you. With perks only someone like that would want, you get to abuse children.
The turman my he be roasting in hell for the culture of child abuse and cover up that he made main stream in Texas’ 120+ year state sponsored institution of child molestation, tyc. The towns people of podunk gatesville are guilty big time for what they did and they are responsible for all this.

I read your post and there is no way you learned to read and write like that in tyc. I don’t think anyone employed by tyc can read and write that well. You will always be a state boy, 30 years and that counter culture will still be embedded in your psyche. All you can do is control it, with Gds help. When I ride the train to downtown Dallas in the mornings 7 times out of 10 I can spot a state boy.

1:40 the tyc pedophiles, child beaters, and enablers will say, “it’s just not true”. Most of those tyc emps are just lying little punks who abuse children and hide in the shadows with the defensive crap. There’re only bad behind the fence with the bats and the lies on poorly written incident reports.
Sheldon tyc#47333 II c/s

Anonymous said...

Thank you Beth James, That was very kind.
Sheldon tyc#47333 II c/s

Anonymous said...

WOW....You must have read "Raped by The State". It was apparantly all true, huh?

Anonymous said...

People like Sheldon and Airick do not need to read a book - they lived it. Keep denying and lying for the crooked without the criminal record....your time will come. But the point is, Will Harrell is obviously doing his job. He has the support of the people that matter and the support of who it really is about...The youth of TYC and the parents of those youth. GO WILL! I see a very ugly march happening if he is not confirmed. GO WILL!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for correcting the same writer of the ridiculous entries. Grits, you should monitor the quality of people and make certain they stay on task. Sheldon and Airick, speak up and speak out. I commend you both. May you be blessed beyond measure. May the Legislature see the need for the Will Harrells in TYC and may TYC be judged harshly and with God speed. Will Harrell, I do not know you but have read about you - outside of here. I researched after the writer posted your contact information....you have done a great job. For those people trying to sway the readers to everything and anything that it is not about...it is about the ability for re-appointment. My vote is for Will and I would rally and march in any arena for his reappointment and I would support those two young men Sheldon and Airick for speaking up. No book is a good read without the truth. Continue on soldiers, continue on.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately the main goal of TYC staff should be to help these young men be productive and become better citizens. For those TYC staff that do not have this same goal then you may not want Will Harrell to remain in office but I agree that he is worked hard to make some changes and think that his work here is not done. He actually is not just here for the youth and the parents but take a look around, he has made some changes that have been better for staff. He is a very approachable persona and is willing to lend an ear as well as offer up suggestions or assist.

Anonymous said...

Hold on, I'm 7:05 and I was just trying to extend a compliment. 11:22 was written more carefully than many of the other posts I've read on this blog and elsewhere. 12:34 was pretty good, too. Most TYC students don't have the advantage of an educated parent and/or adequate formal schooling.

If I was making a snide remark, it was probably toward the public school system, but I hereby apologize to everybody. Peace out.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, you're headed over the top again. The farther you go, the less you have to offer the discourse.

Anonymous said...

The anger over Will Harrell and the misdemeanors is more about the knee jerking and yo yoing of the agency by the governor, legislator, and their endless stream of administrators over the past two years, than it is about Will Harrell or misdemeanors.

You cannot deny that there are abuses in TYC but are TYC staff solely responsible? The TYC culture Sheldon consistently refers to is really the doing of the past two governors and legislators since 1995. What do you expect to occur when you expand the agency to unmanageable numbers and then cut the budget? The government of this state decimated the ability to provide any meaningful treatment. The problem with programming in TYC had nothing to do with the programming itself (i.e. resocialization) but rather with the state of Texas not funding the agency enough to hire and retain qualified and productive staff to implement programs. This resulted in the correctional/prison mentality which does not belong in a juvenile justice rehabilitation program.

The citizens of this state have to recognize that there is considerable benefit to social services for children with mental health problems (now ranked 49th in the country) and a broader range of prevention and juvenile probation services. Then, you have to raise the credentials for staff in the agency, which by default means paying more money. Not likely to happen in the current economy now is it? So what will happen? The politicos will continue to demand more and more from either underqualified and already overworked staff and try to squeeze more blood from the underpaid, but qualified staff, who care about youth but who have now had no substantive leadership for the past several years and are trying to hang on, hoping for stabilization and meaningful reform, but it just does not come. The youth get more and more confused, yanked around some more by poorly designed treatment programs and implementation. and the saga just continues...

I was hopeful when Ms. Townsend came in but she like the others has been consumed by political pressures and does little to visibly demonstrate support for field staff.

Your staff said...

Hey Airick -

You were a good kid man. You never gave us any problems, and you know, I always suspected there may be something foul about your case.

I'm happy to hear from you.

I'm also glad you mentioned that not all TYC staff are bad apples,like everyone wants to believe, but I understand why you all believe some are because that's a fact. It doesn't take anything more than to read some of these comments from them on this blog to come to that conclusion.

We need to clean TYC of these individuals. I think we will with Cheri and Will.

I really hope everything works out for you. Thanks for checking in. It's always good to hear back from you guys. Call us sometime.

Dallas' Initiative said...

"You will always be a state boy, 30years and that counter culture will still be embedded in your psyche."

What exactly was your blog site address? I'd really like to address this comment with you in person.

Should we banter these issues in person, Sheldon? Maybe that's not a bad idea? It might be a theraputic intervention for the entire community?

Get your all your friends together and lets discuss what issues you're having with the Criminal Justice System in Texas. Please name the place and location and I will assure you Dallas County will cover those expenses without hesitation. Please, be sure to bring the family as well, as all are invited, and your friends, as we'll be doing the "sandwich, chips and tea" social while we explain each other's points of view. It will be a meaningful event for you and yours I'm sure. The goal is to have a meaningful discussion between law enforcement and your group that will bring memories for both groups for years to come. Bikes and jackets are welcome. Feel free to express yourselves!

This would be an invitation only event.

Please post your blog site for your formal invitations. We need a head count of all attendees so we can plan accordingly. Thank you.

Dallas Initiative

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that Will Harrell has helped some of the kids. But it is a problem when he comes in and talks to some of the kids and then writes a report as if all is true. He doesn't bother to check their stories out before he makes this grand case that this poor little kid is being mistreated. He has a tendency to write his reports to shed the worst possible light on TYC. I know all is not bad; why not write about some of the good?

Anonymous said...

2/14/2009 12:46:00 AM

You are not understanding. The role of the Ombudsmen is: " The office of independent ombudsman is a state agency established for the purpose of investigating, evaluating, and securing the rights of the children committed to the commission, including a child released under supervision before final discharge."
So, your claim is that he didn't "investigate" I would whole heartedly disagree with you. By the comments of Sheldon and that young man Airick and the lawsuit that was settled (I looked it up in the federal courts) it was true. The comments of the staff that the young man Airick was a good kid not only alludes to the fact that 1) some staff are paying attention to the kids and by the comments of Airick 2) All staff are not bad seeds so in conclusion from you comments Will didn't just walk in and write a report on the speakings of some of the kids. You don't really know where his information came from and he is not writing reports on you individually. Stop taking it personally. His reports are based on information and evidence that maybe we are privy too and maybe not...but I can tell you this...if those reports were so far off or so far from being near the truth don't you think TYC would have evidence to prove other wise? Don't you think something is wrong if all the stories are all the same, from different units, differnt kids, different culturals of kids, different staff and then the famous immediate move from Coke County - all done by a TYC authority..um, Pope. So, stayed focused and stop taking it "personally". If your not beating, abusing or lying on a kid...then you dont have any worries...but if you are...then I assure you Will Harrell will find you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dallas Initiative
2/13/2009 11:10:00 PM

You can't honestly be serious about asking what is wrong with the justice system.

Lets look at the innocent project and the innocent people released last year after 20/30 years in prison. Lets look at the innocent people that have died while in prison.

If you are serious about forum to discuss the problems with the justice system than I am serious about attending. I will address the issues in all honesty and vast vigorously Sheldon's statement
"You will always be a state boy, 30years and that counter culture will still be embedded in your psyche."

You can reach me by contacting
the ombudsman, Will Harrell. He will have my contact information.

I will gladly join on and welcome any intelligent forum that seeks change.

Airick Browning

Anonymous said...

I have never seen Rick Perry make any appointment that was not in his personal best interest. Perry's past performance in regard to TYC appointments is clear on its face. Until the questions of who knew what was happening to the TYC youth and when they knew it is answered, all you have is a cover-up that will allow the same thing to continue or happen again at a later date. To date there has been no real accountability for the serious crimes committed against the youth held in TYC. Due to this lack of accountability others will feel free to repeat this criminal behavior without the slightest fear of legal consequences. It matters not what program TYC is operating under if the criminals who brought the scandal of TYC to the people of Texas are allowed to continue with business as usual. If a cancer is allowed to remain it will eventually kill the entire body. I know many will say it is time to move on. It is impossible to move on in a meaningful way until the past is dealt with.

Anonymous said...

All the top people in TYC, the governor and attorney general were aware of misdeeds in the agency yet chose to turn the blind eye. Some were actually involved and no one has been held accountable for all this to date. Until these people are brought out and justice dispensed, there wil no improvement in TYC. The TYC Chief of Staff, and all top management leaders knew about child abuse and mismanagement, and actively acted to cover it up.

Anonymous said...

Dallas Initiative you must be stupid. These are former state boys your dealing with. They know what went on in our facilities, its what we do. What are you going to do, beat them up, arrest them on phony charges. Who do you think you are Tulia Texas.

Anonymous said...

Dallas Initiative you must be stupid. These are former state boys your dealing with. They know what went on in our facilities, its what we do. What are you going to do, beat them up, arrest them on phony charges. Who do you think you are Tulia Texas.

Anonymous said...


Huh, most of TYC's top management staff retired or were swept out.

Thus I don't see how holding "them" accountable is going to create change.

As far a Perry goes, he needs to be voted out of office. He is accountable to the public.

Anonymous said...

To 02/11/2009 09:10:00

"as a note to my Repub brothers, Women have won the right to vote, Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation, and you can no longer flog people publicly for having sex outside of marriage..."

For a bit of a history lesson, Abraham Lincoln, a republican, set the slaves free.

Liberal ignorance.... Geez...


Anonymous said...

That is a good history lesson. Where did the Republican party go wrong?

It will be interesting to see how the Republican party reconciles its historical roots of abolition with its current situation as the party of torture, lies, and oppression.

Anonymous said...


Lincoln was a Republican. Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, segregated the military and the KKK was formed by Southern Democrats.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Holy crap, I ignore this thread for a while and look where y'all head!! I'm deleting the comment that actually triggered me shutting this string down because it attacked 5 former employees by name, none of them related to this post, and accused them of unspecified criminal acts. That person needs to launch their own blog because you can't do that crap here.

I'm shutting this down, now. 100 comments is plenty. Sheez, people!