Monday, April 13, 2009

Juvie funding update

Here's an update from Ana Correa at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, received via email, regarding juvenile justice funding issues in the 81st Texas Legislature. Clearly from this account, the House and Senate versions of the budget radically differ and will require resolution in a conference committee. That means we won't know what's going to happen until the bitter end of session.

On my to-do list today is to edit Grits intern Tara Haelle's latest report on the House and Senate Sunset bills, so more on these subjects soon.

Status of State Juvenile Justice Funding

Vastly different pictures have emerged in the House and Senate in terms of state juvenile justice funding for the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC).

While the House has not yet passed its final budget, the decisions made by the House Appropriations Committee will support TYC's continued reform efforts - initiated in 2007 with the passage of S.B. 103 - toward a regionalized system that delivers a continuum of quality rehabilitative services to the state's most troubled youth. In the Senate, TYC's budget was cut dramatically, with a large chunk of the cuts re-allocated to TJPC for the funding of two diversion pilot programs in Dallas and Travis Counties.

These decisions represent two different perspectives on how best to advance the ongoing juvenile justice reform effort in Texas, which will have to be ironed out in conference committee.

Quick highlights of the different budget pictures are below:

In the Senate

TYC's budget was decreased by $81 million - an almost 20% reduction in funding. This translates into:

  • A reduction in TYC's number of contract bed placements from 340 in FY2009 to just 47 in FY2010 and 36 in FY2011.
  • Closure of two TYC facilities, the West Texas State School in Pyote, and the Victory Field Correctional Academy in Vernon.
  • A reduction in full time employees (FTEs) of 500 in FY2010 and an additional 250 in FY2011. While some of the FTE cuts will come from TYC administration, institutional staffing is also likely to be affected. The FY2010 cuts are likely to reduce TYC's ability to meet the 1:12 JCO-to-youth ratio mandated by last session's S.B. 103, while the FY2011 cuts may result in a decrease of clinical staff.

TJPC's budget was increased by $35 million - a 14% increase in funding. This translates into:

  • Funding for two diversion pilot programs in Dallas and Travis Counties, which are intended to divert high-risk youth offenders, including violent youth, from commitment to TYC. An additional $18 million was placed in Article XI of the Senate budget for another diversion pilot in a 22-county Southeast Texas consortium. ( Note: Items in Article XI have not been funded, but may be considered for inclusion in the budget by conferees.)
  • No restoration of the one-time loss of federal Title IV-E dollars incurred by juvenile probation departments during the 2008-09 biennium. This funding is typically used by juvenile probation departments to serve lower-level offenders and for non-secure placements. TJPC anticipates that this loss of federal funding will impact 122 counties statewide. Unfortunately, the additional diversion pilot funding provided by the Senate to only two counties will not offset the loss of federal Title IV-E funding. TJPC has predicted an increase in commitments to TYC of as many as 1,900 youth - who are not currently included in the Legislative Budget Board's January 2009 population projections for TYC - if this loss of federal funding is not restored by the state.

In the House

TYC's budget was decreased by approximately $20 million - a 5% reduction in funding. This translates into:

  • A decrease to adjust for one-time expenditures in the 2008-2009 biennium related to S.B. 103's implementation and associated population reductions.
  • A promising restructuring of the kinds of state services delivered to committed youth, including:
    • Additional capacity in regional specialized treatment facilities, including contract beds and two 48-bed TYC-operated regional facilities, which will help reduce the number of youth housed in large, remote TYC institutions.
    • A regional pilot program in a major urban area that would facilitate community re-entry and specialized aftercare using innovative, evidence-based programs.
    • Continued operation of the West Texas State School in Pyote, and the Victory Field Correctional Academy in Vernon.
    • Reauthorization of $25 million in bond funding (originally appropriated to TYC for use in the 2008-2009 biennium) to build three 48-bed facilities near metropolitan areas.

TJPC's budget was increased by $28 million - an 11% increase in funding. This translates into:

  • Restoration of the one-time loss of federal Title IV-E dollars incurred by juvenile probation departments during the 2008-09 biennium. $23 million was allocated to TJPC as a one-time expense only, and an additional $11 million was placed in Article XI of the budget.
  • Three additional FTEs were added to address increased agency responsibilities, such as abuse and neglect investigations, fiscal auditing, and computer programming.
  • Development of a Juvenile Case Management System in conjunction with the major urban counties. This will enhance the state's ability to access information about youth in county-operated juvenile probation programs, and to identify successful juvenile probation programs that effectively address youths' rehabilitative needs, so that state funding can be targeted toward what works best.
  • Development of an automated juvenile mental health assessment instrument to ensure that youth with mental health needs are identified and receive appropriate services, particularly when confined in county-operated secure pre- and post-adjudication facilities.
  • Operation of a juvenile mental health facility in East Texas to provide inpatient mental health treatment services to youth who cannot be served in the community due to lack of adequate mental health resources.

Why Has TYC's Cost-Per-Day Gone Up?

Last month, an article drew attention to the increase in cost-per-day for youth in TYC institutions, from $56,553 in 2003 to $98,734 in 2008. This kind of increased cost is consistent with a system in transition, as the state strives to provide improved quality of care and programming to a smaller number of youth, in a system originally designed to serve thousands more. In order to provide additional context for the discussion about cost-per-day, TYC has provided a breakdown of the daily cost components, and an explanation for the increased costs

MORE: From the Austin Statesman, "Juvenile justice picks held up."


Anonymous said...

I think the House got it right, or is at least the best of the two scenarios...

Anonymous said...

The eternal optimist in me is hoping that some miracle will happen, and we will move in the right direction here, whatever that may be. If we do end up with the House plan, I would be quite curious to know who will be making decisions about such things as the "innovative, evidence-based" programs to be used.

Anonymous said...

Isela did a really good job writing the update. Thank you Scott for posting it!

Anonymous said...

I hope they leave the programming choices to local departments. I am not crazy about anything associated with JDAI. Some of the larger counties such as Dallas really push JDAI. I am all for alternatives to detention; however, some juveniles need to be placed in detention for technical violations.

Anonymous said...

Holding up Cherie's nomination as the head of TYC is the stupidest thing Whitmire could ever do. Could there be any further proof that Whitmire doesn't care at all about the future of juvenile justice in Texas?

Anonymous said...

He may be doing us all a service bu trying to keep Cherie out of the top position. TYC NEEDS CHANGE.

Anonymous said...

regarding the legislature, quoting Casey Stengal: "Can anybody here play this game?"

Anonymous said...

A budget that decreases the ability to maintain a 12:1 ratio next year and decreases clinical staff the next. WTF? The new treatment program model requires more clinical staff...I just don't get it. These people in the legislature don't know what the hell they are doing.

Anonymous said...

I love how TJPC has thrown out there a scare tactic of 1,900 additional commitments to TYC if IV-E money is not funded. That is a 1 time shot. What will happen next time TJPC screws up and looses federal money?

Anonymous said...

The senate has the right idea going on funding the TYC diversionary pilot programs. We want to keep kids from incarceration right? Per JDAI and others right? These diversionary "pilot" programs are designed for that. Too bad TJPC and TYC didn't approach the correct people first. Now the 2 directors want to bad mouth this plan? We need to get it together in South Texas to get in on it. CAN WE????? Much better that IV-E money? Mejor que nada, si?

Anonymous said...

Isela needs to gather accurate information and from people in probation actually working the system. There is too much TJPC verbage in this report. Talk to the real experts in this hunt.

Anonymous said...

I like the verbiage in the above post. Here is how I would break it down.
diversion pilot programs
The tyc needs to reinstitute vocations such as agribusiness, building trades, grounds keeping, and sewing, ie clothing production and cut this group crap out. You tyc people say it yourself right here on this blog, group is a waist. This will shave off much of the expenses and you can continue to lavishly furnish your offices in Austin. Perhaps have some left over for the facility managers as well, you know, share the wealth.

The thing that Grits was talking about in an above post with the mischievousness in potential legislation based on the cps debacles of the FLDS people, in particular locking up parents who choose to home school their children. I agree this type of legislation would not have been considered criminal two generations ago, since two generations ago kids got sent to tyc for skipping school not the parents. Based on the last 30 years of tyc existence, it’s this same type of mischievous legislation that forces tyc be something it can’t possibly ever achieve, no way, no how. That is a rehab, a resocialization program, the capability to civilize the worst of the worst juvenile delinquents in the state of Texas. I am of the opinion this faulty legislation attempting to make tyc what it could never be is the root of all this tyc meshugas.

The tyc is a correctional culture that Morales vs turman never closed it just simply redistributed to other facilities around the state. State boys and girls as well as many state employees put their life in jeopardy to testify for this case only to have legislators and people with an entitlement mentality screw it up. In my mind’s eye the thinking that Morales vs turman closed down the correctional culture is simply the most ignorant of thinking. If anything Morales vs turman and whatever similar legislation that followed is the cause of all this tyc meshugas we have today.

The child abuse in tyc is worst today than before Morales vs turman. Bruises heal but programs implemented that result in mental anguish and the continuance breeding of hopelessness last a lifetime. Staff raping children was simply not tolerated pre Morales vs turman like in today’s tyc where it’s as if it’s considered an emp benefit. Whining about 12 to 1 ratios on a dorm, sounds like an entitlement society whining because they don’t have a cell phone for each ear while standing in line at the checkout counter, its foolishness. The old school dorm men would see themselves as punks if it was thought they could not handle a 40 to 1 ratio on a dorm. And so on and so on…

And on another note I bet tdc would appreciate the fact that you tyc people stop sending them lazy kids. Don’t get me wrong, you tyc people are doing a great job preparing the children in your care for tdc. I bet no agency in the world has designed programs with the incredible results tyc archives in preparing a child for a life in prison and state supervision. But those kids need some field work experience. Grow your own damn food and stop whining about how much your silly little ineffectively implemented programs cost to keep a kid locked up indefinably while you screw up their thinking more than what it could have ever been had they stayed at home. Whatever home that may have been.

Development of a Juvenile Case Management System
Otherwise take my recommendation from a previous post and scapegoat your IT people. They should have designed technology around your process’ to keep you tyc people in line from the top down. I call attention you’re your failed management KPI’s and your web site as examples of a failed IT strategy.
Find an IT director who can take a nickel and build you tyc people a cherry of a CRM system, since it appears that you tyc people have no choice but to continue to waddle in failed legislation.

In summery grow your own food make your own cloths and have some people with the skills build a CRM to keep you people in line. Bread swine not hopelessness, grow crops not crap and keep track of your business.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to sign my work
Sheldon tyc#47333 II c/s

Anonymous said...

First common sense proposal on this blog. Get rid of the 'group process'. It has never been used properly or with any effectivness. It is misused and never been really supported, except by some clinical staffers who felt it made them look important. It has not helped kids. Give them training on the spot...farming, ranching, building trades, grounds upkeep, the type they can actually use and make a living by. The group therapy is and has been a disaster and only provides a means to make time go by. No control. Adapt to what really amtters to youth and the public, for a change.

Anonymous said...

Seems like you folks do see the big picture. Firstly, it is a political ploy to enhance some really big senate ego's (Whit...) he wanted to help when his sweetie was there. second all this has nothing to do with making children healthier and functional. The pilots take money from areas were there are no services available. look at the profile of these kids, they do not and will not do well in the TJPC system. That is why they are in TYC. The politico's have no concern over your neighborhoods or kids. Watch Texas become a laughing stock for the country again.

Anonymous said...

Seems like you folks do not see the big picture. Firstly, it is a political ploy to enhance some really big senate ego's (Whit...) he wanted to help when his sweetie was there. second all this has nothing to do with making children healthier and functional. The pilots take money from areas were there are no services available. look at the profile of these kids, they do not and will not do well in the TJPC system. That is why they are in TYC. The politico's have no concern over your neighborhoods or kids. Watch Texas become a laughing stock for the country again.

Anonymous said...


TYC, yesterday, lost on a summary judgment in federal court on one of those termination cases where the conservator thought the termination for cause statute did not apply.

Also on the executive commission appointment why did the governor appoint her to a term ending 9/1/11 when the position currently expires on 9/1/09?

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Please enlighten us with what you would do if you were in charge of TYC.
What programs would you throw out and what would you keep?
Also you are quick to say there is still abuse going on, if you have proof you should report it.
If you have and they dont do anything go to the press, they love to do stories on tyc so you should have no problem getting someone to listen.
If you are not reporting these abuses you are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

639:::You are an idiot. Yoy actually believe Sheldon has something to contribute? He's an ex-TYC felon and you just feed into his ego. Have you never worked with his type in TYC? You are a moron. You are stupid to feed into his stories. Why don't you leave the country? You, apparantly are just like Sheldon and have many problems that have never neen resolved. Go discuss this with your mother, if you have one!

Anonymous said...

"Staff raping children was simply not tolerated pre Morales vs turman like in today’s tyc where it’s as if it’s considered an emp benefit." Sheldon, you're a piece of work. Your spelling is so bad it's hard to tell sometimes what you're trying to say -- and no one really thinks you have anything useful to say anymore anyway. "Bread swine..." What are you telling us to do -- make pork cutlets?


Anonymous said...

Sheldon is a typical ex-TYC student, that was betrayed by the state and violated in no one knows how many ways. We should all bow down to him and ask for his forgivness, answers to insure the future, and guidance in our lost agency ways. I have seen many abuses, felt the wrap from the consequences of not coming forward and also felt the shame of not proteting incarcerated kids. The time is now; leta all kneen down and beg the coverage of our unlawful ways. Sheldon is the future, if we just listen and do as he directs. The lege is lost, we -TYC, are lost, we need guidance from one who knows the truh.

Anonymous said...

Just because Sheldon was in TYC does not mean he didn't grow up to be a productive and vital citizen of Texas.
Yes, I worked for TYC and I saw lots of players working the system, but just like I tell local high schoolers. There is life after high school and it lasts a long time if you want it to. If you don't, then keep doing stupid stuff and you won't live. Sheldon, I take my hat off to you because you are still alive and kicking.

Anonymous said...

Its probably not all you would take off for him, weird-o. Stop the sucking up.

Anonymous said...

4/14/10:19-Grits, it is starting to turn ugly already. I made my statement of support for Sheldon and will stand by. No, I'm not a pervert, just a mother of a son who got into some local trouble before he turned 18 and thankfully turned out to be quite a wonderful young man. I say this kids can turn around after being a teenager.
4/14/09- 8:11-calling people idiots and morons is what ends up getting out TYC comments locked down on Grits. Grow up

JTP said...

I don't know a lot about how things are worked out in conference committees between representatives of the House and the Senate. I do know that there are many other issues of contention that need to be hammered out besides the Juvenile Justice controversy. The bottom line is what the total state budget number will be in these economically stressed times.

I suppose it might be logical to assume that the big issues within Juvenile Justice issues will come down to what form regionalization should take, what Juvenile Probation can actually do to curb both referals to TYC and recidivism generally, and what types of TYC budget cuts would have to come about if the House and Senate met halfway on the differences between their proposed funding cuts to the agency.

If the agency ends up cut by about 50 million, it seems that facility closures would still be very necessary. Since the West Texas Facility has drastically been cut back already, and it was the focal point of the original scandal, it will likely go away, despite any local opposition. How many of the remaining institutions do you close to offset the lost funding? How many new small facilities need to be opened and will they be located in a way to serve any of the populations that were previously served by institutions that are closed? If enhanced mental health services is left on the table to be negotiated, do you open a new specialized facility in East Texas or ramp up the existing Corsicana operation to provide a more comprehensive Mental Health service along with Special Education services? Regarding the idea of regionalization, some people in the Juvenile field believe consideration should be given to a model that allows a youth to move closer to home only after he or she has progressed through TYC facilities that provide intensive programming and high security restrictions. In other words, youths ought to earn the privilage of spending the last 6 months or so closer to home. That would put quite a bit of presure on TYC to orchestrate the logistics to carry out such a plan. Clearly, there will be a need to "harden" some of the facilities to handle the "worst" kids left that the "new and improved" Probation model won't be able to handle. The two Mart facilities are already hardened to some degree and are in a central location of the state. The size of the Central Office administration is very likely going to be a bone of contention. Some willingness by the Exec. Commissioner to RIF, consolidate, or eliminate Central Office positions may help some Senators feel they have won a point of contention. But who do you cut? Many of the long time employees are more knowledgable about the day to day operations than some of the recently hired upper administrators. Who you believe is most capable to get the job done, and who does the Exec. Commissioner trust, will become a big part of the decision process. Steven Covey says something like, "begin with the end in mind". It seems that now the Legislature needs to find a person they trust to provide the leadership for the end mission in both TYC and Juvenile Justice, and a leader who has the strategy to get there. I nominate Grits...................

Let us Pray

Anonymous said...

No one ever accused any politician or government of being logical and rational.

Anonymous said...

2:49 has it right! All of this has 100% nothing to do with troubled youth in Texas. When Pope was at TYC the "Honerable" dean of the Senate praised TYC and how hard it must be to work with them and he just needed to know what she needed to continue the reform.

Now he and Hagar are listening to a few liars and claiming they represent the masses. This entire system is going to exploade and this little group could care less! Sad thing is they know what they are doing and could less, to them these are throw away kids and its much more important to get message out that you dont mess the the Honorable Dean of the Senate or his friends!

Not trying upset the honorable dean of the senate alone because you other senators that sit back and allow him to play this nasty game share the blame when this thing blows up!

RAS said...

4/13 8:59 5 leaders in 2 years and resocialization to "Do you accept full responsibility for the problem behavior of" to coNextions. How much change is possible? 4/14 7:59 I don't know about 1900 but Ector county has kids sleeping on the floor. To Sheldon with the fake TYC #. Where is Dallas county going to ploant its crops? Seen any bean fields in Houston?As for sex abuse, Brookins was dumped on Pyote from San Saba and from what I've heard 3 people in his chain of command could have stopped him but didn't, only 1 of the 3 was in Pyote. Suicide in Crocket, a youth ran prostitution ring in Mart, yeah, closing Pyote'll clean up the ol' image.4/14 2:49 I think the Senate's hold up of approving the appointments of obviously qualified people(3 states have hired and kept Ms. Townsend) is a political temper tantrum.If Whitmire is so sure that SB 103 is a work of brilliance, why is he so determined to violate it? He wants facilities in Houston so parents can be more involved in their kids rehab but he wants the parents from El Paso to drive 500 miles to visit their kids. The parents from Odessa would have to go 250 miles, that's further than having the Houston kids in Mart. The chairman of a committee should show equal concern for all Texas' kids and parents and not just the ones in his district or his 1/3 of the state.

Anonymous said...

RAS; you’re a funny guy/gal, fake tyc# LOL, it was assigned to me in May of 1975 at the brownwood deception center. Can you prove its fake?
I suppose you and others who think like you are right, it was completely ignorant of me to think the overall inherited work ethics of tyc could be productive enough as role models to channel the inmates energy to maintain their own facility’s, make their own clothes, and grow their own food in order to offset your agency’s operating expense. I can see my thinking was off because it sounds like we’re not talking about the collective group of folks whose work ethics had the agency break even years ago, see state documents. Sounds to me we’re really talking about the team playas here from the book raped by the state, the whiners and complainers when asked to simply put in a honest day’s work they feel it’s not their job, right? Is that why some of you can’t see this logic? Some of the post defending tyc just helps to enforce the integrity that Randall Chance was writing tyc truth about your business in his book Raped by The State. I know there are some good people who care about civilizing these kids who are referred to the agency.

Yes I meant breading swine for pork cutlets as well as other products for you people to eat and feed some to your inmates. How did you miss that. And no not in the city. I use MS Word spell check, but I was schooled in tyc for GED, and have an electrical engineering degree from UT so I am spelling challenged. RAS you ought to use spell check, it’s pretty bad if I catch spelling and grammatical errors.

Good point RAS, On the subject of Role models, the tyc web site claiming the jco’s are mentors and role models for the youth. LOL, with an 87% recidivism rate, I suppose you people are fine role models. Outside of producing kids who have been made lazy and more uncivilized by your programs, more ignorant by your education, and your training programs decreasing their overall skill sets, your role modeling is doing a great job preparing them for advanced thug life and imprisonment. Great role models, real mommas & papas. I suppose one could deduce that 13% of the JCO’s are really good role models.

Thanks RAS as well as others, now I just think It’s sad my already functionally low expectations of the tyc agency were set way to high in my recommendation, and that some of you people think the overall agency just isn’t capable of rechanneling those kids energy to reduce the operating expense of your facility’s. My apologies, I have reset my expectations and now have come to believe Randall Chance speaks relatively highly of the agency in his book Raped by the State. Tip of the iceberg stuff, not to expose any real issues the poor little tyc agency has buried.

BTW aside from my disdain of the soon to be former agency known as tyc, over the course of my relative recent activism related to our state’s juvenile justice system I have grown empathetic towards each and every person who has ever drawn a paycheck from this “agency”. Even the dog man known as the kitchen. I really though you people would get this right after Morales vs turman, and upon my release in 1977 I never looked back. A lot of people put their lives in jeopardy to force improvements on the agency’s ability to civilize the worst of the worst, only to have you raped by the state people appear to screw it up more than before Morales vs turman. No bowing and asking for forgiveness, I did some bad stuff to get sent to Gatesville and more bad stuff to stay as long as I did, and even more to go back and more to stay longer. Today it’s my strength, converting the pain tyc brought to my teenage years to the passion in my adult life. I’m just trying to give back and if I can keep one kid from going to tyc by publicly pointing out the foolishness of tyc then I did a great thing. The sages teach to save a life is to save the world.

Why don’t you email me RAS , and anyone else who has issue with what I say about tyc, we can talk, on my nickel. I would love to discuss your opinions on what a wonderful job tyc is doing for the uncivilized youth who find themselves in your prison prep schools. Absolutely love to discuss your front on tyc and why a kid going to tyc is a good thing. Mini Bikes, go karts and swimming pools, I believed that lie, right up to the point I was assigned my case number in brownwood deception center, May of 1975. Look it up homes, I’ll guarantee its fascinating reading.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to sign my lovly work again.
and my email
Sheldon tyc#47333 II C/S

RAS said...

Sheldon, my apologies, I didn't realize that you were nearly as old as I am, the numbers have 7 digits now. As far as thinking that TYC is perfect, no it could be a lot better and I think Richard Nedelkoff's recomendations to the legislature were all in the right direction, one thing he didn't mention that I think is needed is a boys ranch for the youth that can't or shouldn't be sent home. My remarks against the farms wasn't meant for the idea but for the location that the Senate is pushing for. I'm all for vocational ed, but it is more economically feasable in larger facilities. Again not very compatable with the Senate's plan. Apparently TYC ,or whatever it was called in '75, was not what it has been since I started 9 years ago. TYC is the last resort to try to redirect kids and any of the pryor options are obviously better ways to deal with their problems, if they work, and they didn't for the kids sent to TYC. Lastly, your opinion of Randy Chance and his book is much higher than any I've heard from people who knew him and worked with him for years. If conditions were as terrible as he makes them out to be why did he wait until he retired to say anything?

Anonymous said...

RAS...You are out of touch on this. It was confirmed that Chance reported many abuses far before he retired, and they were ignored by Austin. They were also reported to the Governors office and attorney general. Read the Dallas TYC reports...they even made them public through the open records acts, after they verified he made several reports to top officials.

Anonymous said...

To 802: I know several employees that Randy confirmed investigations on and they look for any reason to trash him and his family. I worked with him for many years and know plently other employees that gave him praise and stated he was fair and honest with youth and employees. You need to look at people that constantly criticize others.

Anonymous said...

If it would satisfy the lege to cut CO staff, we should start with all the add-ins in HR. With all the increase in personnel there, "customer service" to the employees as decreased, not increased. Why did we need all these people?

Anonymous said...

We didn't need all these Austin staff. TYC has always, for the past twenty five years, brought in their favorites to Austin hq., when the field was in dier needs. It has always been TYC policy to discard field staff over the in-house folks and it will not end with Cherie. Every ex.ed., has needed their own spies, to watch out for 'the team'.

Anonymous said...

Since Cherie has become Whitmires's 'Sherry', TYC may start to regain ground. D>B> has spoken.

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