Sunday, November 13, 2011

Now-defunct TYC-Geo contract cited as example of revolving-door oversight

Grits hadn't had a chance until this morning to take a look at the new report on private prisons out of ACLU national that's been getting lots of press: "Banking on bondage: Private prisons and mass incarceration" (pdf). Here are a few notable quotes:
the crippling cost of imprisoning increasing numbers of Americans saddles government budgets with rising debt and exacerbates the current fiscal crises confronting states across the nation.

Leading private prison companies essentially admit that their business model depends on high rates of incarceration. For example, in a 2010 Annual Report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison company, stated: “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by . . . leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices . . . .”
As incarceration rates skyrocket, the private prison industry expands at exponential rates, holding ever more people in its prisons and jails, and generating massive profits. Private prisons for adults were virtually non-existent until the early 1980s, but the number of prisoners in private prisons increased by approximately 1600% between 1990 and 2009. Today, for-profit companies are responsible for approximately 6% of state prisoners, 16% of federal prisoners, and, according to one report, nearly half of all immigrants detained by the federal government. In 2010, the two largest private prison companies alone received nearly $3 billion dollars in revenue, and their top executives, according to one source, each received annual compensation packages worth well over $3 million.
Another section of the report critiques the corporate-friendly American Legislative Exchange Council, declaring that "ALEC has not only done work that helped increase the amount of taxpayer money spent on corrections generally but has also supported policies likely to increase the proportion of corrections spending funneled to private corporations."

The report also documents the impact of expanded federal immigration detention practices which has been a hobby horse of this blog for many years. "The past decade has borne out the prediction that 9/11 would be good business for private prisons. By 2010, the average daily population of immigration detainees stood at 31,020, more than a 50% increase over the 2001 level (and an increase of roughly 450% over the 1994 level)."

One notable critique held that "Many in the private prison industry, however, once served in state corrections departments, and numerous state corrections officials formerly worked for private prison companies. In some cases, this revolving door between public corrections and private prisons may contribute to the ability of some companies to win contracts or to avoid sufficient scrutiny from the corrections departments charged with overseeing their operations." Moreover, the main case study used to support this contention (p. 38 of the pdf) was a Texas case: A disastrous private contract between the GEO Group and the soon-to-be-defunct Texas Youth Commission, which had hired former Geo employees to monitor their contract to manage the since-closed Coke County facility.

In both juvenile and adult settings, the "revolving door" phenomenon is something about which one hears numerous back-room whispers, but seldom fact-based documentation. It happens, but how commonly? I've never seen hard data, but could cite many anecdotes. Most blatantly, federal Bureau of Prisons chief Harvey Lappin this year left federal employment to become an executive at Corrections Corporation of America. Adds the report, "The company’s payroll also includes a second former BOP Director: J. Michael Quinlan serves as a Senior Vice President of CCA." In 2010, President Obama named a high-dollar Geo Group consultant the head of the US Marshals service. And I know there's at least some cross-pollination between TDCJ and private contractors.

Grits wonders what a more comprehensive review would reveal about this "revolving door" pheomenon between the leadership of private and state-run prison systems? Anecdotally it seems common, particularly among top decisionmakers who might have sway influencing government contracts. But the Coke County example involved lower-level employees migrating back and forth from state to private employment being hired to provide oversight to their former (and potentially future) employer. That situation strikes me as potentially fairly common and makes me wonder precisely how deep that particular rabbit hole goes?

MORE: From Texas Prison Bidness, Sentencing Law & Policy, CNBC, and NPR.


Anonymous said...

People are incarcerated. They don't do anything, they just get incarcerated! How can you blame them, they didn't do anything.

Anonymous said...

Grits, have you ever wondered why TYC had 9 half way houses back when they had 4500 youth, and today they have 9 half way houses with 1270 youth? They somehow keep them full most of the time and the youth at the half way houses keep escaping nearly every weekend.

Could it be that TYC is purposefully sending youth not prepared to these medium restriction facilities because they recieve title "E" money for them? Stands to reason that when money is involved people do stupid things, especially since this money from title "E" funds is used to payroll your contract care contracts.

I know this will not get a hard look but our youth at these half way houses have no discipline, they run whenever they feel the need, and 6 month later we get them back, talk about a revolving door. TYC is keeping their population up by revoking youth monthly to keep facilities open.

You could close another facility today and still have plenty of bed space, but the taxpayers would rather cut teachers and make classrooms bigger than save an annual 16 million a year on a TYC facility.

Anonymous said...

TYC forces them to run from the half way house? Before coming to TYC, almost all of them were non-compliant with probation. They didn't show up. Once out of the TYC facility, guess what they revert to? Their attitude towards parole and half way houses is the same as when they were on probation. They faked it at TYC, but their behavior and attitude remains the same when released. Do we really understand these youth or are we just fooling ourselves?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it a fact that two former ED's at TYC migrated to the privates shortly after they left state employment? I'm speaking of Ron Jackson and Steve Robinson.

Anonymous said...

8:26, I think you missed the point.
TYC gets a ton of money from 4-E fed money for the kids they have in "care" at half way houses. Probation departments have reduced commitments and TYC facility populations are way down. By that same token so should half way houses populations. But they are not because of the huge amount of fed dollars the half way houses bring in.
So tougher kids that not ready for any kind of independant living are being pushed through quick into the half way houses for the money.
AND they do not phase out of there very fast, again for the money because keeping the half way houses full is the primary objective. NOT the rehab of the offender, NOT the safety of the community...its all about the $$$.
The biggest problem is not one person that was all fired up about the many problems at TYC is paying any attention to what is going on in here right now!
Not the gov, not Madden or his right hand girl that "knows" all about corrections, not the Dean of the senate...its pretty sad that we have given this agency 20 plus years of our lives and always been told it will get better and everytime it blows up we keep thinking maybe this time...Honestly right now its worse than it has ever been amd most of us can not take it any longer!

Anonymous said...

The book "Raped by The State", continues to be validated in the state of Texas, with these continuous abuses of the system. Too bad for taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

And now ladies and gentleman as if this isn't screwed up enough!

The wizzard behind all this wipe out TYC and TJPC, combine them and give the job to the failed agency head....Chairman of the House Corrections Committee, has decided not to run! Blow it up, screw it up and stay home and watch it burn!


P.S. Wonder which deep pocket he'll be lobbying/consulting for!
You know what they, if a piece of legislation makes absolutely no sense...follow the money!

Anonymous said...

No matter how it's packaged, TYC, TJJD, the Townsend/McKeever/Smith "goat-screw" or whatever you wnat to call it...has miserably failed the youth of Texas. CoNextions is a joke and does nothing to change behavior. Rather, it fosters a "fake-it-to-make it" mentality that teaches the kids that if they "play the game", they can move effortlessly through the juvenile justice system and refine their criminal skill set in the process. If ACA and DOJ were to return unannounced, imagine their surprise when they see that their standards and Agreed Order are no longer enforced and that nothing has really changed as far as the corruption, cronyism and abuse that brought TYC into the public eye back in 2005-6. One would have to be blind or stupid not to see that it's business as usual in Texas' Juvenile (in)Justice System. My vote goes to stupid.

Anonymous said...

CoNextions is a joke and does nothing to change behavior. Rather, it fosters a "fake-it-to-make it" mentality...

TYC is still locked into the same ole politics. Just look at who came up with this transparent fraud known as CoNextions. Who are these people? Are they the same old insiders who have benefited so much and so long from being TYC insiders?

What philosophy supports this "all fake, no change" approach? Maybe we should let in those who want to promote actual change. Maybe we should toss out those who reward all this faking. They have ruled the roost for a decade or two. Am I dreaming to expect TYC to clean up its act?

Anonymous said...

With so many of the old timers, corrupt folks of ole' TYC, still around, little if anything will ever change.

Anonymous said...

Townsend likes the idea oc Conextions, it is theory based and her entire career is theory based. Has she ever held a position as a case worker, JCO, assistant superintendent, superintendent, nope, nope, nope, nope!!!
But she has read a book or two and has made some "conextions" of her own along the way. Why was she placed in this position in the first placed place with her lack of actual creditials.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Townsend may have read a few books but she was a tyc po in Dallas in the late 70’s. I think tyc emps have issue with her because she may not be a pedophile. I know when I first got out and went to see her I had fantasized about her being a pedophile and molesting me. I may have been to old at 17 but I could have been ok with it.

The tyc or any one of its alias’s has been corrupt for over 12 decades.

About the old timers and cronies. There was a poster on Grits a while back who has lounged at tyc since the Mountain View days. He was one of the initial aa emps who worked at the view. Because of the good ol boy system and how they felt about blacks especially their peers he was assigned to the punk dorm. According to some of the boys, he liked to do things to the boys similar to what tyc’s latest poster employee bookins did in San Saba and West Texas. The boys liked him, especially the ones with homosexual tendencies. I was surprised he was still on the emp roster at tyc, not because tyc would get rid of him for his actions but because of HIV. Hell tyc promotes employees like this. These are the types of people tyc likes to retain. These are the cronies.

Anonymous said...

So if your saying she, Townsend was around back in the day when these issues occur, is she not part of the problem, Sheldon??
So it is justified because she was a female and you would not have had any issues or would have been okay with it if she tried to molest you.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon's thinking system is so warped, he can't fugure if he is special or odd...appears just plain odd.

Anonymous said...

"No matter how it's packaged, TYC, TJJD, the Townsend/McKeever/Smith "goat-screw" or whatever you wnat to call it...has miserably failed the youth of Texas."

I couldn't agree more. That administration is like a bus being driven by a blind woman down a busy ass road. There is NOTHING right about Townsend being in that role.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon is a product of TYC.

Anonymous said...

Townsend is very well equipped to run the agency, she has read many books and has many theories about juvenel justice, the only problem with this is she has never applied them, until NOW. Just giver her a cople of more years, the FMLA, workers comp claims, staff assaults/youth assaults will be triple, and she will play dumb and confused as to why conextions is not working. They rolled this out over 3 years ago and it still ahs not resonated with the people in the field, I guess their all stupid and she is the genius? Couls it possibly be that they never came out into the field to actually train the staff up until 4 months ago when they assigned a treatment person to each institution and HWH, I guess this would be the fields problem as well. The issue has always been you just cannot buy anyones behavior, it is fleeting and can never be sustained, they will always want more and more, until the goodies go away. And then you have a riot because you did not serve oreo cookies but rather nutter-butter. Who and the hell would ever believe a program based upon this premise would ever go over, Missouri! One last thing, all employees should stage a walk out just to show their contempt for this treatment program, maybe then the Governor would get the message that maybe he has the wrong person working with juveniles!

Anonymous said...

Five years later! It still makes me both laugh and... at the same time shake my my head in sad disaapointment at how things have turned out. Not everyone was a wierdo like Shellman says. TYC had and still has some good people that role model what it means to be a good person.

Anonymous said...

Wake-up. You're still in a dream. The TYC dream that burst and ruined so many good people. Dreams about TYC are for fools.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

The Conextions program has had success with juvenile delinquents who exhibit severe stages of conduct disorder as defined in the DSM IV-TR Criteria. I would assume that 100% of the children committed to tyc suffer from conduct disorder of some level. I would also venture to say that Mrs Townsend would be technically right if she were to say “the field” failed miserably at implementing this program. What do I mean by technically right? You really can’t hold the field responsible if the field is not capable. It’s like asking a mildly retarded 5 year old girl to rebuild a Nisan engine in an afternoon and then blaming her for it not getting done. The field is simply not capable to implement this type of program in a culture such as tyc.

Texas juvenile problems are about justice, juvenile justice, and justice in Texas is what civil people in polite society call human rights abuse.

The tyc has always been about abusing children in the name of punishment and protecting the agency at all cost. Randy Chance’s book Raped by the State was relatively easy for the agency to defend and deflect against. It focused on a decade of detailed shenanigans, to a tyc insider was just another day at the office. It was written in the form and style of a write up. In contrast history professor Dr Bush’s book Who gets a Childhood, the entire span of the agency’s culture of abuse and cover-up was disclosed in an intellectual historic cause and effect manor. Perhaps if the agencies strategic planners knew where it’s been it could better redirect its course. This assumes the intellectual capabilities to overcome the excuses/obstacles to do what needs to be done.

The series of events that led up to Morallis v Turman were avoidable just as the events that led to the bookins incidents. Or were they, superintended Winthrop tried to change the culture but was killed in a car wreck. Is the culture so resistant to change it would commit murder? Some would say yes.

The culture at tyc is what it is and it will take major paradigm shifts to change. Mrs. Townsends first mistake was taking the ED job, her second was arrogantly thinking she could turn around the tyc culture. If Jesus came back today as many believe, took a job at tyc, within a month he would be speaking like an ignorant person using the lazy dialect of Ebonics, thinking he was entitled to a free ride on the government tit, abusing state property, and molesting children. Hiring practices would have to change dramatically especially the one in the 70’s that allowed a buildup of this sexual deviant culture that the agency is plagued with today. It’s as if the entire tyc has become a punk dorm.

On the other hand if its tyc’s function to warehouse these children whom our public school deem throw away until they can go to TDCJ, then the agency is doing a fine job. The waist of tyc tax dollars is from defending against outsiders medaling in the agency’s business. As has always been the agency’s stated case. I’ll close my post with a quote from one of tyc’s former superintendents made to the board regarding the lack of effective rehabilitation programs “a buck negro looks much better with an aggie (hoe) in his hand than a baseball bat or a golf club”. In spite of all the legislation to prohibit that language and bring equality to state sponsored child abuse the spirit of this attitude has not changed since it was made 50 years ago. You people are doing absolutely nothing to prevent these kids from moving on to TDCJ.