Thursday, April 03, 2008

Abolish the Texas Youth Commission?

That could be in the works, according to two articles published today:
In addition, though it's not posted yet so this announcement could be premature, I understand the TYC Joint Select Committee will meet again on April 16th, so maybe we'll hear more then about what these proposals might really mean in practice.

105 comments:

Anonymous said...

If they are talking about abolishing TYC, what are some of the alternatives that are being discussed?

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that Whitmire is being hypocritical. Now that Pope is gone he is back to being critical. Pope is gone and he wants abolish TYC. Since he could not get it his way, he is trying other means. What a loser.

He already got a job in TDCJ for her. His agenda has nothing to do with the well-being of the kids in TYC or protecting the states resources. He goes on to complain about TYC's administrators salaries. But he never said anything when Pope mismanaged millions of dollars.

Whitmire do us a favor go crawl under a rock-don't forget to take your loser friend (Pope) with you.

Anonymous said...

Read the articles, 9:42.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 9:42, read the articles - they're talking about community based stuff in the counties.

And to 9:44 and others who want to lash out in anger, please don't make me regret posting this. Use this forum to discuss whether this is a good idea or what viable alternatives might look like. (E.g., I could see a dramatic scaling down, but there are some kids you've got to lock up, and a lot of county-based infrastructure needs to be created to implement such an idea.)

PLEASE try to have a constructive, not an angry conversation about this. I'm really tired of the trash talk and don't appreciate it continuing the way it has.

Anonymous said...

Scott - In that case, remove my post of 10:04.

Anonymous said...

The concept of community-based programs funded through counties is intriguing -- if sufficient money is provided and if the state retains sufficient oversight over how the money is being spent. The horrifying thing is the idea that a "youth wing" of TDCJ might be established. I like the idea of shrinking TYC to only include violent youth offenders, but tossing them into the mix that is TDCJ is just plain backwards thinking.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone take Sen. Whitmire serious at this point? He doesn't want these kids in his backyard. There has to be an ultimate bad place that the offenders don't want to go. TYC handles less that two per cent of juvenile offenders. It's a symbol of what can happen when a kid screws up every where else. Maybe TYC is imperfect, but does the lege think it can control the county facilities? Whitmire is using smoke and mirrors. If they sunset TYC,they will create a monster that Frankenstein never could have thought of.

Anonymous said...

Someone ask Whitmire if he knows he can't build any kind of juvenile facility in Harris Co. His county commissioners passed a rule where they can't..don't want them in their back yard

Anonymous said...

Bad idea. If the counties could keep the kids in the first place they would. But they can't. They cannot and are not equipped to deal with violent offenders. We know the ones who come out of their community to begin with. The very ones who its community has forgotten about them. Look at the offenders by zip code and compare it to the crime rate in the zip code. It goes right back to a zip code that lacks employment and education opportunities.

Anonymous said...

leave pop and whitmire out of this. Just deal with the idea/concept of closing TYC.

Anonymous said...

I like Whitmire's idea, if it will save the state money, I say go for it. TYC is doing a very poor job of helping the kids anyways. I say we give contract care and the counties a shot at it. TYC will never climb out of this pile of mess, and if by chance they do, it will be decades before they can get back to rehabilitating the youth in their care. No knock to the majority of good folks that work for TYC, I know you are only playing with the cards you have been dealt.

Anonymous said...

Despite the ramblings of a few malcontents at facilities around TYC, historically the most troubled facilities have been the ones near urban areas, not the ones in rural areas. Examples: Hamilton (Bryan/College Station), Al Price (Beaumont); Marlin & Mart (Waco). Of course, there is always everyone's favorite semi-rural institution, Evins (Edinburg), which is a show piece for a "local" facility.

The real problems for TYC began with the Legislature-driven move to larger, more "correctional" facilities, with hell-hole style open bay dorms. The whole idea behind those open bay dorms was to save money by housing more kids with less supervision.

As for a youth division of TDCJ - wasn't that what we tried with the import of Ms Pope, Bronco Billy and the rest? Brilliant.

Listen to Judge Shelton, folks; he's been in the biz for a long time and has a real heart for reforming kids.

Anonymous said...

Is this not the last nail in our coffin at TYC. This word of shutting us down will make people run for new jobs, making staff shortages a bigger issue than they are now. No one will ever believe this is not a continued work in the background, no matter how they spin it to stop people from finding other jobs.
IMO, the lawmakers who set this to print knew exactly what they were doing to get the "new" idea up and running. Staff leaving by the droves seals the deal for the Whitmires. Retalation was my first thoughts also.
Damn shame.

Anonymous said...

How about down-sizing most of the existing facilities, creating levels of incarceration based upon offense history and behavior in the institutions, and creating new, pre-release facilities near the urban areas? Youth with especially violent histories need to be in secure, correctional-style lockups. These types of youth tend to ruin the rehabilitative efforts with less violent youth. They also need to be able, through their behavior, to graduate from those lock-ups to institutions with a more rehabilitative atmosphere and programming. Youth who have progressed to within 4 months or so of release could be moved (if their behavior warrants it) to small, pre-release facilities or halfway houses closer to home.

Harris County remains a problem in this regard, though. About 20 years ago there was a halfway house in Harris County (Richmond House). When it closed down, the local legislators would not allow a replacement to be build anywhere but in Harris County. Yet, within Harris County, NIMBY came into play, big time. Result - no replacement for Richmond House.
Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Don't believe what you hear folks. Just because ole' floppy ears Elmer Fudd has an idea and puts it in print doesn't mean it's going to happen.

He supported Pope. We didn't. Who won there?

He supported pepper with Pope, we, didn't, who won there?

Fudd is funky and don't let the jive follow the ignorant political grandstanding. They know it. We know it. We aint going anywhere.

Who was it that suggested that TDCJ build HW houses on its own property? None other than Elmer Fudd.

You think that same concept hasn't been floated out to all these big cities in Texas with regard to a TYC facility in their backyard? Hell yes it has, and just as they never wanted TDCJ HWH's in their backyard, they don't want TYC either. The tax payers want 'em in remote areas. Please don't get excited about Elmer. He's been shut down twice: No to Pope as TYC ED, and NO to Pope as Reg, 3 director at TDCJ. - So let’s just live and let die.
Whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

Grits,

I think some of the local juvenile justice officials quoted in the Chronicle piece hit the nail on the head when they worry that abolishing TYC may create unfunded mandates at the county level.

Especially since Senator Whitmire's impetus for doing this seems to be based almost totally on saving money. Also b/c it seems that Nedelkoff seems to have been blindsided by the whole idea.

I want to believe he's gotten religion about moving to a more community-based system, but the sudden way he presents it here is worrisome. Let's see what happens next.

Plus I'm sure just throwing it out there this way is a hell of dog whistle for the remaining TYC staff.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

Yes this is the same legislature that created the hellhole open bay dorm system. There have been no significant changes in the Lege for years.

If only the people of Texa could see what a bunch of losers and cowards they have in the Lege.

It would be typical to go into this with absolutely no plan and then to form it on the fly and then cry like babies when the model urban facilities work about like the ones in the past.

dirty harry said...

Abolishing TYC for a more localized approach at the county level won't work. Mainly because there will be too many shenanigans to deal with in small counties that tend to fly under the radar. Heck, we can't even manage the system as centralized as it is now. Can you imagine having to straighten out an "Evans" or "Al Price" in every county? They are just now getting around to realizing that Al Price has a GED cheating problem, and a certified bag lady for a vice-principal!

Anonymous said...

Oh what a tangled web... Does TYC need reform, Absolutely. Is nimby alive and well, Absolutely. Creating smaller, local programs is certainly a better idea for the children(these are kids!)But the community has to care about these kids. That seems to be the underlying problem. If the programs were done well(and that will cost money) these children won't graduate to a life of taxpayer dollars in TDCJ. Vote.

Anonymous said...

I think Whitmire hasn't had his TYC bad news in the media fix this last month. He can't stand it. It is the same old political story. He is a democrat and Maddin is Republican and the Republican govenor appointed Nedelkoff.

Until the next election round is over and we have changed a few faces in our state legislatures, we will have to listen to his rantings.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson, where are you and when are you running for Governor..TYC needs you as boss badly.

Anonymous said...

I told all of you this was how it would play out over the past few months. Whitmire is not the only politician on this band wagon. This is all about big money and political maneuvering not the public or the TYC youth. If you work for TYC, I would start looking for a new line of work while the transition will be on your schedule.


I can’t help myself, “I told you so!”


FTM

Anonymous said...

While I believe closing down all of TYC is a bad idea, I do agree about community based halfway houses being closed. If this blog is any indication of the lack of competent staff running these facilities ( i.e McFadden Ranch)
They should be closed.

Anonymous said...

Its a corrupt mess that has allowed abuse and illegal activities to continue for much too long. I agree with Whitmire....close it down. They aren't doing any "rehabilitation" anyway.

Anonymous said...

When the Legislature does the planning instead of the experienced professional (the Conservator), it indicates that the motivation is entirely political. Wouldn't Whitmire's plan funnel most of the money to the county that he represents?

Anonymous said...

Having been there and done that, flush the commode already. Start at the bottom of the state and flush Evins first because they stink the most.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we are overlooking a piece of this puzzle. I say if you want to abolish something, first abolish the TYC culture of corruption.

The problems at TYC are interconnected - the long distances allowed a local patron system to flourish where the strong man ruled with his lackeys out of the eye of the public. The patron had to cover everything up so he (or she) could tolerate only those who would keep the secrets. Those who supported this all these years are still with TYC.

This necessity of keeping secrets resulted in a generalized culture of corruption as only the opportunists and amoral found TYC to be a comfortable home. There were, of course plenty of people who just kept quite.

The strong man (or woman) needed to control the HR departments so only those loyal to the culture were favored. All the resourses of TYC went to reward those who were willing and eager to support this culture of corruption. The job of reform has not yet addressed the HR corruption and all the ills that it produces.

TYC has a choice - either face the nature of the current mess in the HR departments or be willing to pay ouy millions in lawsuits. There are people who are no longer willing to put up with how the HR departments continue the old system.

When you have the system in place as described above then this affects how the youth are treated. The lackeys knew they would be protected if they related to youth in an inappropriate way. No one would ever talk - they had it all sewed up.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more 1:55!!!! You hit it right on the head! If TYC is not abolished, REMOVE those who have fed into the corruption and abuse and start from scratch! Bring some of those whistleblowers back and put them in power....they have proven that they are not afraid to speak up on abuse, and I believe would be amazing asset's to TYC.

Anonymous said...

Can we get Whitmire to ride off into the sunset and leave Texas?
Thats the SUNSET we need to see.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Sen. Whitmire can explain how providing treatment in community based facilities is going to cost the state half as much. The only way to do that is either provide less treatment (which most agree is now inadequate) or shift the financial burden to local government. New facilities would have to be built despite the local opposition to such facilities which would even become worse when the local voters find out they are going to be taxed more to pay for Whitmire cutting the state expenditures in half. Community based facilities actually will require an overall increase in spending coming from somewhere; otherwise they would have been built as a cheaper alternative to open bay dorms and large institutions.

Anonymous said...

From the TYC Conservator:

Dear Staff:

I’m sure most of you have read or heard about the articles in today’s Houston Chronicle and Austin American Statesman regarding the future of the Texas Youth Commission. I want each of you know that I do not support the abolition of TYC. There will always be a need for this agency and the services you provide to the most troubled youth in our state. I am interested in talking about what TYC will look like three, five and 10 years down the road and I’m certain we will be having those conversations.

It is important that you not be disheartened by today’s news stories. As discussions continue about the size and mission of this agency, along with the entire juvenile justice system in Texas, many things will be said and reported. Remember that, ultimately, we are all working to create a more streamlined, efficient system of juvenile justice in Texas and TYC will continue to play an important part in that system.

I hope this eases some of the concerns many of you are expressing. Have a great weekend and, as always, thank you for the great work you are doing.

Regards,

Richard

Most of you who have been in TYC have probably put it all together by now. John Whitmire is doing all he can to sabotage the progress being made under Mr. Nedlekoffs leadership. Prospective employees were starting to apply again, staff were returning from these FMLA’s, and for the most part, most (not all) employee’s moral began to lift. Changes were starting to be made and most people were starting to gain confidence in doing their job. By all means, it still is not where we want to be, but it was starting to turn for the most part. In time, we would have been heading in the right direction.

Now this. Ask yourself “What is the potential impact of this news (and feel free to add to my list)?”

It dumps the moral right back to the ground. Prospective employees will again shy away. It undermines the reform efforts. People may sense a false reality of this news and start calling in sick, and the ratios and OT payments will hit the roof. Employees will lay right back down because they may sense they have nothing to lose at this point. Kids will get control back. I can go on and on and on…

Happy now John?

And Mr. Henson, your rule of not having employees attack one another is a fair rule. But, people like John Whitmire and others like him should be fair game? Is that cool?

Anonymous said...

Please tell me WHY TYC should not be eliminated?? To keep YOUR paychecks coming in? Because I would really be interested in residivism rates of TYC youth! My guess is probably 85% re-offend! I have seen the lack of rehabilitation, the lack of compassion in case workers who don't really care about making a difference in anybody's lives besides their own. I have watched as staff are allowed to abuse youth, neglect them proper medical treatment, and degrade them to the point the youth are suicidal! Is this what our tax dollars go for??? Count me in Whitmire....I am with you! Get some people in TYC who have the guts to do something besides fall into corruption!

Anonymous said...

4:56, here are my unsolicited 2 cents about bashing Whitmire and other elected officials:

Grits for Breakfast is a credible public policy blog that provides an alternative look at criminal and juvenile justice policy in TX. In order for it to remain credible with policy makers (read: state legislators) and to have an influence, it's important that its commenters contribute positively and constructively to the public policy discussion.

Facts is facts, folks. Whitmire is a powerful and important legislator with a lot of control over criminal and juvenile justice in this state. Calling him names and talking all kinds of malicious trash about him on this blog does not curry any favor for TYC.

Anonymous said...

There is in these comments a lot of loose use of terms like "corruption" and "abuse" and "amoral", without providing any sort of specifics of what is meant by that, much less factual support. My view is that corrupt or amoral employees at TYC are few indeed, and most employees try to do a good job with what they have. Whatever problems TYC has, I think corruption plays little or no role. Rather,we all try to do a decent job with the resources available - both those we bring to the job like intelligence and training (or lack thereof), and those the agency provides, like training and the money ( or lack thereof)to hire good people and develop good programs. You get what you pay for, whether the program is state or local. I understand that for years the prime directive from downtown was to cut the budget by x percent each year, no matter what else was going on. How about just getting Nedekoff the $ he needs to do his job of reforming TYC? Enough to hire the best ED he can find, relocate facilites if needed, develop new programs, and hire the best staff we can? Enough to raise our hiring standards for JCOs and case managers from above warm pulse and no felonies.

Anonymous said...

has anyone thought about what happens when these kids are together from the same area? Now you have 6 or 7 (or more) members of the exact same gang together. That spells trouble.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 4:56 and all: Honestly, I encourage you to disagree with Whitmire or anybody else on the blog with as much personal grace and generosity of spirit as possible.

Mostly this is for one reason: I'm getting to the point where I personally no longer want to click on the comments in TYC strings because of the name calling and sniping, and I used to read all of them, even when they ran into the hundreds. It may make y'all feel better to vent by calling names and taking personal jabs, but I gain nothing from reading it, and if I don't want to read comments on my own blog, why would anybody else?!

When TYCers contribute their knowledge and expertise, they make this blog better and improve the information policymakers have to work toward reform. A lot of the other IMO doesn't contribute to anything but a bad work environment and a bad opinion by outsiders of people who work there.

Hope that explains where I'm coming from.

Anonymous said...

6:16, that was a good post and I agree with you completely.

Anonymous said...

Grits, Is there any models in Texas now where juveniles are doing better when they are closer to the families. I would think it would make a child want to behave more to be close but not have full freedoms to be with their family and friends as they please. Some families learn to go on without the locked up child and the child is left behind. I would think you could work on the whole family more if they were closer in area. Also- IMO CJAD should also go. As a tay payer and probation manager, I see my department doing there own training and CJAD adds no help or value. I think if you make some of these changes you could pay officers and guards on both the juvenile and adult side more. The pay is so low, the quality and turnover rate is a killer. I have been around for 20 plus years and I see TDCJ at a low for employees.
The state will pay out more in lawsuits then doing the job right with qualified workers that are paid fair. One of my probation oficers brought in a defendant pay check stubb today and the defendant makes more working at burger king then the officer makes. I felt the officers on my floor today sink to a new low. Sen Whitmire may see this very clearly and I think I am coming around also. Let the counties get involved more it is the county who will be jailing these juveniles when they become adults. Also maybe CPS can work with the families with counceling if they are closer.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way, Mr.Henson. I am a daily reader of TYC blogs. Here lately I am scanning them because of all of negative, name calling, mess that has been on here. I find that I don't want to read it, because I am looking for real information about our future. But lately its just been people bashing others and showing disrespect. Thanks for Trying to stop this. I know that there are ones out there still trying to make everyone mad.
I think we are short lived, I believe the train has pulled out of the station and its headed our way. New article on American Statesman pretty well says it all. Good bye TYC.

Anonymous said...

"Stop the name calling on my blog." Mr. Henson, where were you 6 months ago when dozens of TYC employees were getting ran into the ground? Have you all of a sudden decided to empathize with how others might feel? Maybe you should go back and remove all the old previous negative posts that can still be pulled up where TYC managers were being bashed on a regular basis. I believe in one of those where TYC managers were being crucified, you even bragged that it was "one of the longest post with over 400 comments". Now the change of heart? How nice of you.

Anonymous said...

4:56,

I disagree, the last thing that needs to happen is that we throw more money at the Executives in TYC. There are folks out there that can do a better job than some in Central Office, including Nedelkoff, with less salary. What we need is for the Lege to take a backseat, and allow the juvenile justice professionals to do their jobs.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 10:12 - It would be easy enough, if I cared to explain myself to you, to go back 6 months and well before that and find me asking y'all not to bash each other in the comments. This has been going on a long time, virtually since the whole Pyote scandal broke.

Don't like how I run things? Go somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Hey 4:56 - right on.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's what it was worth 10:58 - 2 cents and nothing more. John Whitmire needs to go, and these bloggers support his exit.

Anonymous said...

Having worked in both private juvenile training facilities and the TYC, I can assure you that abolishing TYC, or whatever they choose to call it later, is foolhardy. In Texas, private facilities, either profit or non- profit, do not have the capacity to provide for the public safety, much less the rehabilitation, or should I say 'habilitation' for the majority of the youth served by TYC. A better approach to the problems of the agency should include a serious evaluation of administrators, programs offered, and credentials of staff. TYC has always seemed to exist in another dimension not based on the realities of the culture from which many of our kids are from. Stop trying to make high school graduates out these kids, give them, at the very least, entry level job skills, teach them the worth and value of honest work. We've tried negating old behavior patterns, hoping that their attitudes will change. It hasn't worked. The kids who have been successes after leaving both the state run and private facilities have been successful in spite of what we've done for them.

The Whispering Voice

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Just deleted several items, if you're wondering where yours went.

Y'all, stay on topic, please. If you want to gossip about administrators at individual facilities, somebody needs to launch a TYC employees blog or user group. This isn't the place for it.

I don't have time to monitor and vet every comment, so if it continues, my only option will be to eliminate comments on TYC strings altogether.

Y'all have chased off some of the most constructive TYC commenters, and some days even chased me away from these comment sections. Stop it. Now. Please.

Thx. The Management.

Anonymous said...

As a citizen of the State of Texas I would want to know what they are going to do with juveniles who commit crimes and continue to victimize other citizens. The concept of closing TYC may seem appealing to some, but, as a person who is had her home broken into by "kids", I want to know what the still will intend to do to protect me.

The counties already can't handle the kids who supposedly only what is being called minor criminal acts. What are they going to be able to with kids who repeatedly terrorize other kids in the schools and terrorize citizens in their neibhorhoods.

The legislature needs to talk and listen to the victims of these "kids" as much as they have been to these parents who are trying to keep or get their "kids" who commit crimes out of TYC.

I believe in giving "kids" a second chance and trying to get them the help they need. But, when the State fails to provide families the help they need to prevent these "kids" from turning to crime, they shouldn't turn around and compound the problem by punishing the citizens of the state with leaving these dangerous kids in communities that can't provide them the help they need.

Before Mr. Whitmire or any other legislature starts making statements and comments purely for media attention or any other self-serving reason, it would be nice if they would do the job the citizens are paying them, and fully assess what is needed to actually help these "kids" and protect the citizens of Texas. Maybe they should figure out a way to increase mental health treatment, chemical dependency treatment, school attendance. Maybe if they provide this type of hlep before these kids commit crimes, they wouldn't have to worry about these kids engaging in criminal conduct that justifies sending themn to TYC.

Anonymous said...

The topic of this thread is?????
Ahhh; yes! Abolish TYC.

I believe this has been on the back burner from the date TDCJ was established. I think the only reason TYC did not come under the umbrella of TDCJ was because there were bigger fish to fry at the time.

Placing the violent young adults under TDCJ would save those youth that may still be salvaged (seperate them).

Put the youthful offenders that need treatment into the counties from which they came. These counties now " are having their cake and also eating it!".

Harris County has a major problem with youth violators. Their present solution, in my opinon, is put them in TYC and get them off the street and out of their county. Do these judges really believe the youth will receive the treatment they require to make them productive in society? Of course not, but; that is the only program they have at their fingertips.

Harris county is not the ony county with these problems; I mentioned it because John Whitmire represents it. By the way, let's recommend a youth treatment program/facility for Collin County; I'm sure Mr. Madden will be very happy to help the State out (he represents that county).

I agree with the person from CJAD who commented that the counties would receive the mandate without sufficient funding. The Federal Government has been doing that for years; I guess our state legislators are taking a page or two from their playbook.

We do not need to abolish TYC; just put it under the big TDCJ umbrella. One more comment to all those who are waiting with baited breath to tell me about the need for professional juvenile justice folks for youthful offenders: That is not a requirement as evidenced on more than one occasion in State Agencies. TDCJ presently has an accountant as the ED (not the first one I might add) who is not a corrections or criminal justice professional.

On a positive note: Life for those incarcerated (adults and youth)is a whole lot better than it was 50 years ago.

For those that subscribe to the half empty glass philosophy I leave you with this thought: It is a shame family unity and values are not the same or better than they were 50 years ago.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Retired 2004: thanks but no thanks. TYC should never fall under TDCJ. In fact, it we want to lower the population in TDCJ, why don't we place a greater emphasis on getting their lives straight in TYC before it comes to a TDCJ placement?

I've worked very closely with TDCJ, and I can tell you, their problems are much more significant than TYC's problems. Why add to them?

And if that doesn't convince you, then all I can say is you missed out on the Bronco Billy/Pope show. That's where we were heading, and you saw how that turned out.

Whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

I think Nedelkoff should be given time/opportunity to attempt to make a difference and farming out finances/services to the county and putting youth closer to home would also be an improvement. I also think the some of the original commentary on the number of staff in to youth and the cost of a youth per year is alarming and the finances of TYC as well as what TYC is really spending money on – should be addressed. As a taxpayer and an employee in the field, we that see the youth everyday are not paid very well. Yet, over the past year of over-haul we have not really seen any changes other than to “re-name” programs, add more paperwork (for some of us, this new/additional paperwork is now duplicated information), and add a major boat-load high paying positions/employees to Central Office. I would really, really be interested to know, especially as a taxpayer, what percentage of TYC funds go to direct care for youth, especially in proportion to administration expenses. We all want to know the answer to this question when we donate to a non-profit. Personally, I see things every day in TYC that effect finances – make my head spin – and I think the media would/could have a hay-day with some of it – and no-one can do anything about it! Such as what is spent by TYC - from time, resources, fuel, airline tickets, JCO coverage, OT, to accommodate a Doctors appointment on the other side of the state? Then what TYC spends in the renting of facilities as well as WHO they are renting from? It would seem to me too that the agency could scale back also, if Central Office returned to its OLD top heavy status, instead of the “NEW” top heavy status. While I don’t have anything against anyone at Central Office/Austin – how much in terms of direct care are they providing? And, what is it that they really do out there to permit people in the field to do their jobs at the facilities? What if, they abolish Central Office? Just my opinion, but we peons in the field could operate/continue as we always have – and maybe I am overly blind-sided. Still, I would really like to know cost wise, how much money is really spent on youth care – when that in itself is what the agency was suppose to be about.

Anonymous said...

Grits Wrote:
"If you want to gossip about administrators at individual facilities, somebody needs to launch a TYC employees blog or user group."

I set up kidsinprison.com just for that purpose. It is a small message board. I have been hoping to get some participation.

Thanks

rio

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rio. I hope all the people with personal issues with fellow employees or present/former bosses will go to your site. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

TYC is no longer a topic for discussion. It never really was because TYC could never have gotten better. The cancer had spread all through the system and there was never any real hope things could have been fixed. The only way to correct TYC is to close it and develop a new system with different people in all areas of management. For too many years promotions were based on all of the wrong reasons. The outcome of the quid pro quo promotion system brought TYC to be one of the most corrupt agencies in Texas. Talent and ability had little to do with being selected for leadership roles inside of TYC and the agency has paid the price.

One of the Senators connected with corrections once asked me how deep they would need to cut in order to remove all of the mismanagement and my answer was to remove everyone from JCO VI and above. There would be some good removed but to get all of the bad the cut would need to be deep. I went on to say the agency should be closed since a management cut of this magnitude would collapse the agency. This conversation occurred in February of 2007 at the Texas Capitol.

My opinion of TYC and its many problems has not changed. It is obvious way too much of the cancer still infects TYC for it to survive. The cost per youth has tripled and the programming is little different, if not of a lower quality for TYC compared to the past system. For many years I have thought TYC has hit bottom and could not get any worse but I am proven wrong time after time. Texas needs to try something drastically different than TYC. I suggest the counties be forced to handle the youth locally with state funding. If necessary a new state agency could be built from the ground up to take the hard core criminal youth while the youth with a glimmer of hope are being helped locally. One area that needs major correction is the lack of real mental health services for many of the youth. Year after year I saw many children who had serious mental health issues sent to TYC which was the last place they needed to be sent.

It is way past time to turn out the lights and lock the doors on the way out! Pull the plug on a tax money wasting form of child abuse. TYC is inflicting emotional damage on the youth housed there and the poor people working there and it needs to stop.

Anonymous said...

Old Salty Wrote:
"Thank you, Rio. I hope all the people with personal issues with fellow employees or present/former bosses will go to your site. Old Salty"

I didn't mean to suggest that kidsinprison.com is meant to be a place to fight.

It is harder to get off topic on a message board because each contributor starts his own topic.

Also, I am not a journalist. I am just one person who works directly with the youth and wants to see them get a better deal. I also believe it is possible.

I am not that educated, nor am I an administrator of any kind. I know from common sense that some of the personal attacks are justified. But, that is not the focus of kidsinprison.com.

I just want to be clear about that.

I do think that a place to hash out TYC issues is a good thing and I am attempting to start one. If anyone wants to help, all help is appreciated, beacuse I am not that good at starting things.

The average person needs access to a place where his voice is as loud as the voice of the conservator.

Rio Grande

Anonymous said...

I tried to find yout site. I got a strange message.

Anonymous said...

Whitmire is just Mad about them getting rid of His Woman,,,,They wont ever get rid of TYC due to the fact that no community wants these Kids or can afford to House them....
The reason they are in such money triuble is the fact that for the years I have been at TYC the Legislature has cut budgets ane now thats what you have a run down Organization. You have to put money into a company to keep it running ,,,,I feel if we get rid of all of these Politicians who have never been around a Unit before and lock them up in one for a week I bet they will se things quite different....Maybe old Whitmire and His Woman would like to see one on the Inside fort a couple of days...Hmm even old Chewey would be crying then ...
No my advise is they leave the Conservator alone and give Him a chance,,,Hell Old Pope didnt do anything for a year and no one seemed to worry then so why not let the Man have that year She pissed away and see what happens.....??????

Anonymous said...

Whitmire seems to have a lot of power, wouldn't surprise me if his little plan went through.

Anonymous said...

A couple of Sunday morning thoughts:

If the solution to finances, resources and corruption is to leave the kids in the counties except for the Billy Badasses and if one of the major concerns for TYC is the inabiity to attract (and keep) good staff, why not legislatively mandate the same for TDCJ? TDCJ's unfilled positions far exceeds TYC's; they often have family issues and it would make serious gang issues so much easier to deal with from inside.

And, regarding GED's and/or HS diploma's; for those who have the ability, great but at the very least, work at providing basic vocational skills (as in RIO-Y at minimum) and at least basic skills or even formal training and certifications when possible. In any case, the GED or diploma should be seen as a vocational goal; after all, the first part of being a productive citizen is to be productive.
And finally: as is the usual case, the legislator (and perhaps the general public) continue to play games with the issue of taxes: cutting state expense and putting it on the table of the counties won't cut taxes, it may just change which pocket we taxpayers take it out of. Buildings will still have to be built, staff hired and medical bills paid. Again, if it is such a good idea, why not close TDCJ and make those prisoners a local problem.

Anonymous said...

What we need is a medium. We go from "High" restriction programs to virtual freedom - and that includes HWH placements. We have kids that come in, learn and do well early that need to be removed from a high restriction program to a medium restriction program and not have to wait for the mlos to expire. All too often I see kids come in and earn their phases early only to lose them later because they are locked up in a facility that has a very negative peer culture just feeding off one another. We need to move the good kids out earlier and hang on to those Billy Badasses. Take down the fence at certain facilities - CRTC, Crockett, WTSS, Gainesville and make them medium restriction programs.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:26 Old Salty

The Evil Dr. Papschmear said...

The alternatives proposed in the news articles do seek to return responsibility for the problem of juvenile delinquency to the counties/communities, but that's nothing new. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the counties could deal with the problem, they would. Since they can't, they won't, and here we are back at square one. Abolish TYC and replace it with an all new, improved, moral and ethical agency to handle delinquent youth? A rose by any other name is still TYC. Whitsfoe has the right idea. Why get excited? Sometimes I think we give the Fuddmeister more credit that he deserves and allow him to get inside our heads for no good reason. Abolish TYC? Naw...abolish Whitmire!

Anonymous said...

TYC used to have good, no great, medium restriction programs at York and Tamayo HWHs respectively. They had kids going to school, going to the local jr. colleges, and most of all, going to work. It was a tie most reporting periods as to had the best performace in regards to low numbers of incidents, escape and/or problems. Both of these programs had the longest tenured and the most satisfied staff. Above all, they had the most productive youth in regards to community service and participation with their volunteer councils. TYC in its infinite wisdom saw fit to run off both of the administrators of these fine programs. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Whitmire is on to something. The agency is not a jobs program nor is it about ecomomic development/maaintenance in communities where TYC facilities are located. It's proably a good idea for only the worst kids in Texas be housed in TYC. If the non-violent normal delinquent can be dealt with on the local or regional level, it should be done. Funds to deal with these type kids should be taken from TYC coffers to finance local and regional programs.

TYC - TJPC and the legislative leadership should work closely together to accomplish this.

It can be done.

Plato

Anonymous said...

OK Plato - here's the deal.

First, your plan is right but it aint going to happen overnight. When one takes into account the contracts we’ve burned in the past to help us with the overcrowding issue, we basically screwed ourselves. Those relationships and the trust that comes along with it, will take time to amend. Admittingly so, we absolutely sucked in this area. They know it - we know it - and I'd even argue that certain individuals of the ledge know it - especially Whitmire.

Second, culture transition is a “phase in” development plan and it too takes time. Once we stabilize our kids where they are located, we can start that process. But again, it aint going to happen overnight. The TYC workforce needs to secure itself before kids stabilize and see and expect consistency, and with Whitmires recent comments to the press, he's working in the wrong direction. Who exactly do you think would take on this population?

I appreciate your comments, but do think you should think about how difficult the transition would actually be. In about 2-3 years time, I'd say yeah if we had the right personnel in place and the appropriate personnel to oversee contracts. But I'd shy away from any thought of re-creating a Coke County "wacked their nuts" debacle, even on a smaller scale. -

Whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

Whitsfoe - I cannot disagree with anything you said. I am well aware it is going to take TYC a substantial amount of time (years) to be where it wants to be.

Plato

Anonymous said...

TYC can be fixed about the same time we see “Pigs Fly”. As grandpa said “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. I wonder if he was talking about one of the flying pigs to get the ear from. TYC is like a hundred gallons of Blue Bell Ice cream with a lump of doggie do mixed in it; it is no good no matter what you do to it! Close the tax dollar sucking place down and try something else that might save a few million of our tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone else notice, but the comments since the new conservator have been less negative than before. While it has not completely stopped, I see more staff or individuals feeling like there may be some hope. I, myself, like what I have seen from him so far. We have to give the man a chance, it has a large task at hand. What has taken years to create, is going to take some time to fix. I believe it is possible, it can be fixed. What is a shame, is that Whitmire is sabatoging what the work that Nedelkoff is doing. I hope he stays and continues to work for the changes he forsees for TYC. It is so easy to tell people what is wrong and look to close down TYC, but in essence, isn't that saying we have given up on the kids of Texas. I have worked with youth for over 20 years, most with TYC, I have seen them change, I have seen the great work the staff can do, and I hope that we do not give up on them.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I am afraid the sentiments expressed by 9:47 are reflective of how much of the voting public feels. They have been fed a bunch of garbage by irresponsible journalists and they have seen the postings of some of the irresponsible, angry people who claim to be TYC staff and figure that is the way it is with TYC. My guess is that what appears to be a large number of flamers posting here, is probably at most 10 or fewer individuals posting spewing their hate and discontent over and over. That's the problem with annonymous comments, the same person can post 10 times and appear to be 10 different people. While there are many people who have posted responsibly here annonymously, it is still a problem that an annonymous poster can be totally irresponsible without any accountability.

The majority of the TYC staff with whom I have worked over the past 17 years are people who are very dedicated to helping youths make changes in their lives. Sure, they sometimes make mistakes, but the ones who last are certainly not here for the money!
J. Chase, Crockett

Anonymous said...

It is really sad that TYC has made
headlines in the manner it has & it doesn't help that Whitmire is lighting the fires in the MSM now. He is hurting the recruitment process and employee morale at all TYC facilities. Until our legislative members decide to point out the postive, which far outway the negative, in TYC we are sunk, as far as, getting out from under that darn cloud over our heads. We had just begun to take a step forward and Whitmire has taken us 3 steps backwards. His peers need to speak up on behalf of TYC. Enough is enough.

Nedelkoff may not have all the answers but as part of his team, we need to start supporting him. He can't win the game without us, no matter how talented he is.

Whitmire, as one of the team coaches, please start feeding the media postive things about TYC! Abolishing the agency is not an answer and it only makes one wonder why you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Unfortunately, there will always be a need for juvenile delinquent facilties near or far from Anywhere, Texas!!

I'm not an administrator nor am I in position of power and might. But its time that the lege started treating those of us in the field with the dignity and respect we deserve; especially those of us that have stuck it out through thick and thin!! We know we have made a difference in someone's life regardless of the storms we have been forced to weather.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who knew Chester Clay, he passed away this week. His service will be held in Corsicana. Please keep his family in your prayers. He had a heart attack.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Plato. I appreciate the response.

Thanks Jack, I appreciate your loyalty to this country. You’ve proven yourself loyal to your country, and to our mission here in TYC, and I think highly of you Jack. It’s time for you to step- up and lead again.

Momma may need the Vet Clinic, but we're gonna need you now...

Whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

Unless there are positive comments to say about Chester's passing, don't comment. Just don't go there.

- Whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of Chester's but I certainly would not use this forum to speak ill of him.

However, Whitsfoe, I believe your comment drawing a line in the sand or challenging persons to speak ill of Mr. Clay may invite more dissent rather than prevent negative comments.

Anonymous said...

I was just shocked to hear the news of Chester Clay's passing. Such a talent we lost and so young too--only 55 years old. I have no ill will to speak of Mr. Clay, he really gave us a renewed spirit when the Al Price unit came back from Hurricane Rita. Chester Clay lifted our spirits and hopes after we lost almost everything. May GOD bless his family and may GOD bless Chester Clay, rest in peace my friend.

Anonymous said...

I appeciate your respect 4:38 and your comments. Thank you. - Whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

Ultimately, like recent changes made by Senate Bill 103, abolishing TYC will only serve to increase delinquency. To this point, aside from the reforms, Senate bill 103 will produce more felons, more youth will be tried as adults because they won't have enough time to participate effectively in treatment by the time they are 19.

I do not disagree that continued reforms are needed but they are not needed for the sake of saving money, but for trying the best to first prevent delinquency and to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. This is something that is accomplished through a well thought out, bipartisan, multi agency plan. This is what ultimately ends up saving money in the long run. In the short term there is no cheap solution and half-cocked emotionally charged egos will not provide an effective solution.

Anonymous said...

I think it is about time that the Lege eliminates TYC. It has become a racket since the takeover by TDCJ. The entire Agency needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up, by the larger county governments (Dallas, Bexar, Harris, Tarrant, Travis, and El Paso etc.). The smaller counties could contract out for beds with the larger counties. Funnel half the money being thrown at TYC to the county probation departments, and then the citizens of Texas will see where the real talent and skill lies when it comes to working with troubled youth.

Anonymous said...

Whitmire is a freakin genius, and I hope his plan works. I am tired of the TYC mess. The motto for TYC should be, "the more things change, the more they stay the same".

Anonymous said...

Well let’s see what your comprehensive plan to make that happen and your timelines are to see just how credible your plan really is 11:02 and: 05.

Who exactly are you planning on contracting with?

Please feel free to name those contractors and cost-per-day, itemizing every detail from medical, housing, educational expenses, perishables, consumables, facility maintenance, “no blind spots,” and so forth. I’d love to hear how much you are going to pay your staff as well, from front line all the way up to administrators who will ultimately be responsible for that program and the well being of children.

Just exactly what is your bottom line figure “all in all” which accounts for the cost-per-day?
What is the bottom line figure?
Contractors always say one thing, but we all know, the conditions of confinement have historically suffered under these so called “non-profit” contracts.

These off the wall profits were paid in bonuses for those managing the atrocities. Reference Coke County. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Not my job to figure all that out 11:54. But I do think it can be done rather easily and much more efficient than the way we are doing it now. I am sure Whitmire and his boys will figure it all out and lay it out for you soon.

Anonymous said...

That's right, trust an ambitious politician whose main contributions to the solution were to reduce staffing, build large open-bay warehouses to house youth, and cut specialized treatment to the bone - all in the name of saving money. Oh, yeah - and spray them down if they don't do as I say. Let's just forget about the kids and throw them together in cages like dogs. That will surely save money.

Anonymous said...

Contract programs are not available in this state to deal with the numbers being talked about. Spending the money the probation departments were given after misdemeanor comitments were forbidden has filled nearly every contract bed available.

And to one of the posters, nothing related to this matter will be "easy."

It's "easy" to talk about and make speeches about all these solutions but quite difficult to actually do it.

Plato

Anonymous said...

Contract care is just a way of absolving government of responsibility, or at least puts another layer of protection.

Contract care for social services always tends to cost more in the long run.

Juvenile corrections contracts in general have been historically bad (Coke County and Littlefield) unless they are specialized programs like Gulf Coast that are more after care related or low restriction facilities.

Anonymous said...

Contract care is just a way of absolving government of responsibility, or at least puts another layer of protection.

Contract care for social services always tends to cost more in the long run.

Juvenile corrections contracts in general have been historically bad (Coke County and Littlefield) unless they are specialized programs like Gulf Coast that are more after care related or low restriction facilities.

Anonymous said...

"The entire Agency needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up, by the larger county governments (Dallas, Bexar, Harris, Tarrant, Travis, and El Paso etc.) Funnel half the money being thrown at TYC to the county probation departments, and then the citizens of Texas will see where the real talent and skill lies when it comes to working with troubled youth."

11:02 pm, that is quite a statement. If they are the real talent, than why are most the youth committed to TYC from those counties?

Anonymous said...

Because that's the way the sytem is currently set up, and they are the largest counties. But if given more funds to build their own facilities, I think they would have much more success in rehabilitating their own and providing aftercare services.

Anonymous said...

Tell me 6:36, what happened at the Hamilton State School and what's happening in Mart, Texas? Lets see what you are talking about? Look at the staffing levels at both then and now, and please explain why these facilities were/are suffering with being under staffed?

You have no clue... and neither does John... keeping it civil, but having a hard time doing so.

Anonymous said...

ok, 10:41, I do have a clue, the reason they can't fill the vacancies then and now is because they were/are located in Poedunk, Texas. Who wants to go to Bryan or Mart? The other common denominator at those facilities was Alan Walters was the Superintendent, and well, since we are keeping it civil, that's all I will say.

Anonymous said...

6:36 - what he's saying is that those facilties were located near Bryan/College Station and Waco. Proven the fact we can't recruit in these areas unless we run a 1:24ratio plus. That may be OK in TDCJ, but SB103 says no way.

Your boy signed off on that plan...

Anonymous said...

I thought we had respect here? Come on, discuss your differences with those you differ with and be an adult on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Night all... we'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we'll all find new jobs as we will just have to migrate to larger counties if we plan to work in the juvenile justice system. Look on the bright side, maybe the TDCJ facilities will stay in Poedunk, Texas, and we can all get jobs there.

Anonymous said...

Who would want to move to Bryan/College Station? Apparently, a lot of folks, since it is one of the fastest growing areas of the state. Mart is 15 minutes from Waco, and Al Price is just outside of Beaumont. Every attempt at building a large facility near a metropolitan area has failed. Perhaps folks need to realize that the problem is not so much the location, it is the size of the facility. Juvenile justice programs do not do well in large facilities. This has been proven again and again in other states as well as Texas.

The whole language of the debate in the media is telling, when they use terms like, "youth prisons," and "guards". If all we want to do is get the kids off the streets and warehoused in secure facilities for a short period of time to punish them for what they got caught doing, then perhaps we should turn TYC over to TDCJ. Warehousing is a heck of a lot cheaper than treatment. The long-term cost of such policy is much harder to quantify. Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Well said, Old Salty!

Anonymous said...

I am by no means advocating warehousing of youthful offenders. I do believe that the counties should deal with their own, and the state should do away with TYC in lieu of smaller treatment facilities in larger cities operated by the county probation departments.

11:02

Anonymous said...

Old Salty is right -- again. Large facilities turn into warehouses no matter what those who care for the kids try to do. Hamilton was poorly designed for young offenders. Mart is just too darned big. The bottom line for me has always been that the expectations are too high. Session after session, the legislature made us do more with less, and we saluted and did our best. My opinion is that the legislators over the years have had no genuine regard for these young people. When it looked as if things were going very wrong, the lawmakers directed their scorn toward the staff. If TYC rides into the sunset, history will show that it was the shortsightedness of the lawmakers that caused it to fail.

J. Chase said...

We do not need to do away with TYC, nor do we need to close the existing facilities. At every facility the majority of the staff are extremely dedicated to trying to make changes in the lives of these kids who are thrust into our care. However, because the facilities all got too large for what the local employment base would support, at every facility we have people who have no business in this business.

People don't need to come to work with us unless they are willing to work very hard, for substandard pay, because they believe in the mission of changing the lives of kids. We need to be selective.

I have no patience with those who whine about how big their caseloads are, or about how hard these kids are to work with. Those are givens in this profession. Live with it or move on to something easier. Working with these kids is not for everyone.

I also have no patience with bullies. Working in TYC is no place for those who are on a power trip. Don't expect to be able to intimidate these kids into submission. They know all about power, and being badder than them only reinforces their already distorted belief system.

Having said all that, I am not justifying poor working conditions or bad pay. I'm just saying that is the nature of the profession, and it is not likely to change any time soon. Those who have seen lives change know where they get their rewards.

We need our facilities to get smaller. First because it makes for better programming for the kids, second because it allows TYC to be more selective in who we hire, and finally, because it improves the lives and working conditions of both youth and staff.

What our political leaders need to understand is that we cannot do it on the cheap. Small facilities are more expensive than large facilities. Providing true rehabilitation services to youth is far more expensive than just locking them up - whether in open bays or in cells. It is a big, up-front cost; but in the long run it is a great investment in lives saved and in a society made safer with fewer lifetime criminals.

Old Salty

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let all those concerned with Mcfadden Ranch's ongoing "drama"....today, We received Justice in the form of Lisa Cooke being terminated as SUPT. Its about time....Justice might be slow, but it does work!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Lisa was just another victim of some disgruntled employees.

Michael Scott said...

Not a disgruntled employee. Everyone here is extremely gruntled.

Anonymous said...

Is McFadden going to stay open? Green's lawsuit is coming up in early June. What do you think is going to happen with that?

Anonymous said...

What would happen if one of these violent youth did something to Sen Whitmires family? I fully believe that he would "CHANGE" his mind and keep TYC!

Anonymous said...

Although this is late, I would like to interject something about "community based programs". The history of the Juvenile Justice system goes back to the 1800's. Prior to this, children 7 yrs and older could be held criminally liable and executed for crimes. As time progressed, so did the age of legal liability for our youth. Although community based programs sound good, the bottom line is that they do not work for all the youth. Otherwise, we would not have the population we have in TYC now. All of our youth have been on some time of community supervision program and they failed to adhere to or change thier behavir, thus resulting in committment to TYC.

The idea that this will work or will change things is apalling. The people in the legislature, no matter who they are, do not have a clue about the Juvenile Justice system and how it works. They need to do some research and see what is really going on.

As far as TYC, I've only been employed for 11 years, but the kids we have now are not the same types of kids we had 10+ years ago. Yes, changes have been made over time that are not the best, but we have to also look at what works for the youth. Treatment and corrections can work together if used appropriately and effectively. The "R" word, as everyone says, was a decent program, but when they changed it to the ABC's and put a number to behavioral incidents, the youth just learned to work the system. They knew how to push the envelope just far enough and still "get" thier phase rather than "earn" thier phase. Now, you have this wonderful "privilage" system. You know, it has it's place if its used properly, but going out to McDonalds on Friday night and buying 30 kids a "full meal" is buying behavior. The kids don't learn from it and they already feel entitled anyway. Let's just help them out so they can feel more entitled. We have made our youth today so materialistic in general that is not even funny. Then we want to point fingers at who is to blame for the mess we have.

Abolishing TYC is not the answer. Getting rid of some of the nepotism and "good ole boys" would be a great help because it is still alive and well. Many can point fingers at Nedlekoff, but he is not the problem. Morale is still low with staff because they are still being treated like crap by supervisors. No pay increase can change that, it has to start with those who are in the positions to make sure supervisors are doing thier jobs instead of harassing staff.

Martin said...

Good Job! :)

Anonymous said...

Can someone please answer this question: why do state agencies such as TYC let employees retire and then after 30 days or so, rehire them back at the same salary as before, plus their retirement check? Perhaps this "extra money" could be used to pay the JCO staff more so that they would stay longer.

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