Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Juvenile Justice Roundup

Here are a few juvenile justice stories which caught my eye recently that may interest Grits readers:

Ex-TYC Auditor: Lack of policy allowed abuse
A Lubbock TV station has this interview with a former TYC auditor who discusses how cases like that of John Paul Hernandez, the former TYC administrator currently on trial in Lubbock for sex abuse, might have been prevented if, in the 1990s, the agency had followed recommendations to enact a policy regarding staff being alone with students behind closed doors.

Half of TYC facilities now accredited
After facilities in Gainesville and Mart recently passed muster, now five of TYC's ten secure facilities have been accredited by the American Correctional Association. They may be more than halfway to the finish line, however, since proposed budget cuts would spur closure of three secure TYC facilities.

JJAEP not used for 'persistent misbehavior' in Wichita Falls
Here's a story from Wichita Falls about their Juvenile Justice Alternative Education program, which included this notable tidbit: "Unlike many other JJAEPs in Texas, students who have been expelled for persistent misbehavior but are not on probation cannot attend the program in Wichita County." The local juvie probation director told the paper, "We only accept probation kids because we have the philosophy that we do not want to mix nondelinquents with delinquents." Good on them. IMO that's exactly the right approach for such programs, which are much-oversubscribed across the state. Creating further disincentive not to overuse JJAEPs, both the House and Senate proposed budgets for the next biennium would cut JJAEP funding from $79 to $59 per student per day.

Feds may alter juvie grants
Youth Today has an update on the Obama Administration's juvenile justice budget proposals, particularly regarding federal "Title II Formula Grants."  The administration has suggested eliminating "Juvenile Accountability Block Grants," rolling the money into Title II funding. In 2009, Texas received $5.1 million from this revenue stream, according to this report (pdf) from USDOJ. MORE: Via Sentencing Law and Policy, "the Crime Report has this effective entry, based on this official document, reviewing the criminal justice cuts in the proposed budget released today by President Obama's administration."

UPDATE/CORRECTION: The original version of this post referenced an article quoting a juvenile probation director commenting on the proposed TYC-TJPC merger, but he emailed me to say the article did "not represent me or my position on the issue accurately," so the reference has been removed.


Anonymous said...

It’s interesting how Mr. Etheredge said in the article regarding tyc’s stance on being alone with a kid.
"It seemed kind of backward to us. We felt like everything else you are saying you want to be at the highest level. But here we have the minimum level. We really felt this was going to come back and bite us one day,"
Even the Boy Scouts in the 80’s had a policy for 2 deep leadership when with a kid.
Again it goes back to this whole culture of not wanting outsiders to know what these tyc people are doing with the kids. Gd forbid some outsider comes to take away their most treasured job benefit, bullying/abusing the poor children who come to them for help. There is something terribly wrong with how these poor schumcks think. With the staff screwing the kids and the top officials screwing the staff. How embarrassing it must be to confess you work for tyc. Shameful.
Sheldon tyc#47333

Anonymous said...

the problem with JJAEP's is that schools are quick to kick their kids out because of this option, if you don't limit it someway every school would kick every kid out without hesitation because now there's no reason to.

Anonymous said...

I have news for you, Sheldon. "Outsiders" are in and out of TYC units all day.

Anonymous said...

For what its worth, ACA accreditation just means you have paid a fee and met alot of paper work requirements. Is it a lot of work, yes! Does it mean offenders are any safer, no! Does it mean the accredited facility is fiscally sound, No!
I guess its a nice cute sounding accomplishment please do not confuse that with better programs, improved outcomes or any of the other major problems TYC should be working on!

Anonymous said...

The concern I have is why we're accrediting TYC facilities and paying the expense in man hours and the cost of accreditation before we find out what facilities will be closed? I understand that was a part of SB 103 but the tide has changed and now how much more of our tax payer dollars will be wasted on a facility that's getting accredited but yet will close anyway?

That makes as much sense as installing these high tech video cameras all over the place at VFCA, WTSS, Marlin, San Saba, and Sheffield when we all knew they were about to close or at least were on the cutting block?

C'mon people. This is yet another example of why TYC needs additional reform without the likes of the current leadership, that is, Cherie Townsend who have demonstrated nothing less than irresponsibility in their administration of juvenile justice in Texas. Townsend needs a one-way ticket to Arizona where she came from, and needs to take her General Council friend with her as well. Their performance is simply not acceptable in this state.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 1:10, I believe the reference to outsiders refers to a bitter root in the agency history with regards to investigators. Not the closed minded conservative Christian tbag volunteers who would not be allowed to minister if they disagreed with TYC’s policy on free for all pedophilia.

Anonymous said...

Outsiders includes families, lawyers, advocacy groups, and religious volunteers of all stripes...

Anonymous said...

10:07pm: And they see waht TYC wants to see. Anyone in the system knows that. Grow up, you're short minded.