Friday, February 10, 2012

Ugly allegations, OK sentencing reforms, and how to quickly fill up your jail

Here are a few, dispareate items that deserve Grits readers attention even if I don't have time to turn them each into individual posts:

Ugly allegations at juvie boot camp
Just in time for Valentines Day, here's a story of staff-inmate romance from a juvie boot camp in San Benito that got the adult staffer fired. The blog Hair Balls adds that the probation officer was found out when the boy bragged to a friend.

Because Texas county jails aren't quite full enough
An estimated 265 Texas law enforcement agencies will participate Feb. 25 in "The Great Warrant Roundup."

Local jail health provider sells out to national company
Randall and two other Panhandle counties contracted with a private company, Panhandle Correctional Care, but the local contractor was bought out by an out of state company from Maryland, reports the Amarillo Globe News. The new proprietors promise no change in the quality of care, but only time will tell. One of the problems with contracting for core services like inmate healthcare is that if the company you contract with sells out, all of a sudden you're stuck with a vendor from out of state who you never chose. One hopes it will work out, but it's a source of instability.

Dallas detective failed to investigate thousands of cases
In Dallas, a family violence detective allegedly failed to investigate thousands of cases, letting the file stack up in his garage. "More than 500 family violence victims were revictimized by the same person" after their cases were assigned to Det. Mickey East, reported Scott Goldstein at the Dallas Morning News (behind paywall). Remarkably, "East retired on Thursday after nearly 38 years on the force." Remarkably, "East had no prior disciplinary history," though he "was facing discipline that could have included termination." No one knows for sure how long this went on, but "Problems with East’s work were uncovered in September 2009, when a new supervisor found that East had entered into their tracking system just 16 cases in a four-year span. Detectives with similar caseloads had entered more than 1,500 during the same period." That speaks not only to Detective East's diligence, or lack thereof, but the supervisory structure that's supposed to oversee him, which is why it's notable that "Internal affairs cases are pending against one of East’s supervisors" related to the incident.

'Are America's Prison Towns Doomed?'
This subhed, which is the title of a article at The Atlantic, seems like a premature question to Grits, but Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones makes the case centering her critique on a Texas example. And certainly, there are data points here and there to support the thesis. Burnt Orange Report features a guest post describing the fallout in Littlefield, Tx, the same town featured in The Atlantic, exploring their ill-fated foray into the prison-for-profit business. And congrats to Bob Libal, Grassroots Leadership and ACLUTX for successfully opposing a new ICE family detention center in Texas.

These proposed sentencing reforms are OK
In Oklahoma, stakeholders convening through the Council on State Government's Justice Reinvestement Center have come forward with a new report (pdf) featuring a series of proposals to reduce recidivism and prison population costs. One of the biggest cost savers Grits would like to see Texas enact: "Require that every prison sentence include a period of post-release supervision of no less than nine months."

Mexican governor was allegedly on the take
A money laundering scandal has allegedly led to the doorstep of a former Mexican state governor from Tamaulipas, one of the states across the river from Texas. See the indictment (pdf) from Texas' Western District alleging murders and money laundering related to alleged payoffs to former Gov. Tomas Yarrington.


Anonymous said...

Staff member's sex acts got her fired at juvie boot camp in San Benito.

At TYC there was a policy of ignoring warning signs that staff members were about to cross the line. I never understood why they ignored the signs. Does anyone know why?

Soronel Haetir said...

Because that would mean extra work investigating whether it was actually true or not. If you ignore such things you can just go on drawing your paycheck until the voters find out, and look how that took decades as it was. If you ignore it long enough your pension vests and you avoided all that pesky work you were supposed to do, kinda like the Dallas detective, come to think of it.

Lee said...

Whe Great Texas Warrant Roundup is one of the stupidest waste of resourses by the state. Correct Scott, Our jails are not full enough....

Crain Watcher said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! How is that TUFF ON CRIME working for you working for you Littlefield, Tx? You the good citizens should locked up all those folks that got you into this mess. If my property taxes were raised for this hair brain scheme, I would have started a recall for those bums. Do they all drive new pick-up trucks every year while you try to figure out how to put food on the table? It would be heaven sent for the state of Texas to build a new women facility somewhere else in Texas and turn
the lights out on Gatesville. Does it really surprise someone about the juvie officer having sex with a confined person even though it is against the law. Just look at the Crain Unit and I can still not find an arrest record for the two guards who passed STD's out when they used the cell block as their own personal motel rooms. I know people blame the inmates, but honest, decent folks cannot imagine that there are so many threats against the inmates who do say no, but the facts are they are already confined by the state. So the answer is now to enforce the 10 years imprisonment for the prison employees who cross the line. But this will never happen when the people running the Crain Unit is more focus on abusing women and ruining visitation, instead of preventing sexual assaults and rapes. God forbid if a friend actually can hug and visit a love one without staring at a dirty, nasty pexi-glass window. I would think the people in charge of the Unit, ie. Warden, Asst Wardens, Majors, and Captains should be charged under the "Laws of Parties" for helping to facilitate these crimes. Hey law makers do you fell just a little bit stupid to have the people running these units laugh in your face and completely ignore the laws you pass? Criminal Justice in Texas? Yea right! The rich get off and the scum of the earth work the prison systems. Just like the old plantation day's, minorities and po white trash still doing the dirty work for the MAN. I suggest all the voters, vote against everyone holding any political office, just look at the mess they have created. Throw the old bums out and elect a new group of bums!

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. Since 2007 the ledge has been working to reduce overutilization of prisons (felonies?,) thereby saving taxpayer at the local level jail costs, so that we can go after the hardened criminal ticket offenders? At the same time there are countless counties who have expanded their jail bedspace while crime index has been falling?

Somebody get me a wet rope, its time to start whipping some stupid asses!

Anonymous said...

Well what do you know, TYC hasn't been the only perpetrators diddling youth. In the video it stated "state run facility." I believe this is one of those county run facilities. Which incidentally in previous posts says they don't have the problems that TYC has. Interesting, where will the new TJJd weigh in on this incident?

Anonymous said...

I remember when you were putting out the Polemicist at U.T.

Anonymous said...

ACLU Contact Information:
Scott Henson
P.O. Box 3629
Austin, TX 78764-3629

Anonymous said...

7:32 are really trying to compare all the stories about abuse in TYC facilities and problems in the old TJPC?
Now that its all one big happy agency and history and recent news, not mentioned on Grits, the girl probably thought that behavior was a way to move up!

Recent history indicates the governors office rewards these types of problems.

Anonymous said...

3:52... You make a good point, keep an eye out cause her next job maybe running the detention center in your county!

Anonymous said...

Contract that out is the way to....a lot less to read!!!

grandmom said...

I understand from sources at Polunski that in order to make enough room for incoming prisoners, they are putting death row prisoners on level (punishment cells) for trumped up charges. and keeping them there for 6 months sometimes, so they can use their home cell for new prisoners. This is an abomination! Prisoners "kite" messages to each other under their doors. It's been done for over 30 years. Now, all of a sudden, prisoners get 6 months in solitary ad-seg level for doing this. They call it "trafficking and trading". 2 months ago 5 prisoners were placed in strip cells with no clothes or blankets - in the cold - for 72 hours. Nobody was sentenced to this kind of torture.