Texas Youth Commission
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Brookesmith, TX

#1 Feb 19, 2007
" The TYC has established a dynasty of corruption that condones the mistreatment of youth in its care," Randal Chance, a retired inspector general for the agency, said in a story in Sunday's edition of The News. "Staff are being paid your tax money to rape your children. "

source: http://www.statesman.com/news/content/gen/ap/...
Hidden in Plain Sight
An exclusive Observer expose of how alleged abuse at a youth facility in West Texas evaded detection for years.
by Nate Blakeslee

read article here: http://www.texasobserver.org/article.php...

United States

#2 Feb 20, 2007
I agree with what he says but it goes much further than you realize. If it's allowed in the facility it's because we have tenure staff who are supposed to be trained enough to train the new boots that come into the facility. But when the tenure staff is corrupted and new staff is not reporting it than I believe the the people in the Administration is just a crooked to allow this to happen to any child in the State's care. I, too am a Staff and have seen a lot which I "BLEW THE WHISTLE" but to no avail of being backed up I am being accused with false allegations by the same shift leaders who are there to set an example but instead are manipulating the new staff to write statements against me. I could go on about all of this but it would take forever. I know as of right now that they had just fired a staff who has been there a while for having an innappropriate relationship with a girl. Now you have to understand that in some cases it goes both ways of who is "raping" who. None of these youths are serving time just because they attended church. Like I said there is alot of corruption and it starts from the TOP. There is a group of people who are trying to do good for the youths as well as for the staff who not being treating right. The administration people are not professional in anyway when it comes to investigating incidents. You wouldn't believe how TOP HEAVY TYC is. Staff are so afraid to take a stand for what they believe and stand for their RIGHTS. They are easily being intimidated and to some extent threatened that they also use these tactics on the youths release packets. I am one who is willing to take a stand for what is right and what my beliefs are. I will not be easily intimidated and threatened to keep my mouth shut, the PEOPLE who pay our salary are needing to know what is going on but at this point the newspaper will not allow any TYC staff or anyone to put anything in the paper because the county is getting so much for each youth on the facility. We have both boys and females on this facility.

Brookesmith, TX

#3 Feb 27, 2007
TYC worker cites backlash after reporting possible abuse
08:13 AM CST on Sunday, February 25, 2007

By DOUG J. SWANSON / The Dallas Morning News
[email protected]

Bill Hollis was a caseworker at a state juvenile prison in West Texas, and he had suspicions. He believed the prison's No. 2 official spent far too much time behind closed doors, late at night, with young male inmates.

"It just didn't feel right," he said.

So Mr. Hollis wrote a letter of complaint to the executive director of the Texas Youth Commission in Austin, the state agency that runs the West Texas State School. The reaction from agency management was quick and tough – against Mr. Hollis.

"I was told I was not doing my job properly," he said last week. "I was told I was not supporting the administration. I was told I was the problem."

Now that the prison's sex scandal has come to light – two administrators have been accused of repeatedly molesting inmates – and Mr. Hollis has been vindicated.

But questions persist over why high-ranking TYC managers ignored warnings that the isolated prison had become a sex club for some of the men who ran it.

Dwight Harris, executive director of the youth commission, announced Friday afternoon that he was retiring immediately. Mr. Harris has insisted that he handled the West Texas matter correctly, but he acknowledged that he has been the target of strong criticism.

read entire article here:

Brookesmith, TX

#4 Feb 27, 2007
Feb. 27, 2007, 12:26AM
Committee looks into sex abuse claims at youth prison

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — Allegations that troubled youths at a West Texas juvenile prison were sexually preyed on by staff members despite repeated warnings to supervisors are "the tip of the iceberg" in a system where "wrongdoing is becoming the norm," a state senator said Monday.

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, said his office has received 90 allegations of Texas Youth Commission staff members sexually assaulting juvenile offenders since 2000, with only a few instances of disciplinary action taken.

"This is a problem all over the state," said Hinojosa, vice chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, which today will hear testimony on the sex abuse allegations in the state-run facilities.

On Friday, the commission's executive director abruptly resigned, citing the abuse allegations. Dwight Harris had been scheduled to testify at today's hearing; now, he is under no obligation to do so, said Hinojosa.

Lawmakers will be asking some tough questions of his temporary replacement, Neil Nichols, the commission's general counsel who oversaw the agency's investigating division when some of the worst allegations of sexual abuse were reported.

Some of the most troubling sex abuse allegations center on the West Texas State School, a 250-bed faculty for troubled males between 11 and 21 in the rural community of Pyote. Two former administrators have been accused in an internal report of sexually abusing the youths. No charges have been filed, but an investigation is under way.

Hinojosa said he had reports of sexual abuse occurring at many of the 13 secure facilities around the state, including a 15-year-old girl at a facility in Brownwood who had a sexual relationship with one of the counselors.

read more here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/politics/...

Brookesmith, TX

#5 Feb 27, 2007
TYC pressing topic in Senate today

Lawmakers tackle abuse claims at youth prisons

By F.A. Krift
[email protected]

While the Texas Youth Commission swirls in controversy, state legislators have privately discussed reforms as simple as a better inmate-to-guard ratio and as drastic as shutting down the West Texas State School after sexual misconduct investigations surfaced there and rocked the state juvenile corrections system.
While facility closures will not be addressed during a Senate criminal justice committee public hearing today, Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, said getting rid of certain facilities isn’t out of the question.
“I think everything is on the table including shutting down the school in Pyote,” said Hinojosa, who authored Senate Bill 103 that addresses the TYC’s institutional breakdown.“We’re starting out with a clean plate. We have to look at the whole system. We’re not going to pull any punches.”
The long-term TYC overhaul, especially if it included any facility closures, would take at least four to five years to complete, Hinojosa said.
Two ranking officials at the TYC’s facility in Pyote resigned in 2005 after an investigation by the Texas Rangers said each had numerous sexual relationships with numerous imprisoned boys. Neither has been arrested or charged with a crime. The molestation allegations coupled with civil rights lawsuits and abuse allegations stemming from a riot at the TYC’s Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg have created quite a mess in the TYC.
Hinojosa, who is on the criminal justice committee, and other legislators appear determined to clean up the TYC.
Hinojosa found a lack of accountability and mismanagement in the TYC’s central office and a threatening environment of retaliation against complainants at the facilities.
“It’s systemic,” Hinojosa said.“It’s not an isolated incident. There’s too many that have been reported throughout the state. There have been over 90 sexual abuse complaints that have been filed.”
Sen. Kel Seliger, an Amarillo Republican and criminal justice committee vice chair, said the TYC can’t continue as it is, and it will be addressed appropriately.
“When things go wrong … sometimes you get what you pay for,” Seliger said.
TYC Executive Director Dwight Harris retired early amid the controversy Friday. Temporary acting director Neil Nichols, TYC’s general counsel, is scheduled to appear before the committee in Harris’ place.
The committee also will hear public testimony from Texas NAACP President Gary Bledsoe, Texas ACLU Executive Director Will Harrell and parents of TYC imprisoned youth.
“The problems exist because of structural realities,” Harrell said.“The system permits the kind of abuse we saw at the West Texas State School.”

read entire article here:

Brookesmith, TX

#6 Feb 27, 2007
Anyone know where the Brownwood Media is on this huge story ? Brownwood's Talk Radio, KXYL 96.9FM "Power of Information", appears to be AWOL on this one as well ! In Brownwood, what's not being discussed by "the Talking heads and the drive by reporters/columnists", is often more telling than what is being discussed !

TYC Board Members:


Brookesmith, TX

#7 Feb 27, 2007
TYC in Woodshed

February 27th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Administrators for the troubled Texas Youth Commission are in front of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee at this hour attempting to explain what went wrong at the West Texas State School in Pyote, where a hushed up sex abuse scandal has finally broken open, as we reported ten days ago.

Executive director Dwight Harris resigned in the wake of the scandal last Friday, so the job of fielding the panel’s questions fell to long-time general counsel and acting executive director Neil Nichols. Things got off to a rough start when Chairman John Whitmire asked Nichols who was present from the agency and quickly discovered that not a single board member had come to the hearing.

”I find it astounding with the condition of your agency and the seriousness of these allegations that you don’t have single board member here,” Whitmire said, singling out board chair Pete Alfaro by name.

Things went downhill from there. Whitmire pulled agency spokesman Tim Savoy up to the mike and demanded to know who authored the glowing review of outgoing director Harris’ career in his resignation press release.“Right in the middle of a storm I don’t think we need state employees putting out propaganda on what a fine job this agency is doing,” he said.

Senator Juan Hinojosa laid out his bill, SB 103, which he described as just the beginning of an effort to reform the agency (see this description of the bill on Grits for Breakfast). Hinojosa then gave the floor back to Whitmire, who did the heavy lifting on the interrogation of Nichols.

Whitmire demanded to know why Chip Harrison, the superintendent at Pyote when the alleged sex abuse occurred, had not been fired, despite the fact that numerous staff members had tried to warn him about the two alleged perpetrators.“How in the world do you tell this panel that this person is still with the agency?” When Nichols admitted that Harrison had actually been promoted, and was now supervising three or four institutions like Pyote, their was an audible gasp and collective head shaking from the packed gallery, which included some parents of TYC inmates.

Whitmire all but demanded that Harrison be fired sometime this afternoon.“Why, why would you leave somebody like that in a position of responsibility at the agency?” he said.“That’s totally unacceptable and indicates to me that you still have a broken system.”

”I’m about to call for changes, or a restructuring, or possibly conservatorship,” Whitmire said. Perhaps the most radical move the legislature can make to reform an agency, conservatorship involves appointing an outside panel to oversee every important decision a state agency’s director makes. It’s a tool the lege only pulls out when an agency is utterly beyond repair, and usually is accompanied by a complete housecleaning of all senior staff.

Plenty of media was there; look for this on the 6 o’clock news and in tomorrow’s papers, maybe including some national press.

source: http://www.texasobserver.org/blog/...

Brookesmith, TX

#8 Feb 27, 2007
" Mr. Steve Fryar thanked the Chairman and said that he appreciated the hard work the staff has accomplished and the materials provided by the staff for each Board meeting. He said that on September 2, the Brownwood Mafia sponsored their annual Central Texas Law Enforcement Fish Fry. Some of the past speakers at this annual event were President George Bush when he was Governor of Texas, Governor Perry, and numerous past Governors and heads of state. Mr. Fryar said that this year TDCJ was honored and he was pleased to see representation from the Texas Youth Commission."

source: http://www.tyc.state.tx.us/archive/Meetings/b...

Brookesmith, TX

#9 Feb 27, 2007
" At another state school in Brownwood in Central Texas, he said,“A supervisor was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old juvenile”— a girl, he said later. It was turned over to the Brownwood police, he said,“with no action — it was covered up.” "

read entire article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/28/us/28youth....

Brookesmith, TX

#10 Feb 28, 2007
Feb 28, 2007 9:29 am US/Central
Lawmakers Consider Putting TYC Under State Control

Leslie Coons

For the first time in more than a decade, state lawmakers say they are seriously considering placing the troubled Texas Youth Commission (TYC) under state control.

It is the latest bombshell at the state capitol after allegations of rampant sexual abuse of minors at the agency surfaced.

Taking over the TYC would be an extremely rare move for lawmakers to even be discussing. That should give people some idea of just how concerned legislators are about the current management of the TYC.

On Tuesday, top officials went before the senate Criminal Justice Committee, and were grilled over allegations of cover-ups, sexual abuse of children, pornography and what the committee chairman calls a "good ol' boy system" of looking the other way and letting sexual predators run amuck.

read entire article here: http://keyetv.com/local/local_story_059103232...

Gatesville, TX

#11 Feb 28, 2007
Every facility--state schools, halfway houses, and parole offices--has their skeltons. A shake up is needed, from top to bottom, with nothing left at face value.

Brookesmith, TX

#12 Feb 28, 2007
Feb. 28, 2007, 1:52PM
Dewhurst says governor should fire Texas Youth Commission board

By LIZ AUSTIN PETERSON Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Wednesday he wants the governor to fire the board of the troubled Texas Youth Commission and appoint someone who will purge the agency of people who covered up the sexual abuse of inmates.

"I want the problem solved," he said, pounding his fist on the podium. "This is not right."

Dewhurst said he made the recommendation over breakfast with Gov. Rick Perry and House Speaker Tom Craddick.

Read entire article here:

Check out the number of TYC Board Members who were appointed by Republican Rick Perry here:

Mike Day

San Angelo, TX

#13 Feb 28, 2007
"Drive-By" reporters/columnists? Could the master of that post be any less original? If someone is going to rip off Rush Limbaugh, at least make an effort to be discreet. This is another sad case of a whining, conspiracy-theory driven, sits at home alone, thumb sucking mama's boy with WAY too much time on his hands. If what he says is true....prove it!!....Don't just say it.

Brookesmith, TX

#14 Feb 28, 2007
Holy Moly, is "Drive By Media" a Rush Limbaugh coined term ? Since I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, I did not know that he was the man behind the reference. I did, however, read about the "drive by media" in the column below !
Thursday June 1, 2006

Op Ed: Columnists Brownwood Bulletin
This crazy world has apparently caught up with our part of it — Steve Nash

I like to go online fairly early most mornings to check out the news far and near, and find out what’s happened overnight.
Usually, it’s the usual from what I’ve heard referred to as the “drive-by media”— the U.S. military is bad; America is bad; illegal immigration is good; the latest health/social environmental crisis is either global warming (caused by Bush); obesity, coffee, SUVs, cat jugglers, obese cat jugglers, cat jugglers with ADHD, obese cats with ADHD (or all of the above); the price of crude oil is expected to hit $1 million a barrel by tomorrow or Monday at the latest; blah blah blah, yada yada yada.

source: ttp://www.brownwoodbulletin.co m/articles/2006/06/01/op_ed/co lumnists/opinion05.txt

Brookesmith, TX

#15 Feb 28, 2007
Feb. 28, 2007, 4:38PM
Perry replaces chairman as Dewhurst blasts youth commission board

By LIZ AUSTIN PETERSON Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry replaced the chairman of the board for the troubled Texas Youth Commission on Wednesday, the same day Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst angrily demanded that the entire board be fired.

Perry also has asked the board to replace the acting executive director with a top official from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The moves come a day after an emotional hearing about investigations that found high-ranking officials at the West Texas State School in Pyote had repeated sexual contact with inmates.

Perry cannot kick a board member off the panel, spokesman Ted Royer said. But his decision to remove Pete C. Alfaro as chairman sends a strong signal of his displeasure with the agency's actions.

"This agency has not been headed in the right direction, and that needs to change," Royer said.

to read entire article go here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/459...

Brookesmith, TX

#16 Feb 28, 2007
Feb 28, 2007 3:49 pm US/Central
TYC Internal Documents Show Complaints Were Ignored

Keith Elkins

(CBS 42) AUSTIN More disturbing information is beginning to surface involving an alleged sex and abuse scandal within the Texas Youth Commission.

Internal documents within the agency indicate numerous complaints and warning signs were ignored for more than two years.

New evidence CBS 42 News obtained indicates the Texas Youth Commission looked the other way when reports began surfacing about the alleged sexual abuses in West Texas.

entire article here:

Brookesmith, TX

#17 Feb 28, 2007
" Earlier Wednesday, Dewhurst passionately called on Perry to appoint a conservator to purge the agency of people who covered up the sexual abuse of inmates. Doing so would result in the firing of all board members. "

read article here: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/APSto...

Brookesmith, TX

#18 Mar 1, 2007
Excerpt from Brownwood Bulletin:

" Officials with the TYC facility in Brownwood, the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex, referred questions to a TYC public affairs official in Austin, who could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

James Williams, Brown County’s chief juvenile probation officer, said while he doesn’t have any firsthand knowledge of whether the allegations involving the TYC are true, he is disappointed that the agency hasn’t been more forthcoming about how it is addressing the accusations.

“You want to know, when you take away a kid’s freedom ... that you’re not sentencing him to a place where he’s going to be a victim, and probably a victim of a much more serious crime that what he was put in there for,” Williams said.

“... I”ve lost confidence in the process they’ve got in openly dealing with their problems.”

Williams said it’s his understanding the agency was under “pretty close scrutiny” by state lawmakers before reports of the allegations began making the news.

He said juvenile probation officials want to know the TYC is dealing with allegations “in a manner that you feel like the problem’s being addressed instead of sitting on somebody’s desk for two year.”

Williams said he doesn’t know if sexual abuse of inmates has occurred at the Brownwood state school but said, based on the employees he knows there, he’d be surprised if that has happened.

“Everything I’ve ever known about (the Brownwood facility) has been good,” Williams said.

TYC board member Steve Fryar of Brownwood could not be reached for comment. "

to read entire article visit: http://www.brownwoodbulletin.com/articles/200...

Brookesmith, TX

#19 Mar 1, 2007
I've heard this scandal described as "a few bad apples" several times on KXYL this morning. Maybe KXYL will schedule Dewhurst on as a guest and ask him if he believes this is a scandal of "a few bad apples" ?

Brookesmith, TX

#20 Mar 1, 2007
Hidden in Plain Sight

How did alleged abuse at a youth facility in West Texas evade detection for so long?

by Nate Blakeslee


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