Sunset for TYC?
Staff recommend replacing youth prisons and probation services with single agency, citing systemic failures in both
By Richard Whittaker,
5:26PM, Wed. Nov. 12, 2008
The Texas Youth Commission may have thought its worst days were behind it when it came out of conservatorship in October. But its real troubles may have begun today. Staff for the powerful Sunset Advisory Commission (the lege body that gives the thumbs up and thumbs-down to state agencies) has just issued its report, and it's not good news for the beleaguered agency.
The headline news is that staff recommend closing the agency and its supposed partner body, the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, and replacing them with one agency, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Staff reamed the two agencies for failing to communicate to each other, even after repeated interventions by legislators and being yelled at during two successive Sunset review processes. That's such a big item that it almost overshadows the other big proposal: Shifting to a regionalized system that places more emphasis on therapy and rehab than just using the juvenile corrections system as a dumping ground.
It's rare for the legislators on the bipartisan, bicameral Sunset commission to ignore these staff reports, so it will be interesting to see if this proposal makes it in tact to the next session.