TYC Ombudsman Meets With House Corrections Committee

What happened to Coke County Juvenile Justice Center?

"I'll never be the same, having been out to these facilities and talked to these kids," Texas Youth Commission Ombudsman Will Harrell told the House Corrections Committee on Oct. 17. In his first public meeting with members since he took the post, he praised Gainesville and Giddings state schools, and condemned the recently closed Coke County Juvenile Justice Center. While no facility was as poorly run as the Coke center, Harrell said every site has issues, and singled out Victory Field Correctional Academy as the worst of the rest. The former human rights attorney said that, due to state hiring practices, he still does not have the full staff needed for site inspections. He also raised concerns that the commission's emergency complaint line is confusingly run and not always answered. Harrell is also concerned that his informal reports are being distributed; he called them a starting point, not the final actionable report, and said both staff and inmates fear retribution for their allegations. Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, countered, however, that it is only because House staff had access to an unedited preliminary report of abuses at the West Texas State School in February that reforms began.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Coke County Juvenile Justice Center
Another TYC Prison in Trouble
Another TYC Prison in Trouble
What happened to Coke County Juvenile Justice Center?

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 26, 2007

More Texas Youth Commission
TCRP Blasts Abbott Over Delay in TYC Prosecutions
TCRP Blasts Abbott Over Delay in TYC Prosecutions
A whole lot of foot-dragging going on in Texas Youth Commission cases

Richard Whittaker, June 26, 2009

TYC Sees Light at End of Tunnel
TYC Sees Light at End of Tunnel
Youth Commission just might catch a break

Richard Whittaker, May 8, 2009

More by Richard Whittaker
Austin Film Festival Announces 2020 Lineup
Austin Film Festival Announces 2020 Lineup
Dave Not Coming Back, Golden Arm this year's headliners

Oct. 1, 2020

A Call to Spy
Heroic women spies of World War II get a worthy, if prosaic, tribute

Oct. 2, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Coke County Juvenile Justice Center, Texas Youth Commission, GEO Group, Jim Hurley, Juan Chuy Hinojosa, Will Harrell, George C. Zoley

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle