STATE AUDITORS SAY THE TEXAS YOUTH COMMISSION (TYC) IS STILL HAVING PROBLEMS!

IS IT TIME TO JUST SHUT IT DOWN?

Here’s the report from the state auditors on the Texas Youth Commission:

Overall Conclusion

Since March 2007, the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) has improved its investigation of alleged mistreatment, strengthening its security and monitoring of youth, and has made progress in improving its management of agency resources. During this same time period, the total number of youths committed to TYC decreased 49.7 percent from 4,809 on March 1, 2007, to 2,419 on April 15, 2009. Contributing factors for this decline were legislative mandates in Senate Bill 103 (80th Legislature) that prohibited the placement of youth who commit misdemeanors or are between 19 and 21 years of age in TYC facilities.

TYC has fully or substantially implemented 34 of 47 (72.3 percent) prior State Auditor’s Office recommendations made in a March 2007 investigative report. Although TYC has made progress toward implementing these prior recommendations, as well as Senate Bill 103 reforms, TYC should continue to strengthen its management of state resources, including contracts, staffing levels and facilities, and its intake and investigation processes.

Specifically, auditors noted the following:

– TYC did not competitively bid 11 contracts totaling $19.5 million that it awarded while the agency was in conservatorship from March 2007 to October 2008. While the Texas Government Code grants a conservator a series of powers and duties, it does not specifically exempt a conservator from complying with state procurement rules.

– TYC has not increased the number of certified sex offender counselors in its treatment programs or retained necessary documentation to support its staffing projections for juvenile correctional officers for fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

– In fiscal year 2007, TYC proposed closing five residential facilities. As a result, the Legislature reduced TYC’s appropriations for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. However, TYC continues to operate the Victory Field Correctional Academy and the West Texas State School, which were two of the facilities that TYC proposed closing. TYC reported it spent $21.8 million during fiscal year 2008 to operate these two facilities.

– TYC did not ensure that its Office of Inspector General (1) received and investigated all reported allegations of mistreatment or (2) initiated and completed investigations of alleged mistreatment within 30 days as required by agency policy.