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August 29, 2007 (512) 463-0300

TYC OFFICIALS REPORT PROGRESS

(AUSTIN) -- Administrators and officials from the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) reported Wednesday to a joint legislative committee that the agency is making progress in implementing mandated reforms. Earlier this year, lawmakers were outraged over reports of sexual abuse at a TYC facility. Further investigation revealed a number of problems within the agency charged with dealing juvenile criminal offenders. In response, the legislature passed HB 103, which called on the TYC to address these issues, including an inadequate grievance reporting process, understaffing, and improper housing policies.

Dimitra Pope, acting Executive Director at TYC, reported that the reforms already implemented have created uniform standards across all facilities and increased accountability. The agency held several town hall meetings across the state, bringing together parents, officials and child advocates, as well as meetings with youth in the system. This has led to an improved grievance process, said Pope, which gives inmates access to child advocacy groups. Grievances are now reviewed by a newly created Office of Inspector General within the agency to determine whether the complaint relates to a crime. If not, the complaint is handled by a youth care specialist.

Other officials testified that the number of complaints from inmates at TYC has decreased since the investigation began in March. TYC Inspector General Bruce Toney reported his office has made 22 arrests related to complaints, nine of which were juveniles.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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