Texas Senate seeks conservator for the Texas Youth Commission
Senator Carlos Uresti seeks confirmation that youth are safe
AUSTIN -- State Senator
Carlos Uresti voiced concerns regarding recent revelations of serious problems
within the Texas Youth Commission, and in particular, with the West Texas State
School in Pyote. Uresti questioned whether offenders at the West Texas State
School may have had their sentences extended or compromised as a result, as
well as why the individuals involved were not prosecuted.
"The abuses occurring within the Texas Youth Commission send exactly the wrong
message to youth offenders at these facilities. These young men have gone in
the wrong direction in life, and now some apparently are being victimized by a
system designed to reform their lives. Many of these young men are minorities;
they have a history of abuse or neglect; and they have mental health issues.
These boys need an environment that will provide structure and support, not
victimization at the hands of a broken state system," said Uresti.
Senator Uresti is co-author
of Senate Bill 103, introduced by Senator Juan Hinojosa. SB 103 will require:
(1) TYC to provide 300 hours of training to guards before they begin guarding
duties at facilities; (2) Staff at least one guard for every 12 youth at
facility; (3) Youth under 15 years old would not be allowed to share dorms
with youth over 17; (4) The Texas Rangers would make monthly unannounced
visits; (5) A criminal investigation unit would be created; and (6) When a
crime occurring within TYC is prosecuted by a district attorney, the state
would reimburse the county for expenses they incurred during the prosecution.
Last night, Lt. Gov. David
Dewhurst took the unusual step of calling the Senate into back into session
after having previously adjourning for the day. Senate Resolution 384 was
introduced and passed out of the senate by a vote of 30 to 0, calling for the Legislative
Audit Committee to meet and recommending that Governor Perry appoint a
conservator for TYC. The Legislative Audit Committee consists of the lieutenant governor,
the speaker of the house, two senators and two representatives.
The Texas Rangers began an investigation
into the West Texas State School in February of 2005. The two employees that
were the center of the investigation were allowed to resign from the school. While
TYC did implement some corrective remedies after it investigated the
allegations of abuse, it did not ensure that those responsible for the
incidents were disciplined or ensure that similar incidents would not occur
Carlos Uresti is the senator from
State Senate District 19, a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico
border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the
following: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards,
Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real,
Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties.
Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts and
spans two time zones.