Citing corruption and mismanagement, Texas officials have begun overhauling the troubled Texas Youth Commission. The Dallas Morning news reports that Gov. Rick Perry demoted the head of the juvenile justice agency’s board, Pete Alfaro, who then announced that he would resign. The Senate called for the governor to appoint an independent panel to take over the agency. On Friday, executive director Dwight Harris announced his retirement. The Morning News reported last month that officials ignored signs that two administrators at a West Texas juvenile prison were sexually abusing inmates repeatedly.
Perry, angered by the case, replaced board chairman Alfaro with Donald Bethel, a real estate agent who was the board vice chairman. The governor wants the new acting director to be Ed Owens, now deputy executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The Senate wants the governor to appoint a conservatorship for the agency. It has monumental authority,” Sen. John Whitmire said of a conservatorship’s independent panel. “We will have taken that giant step of securing these facilities and protecting these young people.”