Texas Rangers who began this week to investigate sexual misconduct at Texas Youth Commission prisons will also learn of widespread physical abuse, reports the Dallas Morning News. Records obtained by the newspaper under the Texas Public Information Act include accounts of guards striking handcuffed inmates, encouraging inmates to fight one another, and standing idle while beatings occurred. One guard threatened to throw a handcuffed inmate off a roof.
Said Ted Royer, spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry: “We suspect there are vast numbers of cases of potential criminal activity that have not been reported and that no one has been accountable for.” The commission substantiated 165 allegations of abuse in 2005 and 105 last year. In one facility, a guard was fired after a young man alleged the guard “restrained him for no reason and has been letting students punch, kick, hit him, spit on him and urinate on his bed.” Says Will Harrell of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas: “The guards are overwhelmed. They have one [guard] to every 25 kids in a dormitory setting.” Harrell said the “physical and sexual abuse – are a predictable outcome of this flawed system.”