A gang member, 17, was freed on parole in March from a Texas Youth Commission prison, even though he had been involved in a riot. Another youth, 18, whose drug problem was noted when he was locked up, never got counseling. When he was paroled, he was ineligible for state-paid treatment. His parole officer ordered him to spend four hours of “quality time” with his mother. The Austin American-Statesman says an internal report cites evidence that dozens, possibly hundreds, of youths have been released without proper supervision and without basic programs to try to keep them out of trouble. “We have a huge problem in juvenile parole – one more problem at this agency,” said House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, co-chairman of a special legislative committee investigating the Youth Commission scandal. “What this report says to me is that if kids succeed when they get out, it’s probably by chance, not because the system is working to help them.”
Since the Youth Commission scandal erupted three months ago, the agency has undergone a Legislature-ordered downsizing in the number of youths locked up, from 4,700 in March to 3,299 this week. More than 400 youths were released during a two-week period in April, prompting complaints from judges and prosecutors that too many were being released too soon without appropriate programs or supervision.