Top Departures At Texas Youth Agency As Scandal Widens


Two top officials at the Texas Youth Commission resigned yesterday, says the Dallas Morning News. They were the first casualties of a promised agency housecleaning in a growing -scandal over physical and sexual abuse of juvenile prisoners. Deputy Executive Director Linda Reyes, one of the departed officials, said that, “If staff start leaving in large numbers because they fear even false allegations will automatically be judged as truth, the environment will rapidly become very unsafe for youth and staff.”

Nearly 20 state legislators from both parties have introduced a proposal to install an independent conservator over the agency, establish a full-time office to investigate abuse, mandate a lower student-to-guard ratio, and increase employee training, among other changes. Reyes, who was approaching retirement at the time of her resignation, is quoted in the 2005 book “Last Chance In Texas: The Redemption Of Criminal Youth,” saying that working with the worst youth offenders “felt like I was descending into hell to save their souls.”


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