Texas Youth Commission employees with criminal backgrounds were twice as likely as other staffers to be accused of abusing young inmates, says the Dallas Morning News. The newspaper identified 266 TYC employees with criminal convictions in Texas. Of those with criminal convictions, more than half were alleged to have injured or endangered inmates. The agency acknowledged that its background checks failed to prevent hundreds of people with criminal convictions or charges from finding work with TYC. It has not examined whether there’s a link between criminal backgrounds and abuse allegations.
The Morning News checked names and dates of birth of people working at TYC as of mid-March against state criminal conviction records. “If we’re trying to rehabilitate youth, having adults who use violence is not going to serve the youths well,” said Jodie Smith of Texans Care for Children, an Austin-based child advocacy group. It is unknown whether TYC conducted criminal background checks of job candidates because agency policy called for the destruction of such information. The News found 48 employees with arrests after they were hired by the agency.