66 Fired At Texas Youth Commission, 56 Reforms Urged


The investigation into sexual abuse and mismanagement at the Texas Youth Commission has led to the dismissal of 66 employees with records of felony charges or arrests, including one convicted of homicide and another who had pleaded guilty to attempted murder, reports the New York Times. The employees included guards, case workers, and maintenance staffers, most of them in regular contact with hundreds of troubled youths. It was not clear whether any of the 66 were accused of harming youths in their custody.

Citing reforms already instituted, the official leading the inquiry, Jay Kimbrough, issued 56 recommendations for changes, including background checks on staff members and the release of juveniles being held beyond sentencing requirements or for misdemeanors. Kimbrough called for checking all new commission employees against state and federal criminal databases, and setting a cap on youth placements. He urged a ratio of one correctional officer per six youths, rather than the current average of one officer to 15 youths, sometimes as many as one to 24. He called for 300 training hours for officers, up from two weeks now.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/03/us/03texas.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

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