The Texas Youth Commission remains so dysfunctional a year after sweeping reforms were enacted that the agency should be abolished and its operations merged with the state’s juvenile probation authority, a legislative advisory panel said Wednesday. The staff report to the Sunset Advisory Commission portrays TYC as so besieged with programmatic shortcomings and managerial inefficiencies that it cannot right itself, reports the Dallas Morning News.
The report was particularly critical of TYC’s alleged lack of collaboration and information sharing. It also singled out shortcomings in medical and education services and said TYC’s central office staff had become bloated as the agency’s inmate population has plummeted. To fix the situation, TYC and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission should be dissolved by Sept. 30, 2009, and their functions combined into a new agency, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, to be overseen by an 11-member appointed board. It could save the state more than $27 million a year by reducing staff and closing facilities, the report stated. The proposed merger, which still faces final approval from the commission before being forwarded to the Legislature in January, drew a mixed response.