Texas’ juvenile corrections agency, struggling for months to curb violent youths and gang activity at its six state lockups, moved Thursday to hire a new agency head its fifth new chief in as many years, reports the Austin American-Statesman. While no public vote was taken, officials said the Texas Juvenile Justice Department’s governing board interviewed three finalists — two with experience in the juvenile justice field. The finalists are Mike Griffiths, director of Dallas County’s juvenile corrections; retired Maj. Gen. Keith Thurgood, a former Pepsico and Sam’s Club executive who is now CEO of a company that sells automobiles to U.S. military members stationed overseas; and Clint Carpenter, who served as education superintendent for the Texas Youth Commission.
While Griffiths and Carpenter have youth-corrections experience, a job description posted online shows none is required. The only listed requirements: “Master’s degree in business, public administration, criminal justice, social work, counseling, law, psychology, sociology or a related field and ten (10) years of increasingly responsible administrative experience directing the operations of a large program.” The agency has faced increasing questions in recent months from legislative leaders over whether its management can operate secure and safe lockups that are free of assaults and gang disruptions.