Turning the corner?

October 13, 2011

Maybe the corner has been turned -- somewhat.  Compared to a couple/few weeks ago, I can see SOME improvement in SOME areas... not enough to have me doing cartwheels, but enough to cautiously hope that Admin realizes all is not well on campus and that changes are yet needed.  The jury is still out; let's hope within a few weeks I can report a favorable verdict.

The question now is "What part can and should I play in  helping get things back on track?"  The Powers That Be obviously want to squash this website, so to me it appears they're not being totally honest and upfront.  The results of the new "committees" has yet to be determined -- will they actually be effective?  Who knows...?  Some of the games have been put away and more kids DO get referred when we call them out -- but there's still lots of room for improvement.  And we STILL have Conextions to deal with, which is probably our #1 problem.

When a kid says "I'll accept all zero's" and goes right ahead and does whatever he wants since there's no other consequences we can apply -- we're going to continue to have problems.  I know that like most things, Conextions will someday be scrapped for something touted as being better, and one has to imagine WHATEVER it is, it WILL BE.  Until then, we're going to have to come up with something, somehow, to get us through until that happens.


The switchover to the new site name will be an ongoing effort and should be complete in another week or so.  Doesn't look like I'll be able to switch over the blog, but the guestbook switchover has been done and I'll get a new shoutbox up within the next day or two.  THANKS for contributions and encouragement!


Hey, Admin!! Load... Aim... FIRE!!

October 10, 2011

If a picture is worth a thousand words, it's time the people on The Hill and in Austin take a close look.  Y'all are shooting yourselves in the damn foot by not giving a rat's ass about what staff have been saying... what I'VE been and YOU'VE been saying on this site -- and when the time comes to pay for thier inattention I'll have no sympathy for what they've brought upon themselves.

What we all know, already, is that the necessary changes are going to be painful... but more painful than what you see above?  I DOUBT IT.  More painful that what we're having to currently put up with?  I DOUBT IT.  I'm tired of the worthless JCO 6's who have Admin whipped and wrapped around their pinkies.  They manage to draw a paycheck for riding around on those cute little EXPENSIVE John Deere vehicles... and do NOTHING to help me, my co-workers, OR the kids.  I'm ANGRY at the JCO 5's for passing the buck and not doing any supervising.  But hey!!  Go ahead and shoot yourself in the foot... if it makes you feel better.  I'll be the FIRST to scream "I TOLD YOU SO!!!" when the bullet hits the bone and the shit hits the fan. 


No, it won't be pretty, but then ignorance, hubris, and arrogance rarely are, eh??  Oh, well... be sure to let me off the rails of this crazy train before we slam into the wall!! 

Sing it, Ozzy...



October 4, 2011

Tell the kids: "Here are some areas we're going to start working with you over the next few weeks or until you've learned more pro-social and positive habits. If you refuse to comply and work on your thinking and behavior, we will put zero's on your Conextions paperwork. This may delay getting higher stages, chances are you may increase your stay, you'll have NO priviliges, and when sent to Security you'll be gone from the dorm for a matter of days, not hours. If you still continue to refuse our efforts to help you then count on heading to TDCJ... ASAP. Do what you have to do, but like it or not the following areas have been targeted to help you learn some discipline and improve self-control."


* Marching -- some staff think it's a good idea and others do not. Can we bring it back?

* All come to Parade Rest when Staff enter the dorm or be consequenced?. Some staff say yes, some disagree.

* No one leaves the dorm if anyone has cuffed pants. Period.

* No more extracirricular activities/sports. The money we save would allow 6 new outside Security Staff. They could work 4P-12A, when we need them the most.

* JCO 5-6 staff must be tasked/scheduled to hold the dorms and work a full 8 hour shift, WITH THE KIDS and should be scheduled with a stay over "*" like everyone else.  They need to hold group, help new staff, insure accountability, quit hiding out, coming late, leaving early.

* The carpeted area is a PRIVILEGE to be EARNED over a period of time, otherwise youth sit at tables.  Carpet restrictions last 24 hours.

* If youth has any referrals, no choir/snack shack/on campus work etc for at least 7-30 days.

* Bring out the chairs more often -- always for unscheduled behavior groups and snacks. Staff will be held accountable and document on the INS 110 every day.

* At Night: Zero's for sleeping on top of bedspread, wearing doo rags, head covered with blankets, no tee shirt, being in the wrong bed.

* Some Case Managers can shift work hours 2P-10P and help with holding the dorm/staffing instead of hiding out in their office, etc.

* Photo I.D. cards should be carried by all youth. Information for staff as to what dorm they are on, name, etc is needed.

* Increased patdowns, such as before going to visitation or at other random times will increase staff safety.

* Youth must be referred for verbally threatening staff. ZERO TOLERANCE means just that.

* Zero tolerance for eating before all peers are seated at the table, being in wrong assigned seat, trading food.

* Zero tolerance for using racist terms such as "nigga", throwing gang signs/handshakes, contraband, tattooing, piercing, fighting, lewd exposure, damage to State property.

* Go to 5:45 wakeup -- 5:15 is much too early for kids who often don't go to sleep until after midnight. They have better days the more sleep they get.

* Staff will work with the Adminstration to press criminal charges against youth for any and all physical assaults, sexual offenses, etc.

* JCO 5's and 6's will arrange, schedule, and document regular, frequent and complete as possible staff meetings with JCO 1-4's for feedback and updates on dorm culture concerns.

* Bring back orange jumpsuits.

* If youth have a dorm-wide pillow fight, take away all their pillows for a month.

* Get a timeclock, and take down the red "0000" days no-one -was-hurt sign. It's depressing and demoralizing.

* Give youth in Security "foodloaf" like they do in prison.

* Make the youth do their own laundry again, and have them pass it out in chairs.

* Get rid of the cable TV and give them just 3 channels. They lose TV privileges for the day if they touch it the TV. Get univeral remotes Staff will be accountable for keeping it secure and monitoring use.

* Bring back high stage "peer mentor" youth to dorms to help dorms with poor cultures

* Increase random dorm searches, binder/bookcase, storage room etc searches. Decide once and for all what is or is not contraband and document/consequence it. 

* Publish an official JCO newsletter or website.

* Increase horticulture program -- they grow it, they eat it.  Let them raise animals for slaughter or sale.

* Get rid of Conextions, and the rouge paperwork staff have to fill out.   Re-evaluate all other paperwork and streamline/simplify/standardize it for JCO's on all dorms.  Keep it simple.

*  The KUDO's cards program shoul be discontinued.  Enough clapping each other on the backs.

*  Youth who run from staff or climb  buildings can stay in Security for the maximam allowable time.  Put the barbed wire back up.

*  Organize a youth band with donated instruments.

*  Create an "honor dorm" where youth with good behavior can aspire to move to, and they can get better privileges.

*  No more changing the paperwork to make it (or staff or the system) look better. 

*  Keep a strict 12-1 youth/direct care staff ratio at all times.  If necessary, move them to other facilities or TDCJ.

*  Employees at all levels will be randomly drug tested multiple times a year.

*  Line staff and superiors must maintain platonic  working  relationships between each other and released youth. 




October 3, 2011

Probably BEST that the question I posted on YAHOO! to be potentially asked of President Obama remains annonymous HERE, anyway, for the time being.  But I did have some questions... and he's going to maybe be asked them on a live YAHOO/TV question-and-answer program to air today.

Not to be toooo coy about things, but I DID mention a few recurring themes here... some sense of the seriousness and urgency, I hope... my faith that he would have the courage to open the Can Of Worms TYC is/has become before we all auger in.  I hope.  It's out there -- and fate may decide if it ever reaches his eyes. 

I wrote since I DO NOT TRUST the honesty and sincerity of my Ultimate Boss, Governor Perry in a Man-To-Man sort of way nor do I RESPECT him -- that "Nigger Head" rock story I read in the paper this morning made me want to puke -- I needed to appeal to a Higher Authority that I've been able to so far... because we were mopping more blood up off the floor every week, and things were getting worse.  My Dad always said "take your problems to the Top", and that's the best I can do today.  We'll see what happens.  Told the President if he replied I would be happy to provide him with the address of this website, which would be useful in providing an overview of the problems we all currently face.  We'll see.  If someone reads what I wrote and blows it off, I said my options were pretty limited.

I could just quit work... stop doing what I think is right/appropriate/necessary... play "let's pretend", or try to ignore and deny situations as they are.  Or -- go postal.  HA!!  I didn't mention that to him, but kinda thought 'bout it.  Hee hee.

Seriously, I also mentioned I realized the (specificly un-named corrections) Agency could fire me "at will" (AKA "for no real WORK RELATED reason") if the Administration thinks it appropriate.  Wrote of how the word "whistleblower" is SUCH an unpleasant term, and that I prefered the word "advocate"... and probably could have added "ACTIVIST" and few others, too.

I've gone as high up through the chain of command as I CAN.   We'll see what happens, if anything.  And if nothing does, well, that's allright.  There's always more irons in the fire, Pardners.  That I know FOR SURE.


Business... AS USUAL.

September 30, 2011

It's hard to have hope of anything getting better on campus when they hold a meeting and don't address the CURRENT PROBLEMS we have... and pass out funky little questionnaires with confusing questions instead of ASKING FOR FEEDBACK.  Sigh.

I guess Admin and Those Above JUST DON'T GET IT, and it may be time to speak out louder to be heard?  Please read over the latest postings on the GUESTBOOK (link is on homepage) and offer any input you may have -- there's some good stuff being written there that might be just the ammunition we need to light a fire under SOMEONE who will take our issues seriously!!  That last inspector/investigator from Austin doesn't seem to have made a dent in anyone's awareness concerning what's really going on... we can only HOPE someone CARES enough to pay attention, it seems.  I don't trust The System to be able to fix anything, so it may take jumping over a few underlings to get to whoever it is that has the authority to take action.  We'll see.

Monkey see... monkey do.



September 26, 2011

CLICK THIS LINK http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp-XqMybw6Q for a quick video that really drives home the "We don't need no education" mentality of kids (and I mean really LITTLE kids!) nowdays.  Kinda makes you want to laugh AND cry while your stomach is twisting up in knots.  A must see!!   Teachers -- take notes!!


What we're dealing with is a campus that is struggling to actually get by or at least appear to be doing so. Shift by shift, day by day.  EVERY shift, EVERY day.  How long can this House Of Cards stand -- especially if the Winds Of Change come blowing in right brisk-like?  Think about it.   I say there's still hope, but we need to upgrade some, weather the storms ahead, and pick up the pieces and try again... and hope for the best results for the greatest amount of people who are really trying to get us back on track and/or get rehabilitated at whatever age they may be.

The operational mode at TYC GIDDINGS requires massive quantities of illusion, smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand, etc, and we pretty much have to go along with it or be labeled as a bad person/employee somehow.  We offer (and get) false hope, false security, false EVERTHING, pretty much, and WE ALL KNOW IT, eh?  The KIDS know it.  They know they're getting away with what they want to do, and openly mock us by saying things like "Ohhhh, noooo, not LOW SCORES!!  Pleeeeeese don't mark me down!!" and such.  Heard that yourself?  There's no better way for them to sap their JCO's energy/patience/care/dedication than to make us suffer a death of a thousand cuts... none of which individually will kill, but CAN accumulate in lethal effects... though some resign before that final end.

So... Johnny doesn't put his shoes right under the bed.  Doesn't even MAKE his bed --  he halfassedly folds the bedspread AND blanket at the foot of it.  So I say "Johnny, you need to make your bed please"... and after the third request  Johnny says "I don't know how to make it."  Ahhhh... guess after being here for the last couple years he simply FORGOT.  What's a JCO to do?  Complain about his doo rag last night, the pants cuffed so tightly it's cutting off  blood circulation to his feet?  That he's sagging, racially/sexually disrespectul, cursing, and sitting in the staff chair and and and ---AND ALSO keep track of what all the OTHER 16 Johnny's are doing -- which is pretty much the same thing -- all at ONCE??!

Sorry, I only have two eyes and one brain.  Maybe they oughta hire octopi, or squid?  Hmmm.  I know what I need to do, but can only do so much, at one time, with one kid.  More on that another day...


I do a lot better job on my NEXT shift if I get off the CURRENT shift on time -- and am NOT told at six minutes after the hour that the relief staff (who lives in town) had a alarm malfunction... and is an hour late... same lame "reason", for the second day in a row.   And when the radio is passed over, I hear not a word of apology.  Ahhh, well.  What goes around comes around, as they say.   Hear the story going around about the recent 38 call-in's on one day in another State School... and what happened when The Higher Up went to see what The Problem was there?  Whoo hoo!!

Now... when my "schedule" (as it were) for next week shows about a third as many visiting staff coming in (to keep us in ratio) as we have slots that need filling, I can only asume they may be expecting to work MY BUTT even MORE.  Due to current staffing shortages already, the old two + overtime shifts a week routine isn't making me a better employee, no, not when I get to feeling like a meat puppet that's being thrown around and chewed on.  GRRR.

AND IN OTHER NEWS:  I'm hearing of maybe "Big Changes" coming about the first of next month.  Uh-huh.  Whatever came of the expected followup inspectors/investigators since Smith, huh,  and what did he tell who?  And why haven't we been told anything?  What CAN Admin change that's WORTH changing if they don't solicit our unguarded FEEDBACK as to what we are having to deal with??  A real poser, I know, but it does seem to me we need to have some sharing of information, resources, and opinions rather that the culture of secrecy that now prevails.  Shuffling around the kids and staff isn't a solution.  The Campus Wide Meeting supposedly coming up next week MIGHT... possibly COULD be the opening we've all been looking for if we're given the option to speak frankly to those in authority who can make (substantial) changes in the Way We Do Business.  If they listen -- GREAT!  If EVERYTHING is open to be cussed and discussed -- we'll be on our way to institutional health and effectiveness... I'm sure of it.  In the "Be Afraid, Be VERY Afraid" department, we have this -- A kid who was sentenced for some kind of weapons charge
was getting out today, after serving less than a year.  The kid -- to be frank -- was a TOTAL TURD the whole time he was on the dorm; never did anything other than what HE wanted.  Anyhow, I asked him what he wanted to do, did he have any plans for the future?  His answer was "Well, I could probably rob a bank."  My advice: Pay all your bills online -- and duck if you hear explosions.  It was soooooo heartening to know WE were sending this violent thug, this uneducated and lazy boy-man back out into OUR SOCIETY where we can EXPECT him to do exactly as he said.

Sigh. Am scheduled a 12 hour shift  on the campus wide meeting day, so might miss ithe big pow-wow.  If I do, give 'em hell, y'all.  Either we all hang together or we all hang seperately.



September 26, 2011

CLICK THIS LINK http://www.archive.org/details/RiotInJuvinilePrison-Trailer for a B&W video trailer clip of the  classic movie... and be thankful we don't have to put up with kids like THESE!!



September 25, 2011


OK, y'all, we need another JCO 5 on campus due to a recent resignation.  Some of you may see it as your Big Chance To Move Up in the agency, or a means of increasing your income.  Others may look forward to increased responsibilities, prestige, authority, etc.  Who knows?  All I know is that I DON'T want the job, thank you!

The Ideal Candidate (IMHO) would be someone with at least 5 years experience as a lower level JCO... with some college... a parent who's raised teenagers (so you're going to have to be somewhere around 40 or so)... preferably who lives somewhat locally so they can quickly be reached and respond to problems when necessary.  The candidate should be willing to work the dorm on their assigned shift and to work extra shifts if need be to ensure dorm coverage.  They need to have a high standard of ethics, and understand The System as it is... and they'll need to be able to get along with those of other races, ages, and sex.   Leading by example is what we'll want to see in this new JCO 5 -- NOT someone who leaves co-workers out hanging, sleeps on duty, and employs bribery as a means of gaining compliance.  Ideally, we'll want someone who can handle the paperwork, the kids, and co-workers equally -- it's not an easy task, but that's why THEY get paid the Big Bucks!

Perhaps an Open Door Policy should be instituted instead of the current situation:  We got a new JCO 6 once and they never ever spoke a single word to me over a period of months... not a word.  Mostly this was due to the fact they were rarely on the dorm, but still -- I'd think a new supervisor would take it upon themselves to acknowledge ALL staff who worked under them in a timely manner.  Truth is, this 6 DIDN'T WANT TO HEAR OR KNOW what us 1-4's were having to deal with on a daily basis.  This is a major reason the dorm is in the shape it is -- no communication.  No staff meetings to discuss dorm concerns.  Why should we expect things to be any different??  

So if you're looking to move up to a JCO 5, give it some thought -- will you work to be part of the solution, or cop out and be part of the problem?  Are you in it for selfish reasons -- or for helping the kids?  Do you WANT feedback, positive AND negative, or will you simply keep your head buried in the sand and hope not to be affected by the reality of what's going on all around you?  HUH??  What's it gonna be?

Being a Supervisor is NOT a position to be in for thin-skinned people.  You have to accept the fact that people won't like you, will try to get over on you, will lie, and not see you as a "friend" anymore once you've reached this position.  It's not about being in a popularity contest -- it's about doing the job best you can and motivating co-workers to do the same.  No, it's not easy or fun, but I know from past personal experience it can be rewarding work.  It can also get you fired.  TYC has an unfortunate habit of setting people up for failure when they promote some poor schmuck to JCO 5 and then just waiting till they slip and fall before firing them, sad to say.  Seen it happen more than once; don't let it happen to you should you be thinking of trying to "move up" in this organization.  What you see is not necessarily what you get!



September 23, 2011

I'm ALL FOR everyone being unique... or belonging to a certain group that shares common interests, or of social/political cultures etc other than my own.  I was taught that people have more in common than there are differences, and to respect individuals for who they are -- not for the color of their skin, religion, age, sex, etc etc etc.

So for me, dealing with overt -and- covert racism/bigotry is a difficult thing.  I don't respect racists and bigots, who most often are small-minded people with no spiritual understanding of their place on this planet.  When I personally am subjected to racism and bigotry, I GET ANGRY, as there's usually no way to "get through" to people who marginalize others due to their affiliations -- chosen or not.  In a work enviornment most marginalized people find it's best to just keep their mouth shut if they want to keep their job, and most of the time they do... which means there's a LOT of simmering anger just under the surface of how we all work together --  or not.  But as in with most cases of racism/bigotry, it's the MAJORITY THAT RULES... which means if racism indeed DOES exist on our campus between us adults, being a white male is just about at the bottom of the heap.  Is it racist to say that?  I don't think so.

The REAL racists (and bigots, which deal more with intolerant attitudes of others) are bad enough in us ADULTS -- but run RAMPANT and UNCHECKED among the kids.  Years ago, I asked my black JCO 6 if I could refer kids for using the term (gotta make sure to spell this right) "nigga".  Hearing this term is extremely offensive to me.  It makes me cringe.  I get tensed up.  It's disgusting to me as someone who has a history of carrying protest signs up and down major cities on the West Coast "back in the day" in support of equality... not just for the races, but farmworkers, women, gays, etc.  I don't want to hear slurs like "fag" and "bitch", either.  Not from anyone of any age.

The 6 gave me permission to refer kids that used that term, after other appropriate interventions, of course.  But when I came to realize that no of the other black staff seemed to mind -- or notice -- the use of this term, I eventually gave up trying to change the way the kids talk to each other.  Guess it's THEIR culture and it's OK with them, so why should I mind?  I'd almost pity them.  Apparently they will have to learn for themselves to have some pride in who they are.

But I DO mind.  I mind a LOT.  I recently heard kids at the school taking racial invective to the absolute limit... one kid asked why notepaper was white; why couldn't it be black with white lines??  DUH!!  They went on and on and on, baiting her, saying the most horrible and foul things their sick little minds could come up with to this teacher who was only trying to help them.  I durn near threw up.  I certainly would not have come back to work another day if subjected to that kind of verbal hate abuse... and want to express my utmost respect for TYC teaching staff who have  been putting up with this every day for years now.   NO amount of money would be enough for me to try to accomplish anything in that kind of environment.  The poor kids!!  They'll never again be in a position to take advantage of a free education; instead,  all they do is torment the teachers to see if they can make them blow a gasket.  It's beyond disrespectful.  It's not worth the effort and is simply a WASTE of time and money to try and teach the willfully ignorant..

What needs to happen is an official policy of zero tolerance for those who advocate gang behavior or organized disruption and/or attempts to take unfair advantages in regards to race (etc).  This would apply to employees AND kids.   I'm sick and tired of it!



September 21, 2011

THAT'S what I want... as defined: Restore (someone and/or a State Agency) to health or normal life by training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness.

OK, now that we've defined the term, I want TYC GIDDINGS' overall culture, policies, and procedures REHABILITATED since all are sick, sick, sick.  All I really want is to be proud to work for an HONEST and REALITY-FOCUSED State Agency where I'm valued and validated...  where there's opportunities to utilize my skills and abilities to best advantage...  a place to find some positive meaning and personal reward in service to others... things like that.  

Can't forget that GREAT health insurance, either!

To cure the problems with the kids and between each other and Admin, we ALL need to get with the idea of rehabilitation as being a GOOD THING.  This isn't going to be easy, since many would RATHER see the status quo remain as it is.  That way they can continue get away with their usual bullshit and STILL draw a check.  Those folks need to be brought into the rehabilitive process, too,  -or- THEY can just get quit and get a job at H.E.B. or somewhere for all I care. 

BUT!!  More people -- inspectors -- investigators -- who knows -- are due on campus soon... we'll all see how that flies, or not.  Talk is cheap.  This website is cheap.  My ideas alone  are cheap... but put a few groups of us TOGETHER to brainstorm how to help bring about changes -- that is NOT cheap.  It's hard work!  It's gonna take some honest re-thinking of the way/how/why we do business, right?

Are we only in the business of generating paperwork to make the Higher Up's look good?  No, we are in the business of rehabilitating kids.  OK by me.  Let's saddle up and do this thing RIGHT, or not at all!   The test of our effectiveness is not how well the kids LIKE being locked up here, it's how much aversion we can instill in them not to re-offend and go to TDCJ -- am I right?  That's why we come to work.  Not to provide La La Land for juvenile felons... not to make it fun... to rehabilitate. 

They aren't gonna like it, either, and we ALL KNOW THAT already -- but that's what NEEDS to be done to bring them back to Planet Earth.  There's a Real World out there that the kids are being sent back out into with very little chance of success... and that's our partially OUR fault, admit it.  We need to show them what TOO REAL means, one way or another, since it's our JOB.  Having us JCO's back to being  in control ~~ doesn't that sound nice?  Sometimes you just have to say what's on your mind to get others to mind, hmmm?

My suggestions... my words to the kids (and anyone else who might ask) would go something like this:

"Here are some areas we're going to start working on for the next few weeks or until you've these developed postive habits and can continue them on your own, to your own benefit while at TYC and once you leave here.  If you refuse to rehabilitate your thinking and behavior, we will put zero's on your Conextions paperwork, your stage progression will be delayed, chances are you will extend your stay here, you'll have NO privileges, will be sent to security for more like DAYS at a time than HOURS at a time... and if you continue to refuse our efforts to help you then if over 16 you're heading to the Big House, sonny.  Do what you have to do, sure, but like it or not the following areas have been targeted to help you learn some discipline and self-control.

1. Marching -- or at least no talking in line movement.
2. You will all come to Parade Rest when staff enter the dorm or be consequenced.
3. No one leaves the dorm if anyone has cuffed pants.  Period.
4. The carpet area is a privilege that must be earned.  Restrictions from carpet will last 24 hours.
5. No being on football team, choir, work, snack shack restriction, yadda yadda yadda if you have ANY referrals.
6. Zero's for sleeping on top of bedspread, wearing doo-rags, head at wrong end, head covered, and/or no shirt.
7. Zero 's for eating before all peers are seated at table, being in the wrong assigned seat, trading food.
8. Zero's for using the racial term "nigga", throwing gangs signs/handshakes, contraband, cursing/threatening staff.
9.  CAT 1's for tattooing, piercing, fighting, assault on staff, lewd exposure, damages to State property over $50.
10. Staff will press criminal charges against youth for any and all assaults, sexual offenses, etc.


Too much?  Not enough?  A fair and simple enough start, anyhow?  Maybe just too REAL... and if so, screw it all.

C'mon, someone throw me some crumbs! 


About Me

Officer Friendly I'm here to help the kids, but it isn't easy. The little Joe Delinquent's we have to deal with 24/7 have gotten out of hand lately, and it's getting harder and harder to keep being firm, fair and consistant. I'm doing the best I can!
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