|Governor Perry, Sen. Whitmire, Sen. Patrick - photo via Senator Patrick|
By Duane Stuart, Backgate Website
Region III had some visitors today. The Darrington unit in Rosharon hosted Governor Rick Perry who briefly ducked in under the radar to see the new faith based program in action there. Also, Texas Senator John Whitmire, who heads the criminal justice committee, visited the Clemens unit in Brazoria to take a look at the Youthful Offender Program. Both stops were planned and had been in the works for sometime. Perry was introduced to the faith based program that includes a seminary. The seminary program is based off of the one that has been in place for years at the Angola state prison in Louisiana. Senator Whitmire, along with Senator Dan Patrick were instrumental in bringing the program to Texas after it saw great success in Louisiana.
As we printed in another article just weeks ago, the Officers assigned to the Clemens unit are against the program being located there and indicated that it is poorly managed and the offenders present a danger to staff. Many of the offenders assigned to the program have violent histories or are violent now stated one staff member that emailed us. I have to agree. It seems a bit useless to put these kids in proximity to adult offenders. Although they are housed separate, they can easily talk to the adult offenders, see the adult offenders, and are exposed to adult gangs and their violence on each other. It's kind of a peer pressure situation. They have to act out to impress or keep up with the adult offender population. They really need to be housed all together separately within a TJJD facility where they have access to those types of juvenile programs. There is NO chance of rehabilitation within their current facility. All they are doing is learning from the adults that have been in and out of prisons there entire lives. Based on emails from Clemens employees, their hopes are that they be moved to a more effective environment that is also more controlled and secure. We will see what happens in coming months as the committee makes its determination.