Texas Youth Commission:
An Inventory of Youth Commission Speeches, Presentations, and Newspaper Clippings at the Texas State Archives, 1952, 1971-2009, bulk 2000-2001
Juvenile corrections efforts by the state of Texas began in 1887 with the passage of legislation for a House of Correction and Reformatory (which later became the State Juvenile Training School) (House Bill 21, 20th Texas Legislature, Regular Session). This correctional facility for boys began operation in 1889 in Gatesville. In 1913, the 33rd Legislature authorized the creation of the Girls' Training School (House Bill 570, Regular Session), a correctional facility for girls in Gainesville. It began operation in 1916. In 1945, the legislature approved the establishment of the State Training School for Delinquent and Dependent Colored Girls (Senate Bill 46, 49th Legislature, Regular Session); located in Brady, it began operation in 1947. Between 1887 and 1920, separate boards of directors managed each of these schools and reported directly to the governor. The Texas State Board of Control, created by the 36th Legislature in 1919 (Senate Bill 147, Regular Session) took over management of the three schools from 1920 to 1949.
Additional 1887 legislation established facilities to care for dependent and neglected children. The State Orphan's Asylum (later known as the Corsicana State Home), began operation in 1889 in Corsicana (Senate Bill 261, 20th Legislature, Regular Session, 1887). Further legislation in 1887 created another home (House Bill 445, 20th Legislature, Regular Session), located in Austin, known as the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Asylum for Colored Youth (later named the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School). A third home was established in 1919, located in Waco (House Bill 112, 36th Legislature, Regular Session), as the State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children (later known as the Waco State Home). The state homes, as with the schools for delinquent children, were managed by the Board of Control beginning in 1920. Management of the Waco State Home passed to the Texas State Department of Public Welfare in 1939 (Senate Bill 36, 46th Legislature, Regular Session). Management of the Corsicana State Home; the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan Home; and the Waco State Home was transferred to the newly created Texas Board for State Hospitals and Special Schools in 1949 (House Bill 1, 51st Legislature, Regular Session).
In 1947, the 50th Legislature created the State Training Code Commission (Senate Concurrent Resolution 34, Regular Session), composed of seven members appointed by the governor, to study the state schools for delinquent children and examine the problem of juvenile delinquency. It was to determine changes that would improve the administration of the schools and enable them to more nearly accomplish their broad social objectives. The commission's report to the 51st Legislature resulted in the creation of the Texas State Youth Development Council.
The Texas State Youth Development Council was created in 1949 (House Bill 705, 51st Legislature, Regular Session). It was composed of six "influential" citizens appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate, and eight ex-officio members: Chairman, Board of Control; Executive Director, Department of Public Welfare; Commissioner of Education; Executive Director, Board for State Hospitals and Special Schools; State Health Officer; Director, Texas Department of Public Safety; Executive Secretary, Texas State Parks Board; and Chairman, Texas Employment Commission. The governor appointed the chair. The purpose of the council was to coordinate state efforts to help communities develop and strengthen child services. It was also directed to administer the state's correctional facilities for delinquent children by providing constructive training aimed at the rehabilitation and successful reestablishment of these children into society. The council took over control of the correctional schools then managed by the State Board of Control: the Gatesville State School for Boys, Gainesville State School for Girls, and the Brady State School for Delinquent Colored Girls.
The State Youth Development Council became the Texas Youth Council in 1957 (Senate Bill 303, 55th Legislature, Regular Session). It was composed of three members appointed by the governor with consent of the senate, to six year overlapping terms, and the members elected the chair. The members were to be citizens recognized in their communities for their interest in youth. The size of the commission increased to six in 1975 (Senate Bill 278, 64th Legislature, Regular Session). The Youth Council had the same duties as the State Youth Development Council, with the additional mandate to provide parole supervision for certain delinquent children until their discharge. The legislature also directed the Youth Council to operate institutions for dependent and neglected children (Corsicana State Home, Waco State Home, and Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School). During the 1970s the Youth Council initiated a county juvenile probation subsidy program that was transferred to the newly created Texas Juvenile Probation Commission in 1981 (House Bill 1904, 67th Legislature, Regular Session).
In 1971, a class action lawsuit, Morales v. Turman, was brought against the Texas Youth Council, its officers, and staff by children confined in the juvenile corrections facilities. In response to the lawsuit, changes were initiated in the way juvenile correction facilities were operated.
The Texas Youth Council was renamed as the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) in 1983 (Senate Bill 422, 68th Texas Legislature, Regular Session). The duties of the commission included providing services to delinquent youths between 10 and 21 years of age through programs and facilities that administer constructive training for rehabilitation. The TYC operated under the Texas Human Resource Code, Title 3, Chapter 61, as the state's juvenile correction agency. Under Title 3 of the Texas Family Code, the TYC provided for the care, custody, rehabilitation, and reestablishment into society of those youth convicted of delinquent conduct. The TYC operated secure residential, institutional, and community-based programs for delinquent youth and supervised the youth once they returned to the community. It also contracted with private sector providers to operate residential and non-residential services. The TYC protected the identities of youth admitted to their facilities by keeping personal information confidential (such as names and home addresses) and not allowing photographs of the children to be taken (without permission of the child) as required by the Texas Family Code, Section 58.005.
In 1995, the 74th Legislature passed an omnibus juvenile justice reform package, House Bill 327 (Regular Session), that changed the way juvenile justice was administered in Texas. The bill expanded the offenses for which a youth could receive a determinate sentence (sentence with a fixed term) to include most violent offenses, such as murder, rape, and aggravated assault. It also enabled supervision of youth to continue into the adult criminal justice system; lowered the age that a juvenile could be tried as an adult from 15 to 14; and directed that both the most violent juvenile defenders and mentally ill delinquent youth be sent to the TYC. In light of this new legislation, TYC provided greater structure, strictly enforced discipline, and increased accountability of the delinquent youth in their programs.
Youth committed for minor offenses are the responsibility of local governments. The TYC received the most serious offenders with longer sentences. These comprised two categories: committed juveniles and sentenced offenders. Committed juveniles were sent to the commission by juvenile courts after adjudication, allowing the Youth Commission to determine the length of stay and the type of services provided (e.g., Capitol Offender Program or Chemical Dependency Program). The second category, sentenced offenders, were given a specific sentence through determinate sentencing status and could not be released prior to their sentence termination.
The TYC directly operated fourteen correctional institutions and nine community-based residential programs and contracted with private sector providers for a variety of residential programs. Through these institutions and facilities the TYC provided accredited secondary education, vocational training, and several specialized programs concerning sex offenders, capital offenders who have committed murder, chemical dependency, resocialization, independent living preparation, mentally retarded youth, and seriously emotionally disturbed youth. The TYC also operated a parole system for supervision of youth released from residential programs.
The TYC also administered the Interstate Compact on Juveniles (ICJ) for the state of Texas. The ICJ provides for the cooperative supervision of juvenile probationers and parolees who move from state to state. It also provides for the return of non-delinquent runaway youth, parole and probation absconders, and escapees to their home state. The administrators of each state compact are members of the Association of Juvenile Compact Administrators (AJCA). The AJCA holds annual meetings and sponsors mid-winter workshops on relevant juvenile issues.
In 2011, the TYC and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) were abolished and their operations were transferred to the newly-created Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) (Senate Bill 653, 82nd Legislature, Regular Session). The TJJD works in partnership with local county governments, courts, and communities to promote public safety by providing support and services to any individual who is at least 10 years old but not yet 17 at the time he or she committed an act defined as "delinquent conduct" or "conduct in need of supervision," from the time of initial contact through the end of supervision.
According to an internal agency history (and repeated by the Handbook of Texas) the roots of the Youth Commission extend back to 1859 when the 8th Legislature authorized separate corrections facilities for children (the age of criminal responsibility was nine at this time; it was raised to seventeen in 1918). No funding was provided and such facilities were not established until 1887. The State Archives is unable to locate the 1859 legislation referred to in these sources.
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, various editions; General and Special Laws, various years; Jasinski, Laurie E."Texas Youth Commission," Handbook of Texas Online; Texas Juvenile Justice Department website; and the Texas Youth Commission website via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org/web/*/tyc.state.tx.us; all accessed on September 26, 2016; and the records themselves.)
The Texas Youth Commission (TYC) provided for the care, custody, rehabilitation, and reestablishment into society of youths convicted of delinquent conduct. The TYC operated secure residential, institutional, and community-based programs for delinquent youth and supervised the youth once they returned to the community. It also contracted with private sector providers to operate residential and non-residential services. These records include speeches, presentations and newspaper clippings, one CD-ROM, two open audio reel tapes and one audiocasette tape, created and collected by the Texas Youth Commission and its predecessor, the Texas Youth Council, dating 1952, 1971-2009, bulk 2000-2001.
Speeches and presentations are addresses given by officials of the TYC, dating 1988-1994, 1996-2009, undated. Speakers include Executive Director Steve Robinson; Deputy Executive Director Dwight Harris; Director of Prevention Judy Briscoe; Dr. Linda Reyes, and various other TYC staff members and guest speakers. Topics of the speeches and presentations concern preventing abuse and neglect of children; breaking the cycle of violence in families that leads to continuing patterns of abuse and/or neglect; the operation of the agency, consisting largely of charts, graphs, and statistics; juvenile crime and prevention; gang awareness; resocialization; and an overview of the Youth Commission including job satisfaction, performance measurement and accountability. The earliest presentations are two open reel audio tapes created by Harris Media. One CD-ROM is included with the text of a speech.
Newspaper clippings include online and print media articles along with one audiocassette tape collected by Texas Youth Council and TYC. These clippings were shared internally and they date 1952, 1971-1985, 1997-2009. The articles discuss legal cases, budget cuts, state legislation changes, programs, board meetings, TYC awards, agency news and TYC press releases, editorials and opinions, education issues, TYC staff actions, TYC youth escapees and death reports, and facility openings, conditions, and closings. Newspapers and magazines represented include The Dallas Morning News, Texas Weekly, Austin American-Statesman, Austin Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express, and various local Texas city papers. The audiocassette tape is a recorded news story from NPR's Morning Edition.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Because of the possibility that portions of these records, Speeches and presentations, fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to, photographs where individual children in Youth Commission facilities can be identified unless the child granted permission to allow the photograph to be taken (Texas Family Code, Section 58.005); an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552).
The researcher may request an interview with an archivist or submit a request by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), fax (512-463-5436), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or see our web page (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/customer/pia.html). Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the archivist to accurately identify and locate the information. If our review reveals information that may be excepted by the Public Information Act, we are obligated to seek an open records decision from the Attorney General on whether the records can be released. The Public Information Act allows the Archives ten working days after receiving a request to make this determination. The Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision. Alternately, the Archives can inform you of the nature of the potentially excepted information and if you agree, that information can be redacted or removed and you can access the remainder of the records.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
Researchers wishing to access audiotapes must contact State Archives staff to obtain the necessary equipment.
To view electronic data on the CD-ROM, please contact Archives staff for appropriate hardware/software.
Preservation concerns dictate that open reel audio materials cannot be played on site for researchers. Researcher access to open reel audio and film is dependent upon first arranging to transfer that outdated media to more contemporary media, at the researcher's expense.
(Identify the item and cite the series), Texas Youth Commission speeches, presentations, and newspaper clippings. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession numbers: 1999/164, 2003/132, 2006/072, 2007/054, 2007/203, 2008/004, 2010/070, 2014/044
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Youth Commission on May 28, 1999; March 14, 2003; November 17, 2005; November 9, 2006; July 27 and September 7, 2007; and February 16, 2010; and from the Texas Juvenile Justice Department on November 8, 2013.
Laura K. Saegert, May 2000, October 2004
Series removed from larger inventory and new accessions added by Halley Grogan, September 2016
Detailed Description of the Records