TACC-Texans Against Civil Commitment: Moosejaw72; February 28, 2022
Just to make sure I give context to this particular blog, I want to include a bit of information for my reference. Two comedians named Abbott and Costello used to do an act called, “Who’s on First” (the link is at the end of this article if you need some humor about now). The whole act revolves around funny names given to baseball players that result in a lot of confusion and anger between Abbott and Costello. While the skit is funny and entertaining, the intentional confusion created and maintained by the Texas Civil Commitment Office (TCCO) and Marsha McClane are far from either. In fact, you can’t make this stuff up!
WHO’S ON FIRST?
Who is on first? Who is responsible? Who is accountable? If you call Greg Abbott’s office, you will be told they have nothing to do with the Texas Civil Commitment Office. Governor Abbott appoints the Executive Director and the Board Members of the Texas Civil Commitment Office. Let’s call Texas Health and Human Services (HHS). You will be told they have nothing to do with the Texas Civil Commitment Office. The HHS manages and allocates the multi-millionaire dollars given to TCCO, and the statute for TCCO falls under the Texas Health and Human Services. Well, these guys did go to court and they are locked behind razor wire in an old prison. How about we contact the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)? Another call made; TDCJ states that they have nothing to do with TCCO. I have it figured out. I’ll call TCCO. TCCO often says that the issues are with the contracted provider, Management Training Corporation (MTC). TCCO created the contract with MTC to provide care and services to the men at the Texas Civil Commitment Center. “Hello? Is this MTC? Good. Good. Are you in charge of TCCC?” Imagine the response again. MTC only operates the facility, but issues here are managed by TCCO. We know no one will accept ownership of who is responsible for oversight and accountability of TCCO. What other State agency is accountable to no oversight? OK. Who’s on first?
WHAT’S ON SECOND?
What’s on second? What does MTC, TCCO, and the TCCC do for the men? A recent YouTube video, which has now been removed by MTC, showed Henry Atencio (no longer works at the facility) singing the praises of treatment and care by MTC at TCCC in Littlefield. The medical unit denies care, often ignores calls, and does not even offer over the counter medications for the men. In fact, 3 out of 4 local hospitals (on record) will only do emergency care because MTC refuses to pay bills or delays paying so long that no one will treat the men for preventative care. The other local hospital would not speak to us about the issue, but we know they do not offer regular care as well (an employee shared the information). Men are also getting bills for care that MTC and TCCO should be paying. State and Agency officials went to the facility this week and took pictures of the conditions and spoke to the men about care. Some of the men showed things to the visitors that they needed to go to the doctor for proper care. One man’s wrist has not been looked at or taken care of for over two years. A representative of Senator Charles Perry’s office visited the site with other agencies and state leaders and was upset by the conditions of the facility. Medical care has been pretty much non-existent unless it is an emergency that requires transport by ambulance. OK. What’s on second?
I DON’T KNOW IS ON THIRD.
I don’t know is on third. I don’t know about you but this is not treatment and rehabilitation. It has been said that TCCC will not be a warehouse for sex offenders. From what we have gathered from residents, 6 men have been released according to TCCO’s tiered treatment plan since opening in 2015 (Yes, you read that right.) In that time, 26 men have died while being committed to the TCCC. It has been said that if this program is not effective that it will be shut down. If you are four times more likely to die in civil commitment, is that effective treatment? The clinical director resigned recently. Recently, two therapists resigned due to what they call being met with resistance after doing all they could to help the men advance in the treatment program. Clinical therapy has been very sporadic and at times non-existent due to ENORMOUS staff turnover with therapists, guards, case managers and administration, curriculum changes to delay progress, and the pandemic. How do men complete a treatment program (I use the words loosely) without group and individual therapy? If no one moves up in tiers because of resistance, how does anyone complete the program? OK. I don’t know is on third.
TOMORROW IS THE PITCHER.
Tomorrow is the pitcher. Without the proper pitching, no game can be played. Mr. Schmoker, who apparently is in charge of the facility now, told a candidate during an interview that the program could be completed in 2-3 years and the men would be released. That doesn’t line up with today’s release rate over the past 6 plus years. If no one is released from treatment, does it a for-profit shadow prison make? Apparently, TCCC therapists are receiving pressure from outside providers about the lack of progress in the program for the residents. SOCCPN – Sex Offender Civil Commitment Programs Network offered advice from 19 other states for ways Texas could improve TCCO because Texas was in the bottom of ALL categories presented at the 2019 conference. However, it fell on the deaf ears of Marsha McLane (a background in criminal justice, not therapeutic treatment). She spent the rest of the afternoon and the entire next day in her hotel room while at the conference. Needless to say, none of Texas’ data about civil commitment was included in SOCCPN’s comparisons for the next year. So when does TCCO and Marsha McLane realize and admit that compared to other states, the program is lacking in many areas? OK. Tomorrow is the pitcher.
I DON’T GIVE A DARN IS THE SHORTSTOP.
I don’t give a darn is the shortstop. How long does it take to reform a failing program, Marsha? You have at least six and a half years, two outside management companies, and countless administrators, counselors, and case managers. How long before someone realizes you are warehousing men and not helping them or society? In fact, you are wasting tens of millions of dollars on a program for men that have served their time and were in a successful outpatient program. An outpatient program that was the most successful in the US and with a recidivism rate multiple times below the national average. TCCO and Marsha McLane should know all the positions by now. The men of TCCC should have effective, clinical therapy. There should be a CLEAR PATH to RELEASE for men that have spent years of their lives in preventive detention for what they might do. These men served the time handed down by a judge and jury. This is post-prison incarceration for MONEY! Marsha has said that it would not be a warehouse for sex offenders. So what do you call it, Marsha? Is it purgatory? Is it never ending punishment because of your own personal beliefs? OK. I don’t give a darn is the shortstop.
TODAY IS THE CATCHER.
Today is the catcher. What’s going on at the TCCC, with TCCO, with MTC? Yesterday, no one was answering the phone that works for TCCO. Something is going on because several representatives from state agencies and politicians visited the site asking questions and talking to residents. What are they up to now? Families should be concerned; always be concerned. Call and ask questions, but don’t count on anyone answering and acting accountable. It is usually someone else’s problem… Today is the catcher.