State closing Crockett State School

AUSTIN, TX (KTRE) - Around 200 Houston County employees will be looking for new jobs following a decision by the state Friday to close the Crockett State School.

The Texas Youth Commission board announced the decision to close the Crockett facility, as well as facilities in Beaumont and Brownwood as a way to cushion the $116.9 million budget cut.

The TYC board did not give a specific reason as to why it's axing the Crockett facility.

"There was no one reason why the Crockett State School was selected," said Jim Hurley, the director of Public Affairs for TYC, in a telephone interview on Friday. "There were a number of factors that were considered for each facility, including going forward, which facilities would best meet the needs of the Texas Youth Commission."

Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt was one of the representatives at a hearing on Friday who had a chance to argue why it should be saved.

"It is certainly a severe blow to the economy, no doubt about that," Hunt said. "One of the things the commission said it was considering was the local economic impact but I don't really think they placed enough weight on that. These are jobs that we just simply cannot replace right now."

"Since they closed the Crockett and Beaumont units, that leaves nothing for the eastern half of the state," Hunt said.  "The closest now are Corsicana or the McClennan unit. I don't think that's a good idea. The closest they are, the greater the opportunity to involve the parents in the rehabilitation of the kids."

Youth transfers from facilities scheduled for closure will begin this month and be completed by the end of July.  No releases to parole will occur simply because of facility closure. Staff at the affected facilities will be given opportunities to transfer to similar positions at other TYC facilities where job vacancies exist.

Currently, 111 youth inmates are housed at the Crockett State School. The facility's staff works to create a new future for delinquent youths.

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