Gov. Perry Removes TYC From Conservatorship

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry today issued a proclamation removing the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) from conservatorship and named Cherie Townsend of Austin as executive commissioner of the agency.

TYC was placed in conservatorship in March 2007 after officials received allegations of abuse and reports of failures and wrong-doings by commission staff.

"This has been a long and difficult road for the agency, but the culture at TYC today is substantially different today than it was 18 months ago when we placed TYC in conservatorship," Gov. Perry said.  "Not only have we put measures in place - such as the creation of an Office of Ombudsman, Special Prosecution Unit and Office of Inspector General - to deter future problems, the conservator has implemented reforms spelled out in TYC reform legislation passed during the 2007 session."

The governor said he is confident that Ms. Townsend, who has comprehensive juvenile justice experience in Texas, Arizona and Nevada, will maintain credibility and sustain effective agency operations within the commission. Townsend has served as executive director of TYC since October 1.

Townsend's experience in juvenile justice spans more than three decades, including previous positions at TYC. She most recently served as director of the Clark County Juvenile Court Services in Las Vegas where she was responsible for the leadership, planning, management and delivery of court services in one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. Prior to that, she served as director of Juvenile Court Services for the Superior Court of Arizona's Juvenile Court Center in Maricopa County.

Senate Bill 103, the TYC reform legislation, changed the governing structure of the agency to an executive commissioner with an appointed advisory board. The governor is expected to announce his appointees to the board shortly.

The Texas Youth Commission provides for the care, custody, rehabilitation and reestablishment of Texas' most chronically delinquent and serious juvenile offenders, ages 10 to 19.