Lawsuit judgement reached for Crockett man and leads to TYC reform - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Lawsuit judgement reached for Crockett man and leads to TYC reform

By Donna McCollum

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE)  - He was only 14. That's when Joseph Galloway entered the Texas Youth Commission system. A six month sentence turned into five years. That's blamed on TYC's difficult rehabilitation program at the time. The teen was abused by individuals and a system.

In a 2007 interview at the time of his release Galloway said,  " I want to tell people everything. I want to tell people on in here behind the gates." At age 19, Galloway set out to do upon his release. He followed the lead of his mother, Genger Galloway.  " I had hope. And I believed. So I thought things would come to an end eventually, " reflected Galloway.  The mother played a role in exposing the TYC's mismanagement, abuse and corruption. A lawsuit asking for wide ranging reforms was won this week.

Most of the reforms are underway. They include abolishing open bay style dorms, which allowed children to be assaulted as Joseph was. It improved oversight of TYC facilities and most importantly, violent and non-violent youths are separated. Texas Civil Rights Project's Prisoners' Rights Attorney, Scott Medlock represented the young people.    " It's very important that TYC was willing to come to the table and recognize there were serious problems in their institutions and then even more important to take impressive corrective action to fix some of these problems that led to some of the more horrific abuse. "

The Galloway's victory is a victory for other young offenders. Juvenile probation officer Melanie Ramsey sends Nacogdoches County youth to TYC only as a last resort. Ramsey said,  " We're very hopeful. We think there are some great ideas out there at this point. We're just waiting to see. It's too early to see how it's really going to impact us. "

There was a monetary settlement. Four once abused teenagers receive varying shares of $625,000. Joseph, whose now 21 living in Oklahoma, will use it to buy a truck to get back and forth to work. His mother knows,  " He has a career now. He's starting his own life. " The bigger payment is a commitment that what happened to Joseph doesn't happen again to another young person.

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