TYC Executive Director Showcases Plans at UTPB

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

Odessa, Texas- TYC employees who feared the worst, received some good news, Wednesday. The Facility in Pyote will remain open.

Acting Executive director Dimitria Pope met with nearly a hundred employees at UTPB to talk about agency wide changes.

"We knew changes were coming but our main thing was, are we going to be here to be a part of that change?" said Ed Lopez, a dorm supervisor at WTSSP. Lopez along with other TYC employees packed into a room in the Library at UTPB.

"We've had a hard time hiring people because no one is applying because no one knows if we're going to be open," said Lopez.

"Basically, it's a complete overhaul of the agency and what we want to do is get out into the field and talk to the employees face to face and help them understand some of these changes because they are significant," said Spokesperson Tim Savoy.

The TYC now has an office of the Inspector General with the power to investigate and build criminal cases against employees, who commit crimes.

"What we're going to to do is do an assessment of all of the eleven remaining campuses, a needs assessments, a vulnerability assessment, safety structure. How does this particular campus fit into the the program? The lens we are going to be using; what is best for the kids?" said Savoy.

The agency will also reduce the ratio of staff to youth inmates in half, to twelve inmates per staff member. The TYC will no longer house inmates older than 19 years old.

"The biggest headline out of here obviously is the situation that happened at the West Texas State school where we had some staff members that had inappropriate relationships with students so that immediately brings up safety for the kids. That's a huge theme, in this package of changes there are a number of things that address that," said Savoy.

For those people who worked behind the barbed wire, those headlines turned to heartache.

"The youth weren't the only victims, we were all victimized too. It was sad, we took it hard too. It's not over but I am glad we're kind of getting past that now start off fresh," said Lopez.