DALLAS (AP) - A newspaper report says the U-S Justice Department never prosecuted any Texas Youth Commission officials despite hearing about abuse complaints for four years.
According to The Dallas Morning News:
- Attorneys in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division were told as early as January 2003 that inmates were being abused in several T-Y-C facilities. But it was not until March 2007 that
the department declared conditions at one T-Y-C unit unconstitutional.
- Federal prosecutors declined to prosecute staff accused of abusing inmates at the West Texas State School in Pyote and the Evins Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Edinburg.
One former federal prosecutor says a shifting political climate in the Justice Department at the time put less emphasis on abuse-of-authority cases.
Federal prosecutors says they were constrained by narrowly drawn laws and insufficient evidence. They sharply disputed suggestions about being weak on civil rights enforcement.
The newspaper says more than 2,000 allegations of staff abusing inmates were confirmed from January 2003 to December 2006.
The troubled T-Y-C that is now undergoing sweeping reforms enacted by the Legislature.