All I can say is “wow”. The Haslam administration is obviously not concerned about anyone at all. Not the juveniles or their families, not the communities these students will be turned back into, not the employees at Taft, NO ONE. The bottom line is lets save money no matter what the cost is; no matter whom it effects. This seems like such a closed minded approach and decision to the situation.
Wow … what difference does it make if you are Democrat or Republican? Seriously!! Right is right and wrong is wrong. And it is wrong to close Taft. There is no other way of putting it!! Just like Pikeville said, BOTH parties have tried to close it in the past. It has nothing to do with D or R at all. It’s all about the money; not the kids, not the staff, nothing but the money; the money that is going to be made from privatization. Wait and see. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say that it makes no sense to close which is obviously the best institution. The state of TN’s own stats shows that Taft is the best for the students. I thought we were in this for rehabilitation! Obviously not because they want to close the place that has the best results with rehabilitating these young men. It just makes no sense.
First they started out with they are "building a crosswalk for Taft employees to Southeast Regional Correctional Facility". Now it's "Officials additionally say that they are trying to time the end of employment at Taft so that those who will lose their jobs can seek employment at the nearby Bledsoe County Correctional Complex..." HUH? Which is it? Are they helping the employees get employment there or not? The emlpoyees at Taft are still hopeful that something will turn in their favor and keep the facility open so they don't lose their jobs they have strived so hard to be good at.
Wow, is all I can say. You've done it again, Mr. Cook. Such an awesome article! And as for the posts on here, I agree with ALL with the exception of LaughingBoy. My guess is you either work in Nashville, you are an offended person from another facility, or you just simply have no clue at all. The employees at Taft have a reason for their confidence in their jobs and that is the success rate of the students who leave there. That speaks louder than anything in my opinion. And for the record you can not “teach” personality traits. Sorry to burst your bubble. The kind of job that is done at Taft, not everyone can do. It takes a special kind of person to do it. And as far as being “goons” well, if that’s what it is called then that’s what it is called. But keep in mind that it does not change the fact that the “goons” that work at Taft do a better job. And THAT, LaughingBoy, is FACT. The goal is to turn the young men around and show them a better way of life. And the recidivism rate of 3% proves that is what Taft does. Your own state statistics shows Taft is the best .…
On a different note, Woodland Hills (as stated above) transferred 129 students to Taft in a 5 yr period; if you do the math, that’s one student about every 14 days!! Wow! That’s a lot of students when you think about it! I’m not saying the other institutions do a bad job AT ALL. I’m saying Taft is a tool for them that they have used for years and years. If that tool is removed, what will they do with the student that assaults and injures staff members, violently assaults other students in custody, bullies them, extorts them, etc? … Where will those students be placed to keep the others safe? New Visions? They have wooden doors, no fence, no control cells, … This does not make sense at all. If Taft does close, I hope the end result is NOT like Oklahoma; for the sake of the staff at the other institutions. Because those staff did not ask for this just like the staff at Taft did not ask to lose their jobs. I just hope they don’t end up being the ones to pay the price for it. =(
With all the youth and parent news articles and Mr. Cook telling it how it is, you would think that Haslam and O’Day would get a clue! I bet they don’t even read any of the articles OR the comments that the citizens put on them. They seem to just not care about the kids or how this will effect them AND the future juveniles that will not even have the option of Taft’s benefits. I do understand, to a point, of Mr. Haslam running each department like a business and each commissioner being the “CEO” of that business. But at some point don’t you think it would be time for the “Board of Directors” to be able to see that they are being made a fool of? It’s time to stop the nonsense, the lies, the deceit, the manipulation, etc. Closing Taft is obviously not about the money of the state. That has been basically proven. When this whole thing started it was because the buildings were supposedly dilapidated and that was found to be not true. Then it went to Taft being the most expensive to operate and that was also found to be not true. And now it’s just the basic fact that the state needs to cut so much percent and the DCS department decided to take out their part all in one hunk rather than spreading it out. They need to listen to what everyone has to say instead of being so closed minded about their decision. Especially from a woman who thinks there is no difference between a dependant/neglected child and a juvenile justice kid. That in itself tells everyone that she did NOT do her homework before making this decision. That leads me to wonder how many other decisions have been made without a second thought or without merit or investigation… DO THE HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU MAKE RASH DECISIONS!!
I really enjoy reading your articles and coverage of Taft Youth Center, Mr. Cook. Keep up the good work and i hope you write more. I love seeing it told just like it really is. I also enjoy reading all the comments. Soooo much truth in each and every one.
I honestly believe that where a lot of the mistake is commissioners being appointed into that position that has NO Juvenile Justice experience. I do realize they need to be savvy with foster care too because we have been senselessly placed in the same category. But the fact still remains that they need some sort of knowledge that JJ kids and Foster Care kids are two different breeds. Sure, some of them may have been in foster care before but once they cross that line and start breaking the law, joining gangs, robbing people, stealing cars, sex crimes, murder and MORE! Once a child crosses that line it takes a special team to interviene and be able to turn him back around and show him what he can accomplish and the person he can become. That special team has been Taft Youth Center for many many years. Now they want to take it away. You would expect someone that is in charge of all kids in states custody would not want to do away with the best tool she has for the Juvenile Justice Division.
Mr. Cook, you tell it like it is and I think it is awesome.
And I definitely agree with the unanswered questions. She is making herself AND Mr. Haslam look like fools and I don't even think he cares!! Everytime she is approached with a question, all she can say is “I don’t have that in front of me”, “I’ll check into it”, "I don't have the answer to that right now", “I will get back with you”. What DOES she know? I think if I were Mr. Haslam I would expect someone that make $12,700 PER MONTH to know more than she does! Oh, and tax payers, you got that right. The salary is no misprint. And your tax money pays that!
Drew Lindsey is just ONE example of what comes out of Taft. The recidivism rate shows that. And as the article said, (in so many words)it is STILL going to cost the state money! You save in one department and spend more in another department... HOW IS THAT GOOD "BUSINESS"!? If Taft isn't around to make the difference it makes then the juveniles will recommnit crimes and eventually go to prison or jail where the tax payers will STILL have to pay to keep them up!!
Awesome article. That is a fact. Governor Haslam will never visit Taft though. He has had several opportunities and many invitations to do so and hasn't done it yet.
Judging from reading this article, it seems they are just moving the money from one department to another. I mean, if it's going to save DCS money to close Taft, then won't it end up costing DOC more money in the long run if they close it? Seriously?! The article makes A LOT of sense!!.. If Taft is no longer around with the lowest recidivism rate, then the rate of re-offending will go up and they will be going to jail! How is that helping the state? So maybe, judging from this, it is true that it is not the STATE that is going to benefit from it. hmmmm.. something to ponder.
I think GC said it best, "SAVE MONEY - NOT KIDS!!" is very obviously the intent here or Taft would not even be considered to close. And as for the Deputy Commissioner Albert Dawson, I would say that he was told not to be there so no questions could be answered to be honest. After all he IS the Juvenile Justice YDC Specialist, right? HA!!! I wonder if he will show in a week and a half when it is set to be met on again. hmmmmm.. I will definitely be anticipating the meeting to see what happens this time. I sure hope more questions are answered. The only thing that was able to be answered was an obviously prepared answer to "Why Taft". Of course, the answer wasn't the truth AT ALL!
Wow, really? A .2% tax cut on groceries? LOL!!! No one will ever notice that cut!! Sorry, that decision is about as smart as the decision to close Taft. It all looks good on paper, I'm sure.. saving money for the state while adding money to the pockets of the already rich. And at the same time, it puts students and staff in other institutions as well as the surrounding counties in danger. That just sounds like a really "wise" decision, doesn't it? REALLY?? According to reports, Mr. Haslam also alotted $31 million dollars to rebuild a PRIVATELY OWNED prison! After a handsome "donation" was made to his election campaign that is. So, the state can afford to alott money to privately owned prison's but they can't afford to APPROPRIATELY take care of the kids that are in their custody? WOW, is all I can say! Wise? nah.