I personally believe it is because of the longevity of the staff at Taft - which cost more because of the thousands of years of service that the experienced workers have. If you total up the years of service of all Taft employees it would amaze you. This alone proves that it is an excellent work environment with people who work together as a team....and believe me it takes a team working together to deal with the state's most difficult youth. It is these youth and the other facilities that will suffer the most. In my opinion the juvenile justice system - institutions - will have MAJOR problems in the upcoming months after closing Taft.....just wait and see. All of the other facilities will be at maximum capacity and this will be a very DANGEROUS situation for both staff and kids. It sickens me to think what is about to happen and the injuries that will result from overcrowding and mixing younger kids with older more aggressive offenders. I am a child advocate and see this move as one that is not at all considering the well being of the kids in DCS facilities..not to mention the staff who have to deal with them daily. I wish the other facilities well and hope that I am wrong with what I think will occur. The other facilities have always depended upon Taft to help with the most disruptive kids.....it is a shame that this help will no longer be available. THIS DECISION NEEDS TO BE RECONSIDERED IMMEDIATELY and needs to be made based on SAFETY of both the kids and the staff at other facilities.
Does EVERYONE except the Governor, Commissioner and DCS Leaders see a need for Taft? It is quite clear - everyday - if you read the news, that viloent crimes are being committed by juveniles. I'm talking about murders, drive bys, gang fights, carjacking, etc. - even at some schools. If there is one place that needs to remain open it is TAFT. The people there have been dealing with these kids for years and, believe it or not, have had alot of success......the kind of success that, I believe, can only happen with an experienced staff. My hats off to the staff at this center - GREAT JOB ! I hope that you can continue to do what you do for years......help kids that are on the wrong track turn their lives around!
Surely by now everyone can see that there is a NEED for this center...Sure it cost a little to run but it seems to be saving kid's lives or at least giving them the chance to save their own. The juvenile system in Tennessee is rapidly filling up and if Taft closes the other facilities will be completely full. When institutions are at capacity there are ALWAYS problems. Are they going to swap kids between the other places on an ongoing basis or are kids not ready to return to the community going to be released early? My guess is that they will go home early and re-offend...placing the kid and the community in danger. It seems quite clear that Taft should remain open and continue to do the difficult job of managing and helping some of the most troubled and violent youth in the state. Commissioner O'Day, think about the kids !!!
Both of your comments above are true. SO SAD for the younger kids at the other facilities to be mixed with the most hard core juveniles in the state. You are also right about the Nashville newspaper - they will pick the story up when someone is badly injured.....guess they will wonder where Taft is then and realize the HUGE mistake that was made. I'm afraid it will be too late.
This is a very interesting article. I, for one, did not know that $31 million dollars was found to keep the Hardeman facility open - a CCA facility. So this is where the Juvenile Justice system is heading - starting with the girls facility in Nashville. It is ALL ABOUT THE MONEY !! How much can we SAVE by contracting out services??? SAVE MONEY - NOT KIDS !!!! I cannot believe that anyone is thinking of closing Taft Youth Center which has always dealt with the most troubled and dangerous juvenile offenders in our state. I have sat tonight and watched several of the streamlined video hearings on our government website and CANNOT believe what I am hearing..Close Taft and open a 25 bed unit in Nashville to hold the violent offenders. Who will identify these youth and what are they going to do with the other 30 to 40 violent and multiple offending youth - not to mention the GANG MEMBERS! Guess they will just put them in the other centers with the 13, 14 and 15 year old kids. Many of these violent offenders were sent to Taft from the other facilities to begin with. This will most certainly prove to be a very DANGEROUS situation. Guess we can anticipate the Department of Children Services making MAJOR headlines in the future except this time it will most probably be a result of doing away with the facility that has, for years, managed the most troubled and dangerous kids! Again, to mix younger, more vulnerable kids with street wise gang members is a DISASTER waiting to happen. Please Governor, reconsider your position on this matter....for the kids of Tennessee - the dangerous and the vulnerable. I applaud the employees of this center, along with the representatives, senators and judges for the passionate attempts they are making to save this center. Their passion in their attempts to save Taft are the same as the passion they show EVERY DAY when dealing with the states most troubled youth....SAVE LIVES-NOT MONEY !!!!!!
BRAVO Pikeville.......In time they will see and by then it will be too late.............especially for the kids!
Pikeville - it is now an official recommendation and what you have said about the BAD BOYS coming is an understatement......they have no idea what chaos this will bring on. This is a sad thing for the kids at Taft and other facilities, the employees and the communities.
Not to mention placing 18 year olds with 14 (or younger) year old kids - the first major law suit addressing this when a younger child is hurt by an 18 year old will take the 4.4 million. Taft has always been the facility who handles the older, more aggressive youth. There must be a reason for this or so many would not have been sent there for disrupting other placements. I just don't understand how things have changed so much that anyone can think there isn't a need for Taft. And privatization - It is hard for me to believe that contract agencies will even accept some of the more aggressive gang related kids. I have been in this business for years and have NEVER seen them accept multi- offending violent youth. The costs would far outway the profit!
Excellent post RebelBuck....and there are those who have stood up and fought for the right thing..especially Representatives Sexton, Harmon, Cobb and Burks...also Senator Stewart and many of our Judges. To these people, we say THANK YOU for standing up for whats right !!
Hey Realdeal...BET you could find some GREAT Taft employees to help you run it ... lol !