O'Day and Haslam have an agenda here and it involves privatization of this kind of work. Most of her experience is through private child welfare agencies. Haslam mistakenly believes that private providers will be able to provide the same or better service than state employees. While I am often quick to point out the failings in state employees, he is mistaken if he believes outsourcing in this manner will save money.
The bottom line is their bottom line. To hell with rehabilitation or producing better outcomes for juvenile offenders.The bottom line is DCS has limited options to cut their budget because they are still under the Brian A. Settlement Agreement. But news flash...that federal lawsuit and settlement does not include the Juvenile Justice program. Therefore, they are targeting the area that is not being monitored through a lawsuit.
This will only produce temporary savings. Taft is the only YDC that actually provides treatment and rehabilitation for juvenile offenders. Unless they bolster services at the other YDCS, which I can assure you will not happen, the state will just wind up paying for these offenders once they reach the adult system.
Mr. Dawson may be a nice guy but he was a disaster as Superintendent of Woodland Hills and should have been fired for his ineffectiveness. But alas, that is not the way DCS operates. Instead, he was promoted and put in charge of the very facilities he proved incapable of running. Some may look at his continued employment as ignorance by those in charge and not knowing what is needed but that is not true. Mr. Dawson got moved to where he is today so that he can take the fall later on. Rest assured, when reality comes crashing down, Mr. Dawson will be thrust out front and center as the person responsible. And O'Day will do all she can to distance herself from the responsibility. Because the general public has a short memory in these matters, she will probably get away with it too.
Taft may very well be the oldest facility of its kind in the state but that does not mean the proposed improvements and costs are accurate. I believe their most recent re-accreditation with ACA shows that the facilities are adequate to remain open. Aside from that, I go to Taft every year for a service review and they are without question, the best YDC in the state. There are in fact 4 male facilities and 1 female facility currently. When Taft closes, there will only be 3 male facilities and the state will lose the most successful YDC they have.
Do I believe the rumors about possible privatization with CCA? You bet I do. That seems to be the MO for this governor and his cabinet. Since I don't know much about other areas, I won't speak on whether or not privatization is the right call for other programs but I can say that it is a bad decision when you are talking about child welfare and juvenile justice programs. There is so much red taps already when you deal with DCS because local court systems are involved. You only increase the log jam when you contract out services but still have a state agency responsible for outcomes. And from my core, I also see a tremendous conflict of interest when you privatize incarceration and correctional duties to a company like CCA. In the end you are talking about a company that benefits from keeping facilities full so I question their motivation for rehabilitation.
In the end, O'Day and Haslam erred in June when they closed DCS group homes, citing the operations as a duplication of services already provided by contracted group homes. This in the end was a total lie. Many students in those group homes had completed programs at YDCs and because of their age and status had to return to the YDCs because no contracts were in place to provide necessary services. This is an example of cost-cutting with no regard towards the impact. And that will be seen again if Taft is closed. Haslam and O'Day may believe money will be saved but ultimately, with unacceptable treatment and programs in place, those juveniles will wind up in the adult system and the state will pay anyway. Congratulations on yet ANOTHER wrong decision.