published Monday, February 27th, 2012

Cook: Let’s send Governor Bill Haslam to Taft Youth Center

David Cook

Just ask Drew Lindsey.

“I’d still be out on the streets. Selling drugs. Robbing people,” he said.

Before you learn about Lindsey’s past, let’s pause for a little math. According to the Tennessee Department of Correction, it costs $23,000 to incarcerate someone each year in Tennessee, and the average sentence for a criminal with a primary drug offense is six years.

So jailing Lindsey for selling drugs would cost about $138,000.

If along the way he shoots someone — or a bullet finds him — add in an additional $50,000, which is the estimated cost of life-long care for a gunshot victim.

Still got room on your paper? Because we still need to multiply in the emotional and psychological violence inflicted on any innocent victim. A family that gets caught up in some drug transaction gone sour. Anyone that gets robbed. Or harmed.

How do you put a price tag on feeling safe?

How much do we value a place that can deter Lindsey from such violence?

Today, Lindsey lives in Lewisburg. He adores his 2-year-old daughter, is interviewing for a factory job and going to college to become a barber. No more drugs, no more robberies.

How’d it happen?

In 2010, after being arrested for aggravated robbery, he went to Taft Youth Center in Bledsoe County.

It’s the one place Gov. Bill Haslam plans on closing.

“They’re shutting down the wrong facility,” Lindsey said.

At Taft, he found mentors, earned his diploma, graduated from parenting class, obtained landscaping and welding certification and joined a church.

The officials at Taft “will go out of their way to make sure you have what you need to do good and be successful in life. I know that for a fact,” he said.

Taft has the lowest recidivism rate — 3 percent — among all state youth centers. It houses 86 students. Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, calls them “the meanest of the mean.”

So if Taft transforms 83 out of 86 Lindsey-like lives away from violence and back toward wholeness, why in the name of Buford Pusser would Haslam want to shut it down?

“Government cannot always be efficient,” said Cobb. “It is for people who want help, need help and deserve help. It’s also for the protection and health and safety of the general public. It’s not about putting a dollar value.”

I believe what we’re seeing is the privatization of our juvenile justice system. The Corrections Corporation of America — a billion-dollar private prison corporation — is based in Nashville and has donated to Haslam’s campaign.

While Haslam was running for governor, CCA President and CEO Damon Hininger donated $2,000 to his campaign, while CCA itself made the maximum donation: $7,500.

CCA makes no money off Taft, but would if it were closed and a private facility opened.

There’s still a chance. When the budget comes before the Legislature later this spring, Cobb hopes to have enough bipartisan support to include funding to keep Taft open.

“Minority Leader Mike Turner told me, ‘If you deliver the Republicans then I’ll deliver 100 percent of Democrats against taking Taft out of the budget,’” Cobb said. “We’ve got a 50-50 chance.”

How much of a chance do Taft employees have?

“They’ve got them over a barrel,” said Kaylon Luttrell, who recently retired from Taft after nearly 27 years as a case manager. “Most of the people there either lumber or cattle or cut grass on the side. They have to work two jobs to provide for their families.”

Luttrell said her former co-workers are heroic, helping to transform kids who have “never had a chance from Day One.”

“Basically, you’re kind of like their parents,” she said. “It is not just a job. We don’t go there for the pay. It’s a calling.”

Like Robert Worthington, the longtime coach and mentor at Taft. Before we hung up, I asked Lindsey if he wanted to say anything else about Taft. He paused, as if looking back toward a place far away, and two words came from his mouth: Coach Worthington.

“Coach is the biggest motivator in Taft. He doesn’t want to see anybody do bad,” Lindsey said. “He’s hard on you because he knows you can do better. He wants to see you do better.”

Sounds like Haslam could use some time with Coach Worthington.

David Cook can be reached at davidcook@blumail.org.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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pikeville said...

Bravo Mr. Cook for once again telling it like it is!! What wasn't mentioned in this story is that Mr. Lindsey was to transfered Taft from Woodland Hills, who couldn't handle him. He was to assaultive,to destructive. When sent to TYC Mr. Lindsey becomes a shining success!!! Wonder why? My hats off to coach Worthington, Coach Smith and all the staff at this remarkable facility. Hopefully the Represenitives won't let this closeing happen. I also agree with Mr. Cook; Governor Haslam himself needs sent to Taft. I'll bet they could even rehabilitate him.

February 27, 2012 at 9:05 p.m.
outthere said...

It's hard to convince a dictator style businessman that it's NOT about making another fortune off of kids that need an education more than anything else in this world, IT'S ABOUT KIDS!!! Mr. Cook is so absolutely correct. Haslem and O'Day are arranging a new business for themselves..Juevenile corrections. They obviously DON'T care about the kids, only their pocket. Mr. Lindsey made a fantastic change in his own life, with the help of some dedicated employees. He was given the guidance he needed, and he took "the ball, and ran with it". Kudos to Mr. Lindsey, and bigger kudos to those staff members that pushed him to get his education, and self confidence. Haslem and O'Day set in their offices, or run all over the state, but won't actually come to Taft to see the miracles happen. SHAME ON YOU! Keep this place of miricles OPEN! The kids need more miracles!

February 27, 2012 at 9:32 p.m.
BigTafter said...

It is always awesome to hear that a child has turned his life around. I wonder if Lindsey requested a face to face with O'Day if she would continue to deny him the way that she denied him a graduation ceremony?

February 27, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.
outthere said...

Mr. Haslem, Ms. O'Day..WHAT IS A CHILD'S WORTH???? Would the parent of a child say that their child is worth let's say a thousand dollars? a hundred thousand?? five hundred thousand?? As a parent, there is NO price that anyone can place on a childs life, on their education, their ability to provide for themselves when the parent sends their child out into the world. How in the world can you even consider placing a price tag on these kids????

February 27, 2012 at 9:44 p.m.
BigTafter said...

I still believe that O'Day needs to come in an spend some time as a new officer at Taft. The Taft boys can see straight through a lie. They also get very upset when they are lied to, so I wonder how long she could handle it on campus before leaving in fear?

February 27, 2012 at 9:54 p.m.
GC said...

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 !!!

February 27, 2012 at 10:01 p.m.
MyLifeSpeaks said...

Mr. Cook you are absolutely correct. The employees of Taft Youth Center are far more than state employees. They are educators, motivators, and mentors to these young men. Mr. Lindsey is a prime example of what Woodland Hills does to its students that cause problems. But what they call destructive and problems, the employees at Taft see as potential. Mr. Lindsey shows that no student that comes to Taft is just "WAREHOUSED". This is what haslam and o'day want to do with these young men. Haslam and O'Day are out to pad their own pockets with taxpayer money. They've never met Drew Lindsey or any of the employees at Taft and they don't want to. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK TAFT EMPLOYEES! Mr. Cook has written some good articles about Taft. I am sure the Taft employees would like to meet him. Good job Mr. Cook.

February 27, 2012 at 10:22 p.m.
pikeville said...

GC, This is the only adimiistration i've ever seen who say nothing about the best interest of the youth. Look at wsmv.com in Nashville and see whats happening on the foster/ dependent neglect side. Case manergers are comming forward with heads covered like people who have been charged with hanius crimes just to tell their story. The story they are telling is that of neglect and downright abuse that is happening at the hands of this administration. They are releasing kids back to abusive households and the kids are being abused again. Over 200 last year!!! I guess when Kate told Gov. Haslam there was no differance in a Dependant Neglect child and a JJ kid, she meant she didn't give a damn about either one!!! Come on Public Officials do your job! Come on Tennessean is the money Haslam paying you worth 1 of these kids lives? All of you should be ashamed!! Especially you Albert Dawson you know better. Surely you don't think your 9000 a month is worth a kids life?

February 27, 2012 at 10:43 p.m.
Tn3mom said...

Thanks, Mr. Cook for a very well written and well researched article about Taft Youth Center. I am very disappointed and disgusted with the way Governor Haslam has ignored the will of his constituents and has accepted Commissioner O'Day's faulty recommendation that closing Taft will be an efficient way to cut spending. She has yet to produce any data that is indisputable. What do we have to do to get an audience with the Governor? This issue is very disturbing in many ways. All of the area Juvenile Judges are united in voicing their strong disapproval of TYC closing. Our state Representatives and Senators have been very active in keeping TYC open. ( Both Republicans and Democrats). I can speak for the people here in Pikeville and Bledsoe County who are outraged at the way O'Day has acted so callously regarding the G.E.D graduation ceremony that was suddenly and without warning cancelled. Those kids deserve better! O'Day should be held accountable for her unprofessional behavior and attitude concerning this whole stinking mess! Mr. Cook, please continue to investigate this. There is something rotten in Nashville! It should be exposed for what it is. There are too many unanswered questions regarding Taft. I know that the employees out there are dedicated to those kids. The teachers are excellent. The Security Guards are well trained and do a superb job. Our Governor should go to Taft and have a meeting with all of the staff, the teachers, and the students. Their lives are going to be forever affected by his decision. He should at least have all the facts presented to him.

February 27, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.
Crossville said...

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.

February 28, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

This is an excellent article that once again shows why Taft is such a great institution and a vital service for Tennessee. Not only should Taft not close, we should be opening more places like it across the country.

That being said, why is anyone surprise? Haslam is a businessman first. He's always been quite proud of that fact. That's what we get when we elect people who see nothing but an opportunity for private investment. It's sad that he's unwilling to see that Taft more than pays for itself in turning potential life-long criminals into productive members of society.

February 28, 2012 at 9:53 p.m.
pikeville said...

Now they not only want to close Taft. They are closing the TRICOR milk processing plant and moveing it to Nashville. This is going to put at least 5 people out of work. Some of these people have 25+years. They are actually saying they can milk the cows on the farm, truck the milk to Nashville for peocessing,and truck it back cheaper. There is no way this is TRUE!! Remember the TRICOR farm gets their water and electricity free because Taft pays the bill. These 5 people arn't important to Haslam just like the 200 positions at Taft arn't. DCS isn't the only department that tells the public and faithful employees LIES. I guess CCA dosn't want to pay those utilities? I'll bet you those tanker trucks will be useing Pilot fuel though. This administration is nothing more than a playground bully running roughshod over anyone they want. I'm greatful for anyone who stands up to them. On election day hopefuly the citizens won't won't re elect a man who rapes rual Tennessee all in the name of pocket money!!

February 29, 2012 at 6:41 a.m.
JustNotRight said...

Haslam is so big on putting people out of jobs they have done well for years - I say let's hit him where it hurts. BOYCOTT PILOT!!!!!! I will never again set foot in a Pilot gas station. Pass the word along to your friends and neighbors.

Apparently he is like his buddy Romney who doesn't care about the poor people - Haslam cares for neither the staff nor the kids who benefit from Taft.

I will have a really hard time supporting a Republican again (with the exception of those who actually are helping the people at Taft and care about people more than politics or their pocket) and will never support one who says run government like a business. Government is for the people not for the profit.

The people at Taft cannot believe anything they say. They claim there are comparable jobs with comparable pay at the prison for them. The prison is putting their own people in any decent job they have and will start Taft employees at the bottom with huge pay cuts. At least half the people at Taft will not have a job at the prison unless they are willing to go into the military style security system at the bottom of the salary range after working 15-30 years helping kids and working their way up the ladder.

It would be great if a recall election could put him and his good buddy Kate O'Day out of a job too! The number of outright lies they have propogated about Taft is astounding even for politicians. They have absolutely no credibility left. They're certainly not there to serve the people of Tennessee!!!

BOYCOTT PILOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 29, 2012 at 9:40 a.m.
anniebelle said...

It only goes to show what a Republician, any Republician will do. They always go for money for themselves and their big bucks donors. You can bet some of his 'buddies' have an interest in prisons. There are big bucks to be made on prisons, and that is all they want - more prisoners - more money (blood money) - how sick the GOP has become!

February 29, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.
RealDeal said...

Excellent article Mr. Cook! There is one very important component that I would like to emphasize to anyone who is reading this editorial and the comments. TEAMWORK plays a major part in Taft's ability to do so much with so little. If the employees at Taft didn't have the teamwork, loyalty, cohesiveness, and dedication that it does, we would not have the outstanding results that we have.

We try our best to lead by example, at least to the best of our ability. For DECADES now, we have recieved little to no support from our 'leaders' in Central Office. They have been trying to close Taft for a number of years, and because the powers that be think now is the time to strike, they are doing just that!

As I have said all along, this move will impact the students we serve, but it will have every taxpayer in a choke hold. Why? Because of the privitization, the greed, and the lack of knowledge so many of our 'leaders' seem to not have. Not only do they not have the knowledge they need, they have NO desire to learn anything. When they were asked about their 'fuzzy math', it was like "oh well, we lied" and that was OK. Well, it's not OK and it never will be!

If this administration doesn't wake up and smell the coffee, Tennessee will sink faster than the titanic did. I've always been taught that the best indicator of the future is to take a look at the past. Well, looking at the past, there was another administration that got in on the ground floor of privitization (CCA), and those former DOC/DYD/DCS have made tons of money! And with what they are doing, this will continue.

Also, I can honestly say we have had more support from our state representatives, senators, and juvenile judges than we have our own professional organization TSEA or Tennessee State Employees Association! I'm sure TSEA has an inside track on what is to come in the future. And for the other juvenile facilities, you had better fasten your seatbelts because if they get rid of Taft today, it won't be too long until they set their sites on you...Wilder, MVYDC, and the ones in Nashville that seem to be so problematic!

I've always said that one can't think using logic when it comes to government in Tennessee, and I believe that more now than ever before! I can only hope and pray that something, somewhere, somehow will ring the bell that wakes up the powers that be who appear to lack sense enough to get in out of the rain.

Here we go again....taxpayers getting screwed without benefit of a kiss. Kids victimized AGAIN like they have been most of their lives, and employees getting beat down in the dirt for being dedicated, caring, loyal, and excellent in the jobs they do.

Yea, way to go Haslam, O'Day, Dawson and company. How do you ever sleep at night?

February 29, 2012 at 5:07 p.m.
annie53 said...

It appears that the students as well as the lowest recidivism rate of 3 percent are not important. Counselors, teachers, security, community are not important. Questions regarding the budget, capacity, reassignments, are not being answered. Responses are “I don’t have that in front of me”, “I’ll check into it”, “I will get back with you”, “I don’t know”. Responses to the facility are totally incorrect and have been asked repeatedly. PRIVATIZATION must be the plan because it certainly isn’t the students or personnel at Taft. Hats off and support to the bipartisan group that has stepped up and continues to question this matter. And a big thank you to you Mr. Cook for your article and calling it for what is obviously is…….about the dollar.

February 29, 2012 at 5:33 p.m.
GC said...

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!

February 29, 2012 at 7:18 p.m.
employee said...

This is a great article... thanks Mr Cook and Drew Lindsey. The truth is out there. Bring Kate and Bill to Taft and put them on the front lines in a blueshirt.. Then lets see how fast they want to close it!

February 29, 2012 at 8:16 p.m.
pikeville said...

Real Deal and GC, once again you've hit the nail on the head. First they say its because 25 no 28 no 37 million dollars in upgrades are needed. Then Jim Cobb, Cameron Sexton, Eric Stewart, Charlotte Burkes,Bill Harmon,Howard Upcurch, Jimmy Mckinzie, Tommy Austin, and Sam Benningfield make liars of them. Then they changed their lie. The department was not efficient enough running at 69 percent capacity. Then Eric Stewart called her out and made her admit she was skewing the numbers referring to the number of beds at each facility. What she failed to mention is the facilities were running at over 90% of the budgeted capacity. Wilder has 156 beds budgeted for 108, Woodland Hills ,the biggest joke and waste of money in state history, and Mountain View which is a very good facility have 144 beds, and budgeted for 120 WHYDC and 108 MVYDC. Taft Youth Center who all the facilities call when they have a bad boy has 230 beds and is budgeted for 96. Are you starting to see what lies this Governor is helping his wife's friend get away with?

Now they've reverted back to the 5% budget cuts the Honorable Governor Haslam has asked for. What better way to set the stage and prove that state run JJ centers don't work? Oh yea close the best one. Let the rest explode!! What they fail to mention is a level 4 student costs about 500 dollars a day to house in private provider networks. I'm sure the wont mention it either. What are their potential earnings with 400 students in private provider placements. Oh yea, they are residential!! Meaning in your neighborhood!!

If the real issue was saving the taxpayers money, they would assess the department as a whole. Pick the one who performs the worst, and move their students to Taft and save 11 million dollars a year, and help over 100 kids. This also brings the cost per day for Taft to 180 dollars. Governor Haslam and Kate O'Day may ignorant to the JJ system, its evident their something. Albert Dawson on the other hand has worked for DCS for 30+ years. He took over at Woodland Hills as Superintendent in 2006. During the time he served in this role up to mid 2011 when he sucked his way into the Dept. Commissioners slot he holds today. He sent more disruptive students to Taft than Wilder and MVYDC combined. Need Taft as Superintendent when you run the least effective YDC in the nation, Close Taft when you move to the Cordell Hull bldg. and are on the verge of retirement with a cushy 9000 dollar a month salary. If all Legislators and the public can't see what going on here they need to get an eye exam. Come on people stand from the highest roof top and scream LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!! Lets expose these modern day train robbers for what they are. Pieces of S---!!!!

February 29, 2012 at 8:34 p.m.
annie53 said...

Placing older students with younger students is still a big concern. If I had a child in a facility this would worry me deeply and it should worry the parties that be who want to put them together. Another question that hasn't been answered either is what is the price tag on converting New Visions (if possible)to a male center for Taft's most violent offenders? Taxpayers will be paying for it.

February 29, 2012 at 9:13 p.m.
gameday63 said...

Amen Pikeville said !! Its too bad they can't get their heads out of their butts to see what is really going on. or what will happen when they close us. tennessee will be the big loser on this and all the lawsuits to follow wil be paid with our tax dollars.. TOO SAD.

February 29, 2012 at 9:37 p.m.
smoke14 said...

If this is about saving $ for the state. Then here is my plan go back to checking the density on the asphalt on the state hwys ,every new rd the state paves now sinks an comes apart.If you look at the figures for paving there is a lot of $ being spent an then more $ to patch the rd..So Im thinking the Taft closing is due to a kick back for some of these elected people ,its a huge mistake ..These workers need these jobs an the boys need this chance to start all over. The other places dont have the track record as Taft does..If They close Taft it be another mistake this gov Haslam will be making..just remember these topics when time to re-elect...

February 29, 2012 at 9:44 p.m.
ashley26 said...

After being incarcerated myself, i would think that it would be in the best intrest of the kids to have them in a stable and firm fair and consistent enviroment, we all know the track record with the education program at Taft, so why and go and mess-up a good thing. just dont get. has to be political and money changing hands somewhere thats what the big problem we have in america now everyone here has their hand out no matter the service u receive or the quality it doesnt matter as long as someone is getting their share all is fine and dandy. Well ive done my time for society and it was one of the best things to ever happen to me to get my life back on track so i know it takes a great institution to acheive what i received at the time i just know that Oday and Haslam will be short-changing our youth well guess if u cant reach them now will PAY FOR IT LATER ONE WAY OR ANOTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 29, 2012 at 9:50 p.m.
Crossville said...

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!!

February 29, 2012 at 9:58 p.m.
arrowspaint said...

Thank you Mr.Cook for your great article and thank you pikeville for saying the truth as it is....Good Luck to you Mr. Lindsey with your future i wish you success.....For anyone looking for a job i hear a major job fair is in the works at stsrcf its nice to know that they let the public know about it but taft once again wasnt informed...Lier lier pants on fire for real

February 29, 2012 at 10:15 p.m.
pikeville said...

Crossville, I'll tell you why Ms. O'Day can't answer any questions. It's because she comes from the "Private Sector" where she has never dealt with a REAL CRIP or a REAL BLOOD!! that has lived their lives since they were in diapers on the street, and survival of the fittest was the way of life. There is and always has been a way to get through to these boys, but it takes experience and dedication and a desire to help someone other than yourself. Shortly after Haslams' tenure began he brought in Ms. O'Day. Realizing she was out of her element she hired an "expert" in Juvenile Justice; Albert Dawson.

Mr. Dawson was present at a Finance hearing just before the House Government Operations hearing last month. At the Gov. Ops hearing Mr. Dawson was AWOL. Why? Because he knew Rep. Cobb, Sexton, and Turner had the answers to questions he had LIED about. Rep. Sexton even directed one of Ms. O'Days outrange to find Mr. Dawson and get him to the hearing room. After Ms. O'Day answered "I don't know" or "I don't have that information here" for over an hour, Mr. Juvenile Justice Expert Dawson was still nowhere to be found. To bad Ms. O'Days retriever didn't look under his desk!! He knew what was coming and his Boss allowed him to go hide and deprive over 200 citizens answers to the questions they deserved to hear.

I hope RepTurner and Harmon can come through, and Rep Cobb and Sexton come through!! Then we can show this Dictator style administration; Just because we come from Rural Tennessee doesn't mean you can hike your leg and use us as a fire hydrant.

Taft does the BEST JOB the numbers show it!! Leave them alone and let them help the kids who have been the fire hydrant all their lives.

Taft teaches them to be men, be responsible for their actions, get an education, stand alone and say "I can succeed by myself instead of with my Gang".

When they walk out the gate or off the Football field they can hold their head high. They've earned what they have, and I'll guarantee you none of them would hide under a desk!!!

They are Taft Tigers!!!!

February 29, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.
doodle said...

Hey Pikeville, quit insulting train robbers.They have the guts to tell to you " This is a robbery, were taking your money"!These parasites are stealing in the name of good goverment.I hope the taxpayers paid attention to the increased spending for UT,UTC,and all the satelite facilities. I'm all for education,but how many pizza delivery people with a colledge degree does Tennessee need.I know 3. The new educational building's will create constuction job oppertunities. Ma Kate and Big Al could tout the construction vocational programs at Taft and help these young men get a job.It's not about helping these students anymore. It's about haulin em to KIDS-R-US and handing over bags of money. Then run to the back door to get their cut and say"When these boys get to old will bring you some more'. Anybody got some Tylenol' DCS gives me a headache!

March 1, 2012 at 12:18 a.m.
RebelBuck said...

I agree with everyone that has commented on this article. Mr. Cook you have hit the nail on the head. This all boils down to making money not helping kids. If Taft were to close and these boys go to the other three institutions what does O'Day and Dawson plan to do when these boys tear these places apart? Because it will happen. We are proof of that, we house some of the students that these other three places can't handle. If Woodland or Mt. View has a kid that they can't handle if Taft were to close, what are they going to do with him. They can no longer threaten him with sending him to Taft. For years we have been a dumping ground for the other three facilities, taking in these "wayward youth" and turned them into productive citizens of this state. In the words of George Jones, "Who's Gonna Fill There Shoes" once Taft is gone. I encourage everyone to support Taft Youth Center in staying open, helping these young men and helping the fine folks that work there.

March 1, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.
voice said...

I retired from Taft & know first hand it's value to both the children & the communities of Pikeville, Spencer, & Crossville. MVYDC, WYDC & Espically WHYDC have sent there worst to Taft since they have been open what is the DCS going to do when this happens & no Taft Officer can be called to drive to Nashville at 2:00am to take away there problem? Several Years back the students at WHYDC rioted & Metro Nashville Police had to be called in with weapons & riot gear to control the students, it was all over the news for days, Taft send 3 vans to Nashville, got every single student ( appox 13 in all ) brought those to taft & never had a problem with those same kids here. Where are those kinds of problems going to be dealt with when Taft is closed? Where are the 6 feet 3 inch 265 pound 17 year old kids that have been locked up since he was 12 going to go, if he stays at whydc, mvydc, wilder, or new visions he will be boarded with a 14 year old who's got caught smoking in the bathroom of his local junior high. This would be a very negative life experience of this child to be exposed to the instutionalized 17 year old that Ms. O'day says are one & the same in the DCS eyes.

What are the employees going to do that do not wish to work at the DOC? What happens when a officer goes from Taft to DCS to work where firearms are used by the guards, should a officer that has dedicated 25 years to the service & well being of the children of Tennessee be forced to used DEADLY FORCE againsed a inmate if that situation arises? I could not shoot a man & take his life for my job & no human should be forced to have to just to keep bread on the table there children eat off of, if someone was threatning my family it would be different but people it would be very hard to take a mans life because he ws trying to escape a fence & those are things that DOC officers are forced to to from time to time.. These officers didn't sign up for that, but there being forced by the Human Rescorces department of the state to take those jobs or be without a job if they close Taft down. Jobs here in Bledsoe County are very scarce to say the least & I understand it's that way everywhere but when the governer of a state doubles a counties unemployment rate with one signature of a dotted line, that's a crying shame.

Ms. O'day & Gov. Haslim want to privatize the DCS & the good people of Tennessee better wake up before it's too late. I hate it for the many, many friends I have that still work at Taft. Mr. Cook this is a fine atricle & please keep us ( THE TAXPAYING PUBLIC ) informed about what is going on with this matter. I wish Mr. Haslim could work on a dorm at taft New Years Eve just one time, not only would he keep it open, he'd give every employee there a pay raise...

March 1, 2012 at 1:15 a.m.
mountainboy said...

Kudos to Mr. Cook for interviewing Drew. No one can tell the Taft story better than the boys who have benefitted from her services. Taft is the mother of them all, her arms in constant reach for troubled teen boys who need a change of enviroment. She has contributed to the state in everyway possible be it search and rescue, helping clean up the communities after a tornado, taking the headache away from other facilities, even helped the Miller/Martinez admin shut down the group homes in the state. Mr. Dawson should remember all the things that Taft has done, he has been the beneficiary most everytime. Taking the worst boys in the state is what Taft does. We are just like the other facilities only we arent, we are Taft, we have mace, all of us, not just some like Kate implied, all. The boys that have been eksewhere dont want to go back, the boys who went else where want to come back. Interviewing these boys is the only way to tell the real story, CALL MORE OF EM.
As for sending Haslam to Taft, LOL, there is a place there for him to, the football team is always in need of a good manager. LOL dont worry folks it aint hard to make sure the water bottles make out to the field, surely he can handle that. He would prob switch to cups to try to save money! IF IT AINT BROKE, DONT FIX IT.

March 1, 2012 at 10:03 a.m.
outthere said...

O'Day says we are at lower than capacity, has she counted the 70+ kids that are in detention now waiting to be placed into the system?? She was called out on her lie about the number of kids and the percentage of capacity,, what will be her excuse for not counting those kids? Sounds to me that she continues to try to "pull the wool" over the eyes of the legislature. Once again using some kind of cover for her "new endevor"

March 1, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.
FriendOfMan said...

Here are a few predictions when Taft closes: 1. O'Day will get her wish and fill up all the remaining institutions. Problem is, where will she put new commitments after that? Unlike her days in "private enterprise" she can't simply say "We are full up, you will have to find somewhere to put them

2.Staff and/or students are going to get seriously hurt. The other institutions do not have the capability to handle Taft students.

3.Tennessee will spend millions over the next few years to try and build secure housing for the most destructive kids. Housing that already exists at Taft

4.Haslam and O'Day will contract out the operations of the institutions to CCA and pay more and get less in the process

5.There will be one or more major riots within one year of taft closing

6.When everything hits the fan O'Day will blame Albert Dawson and he will also be canned for incompetence.

Everyone needs to remember, this is not about saving money, and it not about what is best for the kids. It is about POLITICS pure and simple. And if there is one thing that Haslam has shown, he couldn't care less about the kids as long as he can advance his political agenda. When people start getting hurt and it can all be traced back to closing taft, it will not bother O'Day or Haslam in the least. They will sleep soundly on mattress of the pain and suffering of staff and students. Their pillow will be the lost jobs and ruined lives of the people who lost their jobs. You have to wonder, did Haslam and O'Day have their conscience and morals surgically removed or is this just par for the course for all politicians.

March 1, 2012 at 8:38 p.m.
outthere said...

Mr. Cook, I want to thank you once again for bringing light to the darkness that Ms. O'Day keeps trying to keep the legislature in. PLEASE keep shining the light on this lady(and I use that lightly)that is trying to destroy the best, and will wait for the rest to fail, and then create a "private industry" that will grease her palm. THANK YOU MR.COOK!!!!

March 1, 2012 at 8:40 p.m.
Huckleberry said...

Thank you, Mr. Cook, for finally saying what needs to be said about Taft Youth Development Center. The staff really needed a boost and you gave it. They work with what some have said are the worst offenders in the state, but many of these students are salvageable. They just need the "right approach,"and the seasoned Taft staff seems to know how to do that best: 100% GED graduation rate, state test scores are comparable and some surpass public high schools, fielding a football team who can hang together an entire season without being paid, students who finally are not ignored but are valued for what they can do---these are priceless. I doubt if Ms. O'Day and Gov. Haslam know what that means, but here goes my definition for staff: the check is not the issue, but coming home at night knowing you have done your very best to take care of each student; getting the results of the GED test and doing "high fives" with students; seeing these "bad boys" mature into the "young men" of Taft; watching them begin to think on their own with positive thoughts; and feeling that "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." As any staff member will tell you, this is hard work. But the result is worth the effort. The recent graduation at Taft was one of the most emotional events in the lives of the graduates, staff, and guests. It was there a mother told a story of her son's treatment at Taft, and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. Yes, even Buford Pusser would have cried.
Your article made the staff think about the things they do without effort because it is what we do, what we want to do, and what we must do to work with these young men. They may be rough and they are certainly tough, but they do have feelings. This is what the staff seeks and has witnessed the changes in their lives. That is the goal--the positive outcome of the stay at Taft. It is our dream, it is our hope, it is our mission. I thank you, Mr. Cook, for putting this story in print and reaffirming our belief that our work is worthwhile.

March 1, 2012 at 9:24 p.m.
MyLifeSpeaks said...

There surely is somebody in Nashville who has some common sense. There seems to be nobody listening to the people. People who have proven that Haslam and o'day are liers and cheats. People with proven facts that Haslam takes care of those who take care of him. People who have testified to the facts that their lives were changed by time spent at Taft. Haslam and o'day have put pricetags on the lives of children. I would be willing to put Taft's record of children that have been helped and returned to society against haslam and o'day's record for I can tell you that they have not helped 1 child or human being without receiving large sums of money. O'day received a 50% pay increase, while other state employees received a 1.5% raise. That's a joke. They do not care for anyone except themselves. When haslam and o'day put price tags on children's lives, they have stepped over the line because they have shown that they have no moral character. Haslam is an elected official. Does he not work for us? Should he not listen to the people? They also want to destroy Civil Service so State employees with years of experience will not get jobs equal to the ones they lose. WHO PUT THIS DICTATOR IN OFFICE? How far will we let him go?

March 1, 2012 at 10:09 p.m.
pikeville said...

Here is what happens when the Department HAS Taft to threaten disruptive youth with. What will they do when they DON'T have the BAD BOY facility? Guess that will be the CITIZENS of TENNESSEE'S PROBLEM!! It's evident this adminastration dosn't care.

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/14566108/officials-investigating-how-escaped-teens-got-employee-car-keys

March 1, 2012 at 10:27 p.m.
RealDeal said...

I read today where Bill and Chrissy stopped by the Morgan County Regional Correctional Facility. Wasn't that so gracious of them! I'm sure they were on their way back to their mansion in Knoxville. It's a shame they can't take time to stop at Taft, but they are too chicken $hit for that! What a bunch of selfesh, incompetent, (HASLAM AND CABINET)we have leading our State. I'm moving!

March 1, 2012 at 10:36 p.m.
lonewolf82 said...

It's nice to see a real news piece on Taft Youth Center from an outside source. Taft has always been unfairly judged by Nashville insiders and no legitimate reason has ever been given as to why. Is it because the employee's at Taft do their jobs better than any other facility or the fact that they have changed the lives of several misguided youth over the years? Who knows, but as a former Taft employee I can say that the people at Taft Youth Center are the most dedicated, hardworking and caring individuals that I have ever met and I don't believe those traits can be found at the other state YDC's. Taft is a needed resource in the fight against youth crimes in Tennessee and it appears that our leaders in Nashville are risking lives to save a couple bucks.

March 1, 2012 at 11:29 p.m.
MyLifeSpeaks said...

How many of those kids that Chrissy and Bill read to today will be in institutions like Mt.View and Woodland Hills in a few years where they don't care if they know how to read or write. Where did you get your education Bill? Private Schools! Are you too good to come and see the students at Taft? You had to drive within 22 mi. of Taft to get to Morgan Co. How about tomorrow Bill, or Monday, or are you afraid to face the employees of Taft and the students? What's your excuse? Shouldn't you at least come and see the facility and not just listen to o'day's lies.

March 1, 2012 at 11:42 p.m.
iarnofool said...

I am a retired State of TN employee with 30 years service and am very proud to have been able to accomplish this at Taft Youth. I still have family and many friends employed there.

While with Taft, most of my career was in transportation. This put me in places that most DCS employees seldom see, for instance courts all across Tennessee. In the court room, the young men I transported were always referred to as "the child", but remember these kids have been in the court system more than once and most likely placed in one of the three institutions or group homes before. At least once but most likely three times before Taft would receive them, meaning they could not be controlled at other placements and Taft would be the next placement. I was sent to Woodland Hills back in 2004 after their riot to transport students who were involved to Taft. I and other Taft employees had to go on their dorms and escort these students to our vans. Their employees were afraid of them.

March 2, 2012 at 9:51 a.m.
iarnofool said...

Cont… Now on to the money issue... In these court rooms each kid will have case workers. These case workers have a supervisor who has a supervisor making three if not four employees and the child still has not gone to his placement. In a lot of cases these kids will be placed in juvenile detention centers across the state which is usually owned by the county it is located in. I'm almost positive if a count was made today you would find enough kids who have already been adjudicated or found guilty of a crime in these juvenile detentions awaiting placement to fill all of Taft's empty bed which is only about have full. You only get what they send you and this decision is made again in Nashville and keep in mind the kids in these juvenile detention centers are waiting for placement. The Judge who heard their case has placed him in a secure facility but the Judges cannot tell DCS where to place these kids so the kid is sent by these same employees to one of the four institutions or group home or contract bed as it is called and when they are place in these juvenile detention centers usually thirty days at a time - keep in mind we still have more than one hundred beds that could be used at Taft and the three other institutions has plenty of bed space as well so if you do the math we are paying contract facilities to hold kids and we have empty beds all over the state that are already paid for because we own them. Keep in mind the reason for the vacant beds at Taft is due to budgetary issues.

Several years back, a cap was placed on the student capacity. Taft was allotted a budged to house only 96 students. Over 200 youths can be housed if all beds are utilized. Thus, this makes the cost per day of each student much higher due to this artificial cap. If any of the other institutions were asked about Taft closing they would tell you that this will make their jobs much harder and unsafe mainly because Taft has always been portrayed as the last stop for a juvenile and all the other facilities use Taft as a deterrent or place to send their worst acting students and to separate students who assault other students or staff, and do not work the program at their institution

I ask anyone who can explain why we pay to keep DCS kids in detention centers waiting for placement when intentions are open twenty-four hours, a day seven days a week waiting for new students as they have for many years, on behalf of the kids or students their time does not begin until they have been and classified and placed.

March 2, 2012 at 9:52 a.m.
pikeville said...

Thank you iarnofool, Your insight into different areas of this messed up department is interesting. Taft has served the state for 100 years and has always been the "go to" facility when ANYONE needed something!! Nashville always talks about "culture" Well lets talk about it. Anyone ever heard of James Earl Ray? Can anyone remember when he escaped from Brushy Mtn? Can anyone remember who's K-9 team they called to assist? Can anyone remember which K-9 team tracked him to the dead end where the FBI could make the capture? If not search Time magazine archives they will tell you!! Anyone remember who was touted the #1 Running back in the State in 1990? Does anyone remember who helped the state re take a CCA juvenile facility in east Tennessee that had been destroyed by violent youth? Can anyone remember the Drum Line that would march in the Strawberry Parades every year and was always the crowd favorite? I would like to encourage everyone who has retired from TYC to log in and tell your story. There has to be hundreds of you if not thousands!! Because it is a story like no other. Taft hasn't become #1 overnight, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN #1. D--- shame Haslam doesn't take the time to see what he has, but I guess when you've never earned anything yourself it doesn't matter. Lets go RETIREES get up out of your ROCKERS you were so proud of when you retired. Join iarnofool and BARK!!!

March 2, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.
iarnofool said...

Hoooowwwwwlllll!!!!

March 2, 2012 at 1:47 p.m.
iarnofool said...

And it's such a shame that this is all going on in Nashville and the media in Nashville isn't even covering it. Even the Tennessean which used to always cover DCS isn't even approaching it. Haslam and Pilot gas must have them in their back pocket.

March 2, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
RealDeal said...

While I haven't got a rocking chair just yet, I sure have been barking at the top of my lungs and will continue. I also think it's pitiful that the Nashville news is just pretending like this is not an issue! This is the first time I can EVER remember them not jumping in the fray when DCS had issues, and I've got a pretty good memory. The administration is operating under the the old concept of 'if we pretend like it doesn't exist, it will go away'. Things don't 'go away'! Talk about putting a big black eye on Tennessee, this is going to make every Tennessean look like an idiot. The end result is not going to be pretty and we all need to hope and pray that someone will come to their senses and put a stop to this crazy, ill-planned, lack of sense move that will close Taft!

March 2, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
Crossville said...

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.

March 2, 2012 at 6:34 p.m.
pikeville said...

Crossville, Im not so sure she does any better on the Foster/Dependant Neglect side. Watch the video and you be the judge? I do agree with several posts about the Tenneesseean. Do the Haslam's own it too, or do they just have a "contract" with them? http://www.wsmv.com/video?clipId=6776060&autostart=true

March 2, 2012 at 6:57 p.m.
justsaying94 said...

Once again more facts come out about our so great gov (Haslam) thanks to Mr. Cook! We can set here and beat a dead horse in the mouth over and over cause we all no what gov Haslam really is or do we? Mr. Halsam was a volunteer leader for Young Life, a Christian ministry that reaches out to Adolescents. Well how qickely we forget where we come from HUH!! I am glad I brought that up, Mr. Haslam has been a member of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Knoxville for 35 years and for 22 of those years Bill has served as an Elder. What is an elder of a church? Glad I asked. An elder must have a good reputation (no). If a man has a dishonest reputation or is known for sin or questionable practices, this person should not be considered for this position until his lifestyle and love for God is evident to the church (nope) . Back biting and false rumors against a man is not how we measure someone’s reputation. Jesus warned His disciples that people would speak all manner of evil falsely against them for His name sake, so we know backbiting is not what the Bible is warning the church against. A man should be judged on his own actions ( Let The Games Begin). If his actions or beliefs have been questionable the Bible disqualifies him (Out Of There). People mature and change, but there must be time to build a godly reputation before someone is qualified to lead the church. I don't think gov Haslam meets these requirements he batting 0 for 4 his church needs to do what the State Of Tennessee needs to do with him put him out to pasture. I am no Bible expert but if I was what he says he is, then I would do what is right from being the elder of a church and what is right is plain as day is to keep Taft Youth Center Open!! As they Bible says The Love Of Money Is The Root Of All Kinds Of Evil! Gov Haslam didn't attend the school's or live in the part of town where these youth's did that come to Taft nor did his children. He and his children had a silver spoon in there mouth and didn't have to want for anything. They all went to private prep schools no doubt, Huh where have I heard that word Private before HUM.You know the two things they say is what comes around goes around and hell will be really hot for some but hotter for others.(EPC) in Knoxville you really need to look at your elder because this isn't False Rumors he could care less about the Youth, but guess what it all about the MONEY!!! at the expense of a child, YOU GO BIG ELDER!!!

March 3, 2012 at 1:50 a.m.
BigTafter said...

It really amazes me that Crissy and Bill can boldly talk about reading to the children in the state. It actually makes me sick to my stomach. Can all the children at Taft read? Do they not deserve the attention? Do you think the children at Taft have been given positive influence from the community or government? The only thing most children at Taft know about government is foodstamps and public housing.

On the public housing issue....I have been told over and over that I coukd not survive in most of the students at Taft's neighborhood aka HOOD. Just the other day I was told "I would like to do better but my momma don't have the money to move so when I leave I will go back to the hood and do what I have to do to survive and help my momma". I told this student that I have always felt that DCS fails the hightest risk children by returning them to their same neighborhoods. But even with this obsticle Taft has the fewest children return to custody. That to me says alot.

I was also told "that women in Nashville is stupid and should be fired if you lied about one of us you would probably be fired". And the funniest to this topic was "this place don't need 37 million dollars worth of work." Even our limited educated children can do math better than our DCS Central Office.

Just a few thoughts into the issues the children want to discuss. And is anything being done about the stress that these children are facing daily with not know if they will be sent back to where they did not feel safe before coming to Taft?

Ms. O'Day the practice of DCS is to maintain the lowest level of disruption(stability is what they need O'Day and Haslam) possible!!!!

March 3, 2012 at 10:17 a.m.
pikevillecares said...

Thank you, Mr. Cook, for your welcomed support of Taft.Your kind and thoughtful comments are a contrast to the disappointing hand we have been dealt by our Governor and his cabinet.I grew up thinking if a man or woman tells you something, it is supposed to be the truth. This logic should also be true for good business, and true for our Tennessee government. Then, I woke up! Was I dreaming? I would like to ask Mr. Haslam,"Have you really weighed all the facts, considered the numbers, and STILL say closing Taft is the best thing for our students in DYD, our surrounding counties ,our employees,and our state?" "Note the overfilled YDC's already becoming a problem. Closing Taft, if there IS a best case scenerio, would be like putting your "savings"from one hand, then placing it in the other. Accommodations will have to be made for the departing Taft students- additional security, counselors, and teachers, new structures, and reiuforcemnts such as steel doors and fencing WHEREVER they get sent. And the students will just keep on being put in a system already starting to burst at the seams. That does not sound like streamlining the government expenditures to me.It sounds and looks more like a really bad mess that will cost everyone MORE. However, you will have successfully ruined, and unnecessarily stressed, many lives- counting students, employees, and everyone's families that depend on Taft for treatment, education, and employment. Please don't trust the twisted numbers given to you, whatever their agenda may be, Mr. Haslam." " When you check the facts, the numbers are all disputable. I believe the people of Tennessee deserve the careful, smart consideration of data concerning its YDC's. We all need to be more aware of the consequences of our actions. That is just being responsible and smart. Taft has served Tennessee in the education and reabilitation of the toughest youth in the state. Our state could continue to serve Tennessee with the benefit of smart governing, the weighing of the consequences with the cost." Taft has done its part, and has done it well for almost a century. Taft continues to do it in spite of the constant turmoil thrown at them. Please do not just wipe Taft off the bargaining table, just because it is the easiest thing to do. Most of the time the smartest and best thing to do is HARD." Thank you ,Mr. Cook, for making Taft feel like respected humans, by showing the real human side of what is happening to them.

March 3, 2012 at 10:55 a.m.
Edwards said...

Mr. Cook, Your commentaries have been very positive and uplifting to the employees of Taft. I just wish that the people of Nashville and the rest of the state could read what you have said in the commentaries that you have written.

 The evidence that you have presented and the information that you have given to the readers prove that what the powers-that-be in Nashville have lied to us and only are looking to improve their pocketbook instead of look out for the safety of the people of the state or the welfare of the children who come into the DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES.  This department is suppose to be for the best interest of the child.  How is it serving the child when you close the one institution that has proven that they are giving the children their best--even if these children are juvenile justice children.
March 3, 2012 at 9 p.m.
pikeville said...

I agree with you Edwards, its a shame that every citizen in this state is not calling for someone's head. If every media outlet was as transparent as the Times Free Press this country would still stand for the principles it was founded on. Money is the root of all EVIL, and Haslam has got it. To bad he can't tell his wife " Sorry dear,but your friend has to go!! She's wrong" People with unlimited amounts of money get greedy and loose site of the common man. To bad we've elected another one!!

March 3, 2012 at 11:35 p.m.
pikeville said...

I wish the Times Free Press could take all the comments made on each story about Taft, and the votes on all the diffrent polls and put them all together, I think we would all find this is the most commented and voted story in the last 6 months!!!

March 4, 2012 at 1:20 a.m.
d0zermanspeaks said...

Not only is Taft Successful in rehabilitating students but please take a moment and put yourself in the minds of the mothers and fathers of these students. They are thinking that their child will always be in trouble and never be anywhere but prison. When they get to Taft, they get turned around; get their GED and often a chance for college or the military. Now all of a sudden this mother and father that had no hope for their child now have a glimmer of hope that their child will now become something good. This all happened because their child went to Taft.

Also, in the past when we get students from the Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville area we can teach them how to get along with each other. But you take students from Memphis and send them to Nashville and they will not get along. The same is true when you take students from Nashville to Knoxville. Taft has always been the only place that could take students from all three of the other institutions, make them mind, and teach them how to work with other cities youth.

Taft Always takes the worst of the worst and makes the best out of them that we can. Why would anyone want to close a place doing this god for the community?

Taft has also been forced to take in refugees from former downsizings, namely of the group homes about 3 years ago. One that was taken in has found a good home amongst the other employees and is doing well. Now the turbulence of dismantling the group homes is coming around again and bringing undue stress once more to this employee. Not that he’s alone, all the staff have been held under this threat of closure for a long time and it’s getting nerve wracking.

Have a good day.

March 4, 2012 at 2:41 a.m.
mountainboy said...

Way to join in ther iarnofool! RealDeal is right the oldtimers need to chip in too.. The stories that have comr from a greater time in Taft history. I would love to see W.H.Y.D.C put up wit some of the boys that iarnofool and those old hands used to handle arounf Taft, they wouldnt be a case to close Taft if those type where still around. Oh Yea RealDeal i prob wasnt even alive when ole James Earl Ray went over the wall, but i am pretty sure that the TAFT K-9 tracked him right quick like. Might as well face it Gov. these ole hillbillies know what they are doing and they just keep passing it down through the years to us young bucks, that is why this is the best, has been the best, and will always be the best even if she is gone. Best thing to do is leave her alone and let her do what she has done for nearly 100 years, TAKE CARE OF EVERYONE ELSE PROBLEMS!

March 6, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
Crossville said...

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!!

March 9, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.
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