1287 total votes
Vote in this poll.
Taft Youth Center is not a boy scout camp, and the inmates are not there for singing too loud in the choir. For the most part, these inmates are there as multiple offenders, or offenders who have committed very serious crimes against persons. There are also offenders there who have been tried as adults, but are still too young to be placed in adult penitentiaries to serve their sentences. I don't think it would be desirable to place any of these offenders in institutions where less serious offenders are housed.
I can't understand why anyone would vote yes to this poll. If you don't think Taft Youth Center dosn't play a valuable role in the community,then stop prosecuting the gang bangers!! My hat is off to the staff at this wonderful institution. I have watched while they come and play football aginst our area teams. They show more sportsmanship than most of the public schools. Any group of people doing this with what they have to work with deserves the communities praise.
Taft youth center is for the students no one else can handle. We turn them around educate them and send them home a better person. No one does this better then the Staff at Taft youth center. Why close something that works and works well.
O'Day dosen't understand what she is doing to such a small community and such an old institution. Taft is near 90 years old and ancestors of current employees fed their families and helped many other families of the youth they served by working at this institution. Current employees should be able to carry out what thier ancestors started. Keep a good thing going. Taft has served many families over the years, let it continue to serve the community and the State.
It always amazes me that the 'powers that be' fly by the seat of their pants! Ms. O'Day has made one brief visit to Taft, and for many years, this facility has been the red-headed stepchild. People judge us, discrimate against us, insult us, and talk about issues they have NO knowledge about. I truly pity the people that do not have this knowledge of Taft, it's programs and services, and the team work of the employees. For many years, we have strived to lead by example and with our record, we can prove that we measure up. Of course, when wrong information is passed around, it's easy to make bad judgement calls. This certainly is the case right now. I further pity the taxpayers of this State. Why? Because it will be you that will become the victim of violent crimes when students are released because another student needed a 'bed'! I have never understood why this department operates on a reactive basis instead of a proactive basis. If the train is coming, it's wise to stop and let it pass. Not drive onto the tracks and let it mow you down. That is exactly what is going to happen. And, when it does, the powers that be should be ashamed. It's not just about money either! It's about treatment and rehabilitation, it's about our community, it's about the tax dollars working people pay, and it's about doing the right thing! It's never wrong to do the right thing. I know for a fact that the other institutions do not want Taft closed because they are not and have never been equiped to deal with our population. The other part of that statement is that if they close Taft now, it's just a matter of time before they start closing other institutions. There are no more DCS group homes, so like I said, they are going to be living right next door to you. I hope it doesn't take acts of violent victimization for the taxpayers of this STATE to wake up and smell the coffee. One other valid point I would like to mention is this: Taft has the most seasoned work-force of all juvenile institutions. Since it is a violation of FEDERAL LAW to discriminate against persons over the age of 40, I am thinking that the employees at Taft may have a class action suit. That would cost the taxpayers even more money. Either way you figure it, it's the TAXPAYERS that are going to pay, and pay dearly!
Those who voted 'yes' must need more information. Perhaps they could come visit Taft and meet some of our residents. They may be surprised!
Written by a Taft Employee- Part 1
THE MIRACLE OF TAFT’S FOOTBALL TEAM
Did you ever wonder how a place like Taft can field a football team? Well, consider this. A team is made up of eleven players who should know something about playing with a football—that weird shaped ball that can do crazy things in the air and then fall with a thud on the ground. Second, reflect on the word “team.” A team is usually thought of as a group of people who have a common goal. For many of the Taft boys the notion of working with others (such as Crips and Bloods, black and white, etc.) to achieve a common goal is a foreign concept much less one which just will work for them. But on a football field, these barriers to achieving a goal are dropped to the ground when the players step onto the field. They must throw off that cloak of racism and gangism (my term) if they are to succeed. Third, knowing the fundamentals of the game does help. When one takes into consideration the comprehension level of these students, many of whom have only completed the 6th grade, remembering plays and rules takes on a whole new meaning. How many rules can the boy remember if he cannot read the play book? Playing by instinct usually results in misread signals and broken plays. Remember now, we are talking about boys aged 16-18 who don’t have a clue about the big picture and really don’t care if we win or lose. Fourth, where’s the beef? These boys are used to payola. They don’t get paid in cash for taking a hit. They do get an occasional meal prepared by an area church before some but not all games. This is real Southern food not the calorie counting stuff served at Taft. Consider too that no one looks at Taft boys for college scholarship consideration. Staff asks that they play the game and win, too? I ask again: Where’s the beef?
Many of the Taft staff become coaches on some level. We encourage them to keep on even when we have a losing season. We all know plays that will work. Security is heightened during the game because of the possibility of runners. Counselors assist with security measures and watch for that one behavior signal of the fleet of feet. The crowd must be monitored for those who would assist our young men in an escape or possibly cause riotous behavior. It is a tense time for the staff, but they continue to do their jobs and encourage the boys to keep going. We and the coaches play the game with the students. We suffer the agony of defeat and the exultation of winning as they do.
The coaches must have iron guts to endure the frustration of seeing plays end up in utter despair and then feel the exultation of the most beautiful executed play in the world. Public school coaches have experienced the same emotions, but at least they have some players who know the game and have some expertise. Now, occasionally Taft does get a player who has been fairly good on the street. What a joy! The practices resemble the Pee Wee practices at times, but sometimes they do get better. I see the disappointment on the coaches’ faces, but still they continue in their job.
There is always a football banquet funded by area businesses, but some players do not make the football banquet because of quitting the team along the way or acting badly on game trips. For those who do get to attend, eating all they want—no portions are limited is a sight to see. They also get to drink coffee—a forbidden substance for these guys—and which usually makes them sick. Many of the guys eat and drink so much that they get sick. But for one brief moment, they are just regular guys having fun and laughing and eating.
You ask why do the boys play football. It is a way to get rid of pent up frustration of the locked up life they have lived. They do get to leave the Taft campus even if it is in a state van. They do get to see girls and cheerleaders strut their stuff. They can experience the intoxication like any other high school football player feels on the day of the game when they wear their jerseys to school. I choose to think that they want to experience the exultation of the free world for one brief shining moment and as a popular song says to experience being the “boys of fall.” They revel in the excitement, but sometimes they get an overload and must be brought back to reality.
Through the efforts of the coaches, these students are taught teamwork, respect for others, manners, and a routine of prayer. These players know that there is someone who cares what they do, and they have a male figure to whom they can talk.
The staff turns into their cheerleaders and boosters. We yell and holler at them to do better. We pat ourselves on the back when they do well. We exult in their success. We are sad when they lose. We care what happens.
The feeling can be contagious and exhilarating and lingers for that one moment in time when we are at a high school game with our Taft football players. We are the Taft Tigers!
And you wonder why they do it?
Lets get serious as bad as crime is in the state on Tn do we need to close any facilities, i would rater spend my tax dollars on plenty more, I don't know what has been going on behind the scenes on this issue but seems to me palms are being greased. No wonder we are building new adult prisons for all of this corruption we will need them
Ashley26-Just wait until the 'privatize' all these prisons and then you will see some grease. You will also see it in the form of more and more taxes! I don't understand why anyone thinks privitization would work. I'm sure the powers that be are getting in on it at the ground floor.......as they did in the 80's. That was when CCA tried to run MVYDC in Dandridge and it was a major FAIL! That's why the State of TN runs it now.
Why doesn't Ms. O'Day know about how students are transferred to Taft from other facilities. When Superintendents make the call and say "We can't handle them,send them to Taft". Doesn't she meet with these guys. Apparently not!! If she did she would know what goes on between institutions. If the other facilities can't handle the students,what will happen if they do close Taft? Get ready Woodland Hills, Mountain View and Wilder to take those students back whom you couldn't handle in the first place!
employee, it's kinda hard to know what the weather is like if you never leave a building. From my observations, Ms. O'Day holds up in her 'suite' of offices on the 9th floor and is hardly seen. She relies on what her drones tell her and doesn't verify the information she is given, or so it appears.
Do you hear that Nashville? THE CLUE PHONE IS RINGING!!!
RealDeal you hit the nail on the head with that one. Ms. o'day why don't you come out of your office and get some real fresh air and give TAFT a visit; and HEAR THE REAL TRUTH FOR ONCE!!!!
A little history....
I just read about the shooting at a teen club in Chattanooga with nine people injuried, one of which being a 17 year old. If the shooters were teenagers where will they be when the investigation is over? They are not old enough for an adult facility, and I am sure a group home, foster home, or any facility would not be a good placement for them. Taft Youth Center should not be closed. This is where offenders such as these are placed. Please contact your representatives..........it could be your teen at a party.
I STILL say how can anyone say YES TO THIS???!!! I just do not understand it at all!
I just read that the shooting in Chattanooga is believed to be gang related and that an officer was shot along with nine other people, one being 17. If you haven't read this story you may want to. After you read it think about where the shooters will be going? Close Taft?? Bad idea. Come to your own conclusion after reading this. It isn't just in Chattanooga, it is in other areas of the state.
I thought the crime rate was down! Haslam better do alot more than homework. He claims that he is big on education but he flirts with the proposal to close a juvenile facility that has a high school inside of it as well as vocational opportunies. As for Ms O Day thanks for the stereotype about Taft being in a remote place does that give u the go ahead to close it maybe lock up centers should be placed next to major highways for easier access to escape. Lol c'mon man get ready for the largest turn over.rate d c s has ever saw. Not to mention the other faculties continue to send troubled youth.to.Taft.wonder what life without Taft will be like.
O'Day told Haslam during a November budget hearing that Taft is the system's most costly facility, with a $12 million annual operating budget and as much as $37 million in capital needs. By closing Taft, the department would save $4.4 million a year, according to O'Day. Most of the 167 people who work at Taft are trained by the Tennessee Department of Correction and should be able to find jobs at the nearby $208 million Bledsoe County Correctional Complex, slated to open in 2013, O'Day said. O'Day responded Friday, saying the $37 million in repairs and updates needed at Taft includes repairs to its 1932-era boiler, replacement of a security building and kitchen facility and construction of new dormitories, which were built in 1943 and 1963. Taft was built in 1918. These are direct quotes from the commissioner of children’s services Kate O’Day. This is the same commissioner that told Governor Haslam during budget hearings in Knoxville last month;“there is no differentiating line between Dependent Neglect/Foster Children and Juvenile Justice kids.” Either this commissioner is being badly misinformed from within her own department, or she is misleading the Governor and the taxpayers for another reason. This is the facts of the case! 1. Tafts total budget is 12,328,500. In this 12.3 million there is the operating costs of a water plant that serves thousands of residents, SETRCF, and Fall Creek Falls State Park. The state will not allow Taft to profit from the water sales, in fact they don’t let them break even. In this budget number TRICOR farm utilities are deducted. This is a large milk producing farm that runs 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. The costs to operate these things are 400,000 dollars annually. This drops Tafts budget to 11,928,500 in comparison WHYDC’s in Nashville budget is 12,148,400 Wilder in west Tn. 11,342,300 MVYDC in east Tn. 11,287,700. Considering Taft returned over 800,000 dollars in 2010 and 1.2 million in 2009 saying Taft is the most expensive is misleading. 2. Ms.O’Day says Taft needs 37 million in repairs of this 37 million she has listed 1932 era boiler, new security complex, and kitchen. 1948 and 1963 dorms. Even if all this were true it is a far cry from 37 million. The truth is Taft has 2 new boilers powered by natural gas installed in Oct.2005, There was a new state of the art security complex built in 2006, The dorms and kitchen were totally renovated in 1982. Taft was accredited by ACA in 2009 with a score of 99.9. The lowest score the kitchen has ever received from the health department going back 6 years is 93. As I said earlier either this commissioner is being badly misinformed from within her own department or she is misleading the Governor and the tax payers for another reason? You be the judge!!
Comm. O'Day had a meeting with a Rep.from Crossville last Tue. In this meeting she was educated about Tafts role in the JJ division. One would think that Dep.Comm.Dawson would have already done this being he was Tafts number 1 supporter just 6 short months ago at his preivious posistion as Superintendant at WHYDC. In a three year peroid WHYDC under Mr.Dawson sent twice the number of students to Taft than the other YDCs. The Represenitive had a few simple questions for her, and she nor Dep.Comm. Dawson had the answers. They said they would have them in 2 wks. From my understanding these questions were very basic, and anyone proposing to eliminate 203 jobs in an area that the unemployment rate is higher than the states average should have easily known. One or two things are going on here. Either Dawson is misleading his boss who has little to no experiance with JJ offenders for reasons unknown, or Comm.O'Day is setting the stage for large paydays when she leaves office. I hope Governor Haslam will speak with the represenitives and administration from Taft before making such a dangerous decision. If this happens I think he is a smart enough man he will reilize someone has promoted above their abilities. Maybe even two?
Commissioner O'Day says crime in teenagers is down....You be the judge....http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...
It was said that juvenile crime rates are down, which would suggest there is no need for so much space to house juveniles. But TBI statistics show that crime among male juveniles is only down .013%. That is only one - one hundredths of one percent!! That is NOT a significant drop in rate if you ask me.
I think they may have to re-visit their data collection system! After last weekend in Chattanooga, I'm almost certain that did away with the smidge of a percentage that the Comm. has clamed that juvenile crime is down. Add that to the rest of the state and I think you will find that Juvenile crime is UP in 2011, but that's just my thoughts.
There is a meeting at the Bledsoe County Courthouse on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. for anyone interested in hearing the TRUTH!
There was another shooting in Chattanooga Friday night. A 14 year old boy entered Parkridge hospital with a gunshot wound to his shoulder. He said he was walking down the street when the incident occured. He stated someone came out from behind some bushes and shot him. Story was published Dec. 31st. Another sad event. Another reason I believe crime is not down and that Taft shouldn't be closed. Police are investigating, but I can't help believe it is gang related.
I'm with you on that one, annie53. I'm sure that child that was shot is afraid to voice that it was gang related for fear of it being worse the next time around. Gang members on the streets instill fear into other youth. That's not to mention the ones that are MADE to join a gang for fear of being assaulted or worse. Taft is a place for these juveniles to learn a different way of life other than gangs. Taft has all kinds of programs and the education programs are wonderful to serve these troubled youth that commit these crimes. Once again, Taft has the lowest rate of repeat offenders between all the institutions within 12 MONTHS after completing a program and being released back to the public. I believe that should speak for itself. WHY CLOSE IT?!
Commissioner O'Day and her sidekicks have tried to convince anyone who will listen to them that Taft is not a fit institution. Some of the buildings are old but in excellent architectural condition. The new school, security complex, and the counseling center were intended to be the start of an upgrade for the institution. Anyone who visits Taft will soon learn that the institution has one of the finest work forces in juvenile justice. The concept of teamwork is instilled in each employee the minute he or she is hired. That concept is emphasized in any dealings with each other as employees and in the dealings with the student of the center. This concept is not even introduced in the other facilities nor is it in practice. The reason for the success of Taft is this philosophy and its being carried out in the day to day activities.
The graduation at Taft was recently put on hold for who knows what by "someone" in Central Office. The real victims of this decision are the students who will not get to participate in the ceremony. The ceremony may not mean much to most people but to those 8 students and their family members it is many times the only family who has ever graduated from high school. It is a day to give praise to their son who has done something right. Two of these 8 young men and their families will not get this chance because "someone" wanted to make some kind of statement. What it is no one knows or will say!
The reputation of Taft will still remain as the best for what it does and for what it does for these students who enter its doors labeled as some of the worst juvenile offenders in the state of Tennessee. The employees of Taft just take each day in stride and work with them all. These students and their families will tell anyone who will listen that if they had not come to Taft, they would not have been successful in their program or have achieved what they have done. The success lies in the stories of its employees and its students. Governor Haslam, Ms. O'Day, and Mr. Dawson need to be listening. Keep up the good work!!!
I'm gonna jump in here and re-post what I stated last night in another thread if no one minds:
COMMUNICATION IS A GOLDEN THREAD, but it is one thread that has been left out of the weave of DCS administration and their understanding of Taft Youth Center! Cameron Sexton asked for an itemized list for the 37 million that O'Day said Taft was in need of, and the most they could come up with was 24 million! And that was to tear down buildings due to their age. As Sexton said, if we are tearing down buildings because of age, we had better start with the capitol since it was built in the 1800's.
In all my life, I have never seen such a screwed up administration! Haslam and his buds have hunkerd down, circled the wagons, and been far to silent for way to long. The LACK of communication is unreal, and one would think that they forgot about the people of this state! Oh, Haslam goes to the high dollar meetings in Nashville and Knoxville, you know, 'his kind', but the working class, forget about us. I think they all need to sign up for the social work stipend program, go back to school and take some economics classes and basic math. As Mark Twain said "if you tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said", but if you lie, it just keeps getting deeper and deeper. They have lied. O'Day looks like a blooming idiot as does her underlings.
The truth will come out and it won't be long. Just last week, several of our Juvenile Judges toured Taft. As a result, DCS public information officer came out in the paper saying that students who were to graduate with their GED couldn't have their graduation because parents weren't notified. NO, they weren't notified because we were told DO NOT have the graduation because Sexton had been invited to speak at the ceremony. This is something that we have been doing for years and there has never been an issue, until now. So, I think it's safe to say that Haslam, O'Day, Dawson, Suddreth and company are all highly pissed because this 'dumb bunch of rednecks' didn't roll over and take this laying down. That's right, we didn't roll over and we are not going too. You see, that is something that they have never been able to understand about the employees at Taft....we are a team. They will never be able to cause the inner strife that they so desire.
This thing is far from over, and there are a lot of us that will fight until the death. I am one of those people. Haslam, O'Day and Dawson aren't the only ones that are pissed off. And, anyone who lives in this area should be too. This move is going to further depress an already depressed job market. I think everyone knows the costs of unemployment. The taxpayers should never give up the fight! Afterall, it is a taxpayer issue and it is a service to the youthful offenders of the State of Tennessee!
Huckleberry your comment is one of a caring, dedicated and knowledge person of JJ. I wish more poeple were as knowledgable as you; ie Governor, Commissioner, and especially Dep. Commissioner. word on the street is, he has the knowledge but he is a YES MAN. He is also a member of a Causus in Nashville that has tried to close Taft for years. Thank goodness we had Shelby then!! and thank goodness we have all the officials and Judges supporting Taft now.
I agree, we are VERY FORTUNATE to have the support of our Representatives, Juvenile Judges, and our Adminstators. Of course, we can't count the two minions that have been sent in to 'watch' us, who have a crackberry strapped to their side like a 38 Special. They run around there and talk in code and peek around corners like a bunch of lily livered spies with half a brain or less. Seriously, and they talk about saving money? How are they saving money. The two that are coming there make about 10K per month combined, plus any travel expenses that they incur! I never got paid mileage to drive into work every day, but they do? Do they feel the need to gaurd the employees now? And, if they think the boys aren't noticing them, and their 'administrative presence' (or lack thereof), that further demonstrates how little they do know about the student population at Taft!
Oh yea, here is another interesting factoid: Please follow this link.
This is speaking about one of the two people that are coming up to Taft right now as our all so important 'administrative presence'. Seriously? I think the Comptroller's office may want to keep an eye on all travel claims on all the visits too Taft. Somebody maybe dipping into the till again...............(HINT-MORE money being stolen from taxpayers).
Yea buddy, we are saving some money now, aren't we? At this rate, poor Chrissy won't get to re-decorate the Governor's Mansion like Andre Cont`e did in the Bredesen Adminstration.
I find it hard to believe that a graduation was canceled due to parents not being notified nor do I believe it to be a "distance" issue. Have graduations not been held at Taft in the past with no problems? This is not fair to the students who have worked hard to have a ceremony.
REAL DEAL U ARE HITTING IT ON THE HEAD BUT IT SEEMS THT HAS BECOME THE AMERICAN WAY.
To Annie53-Trust me, the statement made about the graduation is 'their spin' from Nashville. There is written documentation regarding this subject that proves that the student's were denied. We have always had graduation services at Taft with no issues, until now. And, you are 100% correct in saying it's not fair to the students, and it's not fair to the families of the students to be denied this recognition.
To Ashley26-I am trying the best I can to educate as many people as I can in this state who pay taxes. For many years, they have used the word 'transparent' until we all feel like sheets of saran wrap. At this point, I don't know any other way to be. So, I say let's be transparent, open up the doors, invite everyone in and allow the people footing the bill to see for themselves. As I have stated, it has an impact on ALL Tennessee residents, therefore all have the right to be informed.
I would like to Thank everyone for responding to this topic. All we are asking is that the people in authority have an acurate picture and not base decisions on misinformation, fuzzy math, and outright untruths. We will always have our integrity, at all costs.
Yes, Annie. Graduations at Taft have always been held without the Nashville crew's blessing. They were only invited after everything was planned. This one was different because we had the administrative presences sneaking around and calling someone--we never were told who. Graduations at Taft are wonderful and ceremonious occasions for both students and their famioies. Mamas cry and hug their sons because this is the one good thing in their lives. No families were notified because the principal was told to put all graduation plans on hold by the administrative presence flavor of the day. And that's the real story.
Huckleberry: I think the directive was given that there WOULD NOT be any tours conducted that day either. That's the first time that I have ever heard of the "NO TOURS" rule. I wonder what policy that falls under?
*off to check the DCS website now.
I too agree with all of you about the two unfortunate students who will never walk thru a high school graduation line. There is however many more kids I worry about if this plan becomes reality. These are the 13, 14,15 year old youth that are at the other facilities that are committed because they were foster kids and simply ran away from their foster home, or the kid who got involved with the wrong peers and did something stupid one night. When they are incarcerated with even the fake gang members from Taft, they will be like a zebra swimming across a river filled with hungry crocodiles. Let a few REAL CRIPS, BLOODS, GDs, VLs, MS13 fall through the cracks and there will be a sad situation. I pray to God every night for my children, and I pray that they will never be taken from me and put into the irresponsible hands of DCS. They failed the poor child who was beaten to death in Chattanooga and they failed the two graduates of Taft. If you have a child in DCS custody CALL SOMEONE WHO CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. The BAD boys are coming for dinner and they have ill intent!!
Pikeville, Hats off to you for a very thought provoking, profound post about the grim reality that may come to pass. It is very scary to think about this, and honestly anyone with young children and teens should recruit all the prayer warriors they can find.
Anyone who is interested in what may be coming your way with the possible closing of Tafdt should read about the shutting down of the Rader Youth Center in Oklahoma. It is so parallel to the closing of Taft.
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.
I've heard for years the motto of DCS was "In the best interest of the child" Tonight I say BULL_ _ _ _ !!! This administration's motto is "In the best interest of Privitazion" !! Look out Wilder your next ie; Shelby Training Center. What will Haslam and O'Day profit from 500 privatized clients? Mt View your after Wilder, but I'm sure Woodland Hills will never be touched. Even though they have one of the highest Sexual Assault percentages ( Staff on Student) in the NATION!! DCS and the Haslam administration is a joke. What better way to prove State run Juvenile Justice centers dont work? Close the best! Taft Youth Center, that's how I would do it too. Set the rest up for failure
BRAVO Pikeville.......In time they will see and by then it will be too late.............especially for the kids!
So, what does everyone think about the meeting yesterday? I expected it to be a little more informative on her end. Wonder why Deputy Commissioner Dawson wasn't there? I would have hoped that the loss of such a great facility and 169 DCS positions would have been an important meeting to attend!!
Crossville, I don't have the answer to your question but I can have that information for you soon. I beleive that she knows that she's in the hot seat. I think that Taft still has a fighting chance. After all this time she can't give a direct answer to any of the questions. Dawson didn't show, I think, because he knew she would be on the hot seat and didn't want to be on it himself. These Reps have already put him in his place once and he didn't want that to happen again. If I didn't know every aspect of my job details, including policy and procedure, I know my supervisor would ask for discipline, chew me out, etc. Looks like to me she knows nothing about her job nor does her "cronies".
That's what I'm screaming! I do know that if I made that much money, I would probably know a little more about my department and who was responsible for making decisions!! And I would DEFINITELY like to know the answer if you can find it as to why he wasn't there. Sure shows how concerned he is. THAT is for sure.
How many prisons have you ever seen the inmates take their side? These folks are doing something right!! I'll bet if they could find a way to slip Haslam and O'Day a couple million a year from their budget Taft wouldn't close.