TYC Contractors Faced Closures and Lawsuits in Other States

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DALLAS (AP) - Private contractors used by the Texas Youth Commission to house juvenile inmates have lost numerous contracts and had facilities closed in other states.

Those closures followed allegations of mismanagement, neglect and physical and sexual abuse. That's according to an investigation published yesterday in The Dallas Morning News.

These findings indicate additional problems for the troubled TYC. The agency is already undergoing sweeping reforms in the wake of sex scandals in its state-run youth prisons and a possible cover up by agency officials.

One private company that runs Texas' largest private juvenile prison in Coke County had facilities closed in two other states because of inadequate care of inmates and abuse allegations. The company also faced a 2000 lawsuit brought by the U.S. Justice Department that was later settled.

Another company lost a contract in Arkansas after former employees testified that juveniles in the nonprofit's youth camps were sometimes shackled, left naked on the ground in sleeping bags and given a plastic bucket to use as a toilet.

About 450 juvenile inmates in Texas are housed by 13 private operators. The TYC spent $17 million last year doing business with private contractors.

Agency officials told the newspaper they were reviewing policies on contractors.

The contractors defended their operations, saying they were proud of their track records.