Governor Greg Abbott
Governor Greg Abbott has called on the Texas Rangers to investigate state juvenile facilities, following reports of sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships between guards and juvenile inmates.
In a December 13 letter
to Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw, Abbott calls the reports of sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships by state employees at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department “reprehensible.”
The move comes after at least three former correctional staff members were arrested and one was convicted for inappropriate conduct with juvenile inmates this year.
“While I commend the TJJD Office of the Inspector General for investigating these recent allegations and submitting them for prosecution, additional action is needed to guarantee the protection of the youth in the care and custody of the State of Texas,” Abbott wrote, before asking the Texas Rangers to immediately open an investigation into alleged misconduct at TJJD.
In November, The Dallas Morning News
published an investigation about the misconduct and discovered that
at least four former staff members at the Gainesville State School, a state juvenile correctional facility, are facing prison time for alleged sexual misconduct with juvenile inmates.
According to the DMN
investigation, a former staff member at the Gainesville facility, 29-year-old Alicia Adams, is allegedly pregnant with a juvenile inmate’s child. She was arrested on September 29, and released on bond the next day.
Another former officer, 25-year-old Samantha Kranick, was charged with attempted improper sexual activity with a person in custody after investigators discovered she had written multiple explicit letters and texts to a juvenile, describing sex acts she wanted to perform with them.
In July, former correctional officer Samuel Lee Wright was sentenced to 10 years in prison for improper sexual activity with a person in custody.
“The resources and expertise available through the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers will ensure that these acts are dealt with swiftly and to the fullest extent of the law,” Abbott wrote.
Abbott also wrote a letter
to Camille Caine, the new executive director of the TJJD, congratulating her on her new role and asking her to work with his office to reduce the inmate population in state juvenile facilities.