The Grayson County Juvenile Board submitted a response to the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) in a competitive grant on March 7, 1996. The facility was awarded $1,500,000 which was matched with donations from the Oliver Dewey Mayor and Smith Foundations as well as Cooke and Fannin County Commissioner Courts. The physical plant is a post-adjudication facility registered with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) to serve 52 children. The grant proposal was one of over 30 applications. It was awarded as the #1 regional county project and was ranked 2 overall the State proposals. The facility opened January 24, 1998.
In March 2008 the juvenile board of Grayson County requested and was granted from TJJD the ability to dual designate nine additional beds from the adjacent juvenile detention center. Total registered bed count with TJPC is 61.
The post-adjudication facility serves males, ages 12 – 17 years old. The boys, known as recruits, cadets and senior cadets, are sentenced by the juvenile courts from their respective counties. Offenses that the recruits commit requiring placement within the facility include: assaults, property crimes, drug offenses, sexual offenses and continued violation of probation. The length of stay varies as to offense, the recruits’ amenability to the treatment, the program phases of the facility and; when required, the treatment teams recommendations. The recruits within the facility currently represent 24 Texas County juvenile courts. The boot camp is contracted with 45 counties and this number continues to expand.
The boot camp has established itself as a leader in providing programming to the general juvenile offender and has specialized tracks that serves up to 12 sex offenders and 16-substance abuse offenders.
Even though the program is built around a military model, less than 10% of a cadet’s schedule is military oriented. The daily schedule is full of educational, therapeutic and socio-educational opportunities as described in the facility brochure. However, discipline and physical fitness play an important role in our program. It is our belief that the military structure helps our cadets begin a process of trust, compliance with societal norms and dependence on adults as well as other cadets for a successful stay at our facility.
The Sherman Independent School District (SISD) provides five certified teachers to the boot camp school. Our class size ratio is 1:10 and includes special education services provided by the teaching staff and educational diagnostician. Each recruit is pre- and post-tested to measure academic performance utilizing the STAR diagnostic instrument. Parents are encouraged to meet with the Sherman ISD teaching staff to discuss their child’s education, make plans for return to a home school district or evaluate future educational options.
The post-adjudication facility is staffed by a Deputy Director, a senior case manager, four additional case managers (LPC-I and LCDC-I), two shift sergeants and 24 drill instructors. All supervising staff are certified by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Our case management staff ratio is 1:10. Probation Officers as well as parents are encouraged to visit with the child’s case manager concerning all aspects of a resident’s stay.
General and specific programming protocols are found in the Cadet Handbook, Parent Handbook and brochure. Specialized programming for sex offenders and substance abuse protocols are also valuable information to be reviewed by probation officers, treatment providers and parents. The TJJD has approved the specialized treatment protocols of the post-adjudication program for specialized funding.
Case planning for a successful exit begins on entry into the facility. Probation officers, parents, teachers and case managers follow a monthly schedule of case planning to assure re-entry is successful.