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William Wayne Justice Papers

Juvenile Incarceration: Morales v. Turman (continued)

Mountain View School, exteriorJudge Justice’s 1974 memorandum opinion incorporated his earlier emergency interim order of 1973 delineating when use of force was proper. Further, citing numerous instances of abuse at Gatesville and Mountain View (pictured below), Judge Justice ordered that those two facilities be closed and the children placed in youth homes, foster homes, day care programs, and other community-based alternatives. The order also required TYC to hire more qualified staff, curtail the use of tranquilizers, follow strict procedures when placing youths in solitary confinement, and increase the ratio of staff to youth.

TYC appealed the 1974 opinion, arguing that the case should have been heard by a three-judge panel. While the Fifth Circuit found that it should and remanded the case, the Supreme Court reversed the Fifth Circuit decision, sending the case back to the Fifth Circuit for consideration of the decision on the merits.

In 1977, the Fifth Circuit held that there was no right to treatment and limited future relief to the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The case was remanded for additional hearings, given the length of time and changes to TYC.  

In 1977, Representative Emmett Whitehead introduced a bill in the Texas Legislature to build a TYC facility on a vacant lot next to Judge Justice’s house. The bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.

In March 1983, both sides presented Judge Justice with a settlement agreement. The judge rejected this agreement, in part due to weak enforcement provision in the settlement. The parties revised and resubmitted the agreement, but Judge Justice rejected the proposal a second time.

In April 1984, the Judge approved the second revised settlement agreement. The settlement established a Morales Consultant Committee to oversee TYC’s progress on the mandated reforms. Monitoring ended in 1988.

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