Jay Kimbrough Leaving Youth Agency, Returning to DPS

Jay Kimbrough, Gov. Rick Perry's go-to fix-it man, is headed back to the Department of Public Safety after helping the state's juvenile justice agency weather its latest scandal.

Texas Juvenile Justice Department spokesman Jim Hurley said on Monday that Kimbrough, who served as interim leader of the agency from May until this month, will be returning to DPS, where he is the assistant director of Texas homeland security.

"He got a lot of stuff accomplished, and he feels like the agency is in good hands with Mike Griffiths," Hurley said.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Board voted in August to hire Griffiths, who was director of juvenile services in Dallas County from 1995 until 2010. Griffiths also served on the Texas Governor's State Juvenile Justice Task Force.

In recent months, the juvenile justice agency has faced intense criticism from lawmakers amid reports of increasing violence among youths at the state's six secure facilities. 

The agency's former leader, Cherie Townsend, retired in May. 

Kimbrough had been leading the agency since, conducting surprise inspections at the facilities to determine what improvements need to be made to make youths and staffers safer. He also was instrumental in the development of the agency's Phoenix Program for the most troubled youths.

"He's made huge and dramatic improvements in safety and security," Hurley said. "And he's still available to us."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the Texas Juvenile Justice Board hired Mike Griffiths.

 

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