Lately I've been reading many Post articles (c. 1985-1994) about Oak Hill and Cedar Knoll. The problems then were more extreme, but the general categories sound very similar to accounts from 2000-10: escapes (including a shocking number aided and abetted by staff), overcrowding, insecure facilities with easy access to contraband, assaults inside the facilities, insufficient community-based care or alternatives to incarceration, kids getting out and committing horrible crimes, lacking mental health/substance abuse/educational services. I strongly believe that if the problems remain the same over time, then it is an indictment of the people in charge. Because you don't hold back, I expect you to say so.
Of course, I would argue that the Schiraldi and Schindler made an astonishing range of real improvements from 2004-10--the only period under Jerry M. of anything besides abject despair. In addition to fixing stuff, I think they moved further towards PYD than any other contemporary agency. As long as basic procurement/personnel problems, reacting to tragedies, and daily firefighting consume the energy of human services management, I don't see PYD and information-sharing really taking hold.
My response to Will, and to others, is that I leave assessments such as his, which are content specific, to those with greater expertise and knowledge.