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An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

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November 2018

U.S. military veterans bring sense of duty, family values to TDCJ

Every U.S. citizen owes a special debt to those who serve in our nation's military, and TDCJ is proud to have 4,900 employees who are veterans of the United States Armed Forces, with more than 200 of these under past or current orders from the National Guard or Reserve.

TDCJ has a long history of hiring military veterans and the agency continues to actively recruit personnel who are about to be honorably discharged. The agency benefits when hiring military veterans because they have already undergone quality training and have earned experience building and working with a team. Those who like the structured life of military service often discover a career in criminal corrections relies on a similar work ethic, sense of discipline and commitment to professionalism.

At the Eastham Unit, CO III Elijah Harris described how a Marine buddy influenced his decision to begin a criminal justice career. “I met a buddy in the Marine Corps and he lived in Huntsville. He told me how (TDCJ) was family-oriented. I thought that my leadership skills from the military would also apply to this job.”

Former service members with career goals in mind tend to advance quickly at the agency. “I left the service in 2010,” said Captain Christopher Farrell, “I had a small family I was trying to provide for and I started working for the agency. I’ve been very successful in eight years (and) promoted to captain pretty quick.”

Click this link for captioned video

Farrell continued, “The similarities between this and being in the service? One of the biggest similarities I see is it is family-oriented, but it’s bigger than that. Being in the service, it’s being part of something that’s greater than you. They give you a uniform, you’ve got the patch on your sleeve and the American flag you carry every day.” Officer Ellis agreed, adding, “I know that I can trust my coworkers. When I’m on the line and if there’s a problem with an (offender), my coworkers will be there in ten to 15 seconds. I have real faith in my coworkers.”

In gratitude for their service and in recognition of their achievement, both the State of Texas and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice extend certain benefits and employment preferences to honorably-discharged military veterans. TDCJ fully recognizes, honors, and enforces the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which protects the civilian job rights and benefits of United States military service personnel.

“We’ve banded together, that’s what family does,” said Captain Farrell, “When your mom’s sick or your brother is hurt, what you do? We come together. Those bonds are formed in hard times, just like being in the service.”

To learn more about the agency’s veteran recruitment program, watch our Military Veterans and TDCJ video.