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An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
January/February 2013

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Legislative update for TDCJ employees from the executive director

By Brad Livingston

Texas capitol building


The House and Senate versions of the General Appropriations Bill were filed on January 15, 2013. These bills will provide the starting point for the deliberations on budget matters impacting the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) as well as other state agencies. While it’s common for the House and Senate budget proposals to differ, the bills as filed are identical in regards to appropriations for TDCJ.

Unlike two years ago, when the appropriations bill as introduced proposed substantial reductions in funding that would have negatively impacted agency operations, the preliminary budget bills filed in the House and Senate generally maintain current funding for the agency. There are some slight increases or decreases in funding for the basic supervision of probationers and parolees based on anticipated changes in offender caseloads, but these budget adjustments are intended to maintain the current level of services. One notable exception is the absence of continued funding for the repair and rehabilitation of existing correctional facilities, but appropriations for major repairs of our existing physical plant are generally treated as an “exceptional item” in the budget process and will be discussed during future committee meetings.

Most of the agency’s requests for increased funding above the “baseline” were not included in the bill as filed, but that comes as no surprise. Additional funding for offender health care, diversion and treatment programs, reentry and basic operational items like vehicles and computers will be the subject of deliberations later in the legislative session.

There are no pay raises for state employees included in the bills as introduced, but they do appropriate an additional $503 million to provide funding for anticipated growth in the group insurance benefits program for state employees, retirees and their dependents. Employee pay raises, like the exceptional items previously mentioned, are typically not included in the bill as filed, and are instead set aside for consideration later in the session.

Although these bills are just the starting point for legislative deliberations over the next five months, TDCJ begins this year’s process in a substantially better position than in 2011. Through the agency website and the Connections newsletter we will keep you informed regarding future developments related to the TDCJ budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Remember that final decisions regarding the budget will be made no earlier than May 2013.


As of January 31 the TDCJ Sunset bill has yet to be filed. The introduced version will contain the recommendations adopted by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission on September 5, 2012, to include continuing the agency for another eight years. In addition to periodic budget updates, we will keep you apprised of the progress of the TDCJ Sunset legislation.

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2012 State Employee Charitable Campaign results

SECC Image

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) staff donated a total of $914,014 to the 2012 State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) fundraising drive, with $361,952 raised in cash donations and $552,062 through payroll deductions. This year’s total donation fell just short of 2011’s record-setting figure.

When asked about the 2012 fundraising campaign, TDCJ SECC Coordinator Carie Beaty noted, “Once again, TDCJ employees proved to be extremely generous, working to support another successful statewide fund-raising campaign.”

This year’s notable contributions included $8,300 raised through a “bailout” fundraiser at the Connally Unit, $7,800 raised by Austin Parole Headquarters, and $3,600 raised by Manufacturing and Logistics’ barbecue and silent auction.

The SECC marked its 19th year of service in 2012.

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Mendoza selected to lead the Administrative Review and Risk Management Division

ERS Elections

In December, Oscar Mendoza was named the new Director of the Administrative Review and Risk Management (ARRM) Division for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Mendoza has more than 32 years of experience with the agency, having started his career as a correctional officer at the Eastham Unit in Lovelady. He has served in several agency security positions, including senior warden, regional director and, most recently, deputy director of management operations for the Correctional Institutions Division.

As ARRM director, Mr. Mendoza oversees operations governing Access to Courts, Offender Grievance, Ombudsman services, Monitoring and Standards, Risk Management and Use of Force review.

TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston congratulated Mr. Mendoza on his promotion saying, “His strong leadership experience and wealth of knowledge will continue to serve the agency well.”

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Upshaw named CID Management Operations deputy director

Michael Upshaw

In February, Michael Upshaw was selected as deputy director of Management Operations for the Correctional Institutions Division (CID). He began his 29-year TDCJ career as a correctional officer and rose through the ranks before promoting to warden. Most recently, Upshaw served as CID Region I director, overseeing the operation of 13 facilities.

As deputy director of Management Operations, Upshaw’s responsibilities include oversight of Correctional Training and Staff Development, Plans and Operations, the Fusion Center, the Security Threat Group Management Office and the Safe Prisons Program.

Announcing the selection, CID Director Rick Thaler commented, “(Mr. Upshaw’s) leadership and effective communications skills will serve the agency well as we face future challenges and pursue new opportunities.”

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Scholarship Opportunity for TDCJ Employees


Sam Houston State University’s (SHSU) College of Criminal Justice, in partnership with the Correctional Management Institute of Texas (CMIT), will award scholarships to two Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) employees nominated by the agency and accepted into the SHSU Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management weekend program.

The scholarships will cover tuition to SHSU’s degree program. Scholarship recipients will be responsible for books, fees and any other expenses.

SHSU admission requirements and TDCJ criteria for nomination are on the agency website at Scholarship Opportunity for TDCJ Employees. Details about the SHSU Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management Weekend Program can be found at

Scholarship paperwork must be submitted to Jan Thornton, Human Resources Director, 2 Financial Plaza, Suite 600, Huntsville, Texas 77340 no later than, or postmarked by, 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 1, 2013.

Interested scholarship applicants must also ensure they have completed the admissions process through the SHSU Office of Graduate Studies, PO Box 2478, Huntsville, Texas 77341-2478 no later than May 1, 2013.

SHSU Cap and Gown

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Chairman’s Fitness Challenge 2013: first-quarter results

The first quarter of the fiscal year 2013 Chairman’s Fitness Challenge was a tremendous success. Participating employees collectively accumulated more than 15 million points. That is twice the number of points accrued during the prior quarter, and already exceeds the agency’s goal to achieve 13 million by the end of the 2013 challenge.

Congratulations to all our participants. Below are the first, second and third place winners within each division.

Division 1:
19 or fewer employees
Internal Audit Division Texas Board of Criminal Justice and Austin Executive Administration Management Operations -
Correctional Institutions Division (CID)
Division 2:
20 to 39 employees
Office of the General Counsel Business and Finance Division TCOOMMI - Reentry and Integration Division
Division 3:
40 to 99 employees
Houston VII Office -
Parole Division
Administrative Review and Risk Management Division Board of Pardons and Paroles
Division 4:
100 to 199 employees
Correctional Training Administration - CID Sayle Unit - CID Information Technology Division
Division 5:
200 to 299 employees
Cole State Jail - CID Travis County State Jail - CID Boyd Unit - CID
Division 6:
300 plus employees
Michael Unit - CID Manufacturing and Logistics Division Huntsville Unit - CID
Division 7: Windham School District (WSD) WSD West Texas Region WSD North Texas Region WSD Administration


Special Platinum Challenge

During the first quarter, 78 individuals successfully completed the Special Platinum Challenge by achieving 2,500 points for each week of the quarter. These individuals collectively accumulated almost 1.3 million points.

Listed below are the quarter’s successful Silver Platinum Challengers. Congratulations to you all! Keep up the outstanding work!

Department/Unit of Assignment Name

Administrative Review and Risk Management Division

Heydn, Debbie
Standley, Brandon

Business and Finance Division

Ball, Royce

Correctional Institutions Division (CID) Region III Director's Office

Paukner, Dave

CID Security Operations

Beightol, Amy

CID Correctional Training

Avila, Bryan
Brunet, David
Gross, Matt
Harris, Sean
Kempt, Pennie
Lyon, William
Marshall, Ralston
Moore, Todd
Morales, Paul
Willcox, Danielle

CID Clements Unit

King, C.
Mendoza, S.
Mosser, B.
Vargas, M.

CID Cole Unit

Howery, Travis

CID Dominguez Unit

Carranza, Mario

CID Eastham Unit

Jacks, Brandon
Rose, Darrell

CID Ferguson Unit

Bickham, Phillip

CID Fort Stockton Unit

Hardee, Joey
Rocker, Philip
Sanchez, Delma
Vela, Ricardo

CID Gist Unit

Childs, Jeffery

CID Goree Unit

Shair, Jacquelyn

CID Gurney Unit

Newman, Nikki

CID Havins Unit

Garman, Sonny
Grace, Leslie
Knight, John
Lancaster, Cindy
McCarty, Melissa
Patterson, Edna

CID Holliday Unit

Bickford, Steve

CID Hughes Unit

Holland, Jonathan
Kubiak, Dawn
Lackey, Sherri

CID Huntsville Unit

Driver, Constance
Ponder, Robert
Proctor, Michael
Reed, Bethany
Vellon, Jonathan
Wilburn, Matrice

CID Johnston Unit

Dean, Shari

CID LeBlanc Unit

Dionne, Thad
James, Alphonso
Wolfe-Mahfood, Valerie

CID Lopez Unit

Cavazos, Hector
Rodriguez, Carlos

CID Lychner/Kegans Units

Fontenot, Lillie

CID Lynaugh Unit

Grimes, Joe

CID Marlin Unit

Brown, Carolyn

CID Middleton Unit

King, Jessie

CID Moore Unit

Dean, Kenneth
Latham, Harold
Walley, Eddy

CID Telford Unit

Sartin, Derek

CID Terrell Unit

Garcia, Merrisa

CID Travis Unit

Black, Nancy
Cantu, Joshua
Chupp, Raquel
Hill, LaToya
Ritz, Robert

CID Young Unit

Craft, Retisslyn
Gutierrez, Jessica

Human Resources Headquarters

Drew, David

Manufacturing and Logistics Division

Carter, Terry
Pavlock, Christie
Sevedge, David
Smith, Ben

Office of the General Counsel

Warren, Thomas

Parole Division Central Headquarters

Wolf, Melanie

State Counsel for Offenders

Depp, Kathy

Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI)

Jackson, Rosalie

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Agency News






star bulletBoard Bulletin

star bulletAgency News

Legislative update for TDCJ employees from the executive director

2012 State Employee Charitable Campaign results

Mendoza selected to lead the Administrative Review and Risk Management Division

Upshaw named CID Management Operations deputy director

Scholarship Opportunity for TDCJ Employees

Chairman's Fitness Challenge 2013: first-quarter results

star bulletPolicies and Benefits

star bullet Saluting Employees