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November December 2005
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It’s a tale of two hurricanes. First there was Katrina. Then came Rita.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice was impacted by the two storms, both directly and indirectly. With Katrina, the agency responded to the devastation along the Gulf Coast by ferrying equipment and supplies to shelters housing thousands of people displaced by the storm. With Rita, TDCJ played a dual role, evacuating 10 of its own facilities while continuing to support those fleeing inland from the storm.

This issue of Connections features in large part tales of the two hurricanes and their aftermath.

Prison employees team up to weather Hurricane Rita as a family

rows of offenders sleeping on cots As August turned to September, Stiles Unit Operational Review Sgt. Nadria Turner was busy collecting items donated to aid the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina and feeling fortunate that the storm hadn’t targeted Beaumont. Three weeks later, she and other TDCJ employees in Southeast Texas weren’t so fortunate.

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TDCJ completes unprecedented evacuation ahead of hurricane landfall

building with wall missingWhen Rita roared, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice listened.

Prior to the huge Category 3 hurricane making landfall near Sabine Pass in far Southeast Texas, TDCJ completed its largest evacuation ever, utilizing ground vehicles and aircraft to move more than 9,400 offenders to safety.

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Louisiana evacuees find a new home with TDCJ

Two evacuees in correctional officer uniformsIt was late summer and the living was easy in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, a densely populated area just south of New Orleans, the music Mecca known worldwide as the “Big Easy.” But that all changed on August 29th when the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed directly over the coastal community. By the time it passed, the only home Steven Blanchard and Richard Wells had ever known had been virtually wiped off the map.

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