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Rick Thaler named Correctional Institutions Division director

portrait of Rick Thaler
Rick Thaler
Rick Thaler, a 29-year veteran of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, was named director of the agency’s Correctional Institutions Division (CID) in July. He replaces Nathaniel Quarterman, who retired after 25 years of public service.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the thousands of dedicated correctional professionals who put forth a tremendous effort each day in the operations of our criminal justice system,” Thaler said. “It will be my goal in this position to provide them with the necessary support systems and resources to ensure their success. I will continue to build on past successes of the agency as we move forward facing new challenges and opportunities. I believe that the success of any organization is contingent on the quality of staff working within. It is for that reason that I am optimistic that this agency has a bright future.”

Thaler most recently served as director of the Manufacturing and Logistics Division for three years. He started his long career as a correctional officer at the Huntsville Unit in June 1980 and rose through the security ranks at units along the Texas Gulf Coast before being promoted to assistant warden at the Pack Unit in Navasota in June 1990. He was named senior warden at the Smith Unit in Lamesa two years later and went on to serve in that capacity at the Ramsey Unit near Rosharon, the Telford Unit in New Boston and the Estelle Unit in Huntsville.

In September 2003, Thaler was promoted to regional director for prison and jail management within CID’s Region I, where he oversaw the operation of 13 units. He rose to director of the Manufacturing and Logistics Division in May 2006.

“Rick has the required mix of integrity, judgment and work ethic combined with nearly 30 years of security experience in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,” said TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston in announcing Thaler’s appointment.

Thaler earned a master’s degree in business administration from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville in 2003.

Carey Welebob brings 20 years experience to top CJAD job

portrait of Carey Welebob
Carey Welebob
Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) Deputy Director Carey Welebob became the division’s director on August 1. She replaces Bonita White, who retired.

Welebob has 20 years experience in the criminal justice system, beginning her career with the Parole Division where she was instrumental in developing evidence-based programs and piloted the division’s first cognitive-behavioral program. While with the Parole Division, she worked as a Super Intensive Supervision Program officer, trainer, curriculum developer, training administrator and administrator for the substance abuse treatment program.

With CJAD, she served as director of both Program Services and Training and Staff Development before being named the division’s deputy director five years ago. She has worked on several legislative and statewide initiatives, including implementation of additional diversion funding for community supervision.

“It’s an exciting time to work in community supervision,” Welebob said. “We know, more than ever, what it takes to change offender behavior and help people become productive citizens while maintaining public safety. There’s still a lot of work to do from a systems perspective, but community supervision is heading down a good path, which is ripe with promise. As long as we stay results-oriented and focus on opportunities, we can overcome challenges which are present with any system. The agency and the field are fortunate to have great Community Justice Assistance Division staff to help blaze the way toward a learning organization.”

Welebob is a National Institute of Corrections Southern Region field coordinator and is currently vice-chair of the Legislative Committee for the American Probation and Parole Association. She is a requested speaker on a variety of topics, including socioeconomics and offender supervision, organizational change, evidence-based programs, leadership, communication, training initiatives and officer safety programs.

“She has earned a high level of credibility and respect, both inside and outside the agency,” TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston said in announcing her appointment.

Welebob holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public administration, specializing in criminal justice.

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