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Rehabilitation Programs Division

COURAGE Program for Youthful Offenders

The mission of COURAGE (Challenge, Opportunity, Understanding, Respect, Acceptance, Growth, and Education) is to provide a vehicle of positive change for youthful offenders through targeted programs, supervision, and management in a safe, restorative environment.

Program Overview:

The COURAGE Program for Youthful Offenders utilizes interventions such as education, life skills, creative expression, and positive communication skills to focus on the problem behaviors and developmental aspects of the youthful population. The program serves both male (Clemens Unit) and female (Hilltop Unit) offenders between 14 and 17 years of age and includes a minimum of 10 hours of structured treatment services per week.

Youthful offenders are assigned to the COURAGE program until their eighteenth birthday. The length of time in the program varies, and is determined by age rather than completion of prescribed goals, and the issues presented in the population are complex and varied. There are three levels in the COURAGE Program - Sparrow, Hawk, and Eagle – and each has its own set of responsibilities and privileges. To progress from one level to the next, an offender must complete a minimum number of weeks, mastering tasks at that level while demonstrating positive behavior. Once these requirements are met, the offender may petition staff for advancement. As the offender advances, the level of responsibilities and privileges increase.

The Courage Program is structured according to a two-track programming system. This system has a focus on basic skills and values building and incorporates an individual strategy for each offender. Assignment to one of the two tracks is determined by the transition needs of the participant (i.e., release to TDCJ general population or from TDCJ custody) and track placement influences the focus of treatment planning. Comprehensive, interdisciplinary programming is established on a weekly schedule, which includes: education, social skills training, anger management, values development, goal setting, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse education, conflict resolution, aggression replacement and life skills.

Youthful offenders identified with special needs will be assigned to an appropriate facility designed to meet their needs (e.g., Mentally Retarded Offenders Program (MROP), Physically Handicapped Offenders Program (PHOP), inpatient psychiatric care, special security needs).

In addition to structured programming, offenders may attend religious services, participate in Toastmasters, substance abuse awareness groups, and Epiphany meetings.

Travis State Jail Youthful Offender (YOP)


Steven Gaddis – Deputy Director of Volunteer Services and Special Populations
TDCJ - Rehabilitation Programs Division (males)
PO Box 99
Huntsville, Texas 77342
Phone: (936) 437-3028
Fax: (936) 437-3039

Jacquelyn Shair - Deputy Director of Sex Offender Programs
TDCJ - Rehabilitation Programs Division (females)
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342
Phone: (936) 437-2848
Fax: (936) 437-7326