Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Annual Review 2008
Mission, Philosophy, and Goals
The mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is to provide public safety, promote positive change in offender behavior, reintegrate offenders into society and assist victims of crime.
The Department will be open, ethical and accountable to our fellow citizens and work cooperatively with other public and private entities. We will foster a quality working environment free of bias and respectful of each individual. Our programs will provide a continuum of services consistent with contemporary standards to confine, supervise and treat criminal offenders in an innovative, cost effective and efficient manner.
- To provide diversions to traditional incarceration by the use of community supervision and other community-based programs.
- To provide a comprehensive continuity of care system for special needs offenders through statewide collaboration and coordination.
- To provide for confinement, supervision, rehabilitation and reintegration of adult felons.
- To ensure that there are adequate housing and support facilities for convicted felons during confinement.
- To provide supervision and administer the range of options and sanctions available for felons' reintegration back into society following release from confinement.
- To establish and carry out policies governing purchase and public work contracting that foster meaningful and substantive inclusion of historically underutilized businesses.
Letter from the Chairman
To the Honorable Governor of Texas and Members of the Texas Legislature
It is my honor to present the 2008 Annual Review for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
This year's review focuses on the recognition of our agency's employees. The TDCJ consists of more than 38,000 dedicated individuals, many of whom have made criminal justice not only their career but also their life. They take pride and ownership in serving the State of Texas and I feel very fortunate to be associated with them.
Although in my opinion every TDCJ employee is an unsung hero, there are many more who deserve recognition not just for their service to the state but for their actions on behalf of their county and local community. They serve in the U.S. military, assist as responders during emergency situations, volunteer in their local communities and schools, and donate time and money to help individuals in need.
During this past fiscal year, I am proud to report that under the outstanding leadership of Brad Livingston, the employees of the TDCJ have accomplished the tasks set forth by the 80th Texas Legislature. Substance abuse treatment was expanded to cover various offender populations, funding was distributed to local probation departments for the expansion of diversionary programs, and contracts were established for various types of facilities providing alternatives to prison.
As stated in Mr. Livingston's letter to the Board published in this report, the employees of the TDCJ have proved capable of meeting the challenges placed before them. Their professionalism and hard work, as well as their generosity and compassion, continue to make a positive difference throughout Texas.
Oliver J. Bell
Chairman, Texas Board of Criminal Justice
Letter from the Executive Director
Dear Chairman Bell and Board Members:
Once again it is my pleasure to present to you the agency's Annual Review, and to recognize the outstanding employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
During Fiscal Year 2008, TDCJ employees continued to make their vital contributions to public safety in the State of Texas. Whether they supervised offenders in our correctional facilities or in the community, delivered rehabilitative services aimed at reducing recidivism, supported crime victims as they interacted with the criminal justice system or performed one of the many critical support functions necessary for this agency to effectively operate, the men and women who make up the agency's workforce continued a proud tradition of public service.
In addition, throughout Fiscal Year 2008 our employees proudly and effectively implemented the numerous criminal justice initiatives approved by the 80th Texas Legislature, to include a significant expansion of substance abuse treatment and mental health programs in the community and in our correctional institutions, as well as the renovation and operation of facilities transferred from the Texas Youth Commission.
Although Hurricane Ike struck Texas during September, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2009, I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to especially recognize the efforts of our employees who ensured public safety, as well as the safety of the offender population we supervise, under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable. Once again, the men and women who serve the State of Texas as employees of TDCJ proved capable of meeting any challenge.
Therefore, it is with great pride that I present you with the TDCJ Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Review. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding the contents of the report.
Texas Board of Criminal Justice
The Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) is composed of nine non-salaried members appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve staggered six-year terms. One member of the Board is designated as chairman to serve at the pleasure of the governor.
Charged with governing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the TBCJ employs the agency's executive director as well as develops and implements policies that guide agency operations. Members also serve as trustees for the Windham School District. The Office of the Inspector General, Internal Audit and State Counsel for Offenders report directly to the Board. The Board meets, at a minimum, once each calendar quarter and more frequently as issues and circumstances dictate.
Serving on the Board during the fiscal year were Oliver J. Bell of Austin, chairman; Greg S. Coleman of Austin, vice chairman; Tom Mechler of Claude, secretary; and members Pastor Charles Lewis Jackson of Houston, Leopoldo Vasquez III of Houston, John "Eric" Gambrell of Highland Park, Janice Harris Lord of Arlington, R. Terrell McCombs of San Antonio and J. David Nelson of Lubbock.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
The employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) continue to maintain the highest standard of professional excellence in corrections. The exemplary performance of agency employees throughout the year enables it to continue fulfilling its vital mission of providing public safety, promoting positive change in offender behavior, reintegrating offenders into society and assisting victims of crime.
Through successful supervision and treatment programs, the agency will continue to meet the challenges of today's criminal justice system while providing security to the state's citizens. To enhance the recruitment of correctional officers, a 10 percent increase to the starting salary of newly hired correctional officers was implemented and an accelerated career ladder established. A recruitment bonus was added for applicants willing to go to units significantly short of correctional officers.
Over the past fiscal year TDCJ expanded programs intended to provide alternatives to incarceration and reduce recidivism. The following program beds were opened: a 500 bed DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) program at the East Texas Treatment Facility; 1,000 In-Prison Therapeutic Community Program beds; 1,200 slots for substance abuse treatment programs at state jails; additional beds for Substance Abuse Felony Punishment (SAFP), to include special needs beds for males and females; and 200 additional halfway house beds. The Texas Youth Commission transferred two facilities to TDCJ for the housing of adult offenders.
A contract for a secure offender telephone system was approved during the fiscal year, with the state to receive 40 percent of the gross billable revenues. Of that amount, the first $10 million annually will go to the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund with all additional revenues divided equally between that fund and the General Revenue Fund.
Community and Public Work Projects
Offenders participate in community and public work projects for the benefit of the entire community, not the welfare of a specific individual or class of people. TDCJ facilities are permitted to enter into agreements for offender labor with eligible non-profit or governmental entities that provide services to the public and add to the general well being of the community. Some community and public work projects also provide valuable training certification that will help the offenders become part of the community workforce upon their release. Offenders participate in community work projects both inside the facility and out in the community.
Community Service Goals
It is the intention of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that the performance of community and public work projects by offenders demonstrates their willingness to become useful, productive citizens; serves as a deterrent to crime for the offender and serves as an example to others that there are consequences to unlawful behavior; helps in the rehabilitation of the offender; and provides meaningful work opportunities for offenders while building pride and self-esteem that assist in the successful reintegration of an offender and thereby reduce recidivism.
Service projects are planned to match the needs of the community with the skills and services at each facility. During Fiscal Year 2008, TDCJ offenders built playgrounds, restored and maintained state-operated cemeteries, cleaned roadways and constructed low-income housing. TDCJ has an active Habitat for Humanity Prison Partnership. During the fiscal year, offenders logged more than 63,000 hours of work on Habitat projects. TDCJ provided more than 2.15 million pounds of crops to local food banks through Texas Fresh Approach, unit gardens and the Gleaning Project.
TDCJ is proud to be a good neighbor. During Fiscal Year 2008, offenders contributed more than 1 million community and public work hours to making Texas a better place for its citizens.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice continues to support a variety of non-profit organizations across Texas and the nation through fundraising activities. Its employees are also extremely generous when co-workers experience sudden illnesses or catastrophic events in their lives.
Through the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC), which is held September through October of each year, thousands of employees take advantage of the opportunity to give to the charity of their choice through payroll deduction or participation in a variety of fundraising events. During the 2007 campaign, approximately $716,815 in donations benefited more than 500 non-profit organizations offered through the SECC. These donations represent an increase of approximately 10 percent from the previous year.
In addition to the SECC campaign, charitable organizations on the Executive Director's Approved List can hold fundraising events. These organizations include various local, state and national organizations. A complete list of these charities can be found on the TDCJ website under Fundraising.
Financial Summary: Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2008
|Goal A: Provide Prison Diversions
|Goal B - Special Needs Offenders
|Goal C: Incarcerate Felons
|Goal D: Ensure Adequate Facilities
|Goal E: Operate Parole System
|Goal F: Indirect Administration
Total Operating Budget $2,886,970,083
Source: Fiscal Year 2008 Operating Budget
Figures are rounded and do not total 100%
For organizational chart, click on link
Internal Audit Division
The Internal Audit Division conducts comprehensive audits of TDCJ's major systems and controls.
Internal Audit prepares independent analyses, assessments and recommendations concerning the adequacy and effectiveness of the agency's internal policies and procedures as well as the quality of performance in carrying out assigned responsibilities. To accomplish its mission, Internal Audit performs financial and performance audits according to an annual audit plan approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Recommendations for improvements to the agency's system of internal controls are then provided and tracked.
The audit plan submitted annually to the Board is developed using risk assessment techniques and may include audits of internal operations, contract providers and community supervision and corrections departments. In addition to routine auditing, the division may participate in investigations of specific acts
Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is the primary investigative and law enforcement entity for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The OIG consists of two departments: Investigations, and Administrative Support and Programs. OIG investigators are commissioned Texas peace officers assigned throughout the state.
The Investigations Department is dedicated to conducting prompt and thorough investigations of alleged or suspected employee administrative misconduct or criminal violations committed on TDCJ property or authorized interest. Through administrative and criminal investigations, OIG investigators identify criminal violations and serious staff misconduct. The department responds to requests for law enforcement services from numerous sources within and outside the agency.
Administrative Support and Programs Department
The Administrative Support and Programs Department is responsible for budget and human resource activities for OIG, records management and information technology support. This department is also responsible for coordination and management of the special task force investigative operations as well as the Fuginet and Crime Stoppers programs.
Task Force Investigative Operations
In addition to the law enforcement investigators assigned to prison units and regions across the state, the OIG has investigators assigned to fugitive and gang task forces. These investigators, working hand-in-hand with local, state and federal investigators, focus on identification, location and apprehension of violent parole violators and the apprehension of escapees. They also target prison gangs and their counterparts for prosecution of organized criminal activities.
Fuginet provides law enforcement agencies throughout the country with direct access to an extensive database of information concerning Texas parolees on active supervision as well as persons wanted by TDCJ for violations of their parole. More than 650 municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies have access to Fuginet.
The OIG, through its Fuginet program, participates in the Auto Theft Prevention Authority grant, funded through the Texas Department of Transportation. This grant involves interaction with vehicle theft task forces throughout the state, with the OIG providing a database for law enforcement to access critical leads on felons previously convicted of vehicle theft.
The OIG coordinates the TDCJ Crime Stoppers program by providing direct access and interaction with law enforcement investigators both inside and outside the agency. The program solicits tips by publishing Crime Stoppers articles submitted by law enforcement agencies in the monthly state prison newspaper, The Echo.
State Counsel for Offenders
State Counsel for Offenders (SCFO) provides quality legal advice and representation to indigent offenders incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. This enables the agency to comply with constitutional requirements regarding access to courts and right to counsel. There are five legal sections within SCFO that cover the following areas - criminal defense, appeals, immigration, civil commitment and general legal assistance. In addition to the legal sections, SCFO is supported in its efforts by investigators, legal assistants, legal secretaries and a Spanish interpreter.
General Legal Section
The General Legal Section assists indigent offenders with pending charges and detainers, extradition and probation revocation matters, family law issues and other legal issues not covered by other sections. This section handles the bulk of SCFO's mail, which totaled 31,259 pieces during Fiscal Year 2008.
The Trial Section provides representation to indigent offenders indicted for felonies allegedly committed while the offenders are incarcerated in TDCJ. Trial attorneys, utilizing professional defense investigators, obtain discovery and meet with offenders to investigate their cases. They represent the offenders at all court appearances, file all necessary motions and pre-trial writs and fully litigate all relevant issues on behalf of the offender. In Fiscal Year 2008, SCFO opened 221 new felony trial cases. Attorneys tried 18 cases to juries and obtained plea agreements for 116 offenders. In support of these efforts, investigators conducted 871 interviews and served 383 subpoenas.
The Immigration Section assists indigent offenders in removal proceedings and international prisoner transfer requests. Removal proceedings are conducted at the federal building on the Goree Unit in Huntsville. Attorneys conducted 712 offender interviews and 85 removal hearings during Fiscal Year 2008.
Civil Commitment Section
The Civil Commitment Section represents indigent sex offenders targeted under Chapter 841 of the Health and Safety Code for civil commitment as sexually violent predators. In preparation for trial, attorneys investigate cases, depose expert witnesses, respond to and file discovery motions and meet with offenders. In Fiscal Year 2008, 39 commitment cases were received, 10 cases were tried to verdict before a jury and 14 previously civilly-committed offenders underwent their biennial reviews.
The Appellate Section assists indigent offenders with appellate and writ issues, parole and mandatory supervision eligibility requirements and time-calculation questions. In Fiscal Year 2008, the section filed 42 criminal appeals. The legal assistants helped to obtain 405,374 days of jail time credit for offenders.
Windham School District
The Windham School District (WSD) provides a variety of educational programs to eligible offenders within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The programs are designed to meet the needs of adult offenders and address the legislatively-mandated goals of reducing recidivism, lowering the cost of confinement, promoting positive behavior during confinement and increasing offenders' success in obtaining and maintaining employment. In addition to providing traditional academic and vocational education, WSD also offers life skills programs designed to meet the needs of offenders. During the 2007-2008 school year, 82,449 offenders participated in WSD programs.
Literacy programs provide basic adult education for offenders functioning below sixth grade level and secondary level adult education for those working toward a high school equivalency certificate (GED). During the 2007-2008 school year, 39,687 offenders participated in literacy programs and 5,039 offenders attained a GED.
Life Skills Programs
The Cognitive Intervention Program is designed to improve behavior during incarceration and after release. Perspectives and Solutions, a 15-day tolerance program implemented in response to hate crimes legislation, is offered at intake facilities. A reintegration program, Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success (CHANGES), offers a life skills curriculum to prepare offenders for release. The communication-based Parenting Program supports the development of healthy family relationships. LifeMatters, a program for offenders more than 24 months from their projected release date, provides opportunities to develop life skills and social values. During the 2007-2008 school year, 51,468 offenders participated in these programs.
Career and Technical Education Program
The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program provides 600-hour vocational training courses in 34 trades and supports apprenticeship and on-the-job training in additional occupations. During the 2007-2008 school year, 12,182 offenders participated in the CTE program; 5,975 of those students completed training during the year and earned vocational certificates. In addition, 3,229 industry certificates were awarded.
Post-secondary academic and vocational programs are available for offenders with a GED or high school diploma. Post-secondary programs served 8,205 students during the school year. Students work toward the attainment of associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees as well as vocational certificates in 25 fields. In the 2007-2008 school year, 509 associate's degrees, 56 bachelor's degrees, 15 master's degrees, 1,732 vocational credit certificates, 197 non-credit vocational certificates and 1,255 workforce non-credit certificates were awarded. Offenders may pay using their Inmate Trust Fund accounts or may qualify for assistance from the federal Youthful Offender Grant program or college/university scholarships. Participating offenders can also reimburse the state after release as a condition of parole.
Project RIO Program
Project Reintegration of Offenders (RIO) works with the Texas Workforce Commission to link educational and vocational training in TDCJ to job placement after release. During the 2007-2008 school year, 28,327 offenders were released with a RIO Individual Employment Plan. Project RIO served 59,318 offenders during this year.
The Recreation Program provides offenders the opportunity for daily exercise and activities. Regional recreation supervisors monitor and support unit operations.
Community Justice Assistance Division
The Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) oversees community supervision (adult probation) in Texas. Community supervision refers to the placement of an offender under supervision for a length of time, as ordered by a court, with court-imposed rules and conditions. Community supervision applies to misdemeanor and felony offenses and is imposed instead of a jail or prison sentence. The 121 community supervision and corrections departments (CSCDs) in Texas are established by the local judicial districts they serve. CSCDs receive approximately two-thirds of their funding through CJAD. Other funds, such as court-ordered supervision and program fees, help finance a department's remaining budgetary needs. County governments provide CSCDs with office space, equipment and utilities.
CJAD is responsible for the following:
- Developing standards and procedures for CSCDs, including best practices treatment standards.
- Distributing formula and grant funding appropriated by the state legislature.
- Reviewing and approving each CSCD's community justice plan and budget.
- Conducting program and fiscal audits of CSCD operations and programs.
- Developing an automated tracking system that receives data from departmental caseload management.
- Providing community supervision officer (CSO) and residential officer certification, in-service and educational training and technical assistance to CSCDs.
- Administering state benefits for CSCD employees.
CJAD does not work directly with offenders, but rather works with the local CSCDs that supervise the offenders.
The community justice plans of judicial districts determine the offender services of each CSCD. The following are basic departmental duties:
- Supervising and rehabilitating offenders sentenced to community supervision.
- Monitoring compliance with court-ordered conditions.
- Offering a continuum of sanctions.
- Offering regular reporting and specialized caseloads.
- Providing residential confinement programs.
- Providing both residential and non-residential treatment/correctional programs.
The 79th Texas Legislature allocated approximately $55.5 million in new diversion program (DP) funds for Fiscal Year 2006-2007 to strengthen community supervision through reduced caseload sizes, increased residential treatment and a system of progressive sanctions to address technical violations.
The 80th Texas Legislature followed up the efforts of its predecessor with increased DP funding. The intent of the new funding is to provide CSCDs equal access to statewide resources and equip judges, prosecutors and CSOs with the tools they need to successfully change offender behavior. This new diversion program funding for Fiscal Year 2008-2009 includes:
- $63.1 million increase for 1,500 new Substance Abuse Felony Punishment treatment beds.
- $32.3 million increase for 800 new Community Corrections Facility beds.
- $28.8 million increase for 1,400 new Intermediate Sanction Facility beds (shared with Parole Division).
- $17.5 million increase in Basic Supervision funding.
- $10 million increase for outpatient substance abuse treatment.
- $10 million increase for mental health treatment through the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments.
CSCDs receiving the new diversion funding for the Fiscal Year 2008-2009 biennium exhibited the greatest:
- Reductions in caseload size.
- Reductions in felony revocations.
- Reductions in technical revocations.
- Increases in early dismissals.
Funding, Goals, and Timelines
With an expanded menu of supervision and treatment options, the task of CJAD and CSCDs is to continue strengthening community supervision. Important steps toward this end include:
- Recruiting and retaining qualified CSOs and residential officers and staff.
- Having a complete and accurate Community Supervision and Tracking System (CSTS).
- Implementing the remaining new diversion funding from the 80th Legislature.
- Increasing assessment-driven supervision and treatment.
- Continuing the focus on a culture of compliance and keeping more offenders successful under our watch.
Additionally, the General Appropriations Act riders promote the strengthening of community supervision by:
- Transferring $270,000 to the DP funding line during Fiscal Year 2008 to offer grants to DWI courts or courts operating dual DWI/drug court programs.
- Allowing greater flexibility in allocating excess refunds to specific areas of need.
- Permitting CJAD the latitude of withholding funds from CSCDs that refuse to comply with TDCJ data reporting requirements.
CJAD worked with a group of community supervision stakeholders to develop an assessment-driven substance abuse treatment continuum of care. It includes the establishment of a validated assessment standard for the assessment process before placement in a substance abuse program. It also develops a decision tree based on local and state resources and relevant offender characteristics that are linked to program options. The division and its stakeholders group have planned education efforts for judges, prosecutors and community supervision professionals.
Correctional Institutions Division
The Correctional Institutions Division (CID) is responsible for the confinement of adult felony and state jail felony offenders. As of August 31, 2008, the division operated 51 state prison facilities, four pre-release facilities, three psychiatric facilities, one Mentally Retarded Offender Program (MROP) facility, two medical facilities, 15 transfer facilities, 15 state jail facilities, five temporary contract capacity facilities and five substance abuse felony punishment (SAFP) facilities. There were five expansion cellblock facilities, additional medical facilities, boot camps and a work camp co-located within several of the facilities mentioned. At the end of the fiscal year, there were 139,138 institutional offenders, 13,105 state jail offenders and 3,884 SAFP offenders for a total of 156,127 offenders incarcerated in TDCJ facilities. CID employed 23,275 security staff at the end of this fiscal year.
This division is divided into three areas: Prison and Jail Operations, Management Operations and Support Operations. Each area is under the leadership of a deputy director. An additional department that reports directly to the CID director is the Office of CID Ombudsman.
The Office of Ombudsman is a central point of contact for the public and legislators to express concerns and make inquiries regarding offenders and other issues. Assistance is provided by answering questions regarding specific offenders and unit operations. It also coordinates with other departments to provide relevant information to requesters.
Prison and Jail Operations
The CID deputy director, Prison and Jail Operations, oversees six regional directors who have the responsibility of managing institutional prisons and state jails throughout the state. This position is also responsible for the oversight of the Security Systems department.
Each of the six regional directors, in their respective geographical region, is responsible for a hierarchy of staff members who provide security at each prison unit and state jail.
The mission of Security Systems is to provide technical assistance and operational support to the CID administration and correctional facilities in the areas of staffing, surveillance, armory, technology research, budget, operational/incident reviews and field/kennel operations.
The Staffing Section is responsible for analyzing, developing and maintaining staffing documents for all units and conducting unit specific staffing evaluations. The Surveillance/Video Section assists in maintaining and repairing existing surveillance systems as well as providing technical evaluation on augmentation and improvements. The Armory Section provides all Use of Force equipment, firearms, ammunition and chemical agents for the agency. Staff is responsible for testing and evaluating security equipment and technical assistance. The Technology Research Section provides fiscal management and support for CID administration. The Operational Incident Review Section performs reviews that monitor unit adherence to policy. It provides agency leadership with trend analysis and information to enhance security systemwide. The Field Kennel Section provides training and technical support to the field force and kennel staff. It monitors and provides support to 64 field operations and 47 kennel operations.
Notable Security Systems achievements during 2008 included development of a "Table of Authorized Equipment" to standardize the methodology for deployment of security equipment to enhance efficient use of resources and the development and implementation of the field force risk assessment protocol to identify and ameliorate potential security risks associated with offenders working outside the secured perimeter of a unit. Also, there were 276 successful canine responses out of 303 requests, resulting in a 91 percent success rate.
The CID deputy director, Management Operations, provides oversight of Correctional Training and Staff Development, Plans & Operations, the Safe Prisons Program Management Office, the Community Liaison Office and the Security Threat Group Management Office.
Correctional Training and Staff Development
Correctional Training and Staff Development (CTSD) provided pre-service training to 5,891 participants, achieving an 88 percent graduation rate. Additionally, 28,621 employees attended annual in-service training; 8,860 staff received specialized training; 2,263 agency supervisors attended leadership development training; and 3,185 participated in ancillary training.
The CTSD has enhanced the leadership development programs to specifically target the proficiency of sergeants and lieutenants as supervisors in the field. During Fiscal Year 2008, the training programs for sergeants were expanded to include food service managers and laundry managers. In addition, CTSD finalized a training program developed for captains and conducted the first class of Correctional Administrators Preparedness Training in June 2008.
CTSD again provided agency employees with a refreshed in-service training program for Fiscal Year 2008. The program provided new TDCJ training videos and new workshops to meet the interests and needs of the participants. Elective workshops included Crime Scene Investigation, Stress and Burnout, Beyond Con Games, Hostage Survival, Personal Finance and Retirement and others.
Plans and Operations
The Plans and Operations Department provides support to divisional leadership in the tracking and implementing of legislation and coordinates and staffs all security-related policies and operational plans. The department is also responsible for budget and contracts and serves as the liaison to other state agencies and governmental officials. Plans and Operations also participates in the research, evaluation and audit of offender suicide prevention, manages the CID Web page, disseminates information concerning emergency preparedness and coordinates, trains and audits the agency's offender property and community work project procedures. In addition, it trains and compiles offender drug testing reports and completes special projects assigned by management.
Safe Prisons Program Management Office
The Safe Prisons Program Management Office provides administrative oversight to the Safe Prisons Program and technical support to the Unit Safe Prisons Program coordinators and executive administrative staff on issues of in-prison sexual assaults. The agency has a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual assault. Safe prisons program awareness training and extortion awareness training provide staff with an overview of the Safe Prisons Plan as well as information about how to help prevent extortion. Offender victims' representative training enhances the skills of staff that provide support services for offenders who have been victims of sexual assault. The Safe Prisons Program Management Office maintains a database of reported alleged sexual assaults and analyzes characteristics related to time, location and demographics of the participants. This office also provides statistics related to extortion, offender protection investigations and allegations of sexual assaults, which help identify issues for further policy development.
The Community Liaison Office facilitates the coordination and implementation of reentry initiatives and prison deterrence education programs for the agency. These tasks necessitate communication and coordination with local, state and national community organizations and agencies as well as multiple divisions, departments and units within TDCJ. This office oversees prison deterrence education programs that target young adults and adult probationers. This is accomplished using offenders to inform, educate and advise the public about the negative consequences of poor decisions involving drugs, alcohol, crime and gangs. The Community Liaison Office also acts as the coordinating oversight authority for the agency's Crisis Response Intervention Support Program and is the reporting authority for prison tours.
Security Threat Group
The Security Threat Group Management Office (STGMO) monitors the activities of security threat groups (gangs) and their members who threaten the safety and security of TDCJ units, staff and offenders. The STGMO provides oversight, training and technical support for the unit level staff who gather information on the activities of security threat group members. It works closely with law enforcement agencies by sharing information on security threat groups and their members.
The CID deputy director, Support Operations, oversees the support functions on all prisons/facilities. This department includes Classification and Records, Mail System Coordinators Panel, Disciplinary Coordination, Counsel Substitute, Offender Transportation and Laundry, Food and Supply.
Classification and Records
The Classification and Records Department oversees diverse matters pertaining to offender management and provides technical support for various administrative and unit-based departments. It includes the Classification and Records Office, Unit Classification and Count Room Department, Intake Department and the State Classification Committee.
The Classification and Records Office (CRO) schedules, receives, processes and transports offenders for intake, release and transfer. It creates and maintains records on these offenders and serves as the principal repository for the agency's offender records. In Fiscal Year 2008, the Offender Time Management Department was reorganized to increase efficiency and accuracy as it relates to offender time calculations. In addition, the CRO assisted in coordinating the opening of three new facilities. The Marlin Unit, San Saba Unit, and the East Texas Treatment Facility were all opened during Fiscal Year 2008, with the CRO coordinating the transfer of offenders being assigned to them.
The Unit Classification and Count Room Department provides oversight, training and technical support for all unit-based classification and count room personnel/operations. The revised TDCJ Offender Visitation Plan became effective during Fiscal Year 2008. All applicable notices to offenders and visitors were forwarded to the units for posting. Forms for Approved Visitor Information and Child Victim Restriction Affidavit were also sent to the units for appropriate visitors to pick up and complete. Unit Classification and Intake staff members were trained on the TDCJ Offender Visitation Plan changes, the new visitor tracking system (VI00) and the automated family history page. In addition, individual computer codes were assigned to the pre-parole treatment (PPT) facilities in Bridgeport, Mineral Wells and Lockhart during the year. With individual unit codes, the facilities are now able to input their own offender strength and housing information into the computer. This change will also allow instantaneous tracking of offenders in these facilities and provide an easier computer tracking and recognition method.
The Intake Department provides training, supervision and support for unit-based intake staff at 24 intake facilities statewide. Staff also conducts division-level operational review audits of the intake process. During Fiscal Year 2008, the expansion of the Live Scan fingerprint equipment, which included an interface with the TDCJ mainframe to eliminate duplicate data entry, was completed. Digital cameras and other equipment necessary for capturing offender photographs were provided to the classification department on each unit for use in updating offender photographs that are five years old or older. Unit classification captures the offender photograph and provides it to the Byrd Unit intake department via electronic file transfer. The photograph is then uploaded to the mainframe offender database. This process change provides a more efficient method for maintaining current photographs of TDCJ offenders.
The State Classification Committee (SCC) is responsible for making initial custody recommendations and determining appropriate units of assignment for all offenders. The SCC reviews recommendations made by unit classification committees for promotions in custody status, disciplinary actions at private facilities and transfers and special housing assignments due to security or safety needs. The SCC works closely with the Safe Prisons Program to identify aggressive and vulnerable offenders.
Mail System Coordinators Panel
The Mail System Coordinators Panel (MSCP) assists offenders in maintaining contact with families and friends and facilitates offenders' access to courts and public officials. The MSCP provides procedural training and technical assistance for unit mailroom staff and conducts operational review mailroom audits. It also generates investigations regarding receipts of threats and unidentifiable substances in uninspected mail as reported by offenders.
Office for Disciplinary Coordination
The Office for Disciplinary Coordination monitors facility compliance with disciplinary rules and procedures by conducting unit operational reviews. This office also produces management statistical reports each month, coordinates the revisions to the disciplinary rules and procedures and updates and coordinates the printing of the offender disciplinary rules handbook and the standard offense pleadings handbook. During Fiscal Year 2008, this office completed 36 unit operational reviews.
The Office of the Spanish Language Coordination manages Spanish language assistance service. It is responsible for coordinating the testing of employees to determine their proficiency in speaking the Spanish language for designation as qualified Spanish language interpreters allowed to translate selected documents and provide technical support to agency staff. Also, this office is responsible for conducting division-level unit operational reviews of Spanish language assistance. During Fiscal Year 2008, the office completed 36 unit operational reviews, 416 pages of translations and coordinated the testing of 229 employees.
The Counsel Substitute Program secures and protects the due process rights of offenders charged with disciplinary infractions by providing trained staff to assist offenders during the disciplinary process. These employees conduct certification training and provide technical assistance and continuous support for the disciplinary hearing officers and counsel substitute staff.
Offender Transportation is headquartered in Huntsville at the Byrd Unit with five regional offices located in Amarillo, Abilene, Tennessee Colony, Rosharon and Beeville.
This department is responsible for unit-to-unit transfers, state and federal court appearances, medical transfers, county jail transfers, out-of-state extraditions and emergency response (i.e., floods, hurricanes and any other catastrophic event).
Offender Transportation operates a fleet of vehicles consisting of 117 buses, 62 vans, six vans for the physically disabled and one car.
More than 4.5 million miles were traveled and 500,837 offenders were transported in Fiscal Year 2008. This department works closely with Classification and Records to ensure timely, efficient and safe transport of offenders.
Laundry, Food and Supply
Laundry, Food and Supply manages the food, laundry, necessities and unit supply operations. These unit-based programs are vital to the unit's mission and offenders' well being.
The department, through its unit-based departmental areas, is responsible for ensuring all offenders are provided access to clean and serviceable clothing, footwear and bedding. Offenders are provided access to appropriate personal hygiene items and units are provided basic supplies needed to operate. Offenders are also provided access to wholesome and nutritious meals, to include special diets.
This department employs approximately 1,800 laundry managers, inventory coordinators and food service managers. The unit-based staff works in more than 250 unit laundries, food service and unit supply programs. Approximately 29,000 offenders work in unit food service and laundry departments. Offenders are provided on-the-job training to help prepare them for reintegration into society. In addition to on-the-job training, offenders are afforded the opportunity to participate in educational programs in food preparation through the joint efforts of Windham School District, Alvin Community College and Lee College. Upon completion of these programs, qualified offenders are allowed the opportunity to work at the San Antonio Food Bank to further enhance their cooking skills and employment opportunities.
Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division
The Private Facilities Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division (PFCMOD) is responsible for oversight and monitoring of contracts for privately-operated secure facilities as well as community-based facilities, which includes substance abuse treatment services.
The division's responsibilities include managing and monitoring privately-operated facilities. They include seven private prisons, five private state jails, one work program co-located on a private facility, two pre-parole transfer facilities, four intermediate sanction facilities, seven halfway houses, four county jails (leased beds) and 20 substance abuse aftercare treatment facilities (community based transitional treatment centers). Also, PFCMOD is responsible for monitoring 11 substance abuse felony punishment facilities/in-prison therapeutic community programs, one driving while intoxicated (DWI) program and six state jail substance abuse programs that are co-located on state-run or privately-operated facilities.
There were approximately 19,000 offenders in privately-operated facilities, not including transitional treatment centers, monitored by the PFCMOD during Fiscal Year 2008.
The Parole Division supervises offenders released from prison on parole or mandatory supervision to complete their sentences in Texas communities. The mission of the division is to promote public safety and positive offender change through effective supervision, programs and services. The division is also responsible for pre-release functions such as investigating release plans and preparing eligible cases to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) for release consideration.
This year, 78,000 parole and mandatory offenders were under active supervision by approximately 1,250 district parole officers. Offenders must report to parole officers and comply with release conditions established by the BPP. Violations can result in arrest and re-incarceration. Officers also supervise offenders transferred to Texas from other states and by the Texas Youth Commission.
Regional directors in Tyler, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Midland manage 66 district parole offices across the state. Officers monitor an offender's compliance with conditions of release and society's laws, applying supervision strategies based on assessment of each offender's risk and needs.
Central Coordination Unit
The Central Coordination Unit (CCU) provides support services to Field Operations. The unit monitors a detainer/deportation caseload, verifies death notices, receives and monitors interstate transfers and arranges for placement of offenders in to and out of intermediate sanction facilities (ISFs) and substance abuse felony punishment (SAFP) facilities. In Fiscal Year 2008, 10,605 offenders came through ISFs. Two ISFs participate in the Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP). The South Texas ISF services 350 offenders, while the North Texas ISF services 270. Programs and services offered in these facilities encourage offender compliance through appropriate supervision and interventions.
This year, the Parole Division ombudsman responded to 8,538 inquiries from offender family members, parole and mandatory supervision offenders, legislative offices and the public.
The Interstate Compact Office facilitates transfer of supervision to a state outside an offender's state of conviction. The Interstate Commission on Adult Offender Supervision is the statutory authority for supervision transfer. The Interstate Compact Office establishes practices, policies and procedures that ensure compliance with Compact rules. In Fiscal Year 2008, 7,981 Texas probationers and 3,238 parolees were supervised out-of-state. Another 3,907 out-of-state probationers and 2,150 parolees were supervised in Texas.
Internal Review/In-Service Training
Internal Review/In-Service Training provided training on the Parole Violation and Report System, Human Resource Training for Supervisors and Principles of Supervision. A total of 536 parole employees participated in in-service training classes in 2008.
Performance reviews measuring the overall performance of the 66 district parole offices were completed during the fiscal year.
Support Services consists of five sections - Review and Release Processing, Specialized Programs, Warrants, Central File Coordination and the Training Academy. All provide direct support to Field Operations.
Review and Release Processing
Review and Release Processing identifies offenders eligible for release consideration by the BPP. After identifying the offender through a systematic case-pull process, an institutional parole officer compiles a comprehensive case summary containing information related to the decision-making process. This includes the offender's criminal history, prior alcohol and drug use and social, psychological and institutional adjustment. Institutional parole officers produced 78,312 case summaries and 17,158 discretionary mandatory supervision transmittals for BPP use in making release decisions. Twenty-seven summaries for clemency decisions on death penalty cases were prepared and 20,214 parole and 12,172 mandatory and discretionary supervision releases were processed.
Specialized Programs administers and evaluates a variety of programs and services to enhance the division's ability to supervise and reintegrate offenders following release.
District Reentry Centers target newly-released, high-need offenders using a comprehensive approach to promote personal responsibility, growth, victim empathy and accountability. Volunteers and community agencies assist parole staff in addressing anger management, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse, victim impact and pre-employment preparation. In Fiscal Year 2008, a monthly average of 1,499 offenders was served.
The Serious and Violent Reentry Initiative (SVORI) provides transitional services to administrative segregation offenders that begins during incarceration and continues for one year after release to supervision. Programming provided through the district reentry centers includes anger management, substance abuse education, victim impact panels and cognitive-based classes. Additional assistance is met by community partnerships with faith-based services, employment services and mentoring services. Programming addresses the needs of offender and family while maintaining the goal of public safety. Fifty-four offenders were placed in the program in Fiscal Year 2008.
The Special Needs Offender Program, in conjunction with the Health and Human Services Commission, supervises mentally retarded (MR), mentally impaired (MI) and terminally ill or physically handicapped (TI/PH) offenders. In Fiscal Year 2008, 329 medically-recommended intensive supervision offenders were released. A monthly average of 183 MR, 3,983 MI and 802 TI/PH offenders were supervised.
The Sex Offender Program supervises an average of 2,809 offenders per month. Sex offender treatment services are provided statewide through contracted vendors, with the division subsidizing treatment for indigent offenders. Polygraph testing is a significant component of evaluating and treating sex offenders.
The Therapeutic Community Program offers continuity of care to offenders with substance abuse problems. This three-phase aftercare program targets offenders who have participated in an in-prison therapeutic community or substance abuse felony punishment facility. A monthly average of 2,376 offenders received services from contracted vendors and specially trained parole officers.
The Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP) provides relapse prevention services to offenders with substance abuse problems. Level I (prevention) services were provided to 28,719 offenders in Fiscal Year 2008. Level II (outpatient treatment) services were provided by vendors and parole counselors to 16,617 offenders. The SACP ISFs provided residential treatment to 3,524 offenders.
The Drug Testing Program has incorporated new instant-read testing devices. These devices increase accountability and reduce chain of custody issues involved with drug testing. A total of 1,332,109 tests were conducted for an average of 111,009 per month.
Project RIO (Reintegration of Offenders) is a joint project of TDCJ, the Windham School District and the Texas Workforce Commission. It is designed to reduce recidivism by assisting the offender in securing gainful employment. Project RIO serves as a resource link between education, training and employment referrals.
Central File Coordination Unit
The Central File Coordination Unit (CFCU) coordinates the movement and maintenance of approximately 278,000 case files of offenders under Parole Division jurisdiction and inmates who are within six months of release eligibility. CFCU tracks and verifies restitution owed by offenders, processes case files on the offender's discharge date and responds to Open Records requests and correspondence.
The Warrants Section is primarily responsible for the issuance, confirmation (execution upon arrest) and cancellation or withdrawal of pre-revocation warrants. In Fiscal Year 2008, 40,117 warrants were issued, 25,335 were confirmed and 30,230 were cancelled or withdrawn. The section is also responsible for the oversight of programs involving the global positioning satellite tracking (GPS) and electronic monitoring (EM) of offenders.
The section has two units in operation 24 hours a day. The command center processes violation reports submitted by parole officers and alerts from EM/GPS vendors and halfway houses. The Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System Unit responds to requests for warrant information from law enforcement and maintains wanted persons information. Additionally, these units operate an absconder tip line to allow the public to report locations of offenders who have failed to report.
The Extradition Unit tracks Texas offenders arrested in other states and offenders returned to a TDCJ correctional institution who have not been through the pre-revocation process. This year, 707 extradited offenders were returned to Texas and 223 warrants were issued for Texas offenders under Interstate Compact supervision in other states.
The Tracking Unit tracks offenders held in Texas county jails on pre-revocation warrants and ensures that the offender's case is disposed of within the time limits prescribed by law. It calculates the amount of time for which an offender should be credited while in custody on a pre-revocation warrant.
The Super-Intensive Supervision Program (SISP) imposes the highest level of supervision and offender accountability, including both active and passive GPS monitoring. A monthly average of 30 offenders was on active GPS during the year, with around-the-clock tracking in place for those at highest risk. A monthly average of 1,645 offenders on SISP was monitored on passive GPS, which downloads tracking data when an offender returns to his or her residence.
Electronic monitoring (EM) allows an officer to detect curfew and home confinement violations electronically. Offenders at higher risk of re-offending or who have violated release conditions may be placed on EM. A monthly average of 1,208 offenders was on EM this year.
The Parole Officer Training Academy in Beeville provides 216 hours of pre-service foundation training for new officers. Training was provided to 210 new officers in 11 classes during Fiscal Year 2008.
The academy also houses the specialized offender supervision schools which cover the Super-Intensive Supervision Program, electronic monitoring, therapeutic community and the Special Needs Offender Program. Classes, conducted quarterly, are 32 to 40 hours in length. A 40-hour firearms certification course provided training to 24 officers who elected to carry a concealed handgun while on duty. During Fiscal Year 2008, 590 officers attended training classes.
Health Services Division
The Health Services Division monitors access to timely and quality health care for offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The agency contracts with the Correctional Managed Health Care Committee (CMHCC) for all health services at TDCJ facilities.
The 73rd Legislature established the CMHCC and empowered the committee to develop a managed health care plan for offenders in TDCJ. This statutory mandate was implemented through a series of contractual relationships. TDCJ contracts with the CMHCC, which, in turn, contracts with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), the Texas Tech University Health Science Center at Lubbock (TTUHSC) and private vendors to provide health care to TDCJ offenders. The universities may also contract with private vendors to provide services.
This health care delivery system was implemented in TDCJ on September 1, 1994. Each university and private vendor has its own internal organizational structure to assure the integrity and quality of the managed health care program. Within each program there is a medical director, administrator, nursing director, dental director, mental health director, clinical pharmacist and clinical laboratory personnel as well as health records staff.
TDCJ, UTMB, TTUHSC and the private vendors are in partnership to implement and enforce the health care delivery system. Each entity functions as an independent organization with separate and distinct lines of supervision and responsibilities.
Functions performed by the TDCJ Health Services Division include:
- Monitoring the offenders' access to the various health care disciplines (i.e., medical, nursing, dental and mental health).
- Cooperating with the university medical schools and the private contractors in monitoring quality of care. The clinical and professional resources of the health care providers are used to the greatest extent feasible for clinical oversight of quality of care issues as mandated by government code.
- Conducting compliance (operational review) audits.
- Investigating and responding to Step 2 medical grievances, inquiries and complaints.
- Controlling the transmission of infectious diseases in TDCJ. The Office of Preventive Medicine collects statistics on the occurrence of selected diseases.
- The Health Services Liaison recommends unit assignment requirements to meet the medical needs of offenders, screens offenders for programs and acts as a liaison for the university providers, counties and private vendors.
Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division
The Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division (RRPD) coordinates with multiple divisions of TDCJ to provide effective, evidence-based treatment services for individual offenders throughout their periods of incarceration and supervision. Emphasis is placed on the reintegration of offenders into the community.
Chaplaincy uses a holistic approach to enhance an offender's spirituality. Programs focus on the development of life-changing goals among offenders and are delivered through spiritual growth groups, mentoring and volunteer programs.
Prison Fellowship Ministries at the Vance Unit in Sugar Land operates the faith-based Inner Change pre-release program. This program spans 18 months within the institution and has a transitional aftercare component.
Faith-based dorms were implemented January 2003 and have expanded to 15 facilities. The faith-based dorms offer support and accountability, along with an intensive faith-based curriculum and mentoring programs. The programming is conducted by local faith-based community volunteers under the direct supervision of the unit chaplain and unit administration.
In 1996 the agency began collecting blood specimens for DNA analysis from offenders convicted of certain sex offenses. Samples are now collected from all offenders incarcerated in a TDCJ facility or a facility under contract with TDCJ. The samples are sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety's Combined DNA Index System lab for analysis and entry into the national DNA database.
Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators
The agency identifies and refers offenders with two or more qualifying sexually violent offense convictions to a multidisciplinary team for possible civil commitment under the Texas Health and Safety Code. This process applies to offenders released on or after January 1, 2000.
Sex Offender Risk Assessment
The executive director of TDCJ is required by law to appoint a Risk Assessment Review Committee. The committee includes members with experience in law enforcement, supervision of juvenile sex offenders and sex offender treatment as well as victims of sex offenses. Also included are two persons representing the Council on Sex Offender Treatment. The committee functions in an oversight capacity to ensure that sex offender treatment staff members are trained in the use of screening tools. It also monitors the use of the screening tools and revises or replaces the existing screening tools if warranted. The 80th legislative session required that a Dynamic Risk Assessment tool be implemented by TDCJ for offenders serving a sentence for an offense that requires registration.
Sex Offender Rehabilitation Programs
The Sex Offender Education Program (SOEP) consists of a four-month curriculum delivered to sex offenders who have been determined to pose a lower re-offense risk. The Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) consists of an 18-month intensive treatment program delivered in a therapeutic community environment to sex offenders determined to pose a higher re-offense risk. The SOTP involves three treatment phases employing a cognitive-behavioral model.
Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative Program
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) Program is a 63-bed program housed at the Estelle Unit's expansion cellblock facility in Huntsville. The program provides pre-release and in-cell programming, transitional services and post-release supervision for offenders. The SVORI is a coordinated partnership with the Correctional Institutions Division (CID), the Parole Division (PD) and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP). The program is 18 months in length and consists of two phases. Phase I is a six-month in-cell cognitive-based program provided through computer-based equipment. Phase II spans 12 months in the community.
Pre-Release Therapeutic Community (PRTC)
Utilizing principles of a therapeutic community, this six-month program promotes appropriate behavior changes in offenders through collaboration between the Windham School District, the Parole Division and the RRPD.
Substance Abuse Treatment
The Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facilities (SAFPF) is a six-month in-prison treatment program followed by up to three months of residential aftercare in a Transitional Treatment Center (TTC), six to nine months of outpatient aftercare and up to 12 months of support groups and follow-up supervision. A nine-month in-prison treatment component is provided for special needs offenders who have mental and/or medical disorders. Offenders are sentenced by a judge to a SAFPF as a condition of their community supervision in lieu of going to prison/state jail or as a modification of their parole. Offenders convicted of certain sex offender-related felonies are not eligible for this program.
The In-Prison Therapeutic Community (IPTC) is similar to the SAFPF in treatment components and length. However, the BPP must vote to place qualified offenders who are identified as needing substance abuse treatment in the program.
The Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program (PRSAP) is an intensive six-month program utilizing principles of a therapeutic community. It is intended for incarcerated offenders with serious substance abuse/chemical dependency. Offenders are placed in the program based on a vote by the BPP.
The Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Program is a six-month multimodal program with an aftercare component containing a variety of educational modules and treatment activities, to include group and individual therapy.
The State Jail Substance Abuse Program (SJSAP) is a multimodal program designed to meet the needs of the diverse characteristics of the state jail population. Eligible offenders are placed in one of three tracks - 30-days, 60-days or 90-days - based on an Addiction Severity Index assessment and criminal history.
Youthful Offender Program
The Youthful Offender Program (YOP) was established in 1995 in response to changes in the law allowing offenders as young as 14 to be tried and sentenced as adults. The YOP offenders are separated from the adult incarcerated population and live in sheltered housing that utilizes a token economy to promote positive change and enhance self-improvement. Treatment includes education, social skills training, anger management, values development, goal setting, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse counseling, conflict resolution, aggression replacement and life skills.
Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) Pre-Release Program
The PRI Pre-Release Program is a grant program funded by the Department of Justice. The PRI is a collaborative effort between the TDCJ and the Department of Labor's faith/community-based organizations. The program is a 90-day three-phase model focusing on cognitive behavioral change, employment and transitional planning. Prior to release, offenders develop a Transitional Community Plan and are connected with the program's community partners for continued services and training. The PRI program is currently offered at Lychner, Kegans, Hutchins, Dominguez and Plane state jails.
The Plane/Henley State Jail Wraparound Program allows community resource providers to meet female offenders prior to their release. The services increase community support for the offender and help fulfill their identified needs.
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars helps maintain and re-forge the bond between girls and their incarcerated mothers. Through Girl Scout Council-facilitated prison visits, mothers and daughters join for troop meetings and traditional Girl Scout activities.
Through the Teeter Totter Village of Houston, Texas SKIP (Supporting Kids of Incarcerated Parents) provides a curriculum focused on responding to the needs of children, their caregiver and their incarcerated parent. They offer a 19-week family strengthening program, child interactive play and learn groups and parenting classes.
GO KIDS (Giving Offenders' Kids Incentive and Direction to Succeed) Initiative
GO KIDS brings to the forefront the importance of preserving family ties and providing positive prevention and intervention services to high-risk children. Maintained through the RRPD, a link on the agency's website (www.tdcj.state.tx.us) provides a reliable connection to valuable resources and services, not only within local communities, but also across Texas.
Several organizations are working in collaboration with GO KIDS. These organizations - Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas, Amachi Texas, No More Victims, Inc., Texas Boys Ranch and KICKSTART - work directly with the children and offer mentoring, counseling and empowerment opportunities.
Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative Program
This program partners with the TDCJ Health Services Division, CID, the University of Texas Medical Branch and local foundations to provide training and counseling for new offender mothers in a residential setting. The program gives offender mothers and their newborns time to form a healthy attachment in a secure setting.
Rehabilitation Tier Tracking and Placement
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has a rehabilitation tier voting option. The vote designates that an offender must successfully complete a rehabilitation program and comply with all elements of the Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP) prior to release on parole. The Tier Tracking and Placement staff tracks offenders from the time of the BPP vote to ensure they are transferred to the designated program at the appropriate time.
Volunteer Coordination Committee
The Volunteer Coordination Committee (VCC) was established in 1994 to enhance the utilization of volunteers within the agency. The VCC consists of representatives from the following: RRPD (Substance Abuse Treatment, Chaplaincy and Sex Offender Treatment), the Victim Services Division, the Parole Division, the Private Facilities Contract Monitoring Oversight Division and the Windham School District.
Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments
The Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI) is responsible for addressing the establishment of a comprehensive continuity of care system that emphasizes its primary goals of public safety and treatment intervention for juveniles and adults with special needs.
Fiscal Year 2008 saw the completion or initiation of several legislative mandates from the 80th Legislative Session. These enhancements to TCOOMMI's mission included, but were not limited to, the following:
- Incorporating legislative revisions that added the Department of Public Safety to the agencies participating in the continuity of care process.
- Fostering an increased ability to share information between the Department of Public Safety and the Department of State Health Services to improve the identification of defendants with mental illnesses at time of intake.
- Expanding community-based programs, including residential programs, with new funds appropriated by the legislature for mental health diversion activities.
- Expanding eligibility for the Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision Program to include a review of certain categories of sex offenders and state jail offenders.
Community-based programs provided intensive case management, jail diversion and continuity of care and support services to juvenile and adult offenders who were classified with or convicted of an offense. During Fiscal Year 2008, a total of 28,159 adults and juveniles received community-based treatment services.
Continuity of Care
Continuity of Care (COC) programs provided pre-release and post-release screening and referral for medical or psychiatric aftercare treatment services for special needs offenders. In Fiscal Year 2008, 5,159 offenders were released through the COC program.
Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision
The Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision (MRIS) Program provided early parole review of adult offenders who are mentally ill, mentally retarded, terminally ill, physically disabled, elderly or require long term care. During Fiscal Year 2008, 1,319 offenders were screened; 438 were presented to the parole board and 103 were approved for MRIS.
Additional TCOOMMI activities
TCOOMMI continued to work toward enhancing the overall service delivery system targeted for offenders with special needs through the following activities:
- Developed standardized admission protocols for CJAD/TCOOMMI-funded residential programs.
- Developed COC procedures for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.
- Cooperated with the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission in McArthur Foundation grants to enhance juvenile justice and mental health collaboration.
- Revised COC procedures to emphasize a more comprehensive approach, starting at arrest, and throughout the criminal justice continuum.
- Revised the legislatively-mandated memoranda of understanding with health and human service agencies to improve the overall COC process.
Victim Services Division
The Victim Services Division's mission is to coordinate a central mechanism for victims and the public to participate in the criminal justice system.
Victim Notification System
The Victim Notification System (VNS) is a confidential 70-point notification database that provides victims, their families and concerned citizens with written information throughout the parole review process. At the end of Fiscal Year 2008 there were 143,032 individuals registered on VNS. During the fiscal year, Victim Services processed 159,485 pieces of correspondence.
Toll Free Information Hotline: (800) 848-4284
Between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, Victim Services representatives answer calls and provide information about offender status, the criminal justice system, personal meetings with parole board members and services available to victims through the division. There were 39,869 telephone calls processed in Fiscal Year 2008.
Victim Information and Notification Everyday
Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) is a toll free automated telephone service which allows victims to obtain offender information 24 hours a day in English or Spanish. If requested by a victim, VINE can call automatically to notify them when their offender is being processed for release. This system is a service offered to victims in addition to written notification. There were 14,306 VINE "call ins" and 226 VINE "call outs" in Fiscal Year 2008.
Case File Analysts
Offender case files are managed by the case file analysts who liaison between victims and parole board members, criminal justice professionals and law enforcement personnel. Assistance is provided for victims requesting imposition of special conditions, explanation of the parole process and interpretation of state parole laws. In Fiscal Year 2008, 2,825 cases were analyzed and 306 transmittals were processed to the parole board requesting special conditions or protesting the release of an offender.
Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse
The Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse (TxCVC) provides technical assistance, information and referrals to victims, victim service providers, law enforcement and criminal justice professionals. Every odd-numbered year, TxCVC updates the Victim Impact Statement (VIS) upon adjournment of the legislative session. The VIS is available in Spanish and Braille upon request. TxCVC provides training on the VIS to victim assistance staff in district and county attorney's offices. It also sponsors an educational conference for victims, victim advocates and other criminal justice professionals. A quarterly newsletter, The Victim's Informer, is produced by TxCVC and mailed to approximately 4,000 recipients.
Victim Impact Panel Program
Through the Victim Impact Panel Program (VIPP), victims and survivors of crime have the opportunity to share details of their victimization by addressing audiences of criminal justice professionals and offenders. The goal is to involve victims/survivors in the criminal justice process and give them a voice. There were 44 impact panels conducted in Fiscal Year 2008 with eight new victim panelists and 52 referral or repeat panelists participating.
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue Program
The Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue (VOM/D) Program provides victims and survivors of violent crime the opportunity to have a structured, face-to-face meeting with their offender in a safe environment. Mediation is a vehicle chosen by some victims to facilitate the healing and recovery process and get answers to questions only the offender can answer. Under certain circumstances, "creative alternatives" are utilized in lieu of a face-to-face mediation. Use of surrogate offenders or videotaped statements by the victim or the offender are two examples of these creative alternatives. There were 36 mediations completed in Fiscal Year 2008.
Victim Support & Community Education Program
The Victim Support & Community Education (VSCE) Program oversees a variety of services available to victims including training, prison tours and assisting victims who view executions. In an effort to enhance victim awareness and sensitivity and prevent victimization, targeted training audiences include criminal justice professionals, victims, victim advocates and offenders. When appropriate, training staff utilizes victim impact panels. There were 1,057 victim advocates and service providers, students, offenders, criminal justice professionals and law enforcement personnel trained in Fiscal Year 2008. VSCE also provides training in individual peer support intervention for TDCJ employees interested in serving in the Crisis Response Intervention and Support Program (CRISP). This training is certified by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.
Victim Services facilitates the viewing of executions for victims. Victims viewing executions can request as many as five relatives or close friends who want to witness the offender's execution. If the victim so desires, witnesses may also include a spiritual advisor, law enforcement personnel and/or trial officials in their five choices. Witnesses are prepared for and accompanied to the execution viewing by a Victim Services staff member. Staff also provides follow-up support and referrals as needed. During Fiscal Year 2008 at least one Victim Services representative attended 11 executions, providing support to 38 victim witnesses.
Prison Tours are conducted to educate criminal justice staff, victims and others about the realities of prison life in Texas.
Bridges To Life
During Fiscal Year 2008, Bridges to Life and Restoring Peace projects have taken place on 17 prison units with 43 projects in progress during the year. The projects last 12 to 14 weeks and are conducted in small group settings. Discussion topics include crime, domestic violence, DWI, accountability, guilt, forgiveness and restitution. Around 150 victim/volunteers participated during the year, some attending more than one project at a time. About 583 volunteer inmates participated during the fiscal year.
Administrative Review & Risk Management Division
Access to Courts Program
Access to Courts ensures offenders receive their constitutional right of access to courts, counsel and public officials, and that such access is adequate, effective and meaningful as required by law. It provides critical functions at all units, including legal research resources, attorney visits and phone calls, Open Records requests, telephonic court hearings, correspondence supplies for indigent offenders, notary public services, offender legal and educational in-cell storage management, parole revocation hearing reviews and court transcript administration. Law library attendance in Fiscal Year 2008 totaled 608,053. The number of legal research materials delivered to offenders with indirect law library access totaled 247,819.
Administrative Monitor for Use of Force
This office manages the agency's Use of Force policy and procedures and coordinates training to promote staff understanding and compliance with policy. During Fiscal Year 2008, 6,106 major uses of force were conducted in TDCJ.
Monitoring & Standards
The primary focus of the Operational Review program is to monitor adherence to agency policy at each correctional facility. This is accomplished through ongoing monthly reviews at the unit level and reviews every three years at the division level. Follow-up reviews are then conducted to document any findings that required corrective action. In addition, staff investigates allegations of certain offender misconduct (i.e., supervisory authority over other offenders, special privileges and access to sensitive information). Monitoring & Standards also coordinates and assists correctional facilities in obtaining accreditation from the American Correctional Association (ACA). During Fiscal Year 2008, 14 facilities received their initial accreditation. To date, 86 units, the Baten Intermediate Sanction Facility and the Correctional Training Academy have earned ACA accreditation. Nine additional facilities are scheduled for initial accreditation during Fiscal Year 2009.
Offender Grievance Program
This program provides offenders with a formal mechanism to hear and resolve concerns affecting their everyday lives. By providing an outlet for offender grievances, the program enhances the safety of staff while providing agency administrators with valuable insight into issues and problem resolution on the units. During Fiscal Year 2008, unit grievance investigators handled more than 154,000 grievances at the unit level, while central office staff processed more than 38,000 appeals.
The ombudsman's offices provide public access to agency staff members who answer questions and address concerns. The Ombudsman Coordinators' Office in Huntsville supports ombudsman staff in the Correctional Institutions and Parole divisions. Staff responded to approximately 18,857 inquiries in Fiscal Year 2008 through the U.S. mail, telephone and the Internet. The office also arranged for agency representatives to speak at five engagements sponsored by offender family support organizations.
This program has oversight of unit/department occupational safety and health standards, emergency management planning and disaster recovery, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and liability loss control. It coordinates with all agency departments to implement risk reduction strategies regarding personnel, property and fiscal resources. Fiscal Year 2008 saw a .05 percent increase in employee injuries and a 5.5 percent increase in resulting workers compensation claims.
Business and Finance Division
The mission of Business and Finance is to support the agency through sound fiscal management, provision of financial services and statistical information, purchasing and leasing services, agribusiness, land and mineral operations, maintaining a fiduciary responsibility over offender education and recreation funds and ensuring fiscal responsibility through compliance with laws and court-mandated requirements. Business and Finance includes the following departments: Accounting and Business Services, Budget, Commissary and Trust Fund, Contracts and Procurement, Office of Space Management, Historically Underutilized Business Program, Payroll Processing and Agribusiness, Land and Minerals.
Accounting and Business Services Department
Accounting and Business Services consists of Financial Analysis and Support, Accounts Payable and Cashier/Travel/Restitution/Fee Services.
Accounting and Business Services carries out the financial operations of the agency by providing meaningful financial information, supporting financial processes and maintaining effective financial control. In Fiscal Year 2008, Accounts Payable received and processed approximately 150,000 invoices from vendors.
The department is responsible for general accounting of state funds and produces the agency's annual financial report. This is achieved through the use of the agency's financial system, LONESTARS (which is managed by the department) and the Uniform Statewide Accounting System.
In providing financial oversight for all other agency departments, the Budget Department plans, formulates, analyzes and monitors agency revenues and expenditures by activity, function and department. The planning process is initiated through preparation of the Agency Strategic Plan and monitored quarterly by a system of performance measures. The department then compiles the biennial Legislative Appropriations Request, which serves as the fiscal representation of the Agency Strategic Plan.
The legislature appropriated approximately $5.6 billion to TDCJ for the 2008-2009 biennium. The Fiscal Year 2008 Operating Budget, developed and continuously monitored by the Budget Department, totals $2.887 billion, which also includes approximately $27 million provided for employee pay raises.
The department routinely interacts with the state's executive, legislative and regulatory agencies, to include the Legislative Budget Board, Governor's Office of Budget, Planning and Policy, Public Finance Authority and the Bond Review Board.
Commissary and Trust Fund Department
The Commissary and Trust Fund Department is responsible for the administration and operation of the agency's commissaries and inmate trust fund.
The inmate trust fund provides offenders access to personal funds for the purchase of commissary items, craft shop supplies, periodicals and subscriptions, some over-the-counter medications and other approved expenditures. In Fiscal Year 2008, more than 1.8 million deposits totaling $106.7 million were received and processed. An automated remittance system is used to encode, image, endorse and facilitate the electronic posting of the large number of deposits collected by the trust fund.
The department operates two warehouse and distribution centers that provide merchandise for resale at commissary locations on each correctional facility throughout the state. Merchandise sold includes candy, packaged meat products, coffee, soft drinks, greeting cards, shoes and electronics. Utilizing an offender's bar-coded identification card, the commissary's point-of-sale system records detailed sales transaction information and debits the offender's trust fund account. Sales from commissary operations exceeded $89.9 million in Fiscal Year 2008.
In addition to supporting the commissary and trust fund operations, income from commissary sales is used to fund or supplement other offender programs. These include recreational activities, sports and fitness equipment, television equipment located in common viewing areas, library books and supplies and The Echo newspaper available to offenders.
Contracts and Procurement Department
The Contracts and Procurement Department is responsible for procuring the goods and services necessary to support the mission of the agency. Certified purchasers and contract specialists approve, record and process purchases requisitioned by agency staff. The department's mission is to acquire the right goods and services at the right time and at the right price in accordance with laws, rules, policies and sound business judgment. Agency requirements range from basic needs, such as food for offenders, to complex professional services and construction projects.
During Fiscal Year 2008, the department processed approximately 46,000 Advanced Purchasing and Inventory Control Systems (ADPICS) requisitions and more than 600 contract procurement actions.
In partnership with the Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) Program, Contracts and Procurement promotes the HUB program and continuously strives to improve HUB participation in the procurement of goods and services.
The primary mission of the HUB Program is to promote full and equal business opportunities to historically underutilized businesses. HUBs, as defined by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, are businesses that have been historically underutilized and have at least 51 percent ownership by the following groups:
- Asia-Pacific Americans
- African Americans
- Hispanic Americans
- Native Americans
- American Women
The HUB Program sponsors an annual vendor fair and participates in a number of HUB forums. It also assists in the certifying of HUB vendors.
Office of Space Management
The responsibility of the Office of Space Management (OSM) is to acquire, allocate, approve and manage administrative lease space based on the TDCJ's needs and in compliance with various state statutes and departmental rules and regulations. At the end of Fiscal Year 2008, OSM provided support for approximately 89 leases. In addition, OSM activities include ensuring efficient use of both lease and state-owned administrative properties. Other OSM functions include liaison activities involving the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC), resolving payment issues between Accounts Payable and lessors, assistance in resolution of maintenance issues between tenants and lessors and assistance in obtaining necessary management and budgetary approvals on behalf of the TDCJ. When an emergency occurs in a leased administrative space, OSM staff provides immediate on-site assistance with relocation, support for communication needs, assistance related to public safety issues and proper notification of the emergency to the TFC.
Payroll Processing Department
The responsibility of the Payroll Processing Department is to process accurate monthly salary payments with authorized deductions for approximately 39,000 employees while ensuring compliance with state and federal laws. Core functions include payroll processing, payroll deductions, direct deposit program, employee time program, distribution of payroll warrants and federal tax reporting. Payroll successfully completed the Fiscal Year 2008 payroll conversion, which included a legislative salary increase for all classified employees. The Correctional Career Ladder was modified in November 2007 and May 2008, and a payroll for new hire bonus payments was implemented in April 2008.
Agribusiness, Land and Minerals
Agribusiness, Land and Minerals is responsible for the oversight and management of the agency's land and mineral resources to include administration of oil and gas leases, easements and other land issues. Land considered suitable for agricultural use is employed in the production of fresh vegetables, cotton, grain, hay and livestock. In addition to these primary activities, Agribusiness manages and operates several food processing plants and livestock production facilities that provide canned vegetables, eggs and various finished meat products required to feed the incarcerated offender population.
In calendar year 2007, Agribusiness raised 28 varieties of fruits and vegetables in gardens comprising 4,303 acres, with production in excess of 15.8 million pounds. Community-style, unit-managed gardens contributed an additional 4.4 million pounds of fresh vegetables. Nearly 30,900 acres were dedicated to the production of cotton, grains and grasses, resulting in the harvest of 130 million pounds of product. At the close of calendar year 2007, on-hand livestock included 13,971 head of cattle, 25,432 swine, 281,886 laying hens and 1,587 horses. The poultry program produced approximately 5.7 million dozen eggs and the swine program shipped 32,862 hogs to the packing plant. During this period, agency food processing plants canned 256,190 cases of vegetables and delivered more than 23.6 million pounds of finished meat items.
Agribusiness makes use of approximately 2,500 offenders in its numerous enterprises. Many of these offenders are offered the opportunity to learn marketable job skills that may assist them in securing employment upon their release.
The Facilities Division provides a full range of facility management services to TDCJ, including facility planning, design, construction, maintenance and environmental quality assurance and compliance. The division's headquarters is located in Huntsville but there are maintenance employees working at state-owned and operated facilities throughout the state. These employees provide long range and day-to-day maintenance as required to keep facilities in proper working condition and to support each facility year-round.
The Engineering Department provides professional architectural and engineering services to support TDCJ. The department provides overall project design and construction management for all delivery methods, including contract design and construction and internal design and construction activities. The engineers and architects also act as consultants to the Maintenance Department and to any other office requiring technical assistance. Oversight is provided for all activities affecting engineering and environmental interests to ensure compliance with all state and federal rules and regulations.
The Maintenance Department is responsible for maintaining all TDCJ-owned and operated facilities. A unit maintenance office is located on each correctional facility. Each office has a technical staff, the makeup of which varies according to the facility's mission and offender population. There are six regional maintenance offices supporting the unit maintenance offices. These regional offices have specialty crews performing construction projects, repairs and renovations. This department is also a first responder to evaluate, assess and repair damage caused by hurricanes and other disasters.
The Program Administration Department is responsible for facility project planning and programming functions. It engages in energy conservation initiatives, energy audits and utility billing analysis. Environmental safety and compliance is also administered within this department, which includes the preparation of numerous technical and complex reports for all TDCJ facilities and oversight of special investigations, audits and research.
Information Technology Division
The Information Technology Division provides automated information services and technology support to all TDCJ departments, Correctional Managed Health Care and other external entities. Approximately 37,500 personal computers, terminals, routers, radios, telephone switches and other devices are operated and supported on behalf of the agency. Additionally, the division operates and maintains numerous computer and telephone voice networks and a Wide Area Network (WAN) that connects parole offices, correctional facilities and administrative offices in Huntsville, Austin and across the state.
The division's computer operations consist of two large mainframe computers and 11 servers located at the Texas State Data Center in San Angelo. This center processes more than 21.6 million transactions a day for the agency. In Fiscal Year 2008, the division completed a successful disaster recovery test at the IBM Recovery Center in Boulder, Colorado and migrated to the new Integrated Services Gateway (ISG) and Optiman network in order to meet federal security mandates, allow for voice and data convergence and improve bandwidth speed. The data center consolidation service contract is to be completed in 2009.
Manufacturing & Logistics Division
The Manufacturing & Logistics Division benefits the state by providing work and training opportunities for incarcerated offenders. The division provides quality service in warehousing operations, freight transportation, the management of the TDCJ vehicle fleet and by providing quality manufactured products and services to TDCJ and other state agencies and political subdivisions.
The division collaborates with the Windham School District, post-secondary educational institutions and other entities to establish work and training programs that are directed toward the effective rehabilitation of offenders. Training opportunities consist of apprenticeship programs, diversified career preparation programs, short course programs, on-the-job training programs and college vocational courses. Work and training programs offered to eligible offenders help reduce idleness and provide opportunities for offenders to learn marketable job skills and develop a work ethic. On-the-job training and accredited certification programs, along with the Work Against Recidivism (WAR) program, are specifically targeted to successfully reintegrate offenders into society upon release from TDCJ.
The division has four designated training facilities on the Daniel, Ferguson, Mountain View and Wynne units that provide eligible offenders the opportunity to earn nationally accredited certifications. The Wynne Computer Recovery and Daniel Computer Recovery facilities offer A+, Microsoft and Cisco certifications that verify the competency of service technicians in the computer industry. The Mountain View Braille facility offers Braille transcription certifications from the Library of Congress and the National Braille Association. The Ferguson Geographic Information Systems facility offers GeoMedia Professional and ESRI certifications. Qualified offenders working within then are also offered certifications through the Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Engineering & Educational Research, Outdoor Power Equipment & Engine Service Association, American Welding Society and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
During Fiscal Year 2008, the division oversaw five adult Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) certification programs. The PIE programs located on the Coffield, Ellis, Lockhart and Michael units manufactured aluminum windows, hardwood and veneers, A/C and heating valves, computer components, wiring harnesses and trailer beds. PIE participants contributed $210,872 to the state's Crime Victims' Compensation Fund, $19,742 in restitution, $629,310 for family/child support and $1,995,574 for room and board.
Texas Correctional Industries
Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) manufactures goods and provides services for state and local government agencies, political subdivisions, public educational systems and public and private institutions of higher education. TCI has 43 facilities that manufacture everything from textile and janitorial products to furniture, license plates, tire recaps and stainless steel goods. Sales for Fiscal Year 2008 were approximately $90 million. TCI has two statutory objectives. One is to provide work program participants with marketable job skills to help reduce recidivism through a coordinated program of job skills training, documentation of work history and access to resources provided by Project Re-Integration of Offenders (RIO) and the Texas Workforce Commission. The second is to reduce costs by providing products and services to the department and to sell products and services to other eligible entities on a for-profit basis.
Fleet Transportation has oversight of approximately 2,100 licensed vehicles as well as several thousand trailers and other equipment. The agency's online vehicle management system has the ability to measure how effectively the agency uses its fleet of licensed vehicles.
Freight Transportation manages a fleet of 189 trucks and 437 trailers. During fiscal year 2008, four dispatch offices coordinated more than 28,000 freight hauls and logged approximately 6.4 million miles. Employees and offenders worked 283,971 hours.
Warehousing & Supply
Warehousing & Supply manages eight warehouses with an average inventory of more than $26 million and maintains 6,573 items in stock. Approximately $129 million in supplies were distributed to food warehouses, the Prison Store in Huntsville and other facilities during Fiscal Year 2008.
Human Resources Division
The Human Resources (HR) Division provides consistent application of the agency's HR programs, policies and services to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and to fulfill the needs of the agency's employees..
HR Administrative Support
The Employee Classification Department coordinated the agency's participation in the State Classification Compliance Audit for 634 program specialist and 33 program supervisor positions. It also prepared responses and recommendations for changes to these positions. The Policy Development and Legislative Review Department reviewed 70 percent of all agency personnel directives during Fiscal Year 2008.
Staff Development delivered more than 36,587 training hours to 3,902 employees. Additionally, Staff Development continued to offer "Keeping the Good Ones," an employee retention class for Correctional Institutions Division (CID) supervisors. In March 2008, the class was offered to Parole Division supervisors and administrative supervisors.
The agency's wellness program, Wellness Initiative Now (WIN), coordinated its participation in the 2008 Texas Round-Up Governor's Challenge and won the silver medal in the Large State Agencies (5,000+ employees) category. More than 8,900 employees participated in the six-week physical activity program, with 8,195 completing the event.
The agency's Dispute Resolution program for employees achieved a 96 percent agreement rate in 155 sessions. This success rate improved the daily working environment for participating staff. During Fiscal Year 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunity Section conducted training for all CID regions and one Parole region regarding Reporting Alleged Acts of Discrimination/Harassment against Persons of a Protected Class, Discourteous Conduct of a Sexual Nature or Retaliation.
The Texas Board of Criminal Justice approved an aggressive recruitment strategy in the form of a $1,500 recruitment bonus for correctional officers (COs) hired or in the training academy on or after April 1, 2008 who accept assignment at a unit designated as an understaffed correctional facility. Additionally, the starting pay for COs was increased by 10 percent effective May 1, 2008.
HR implemented several aggressive CO recruiting strategies during the year:
- Advertised on radio in 8 areas with CO staffing shortages: Dalhart, Beeville, Palestine, Fort Stockton, Amarillo, Lamesa, Huntsville and Lubbock.
- Posted CO employment opportunities on Transition Assistance Online (taonline.com) and 243 military bases with transition assistance programs to attract separating or retiring military personnel and requested invitations to their job fairs.
- Requested invitations to and participated in 274 job fairs at Texas high schools and approximately 200 colleges. Conducted 52 hiring seminars resulting in 118 CO applicants being hired.
- On two occasions during Fiscal Year 2008, mailed out more than 9,000 letters to former COs and CO supervisors advising them of the new CO salary changes effective on November 1, 2007 and May 1, 2008.
- Effective November 1, 2007, CO applicants with a college degree or two years active military service were placed on the career ladder at a CO III status upon employment.
Office of the Chief of Staff
In Fiscal Year 2008, the Office of the Chief of Staff had oversight of Governmental Affairs, Executive Support and Media Services.
Governmental Affairs ensures that all relevant legislation passed by the Texas Legislature is implemented in a timely fashion and coordinates with legislative committees to assist in supplying departmental statistics and resource information for committee members. This section also assists in the coordination of special projects and fields inquiries about the agency from legislative and executive offices.
Executive Support consists of two departments, Executive Services and the Emergency Action Center.
Executive Services provides technical support to TDCJ's executive staff. Staff responds to inquiries regarding offender demographics, coordinates survey responses, maintains the Death Row Web page and provides a variety of statistical information. They also compile agenda and meeting materials for the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) meetings, produce the minutes and report on the number of community work projects. Additionally, staff coordinates revision of TBCJ Board Rules, the Department Policy and Operations Manual, the Human Resources Policy Manual and Windham School District policies. Executive Services also coordinates the State Employee Charitable Campaign, coordinates research conducted by external entities and is TDCJ's Records Management Office. The department produces the following publications: Fiscal Year Statistical Report, Unit Profiles, Agency Organizational Charts, General Information Guide for Families of Offenders and the TDCJ Records Retention Schedule.
Emergency Action Center
The Emergency Action Center (EAC) staffs a 24-hour communications center to provide a link between TDCJ, TBCJ, agency managers, staff members and other state and federal agencies regarding serious or unusual incidents occurring within the agency. During Fiscal Year 2008, EAC received more than 16,801 reports of serious or unusual incidents occurring at TDCJ's facilities. EAC works with the Texas Department of Public Safety's Division of Emergency Management to monitor emergencies such as hurricanes, fires and floods that could affect TDCJ.
Media Services supports the agency in the production of printed and audiovisual materials, graphic design, photography and Web site content management.
Staff writes and produces informational and training videos dealing with criminal justice and prison management. Routine duties include providing video services and footage to criminal justice agencies, news media and educators. Additionally, audio/visual support is provided for bimonthly Board meetings, Board committee meetings and special events.
Media Services produces the Criminal Justice Connections newsletter for agency employees, local and state government officials, concerned individuals and interest groups. Readers are also able to access the Criminal Justice Connections newsletter online. Other online publications included the 2007 Annual Review and the TDCJ Phone and Address Directory.
The photography section produces photographic images for a variety of agency displays and publications. This section also manages the agency's photo archive for distribution to various internal and external entities.
Media Services' Web site coordinator integrates current information from TDCJ divisions into the agency's Web site, located at www.tdcj.state.tx.us. The Web site features an online job search by region and type of job, press releases from the Public Information Office, online scheduling for prospective employees, an online offender search and information in Spanish.
Office of the General Counsel
The mission of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is to provide competent legal services in a timely manner. The OGC provides legal advice and opinions to the agency and its employees. It is also a legal resource for non-clients, such as members of the legislature, community supervision and corrections departments, judges, prosecutors and other attorneys. The OGC is divided into three sections: Legal Affairs, Litigation Support and Program Administration.
Legal Affairs prepares internal legal opinions and provides advice to the agency by interpreting constitutional, statutory and case law. Legal advice pertains to community supervision, offender management, corrections, parole, environmental, employment, purchasing and contracts and agricultural law. The OGC advises the agency on requests for public information and seeks Open Records opinions from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). It negotiates, drafts and reviews contracts and other transactional documents. It also reviews internal investigations, disciplinary proceedings, discrimination complaints and the agency's investigation and response. Employee dismissals and major Use of Force reports are also reviewed by Legal Affairs.
Litigation Support assists the OAG in representing the agency and its employees in litigation. High-profile cases are monitored by an assigned attorney. The OGC assists the OAG in trial preparation by locating documents, coordinating witness participation, facilitating settlement offers, attending trials and participating in appellate proceedings.
Program Administration provides administrative support for the OGC. The responsibilities of this section include fiscal management and divisional human resources administration. It is also responsible for drafting reports, writing and maintaining OGC policies and procedures, case management tracking, records retention and storage and claims processing. Program Administration also schedules evidentiary hearings for courts by way of video teleconferencing.
Public Information Office
The Public Information Office (PIO), headquartered in Huntsville, acts as a liaison between the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the media. TDCJ's public information officers field questions about topics ranging from the death penalty to the criminal background of individual offenders.
Because of its rich history and its status as the second largest prison system in the United States, TDCJ is often the focus of in-depth reports and documentaries, as well as many timely or breaking news stories. PIO works with media throughout the world to tell the TDCJ story. It assists reporters in covering the agency and its events, as well as the activities of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice.
Last year, hundreds of news media calls were answered and information about agency policies, procedures and budget matters, individual inmates, prison programs and the death penalty was provided to reporters. PIO facilitates interviews between the media and inmates, and also spends a significant amount of time coordinating death row media interviews and serving as a media escort at each execution.
PIO distributes news releases and media advisories on various events and activities of significance and public interest. It also provides assistance to documentary and film producers, researchers and book authors. In addition to its external work with the media, PIO keeps agency staff informed of pertinent media coverage on a daily basis by posting news clips to the TDCJ Web site.
It is the philosophy of the agency to be as candid as possible with media in order to inform the public of its activities. Information is given as allowed by agency policy and in accordance with state public information laws. A PIO staff member is always on call to answer media inquiries that come in after regular business hours.
The Public Information Office is dedicated to responding to news media inquiries in a timely and accurate manner. By taking a proactive stance, the office is able to provide information about TDCJ's many positive programs to the media and educate the public on the workings of the agency.
Jerry Holdenried, Director
David Nunnelee, Editor
Eva Gonzales, Graphic Designer
David Nunnelee and Jene Robbins, Photographers
Published by Texas Department of Criminal Justice