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CJAD releases report on the monitoring of community diversion funds

TDCJ’s Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) recently released a report on the monitoring of community supervision diversion funds allocated by the 79th Texas Legislature.
Percent Reduction in Felony Revocations Compared to FY 2005
Percent Reduction in Felony Revocations Compared to FY 2005. For larger view, click here.
The legislature, in 2005, allocated approximately $55.5 million in new diversion program funds over the Fiscal Year 2006-07 biennium to strengthen community supervision by reducing caseloads, utilizing progressive sanctions models, and providing more community supervision options by appropriating funding for residential treatment and aftercare.

Twenty-six caseload reduction and aftercare caseload diversion grants totaling $14,092,422 were allocated for Fiscal Year 2006. Eleven residential treatment diversion grants totaling $13,437,500 also were allocated for the same time period.

Eight evaluation criteria were established to monitor the effectiveness of the new diversion funds and progress was posted on the evaluation criteria website quarterly. The most significant criteria included caseload size reduction, reduction in felony revocations, reduction in felony technical revocations, and increase in early terminations.

The 26 community supervision and corrections departments receiving new funding have cumulatively achieved significant levels of revocation reduction during the year. Departments not eligible for funding or declining funding have had increased revocations to prison when comparing FY 2006 revocations to FY 2005. Departments receiving new funding have accounted for 1,155 fewer revocations in FY 2006 compared to FY 2005. This reduction has been offset by an increase of 378 revocations in departments that declined funding during the same comparison period.

The departments that received new funding have exceeded departments not eligible for funding; the same results occurred when compared with departments that declined funding on the most significant evaluation criteria associated with the new diversion funding. Overall, the departments receiving new funding have the largest reductions in caseload size, reductions in felony revocations, reductions in technical revocations, and increases in early discharges.

“As additional residential treatment beds become available and new officers become more proficient in supervision and the utilization of progressive sanctions models, revocations may decrease at a greater rate than the FY 2006 results,” said CJAD Director Bonita White.

Implementation Timeline comparing Community Justice Assistance Division and Community Supervision and Corrections Departments
Implementation Timeline. Click here for larger view.
FY 2006 represents the first 12 months of experience in implementing the new diversion funding provided by the 79th Legislature. The implementation of the progressive sanctions model requires judicial, prosecutorial, and departmental agreement and coordination for implementation. Local jurisdictions (CSCDs, judges, and prosecutors) have begun implementing progressive sanctions models. CJAD will work with local jurisdictions to view their progressive sanctions models as living documents that expand and evolve as local jurisdictions gain experience and knowledge in their use.

“For FY 2007, CSCDs will be required to maintain their goal of reducing revocations by at least 10 percent of the number of FY 2005 revocations. CSCDs receiving caseload reduction funding in FY 2006 that failed to achieve a 10 percent reduction will be the focus of additional technical assistance in utilizing progressive sanctions and targeted funding,” White said.

“The combination of increased funding and the expanded use of progressive sanctions models to other jurisdictions could further benefit the Texas criminal justice system,” she said.

The full report is available through the TDCJ website (www.tdcj.state.tx.us).


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Headline: Dedication ceremony marks renaming of Ramsey Two Unit to Stringfellow. Graphic of scissors cutting ribbon.

Mac Stringfellow speaking at podium
Former Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman A.M. “Mac” Stringfellow speaks during a dedication ceremony renaming the Ramsey II Unit in Rosharon in his honor.

Photo by David Nunnelee

As a member, and later as chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, A.M. “Mac” Stringfellow visited 88 state correctional facilities, including the Ramsey II Unit near Rosharon. On Nov. 9, 2006, – three years after retiring from the Board - Stringfellow paid another visit to the minimum-security facility in Brazoria County for a ceremony that marked its official renaming in his honor.

“It is with a great deal of pride and admiration for Chairman Stringfellow that we come together today and formally dedicate this facility,” said Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston during the dedication ceremony that also featured comments from former agency executive directors Wayne Scott and Gary Johnson, both of whom served under Stringfellow prior to his departure from the Board in 2003. “With his emphasis on creditably and accountability, Mac Stringfellow helped set the standard for what it means to be a leader in corrections in Texas.”

Stringfellow, a Wimberly businessman, was appointed to the Board in 1997 by then-Gov. George W. Bush and was named chairman of the nine-member body that oversees TDCJ in 2000. During his tenure, Stringfellow championed the accreditation of TDCJ units by the American Correctional Association and worked tirelessly for correctional staff pay raises. By the time he left public service, 28 TDCJ facilities had won accreditation and lawmakers had, indeed, expanded the correctional career ladder.

“Chairman Stringfellow was an effective and strong advocate in the Capital on our behalf,” Livingston said. “I remember the time we went office to office in the Capital complex making our case for an expanded correctional career ladder. We all thank you for that.”

“In my estimation, his resolve on this one signal issue significantly assured its success for us,” added Scott, who served as executive director at the time the proposal to increase the salaries of correctional employees was presented to state legislators.

Livingston said Stringfellow also promoted enhanced training programs for prison and parole officers during his six years on the Board.

“He knew that a well-trained TDCJ workforce makes us more effective,” Livingston said. “It enhances public safety, staff safety, and offender safety.”

Stringfellow, accompanied by his wife, Kathy, and other family members, said he knew little about the state’s criminal justice system when he first joined the Board and figured the best way to learn how it operated was to go out and see it for himself. During his first three years on the Board, in fact, he visited 20 TDCJ facilities a year, often times dropping by unannounced.

“The wardens would report back to me what a genuine person Mac was,” Scott said. “The wardens would always marvel at Mac’s desire to help them better the working conditions for our very unappreciated staff.”

“These tours afforded him the chance to talk with the employees and learn how the agency operates firsthand,” said current Board Chairman Christina Melton Crain. “He was always of the opinion that one must walk and talk with the employees.”

Former executive directors Scott and Johnson said Stringfellow was strong in his support of TDCJ and its employees in both good times and bad.

“I very much appreciated his steady hand and how calm he remained during a crisis,” Johnson said. “He appreciated and understood the complexity and difficulties that the correctional business imposes on those who work in it.”

Stringfellow said he made many new friends during his years on the Board and gained a lifelong appreciation for the people throughout the agency who work daily to protect pubic safety despite the risks associated with their jobs.

“These men and women are on the front lines of criminal justice,” he said. “Every day they get up and go to work and know that anything could happen to them.”

The 1,150-bed unit now named for Stringfellow dates back to 1908 and was originally named for W.F. Ramsey, a former chairman of the state Prison Board.

“Now is the time for change for this facility,” Stringfellow Unit Senior Warden James Mossbarger said. “It has a new name and a new beginning.”


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