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Gov. Perry personally thanks TDCJ volunteers for time, efforts

Governor Rick Perry speaking at podium
Governor Rick Perry was the keynote speaker at the 13th Annual Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards.

Photo by Jene Robbins

Gov. Rick Perry personally thanked the 13,000 individuals who regularly volunteer their time and energy to make a difference in the lives of prisoners, parolees, and probationers during the 13th Annual Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award ceremony held in Austin in May. Among the 15 individuals and four organizations selected for awards this year were TDCJ employees C.F. Hazlewood, director of the agency’s Agribusiness, Land & Minerals department, and Murray Unit Senior Warden Lori Wills.

“When an individual chooses to stray beyond the terms of the social contract we have with our citizens and is incarcerated in response, their choices not only impact their freedom, but it also impacts their family, their friends, their community,” Gov. Perry said in his keynote address to an overflow audience... “In a civilized society, the notion of punishment must go hand-in-hand with the concept of rehabilitation and reintegration. By complementing the harsh realities of consequences with the warmth of human compassion, you have enabled inmates to envision a future that does not include repeat offenses. Instead, your impassioned approach has conveyed a wide array of possibilities.”

“I greatly admire the enthusiasm and unselfishness demonstrated by the volunteers who partner with TDCJ,” agency Executive Director Brad Livingston added. “They don’t do it because they are seeking fame or celebrity, they do it instead because they are motivated by the desire to help others succeed. TDCJ is fortunate to have you volunteers and the many thousands of others who donate time, effort, and energy every day within our system.”

Gov. Perry and Executive Director Livingston noted that the 500,000 hours the agency’s approved volunteers donated last year do much to support the 23,000 correctional officers who work daily to rehabilitate the state’s 150,000 incarcerated offenders.

“That’s a ratio of about 6 to 1,” the governor said. “That ratio is manageable and in line with the law, but it doesn’t always allow for the time and the energy we would like to have in a perfect world, and that’s where our state’s remarkable volunteer community comes into play... These are people who are genuinely investing their lives in helping others. And it’s your spirit of self-sacrifice that’s an inspiration to all of us. Maybe we don’t see your heart just by looking at you, but we see your heart by looking at what you do... I’m here today because not only am I in awe of what you do, but I’m very grateful. You are an inspiration to our state. You reflect the best values of compassion and human kindness.”

Hazlewood, pastor of a Christian fellowship church in Huntsville, was presented the TDCJ Employee Volunteer Award for his longtime practice of ministering to offenders at the Eastham Unit near Lovelady. Wills was selected for the Criminal Justice Administrator Award for her dogged pursuit of programming for offenders while serving as warden at the Halbert and Hilltop units.


TDCJ wins silver medal in Round-Up Challenge competition

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice took home the silver medal for the second straight year from the Texas Round-Up Challenge competition.

The six-week physical activity program was held Feb. 18 through March 30 with 8,935 TDCJ employees participating and 8,195 completing the entire event. Employee participation represented a 1 percent increase from a year ago. (See related story)

“I would like to thank each and every one of you for your dedication, participation and hard work in making this year’s Challenge a success for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,” said Executive Director Brad Livingston in a message to employees.




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