connections logo
An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
March/April 2016
  Current Issue Archive TDCJ Phone & Address Directory Contact TDCJ Home

Print Copy

TDCJ observes 32nd National Correctional Officers' Week

In 1984, the U.S. Congress commemorated the public service provided by correctional officers and other staff who work in jails, prisons and community corrections by passing a resolution declaring the first full week of May as National Correctional Officers' Week. President Ronald Reagan praised their commitment to public safety and offender rehabilitation, saying, "No group of Americans has a more difficult or less publicly visible job than the brave men and women who work in our correctional facilities."

As in every year, TDCJ recognized the dedicated service of Texas' correctional professionals by hosting appreciation and memorial events throughout the state. Every correctional facility was encouraged to join in recognizing their service and sacrifice on behalf of public safety.

 

  • Correctional officers stand guard beside a memorial established in honor of Officer Davison at the Telford Unit in New Boston.
  • The memorial includes a live oak tree and a plaque engraved with Officer Davison's photograph, name, and End of Watch date.
  • Timothy Davison's daughters Stephanie (left) and Maya read the poem engraved on their father's plaque.
  • Telford Unit Field Sergeant Charles King escorts the riderless horse.
  • Telford Unit employees release balloons during a memorial ceremony honoring fallen officers.
  • Region III Training Academy Sergeant Laurence Ching played "Amazing Grace" during the Huntsville memorial ceremony.
  • TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston was keynote speaker of the ceremony held on the grounds of the Sesquicentennial Plaza.
  • Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Dale Wainwright stands as the Region III Honor Guard posts the Colors.
  • The Region IV Honor Guard plants a live oak tree in honor of Officer Davison.
  • Stevenson Unit Captain Thomas Gutierrez playing "Taps".
  • Cody Ginsel, deputy director of CID Management Operations, tolls the bell to honor those who have been lost in the line of duty.
  • Region I and VI Honor Guards perform a twenty-one gun salute.

 

 

On Friday, May 6, the Fallen Officer Memorial service in Huntsville was held in honor of all TDCJ employees who have lost their lives in the line of duty, including Officer Timothy Davison of the Telford Unit who died of injuries sustained during a July 2015 offender assault. The ceremony was conducted at the Sesquicentennial Plaza of the Texas Prison Museum with TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston as keynote speaker.

Addressing the gathering, Executive Director Livingston said, "Officer Davison and the thousands more who work in critical areas of our agency are committed to a cause that's greater than one man or one woman. Unspeakable tragedy may be what brings us here today, but our unending appreciation for the unsung work of those in criminal justice is what binds us together."

Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Dale Wainwright described the significance of the Living Memorial, saying, "To honor fallen TDCJ staff, the agency, twelve years ago, established a beautiful and enduring living memorial here on the grounds of the Sesquicentennial Plaza." He continued, "Seventy live oak trees currently make up this memorial, each dedicated to an employee who lost his or her life in the line of duty. Today, with heavy hearts, we add one more live oak."

While memorial services across the state honored the memory of Officer Davison and other dedicated public servants no longer with us, the Telford Unit recognized the Davison family with a series of special events held throughout the week, which included a memorial service and presentation of a flag, plaque and cross to Davison's daughters, Stefanie and Maya.

back to top

Print Copy

Executive Director Livingston
to retire in August


TDCJ executive director Brad Livingston

Brad Livingston

On April 15, Brad Livingston announced his decision to retire from the agency after nearly 12 years as executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. "I am honored and humbled to have served Texas in this position during such an important time,” Livingston said. “While this role has its challenges, I have had the opportunity to work with an exceptionally talented and engaged leadership team, as well as dedicated frontline and support staff, the unsung heroes who perform demanding, often dangerous, and always vital functions for the state of Texas. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to have led this remarkable organization and will remain a dedicated public servant during this transition period."

One of the longest serving executive directors in Texas prison history, Livingston joined the agency in October 1997 as deputy director of the Financial Services Division. Appointed chief financial officer in June 2001, he took over responsibility for TDCJ's day-to-day business, fiscal and administrative operations. He was named interim executive director in November 2004 and formally appointed the executive director in July 2005.

During Executive Director Livingston's tenure, state policymakers and agency staff have achieved many notable accomplishments, to include significant reductions in TDCJ's inmate population and in recidivism rates for released offenders. Correctional officer salaries have increased substantially during his tenure, and in 2014, TDCJ was presented with the American Correctional Association's prestigious Golden Eagle award, given to criminal justice agencies that have all aspects of agency operations fully accredited, to include accreditation of every facility and department under its jurisdiction.

"Brad epitomizes what it truly means to be a leader and he has made a profound, positive impact on this department. There's hardly an area within the TDCJ that has not been affected by his leadership," said Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Dale Wainwright. "He never backed away from a challenge, but addressed them head on. His legacy, reflecting exemplary service to the people of the state, will be felt for many years to come."

Livingston's leadership has been recognized by both state and national professional associations; he received the Texas Public Employees Association’s Agency Administrator of the Year Award in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2015. Also in 2015, the ACA recognized Livingston's work with the E.R. Cass Award for dedication and outstanding contribution during the course of his career, and the Association of State Administrators honored him as their Outstanding Director of Corrections and presented him with the Michael Francke Award for Excellence in the field.

In his letter announcing his retirement to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, Livingston wrote, "One of the most gratifying aspects of this position is the opportunity it has afforded me to build leadership capacity in others while meeting our daily operational responsibilities. This leadership team operates with a strong sense of professionalism, business integrity and ethics that will continue serving Texas well."

Livingston will retire at the end of August.

The nine-member Texas Board of Criminal Justice is appointed by the governor to oversee the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and is responsible for hiring the executive director. TBCJ Chairman Wainwright stated, "The board will initiate the process of appointing an executive director in the near future."

 

back to top

Print Copy

CID Director Stephens
announces retirement

After 35 years of TDCJ service, Correctional Institution Division Director William "Bill" Stephens will retire at the end of May. TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston commented on Stephens' successful career, saying, "Bill has provided exceptional leadership and strong operational oversight to the agency during his tenure. His commitment and dedication to our agency will have a positive lasting impact."

Bill Stephens, retiring CID director for TDCJ
 
Bill Stephens
 

Director Stephens began his career with TDCJ in 1981 as a correctional officer at the Wynne Unit in Huntsville. While with the agency, he has worked in every security position and earned his bachelor's degree in Criminology and Corrections from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. In 2009 he was selected as deputy director of the CID's Prison and Jail Operations Division and advanced to CID director in June 2013.

Under Stephens' leadership, Correctional Training and Staff Development implemented significant curriculum enhancements for correctional officer pre-service and in-service training, including core values, mental health first responder and crisis intervention training. With his help, the agency was able to create a successful correctional officer recruitment and retention campaign and implement a recognition program for correctional officers who assume additional duties. During his tenure, the agency's CO vacancy rate has been significantly reduced.

Stephens is a member of the American Correctional Association and past president of the Texas Corrections Association. In August 2013, the American Correctional Association honored his work by naming him "Best in the Business."

When asked what lies ahead, Stephens said that he and his wife will travel and spend time with family and friends, although Mrs. Stephens added that, at some point, "he will need dancing lessons."

Lorie Davis, who had been the deputy directory of CID's Support Operations, has assumed the duties of CID Director.

back to top

Print Copy

Davis named CID Director

Lorie Davis has been named the director of TDCJ’s Correctional Institutions Division effective May 1.


TDCJ Correctional Institutions Division Director Lorie Davis

Lorie Davis

Davis started as a correctional officer at the Ellis I Unit in 1988. During her 27-year career she has served as senior warden at eleven CID units, gaining experience in a wide assortment of correctional operations, including substance abuse treatment, inpatient mental health care, and medical and maximum-security facilities for male and female offender populations. She has served as CID Region III Director, director of Correctional Training and Staff Development, CID Management Operations Deputy Director and, most recently, deputy director of CID Support Operations.

Davis holds a bachelor's degree in political science and business administration from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls and her master's in public administration from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She serves as president of the Texas Public Employees Association and treasurer of the Texas Corrections Association.

Announcing the selection, TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston commended Davis, saying, "Lorie brings strong operational oversight and leadership abilities to this position and will serve our agency well."

Davis replaces former CID Director Bill Stephens who is retiring after 35 years of service with the agency.

 

back to top

Print Copy

Deputy Director of Prison and Jail Operations Eason announces retirement

Robert "Jay" Eason will retire from his position as deputy director of Prison and Jail Operations for TDCJ's Correctional Institutions Division effective May 31.

Robert Eason, retiring prison and jail operations deputy director for TDCJ
 
Robert "Jay" Eason
 

Eason has worked for the state of Texas for 27 years, beginning as a correctional officer in 1989 at the Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota. Having held every ranking security position, Eason was promoted to assistant warden of the French Robertson Unit in 1998. In 2002, he was promoted to senior warden of the Tulia Transfer Facility and subsequently served as senior warden at the Price Daniel and French Robertson units. In 2009 he was promoted to regional director of CID Region IV and moved to regional director of CID Region II one year later. In 2013, Eason was promoted to deputy director of Prison and Jail Operations.

CID Director Lorie Davis praised Eason's career service, saying, "Jay has been a very loyal and committed employee of TDCJ. He has been an excellent example of a professional, compassionate leader for his staff and coworkers. His leadership and positive energy will be missed."

back to top

Print Copy

Texas Correctional Industries
reduces recidivism, saves tax dollars

Texas Correctional Industries logo featuring state of Texas, a star and TCI

For most of its existence, the Texas prison system has manufactured and sold goods to help defray its operating costs, but Texas Correctional Industries traces its history to the 1963 Prison Made Goods Act, which passed with two objectives: to provide work program participants with marketable job skills to help reduce recidivism, and to reduce costs by providing products and services to the TDCJ, as well as other state agencies and political subdivisions.

Administered by TDCJ's Manufacturing and Logistics Division (M&L), TCI operates 35 factories across the state and provides work opportunities to approximately 4,800 offenders, providing a wide assortment of services and manufactured products including, but not limited to: correctional officer uniforms, offender garments and shoes, bedding, janitorial and laundry supplies, furniture, food service and safety equipment, park equipment, security fixtures and fencing, flags, boxes, signs, printing services, school bus renovation services, metal fabrication, dump truck beds, dove-tail trailers and, of course, license plates.


female offender working on transcribing textbooks for the blind

Female offenders at the Mountain View Braille facility transcribe textbooks for education agencies.

TCI provides offenders opportunities to acquire job skills training through on-the-job training (OJT), short courses and apprenticeship courses. In addition to documented work history, offenders who participate in TCI's work programs develop a strong work ethic, learn how to succeed in a structured work environment, and gain real-world manufacturing skills and experience. Offenders even have opportunities to earn national certifications from the Library of Congress, American Welding Society, Mobile Air Conditioning Society, and GeoMedia Professional. A combination of job skills training, national certifications and documented work experience in a production environment helps offenders be better prepared for reentry and post-release employment.

While all TCI work programs help prepare offenders for post-release employment opportunities, TCI oversees four designated training facilities that offer specialized technical job skills as well as recognized industry certifications. The designated training facilities are the Daniel Unit and Wynne Unit Computer Recovery facilities, Ferguson Unit Geographic Information Systems (GIS) facility and the Mountain View Unit Braille facility. The computer recovery facilities provide Texas public schools with refurbished computers. The Braille facility provides transcribed Braille and tactile graphics to education agencies. The GIS facility provides GIS data conversion services to cities, counties and state agencies.


Offender working on refurbishing a computer at the Wynne Unit computer recovery facility

An offender assembles a refurbished computer at the Wynne Unit Computer Recovery facility.

The M&L Division collaborates with other TDCJ divisions and the Windham School District to further strengthen reentry efforts. M&L collaborates with WSD to certify OJT programs, create short courses, apprenticeship and vocational courses, and partners with the Reentry and Integration and Parole divisions at regional job fairs to assist offenders in obtaining post-release employment. The division also collaborates with the Rehabilitation Programs Division to assign offenders to M&L work opportunities that correlate to their vocational and educational training, such as welders, truck drivers and computer operators.

Manufacturing and Logistics Division Director Bobby Lumpkin commented on the ongoing and important purposes served by prison-made goods and services, saying, "TCI continues to meet its statutory objectives of reducing recidivism and reducing costs."

 

back to top

Print Copy

Chairman's Fitness Challenge 2016: second-quarter results

Dale Wainwright, TBCJ Chairman

 

One Step at a Time…Stay Focused

The second quarter of the Chairman's Fitness Challenge, which ran from January 18 to February 28, was another great success. Participating employees collectively accumulated more than 22 million points. Below are the first, second and third place winners within each division.

Congratulations to all our participants!

  FIRST SECOND THIRD
Division 1:
19 or fewer employees
Texas Board of Criminal Justice and Austin Executive Administration Executive Director’s Office - Huntsville Dayton District Parole Office
Division 2:
20 to 39 employees
Internal Audit Division Office of the
General Counsel
Support Operations - CID
Division 3:
40 to 99 employees
Houston VI District Parole Office Administrative Review and Risk Management Division Health Services Division
Division 4:
100 to 199 employees
Glossbrenner Unit - CID Correctional Training Administration - CID Information Technology Division
Division 5:
200 to 299 employees
Boyd Unit - CID Cole State Jail - CID Facilities Division
Division 6:
300 plus employees
Manufacturing and Logistics Division Jester IV Unit - CID Clements Unit - CID
Division 7: Windham School District (WSD) WSD West
Texas Region
WSD North
Texas Region
WSD South
Texas Region

 

Gold and Platinum Challenges

During the second quarter, Gold Challenge participants had to earn at least 1,000 points during each week of the challenge, and Platinum Challenge participants were required to earn at least 2,500 points per week.

Participation in the Gold and Platinum challenges continues to grow rapidly and the second quarter has produced 354 successful Gold and 126 successful Platinum challengers. George Macias, Correctional Officer III at the Robertson Unit, earned the most points among the agency's Platinum challengers. Lyssa Elliott, Inventory and Store Specialist II with Manufacturing and Logistics, was the point leader among Gold Challenge participants.

back to top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agency News

 

 

 

 

 

star bulletBoard Bulletin

star bulletAgency News

TDCJ observes 32nd National Correctional Officers' Week

Executive Director Livingston
to retire in August

CID Director Stephens announces retirement

Davis named CID Director

Deputy Director of Prison and Jail Operations Eason announces retirement

Texas Correctional Industries reduces recidivism, saves tax dollars

Chairman's Fitness Challenge 2016: second-quarter results

star bulletPolicies and Benefits

star bullet Saluting Employees