In this issue
TDCJ Visitation Committee survey
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice understands that visitation plays an important role in achieving two parts of the agency's mission: to promote positive change in offender behavior and reintegrate offenders into society. Maintaining the support of family and friends in the free world makes a positive impact on offender behavior during incarceration and reduces the likelihood of recidivism upon release.
ERS requests additional funding for employee retirement
and health benefits
The Employees Retirement System has requested an additional $378.7 million in general revenue funding during the FY 2016-17 biennium in order to fund employee pension programs at their actuarially sound contribution rates. An actuarially sound contribution rate would cover the normal costs of benefits and eliminate any unfunded liabilities within 31 years. Increasing contribution rates to something less than the actuarially sound level would not completely solve the long term problem, but could move the projected date on which funds are exhausted further into the future.
TDCJ successfully transitions to Microsoft Office 365 email system
After more than 14 years using the previous email system, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice recently converted to the Office 365 email platform, a "cloud service" from Microsoft. The Information Technology Division's careful planning, installation and technical support, aided by cooperation of each agency division and department, made this challenging communication system upgrade a success.
State Bar honors board member Gist with lifetime achievement award
In September, the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas presented Texas Board of Criminal Justice member Judge Larry Gist with the Judicial Lifetime Achievement Award. This award acknowledges Gist's commitment to judicial excellence and his important contributions to improving the justice system in Texas. Judge Gist, a Senior Criminal District Judge in Beaumont, is the first criminal trial judge to receive this honor.
Employee Assistance Program offers support counseling,
TDCJ established the Employee Assistance Program to help employees and their families deal with problems at home and work. The Employee Assistance Program is available to all agency employees and their families, and all staff members are encouraged to seek help preventing or overcoming serious health or personal problems.
Information Security: phishing attack warning
There has been a recent increase in phishing attempts, a fraud scheme used to gain unauthorized access to confidential information. In this case, agency employees have received emails asking them for their confidential information and threatening to deactivate their account if they refuse to cooperate.
TDCJ establishes Veterans Reentry Dorm program
Those who serve in the U.S. armed forces take justifiable pride in the sacrifices they make to fulfill their patriotic duty, but for many veterans, emotional and physical issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury make it difficult to return to normal civilian life. Drugs and alcohol help some cope with their struggles, but the crimes that often come with addiction can land a veteran behind bars. Therefore the TDCJ and the Military Veteran Peer Network have cooperated to create a pilot reentry program designed to help those who once served our country.
Linthicum named ACA president
Dr. Lannette Linthicum, director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Health Services Division, was recently elected as president of the America Correctional Association. The six-year term will begin next year and she will be the first health care professional to serve in this capacity.
Granados named Parole Region V director
Juan Granados was recently selected to fill the position of regional director for Region V in Lubbock for the Parole Division. Region V covers west Texas and has 13 district parole offices with approximately 250 employees and 12,200 offenders.
Training Sergeant Brown named CTSD Trainer of the Year
At September's Correctional Institutions Division meeting in Huntsville, Sergeant Tracy Brown of CID's Region VI Training Academy was recognized as Correctional Training and Staff Development's 2014 Trainer of the Year.