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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2015 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Military Veterans Program Receives Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

Photo of Award Winner(s) From left to right: Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell, Keynote Speaker Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, members of the Military Veteran Peer Network and Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston.

(AUSTIN) – The Military Veteran Peer Network was presented the Reentry and Integration Division Award during the Governor’s 2015 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today.

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell and TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston during a ceremony in Austin.

“We’re grateful for the efforts of these award recipients,” said Livingston. “These everyday heroes are making a profound and lasting impact on the lives of individuals across the State of Texas.”

“Through their grace and their love, these volunteers touch the lives of many Texans,” said Bell. “They assist agency staff, and they help the offenders and their families have a chance for a better life - impacting generations to come.”

The Military Veteran Peer Network is an affiliation of service members, veterans and family members dedicated to establishing camaraderie and trust with each other while identifying and vetting community resources for veterans and collectively contributing to the communities where they live. This is accomplished through commitment, training and volunteerism.

The Veteran Reentry Dorm is based at the Travis County State Jail and is designed to prepare military veterans for a successful return to the community following their incarceration. It is a 24-bed housing unit for incarcerated military veterans in which military peer and veteran-specific reentry programming is provided within 90 to 120 days of release. The program includes topics that encourage personal growth and community readiness. Issues addressed include family relationships, traumatic experiences, service-related trauma, anger management, stress management, recognition of behavior triggers and developing personal responsibility to increase a healthy lifestyle upon release.

The Military Veteran Peer Network is one of 5 organizations and 16 individuals from across the state recognized for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation. They donate many hours of their personal time every year with the goal of changing the lives of convicted offenders, and aiding and comforting their victims.

In FY2014, there were 21,492 volunteers who served a total of 427,345 hours.

Note to media: For more information, contact Robert C. Hurst, TDCJ Public Information Officer, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at robert.hurst@tdcj.texas.gov. Photos of award recipients will be available on the TDCJ Web site at http://www.tdcj.texas.gov. For high resolution photos, please contact Jene Andersen at jene.andersen@tdcj.texas.gov.