Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Annual Review 2006
Mission, Philosophy, and Goals
The mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is to provide public safety, promote positive change in offender behavior, reintegrate offenders into society, and assist victims of crime.
The Department will be open, ethical, and accountable to our fellow citizens and work cooperatively with other public and private entities. We will foster a quality working environment free of bias and respectful of each individual. Our programs will provide a continuum of services consistent with contemporary standards to confine, supervise, and treat criminal offenders in an innovative, cost effective, and efficient manner.
- To provide diversions to traditional incarceration by the use of community supervision and other community-based programs.
- To provide a comprehensive continuity of care system for special needs offenders through statewide collaboration and coordination.
- To provide for confinement, supervision, rehabilitation, and reintegration of adult felons.
- To ensure that there are adequate housing and support facilities for convicted felons during confinement.
- To provide supervision and administer the range of options and sanctions available for felons' reintegration back into society following release from confinement.
- To establish and carry out policies governing purchase and public work contracting that foster meaningful and substantive inclusion of historically underutilized businesses.
Letter from the Chairman
To the Honorable Governor of Texas and Members of the Texas Legislature Austin, Texas
It is my honor to present the 2006 Annual Review for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
I am pleased to report that the dedication and hard work of the agency's staff as well as that of the volunteers working both within our prisons and on the street have helped TDCJ continue its path of positive growth and development while fulfilling its mission.
With the landfall of hurricanes Rita and Katrina, the TDCJ staff stepped forth, working endless hours to quickly evacuate units and provide the additional supervision and services needed for both incarcerated offenders as well as individuals under street supervision. In the aftermath, staff's sincere devotion to the system and to their fellow employees ensured operations continued smoothly while units were repaired and reoccupied. In addition, staff provided security assistance and supplies to their communities and volunteered numerous hours helping evacuees.
The unwavering dedication and commitment of the TDCJ staff continued throughout the year, as did the support of hundreds of volunteers. These volunteers, working hand-in-hand with the agency, helped provide offender services geared towards rehabilitation. The value of the volunteers' service can easily be judged by the number of hours they unselfishly gave and continue to give to change lives and reduce recidivism (499,793 hours served in FY 2006).
It continues to be a true privilege to serve the State of Texas with the more than 38,000 employees of the TDCJ. I am confident that under the strong leadership team provided by Mr. Livingston and his administration the positive growth and development of the agency will continue well into the future.
Christina Melton Crain
Chairman, Texas Board of Criminal Justice
Letter from the Executive Director
Dear Chairman Crain and Board Members:
I am pleased to present you with the agency's Fiscal Year 2006 Annual Review. As always, this report is a tribute to the men and women who work for the Department of Criminal Justice.
In a typical year, the dedication and professionalism demonstrated by our employees is a source of pride for all those associated with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. However, with the devastation caused by hurricanes Rita and Katrina, Fiscal Year 2006 was anything but typical. It is difficult to adequately describe or sufficiently appreciate the many contributions of our staff, who went above and beyond the call of duty, who gave of their time, energy and more, in order to ensure the safety and well being of their community, the offender population and their fellow co-workers.
This review will highlight some of the incredible efforts by TDCJ employees prior to, during and in the aftermath of the hurricanes, as well as describe many of the more routine activities which are no less important in providing for the public safety. As always, the men and women who serve the State of Texas as employees of TDCJ rallied together to handle any and all challenges. These dedicated public servants continue to make the Texas Department of Criminal Justice one of the finest correctional agencies in the nation.
Emergency preparedness in wake of Hurricane Rita
The landfall of Hurricane Rita in September 2005 tested the emergency response capabilities of our agency at a very high level. Any test of that nature is sure to provide lessons that help organizations become better in the future, and this one was no exception. It is important to stress that no level of preparedness can replace the hard working and dedicated staff of this agency. TDCJ staff performed at an exceptional level, above and beyond the call of duty, in extremely difficult situations, and many even while enduring personal tragedies.
The challenges faced during Hurricane Rita help the agency focus on the following preparedness activities throughout fiscal year 2006:
- Command Center organizational and logistical challenges were the basis for the formal adoption of the Incident Command System (ICS) as the emergency management organizational model to be used in the future.
- In April 2006, through a partnership with Sam Houston State University, central office personnel were trained to utilize the ICS system.
- In May 2006, the agency participated in the statewide Hurricane Evacuation and Sheltering Functional Exercise in coordination with the Governor's Division of Emergency Management.
- In July 2006, an Incident Manager position, reporting to the Deputy Executive Director, was created for management and coordination of internal emergency planning, training, and response activities, as well as management and coordination of TDCJ's commitments to the State of Texas Emergency Response Plan.
- Logistical challenges of providing high quantities of fuel for generators was the basis for developing the ability to place four portable modules of diesel (7,000 gallons each) at four locations of need simultaneously.
- Locating displaced staff in the affected area of the storm influenced the development of a 1-800 number phone-bank for use in emergencies.
- Communicating with affected units highlighted the need for deployable satellite telephones.
- The need for additional staff in areas affected by the disaster provided for the enhancement of plans for pre-staging response staff from unaffected areas.
- Evacuation challenges were the basis for creating detailed evacuation protocols and reevaluating the number of offenders that can be housed, on an emergency basis, in facilities across the state.
Operational and logistical issues in catastrophic events can become more overwhelming than imaginable. Even though the agency performed extremely well, and without a doubt fulfilled the public safety mission, the enhanced threats faced by the state and nation make it essential to continue to improve in years ahead.
Texas Board of Criminal Justice
The Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) is comprised of nine non-salaried members appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve staggered six-year terms. One member of the Board is designated as chairman to serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
Charged with governing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the TBCJ employs the agency's executive director as well as develops and implements policies that guide agency operations. The Office of the Inspector General, Internal Audit, and the State Counsel for Offenders report directly to the Board. The Board also serves as the Board of Trustees for the Windham School District. The Board meets, at a minimum, once each calendar quarter and more frequently as issues and circumstances dictate.
Serving on the Board during the fiscal year were Christina Melton Crain of Dallas, chairman; Pierce Miller of San Angelo, vice-chairman; Patricia Day of Dallas, secretary; Adrian A. Arriaga of McAllen, member; Greg S. Coleman of Austin, member; Oliver J. Bell of Austin, member; Pastor Charles Lewis Jackson of Houston, member; Tom Mechler of Claude, member; and Leopoldo Vasquez III of Houston, member.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice faced new challenges during Fiscal Year 2006. When hurricanes Katrina and Rita forced thousands of people to evacuate, TDCJ responded by assisting in the establishment of shelters and providing manpower to handle the many tasks associated with operating them.
To streamline operations and ensure efficient and economical use of state funding, the Correctional Institutions Division (CID) and the Rehabilitation and Reentry Division within TDCJ were reorganized. The CID now consists of three major areas: Prison and Jail Operations, Management Operations, and Support Operations. The Rehabilitation and Reentry Division also designated three major areas: Services, Clinical, and Operations. This reorganization and the retirement of several executive staff has allowed new leaders to emerge with new ideas and renewed energy to keep the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at the forefront in the field of corrections.
During the past year the agency's focus on the families of offenders has increased. The Public Awareness Corrections Today (PACT) Conference offered the families of offenders an opportunity to see the types of programs that are available to TDCJ offenders, and allowed them to talk one-on-one with TDCJ decision-makers. GO KIDS programs, such as the Storybook Project, are being expanded to reach as many offenders and their children as possible. To enhance communication between TDCJ and the families of offenders, the TDCJ website is nowaccessible to the visually impaired and offers a Spanish translation to key components within the website.
The employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice continued to maintain the highest standard of professional excellence in corrections. The exemplary performance of agency employees throughout the year enabled the agency to continue fulfilling its vital mission of providing public safety, promoting positive change in offender behavior, reintegrating offenders into society, and assisting victims of crime.
Community and Public Work Projects
Offenders participate in community and public work projects for the benefit of the entire community, not the welfare of a specific individual or class of people. TDCJ facilities are allowed to enter into agreement with eligible non-profit or governmental entities that provide services to the public and add to the general well being of the community to provide offender labor. Some community and public work projects also provide valuable training certification that will help the offenders to become part of the community workforce upon their release. Offenders participate in community work projects both inside the facility and out in the community.
Community Service Goals
It is the intention of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that the performance of community and public work projects by offenders will demonstrate the offender's willingness to become a useful, productive citizen; will serve as a deterrent to crime for the offender and serve as an example to others that there are consequences to unlawful behavior; will help in the rehabilitation of the offender; and will provide meaningful work opportunities for the offenders while building pride and self-esteem that will assist in the successful reintegration of an offender, and thereby reduce recidivism.
Projects That Build a Safer and Better Texas
Service projects are planned to match the needs of the community with the skills and services at each facility. During Fiscal Year 2006, TDCJ offenders provided disaster relief, built playgrounds, restored and maintained state-operated cemeteries, cleaned roadways, and constructed low-income housing. TDCJ has one of the most active Habitat for Humanity prison partnerships in the nation. In FY 2006, offenders logged over 61,500 hours of work on Habitat projects. TDCJ provided over 3.6 million pounds of crops to local food banks through Texas Fresh Approach, unit gardens, and the Gleaning Project. TDCJ is proud to be a good neighbor. During FY 2006 offenders contributed over 1.2 million community and public work hours to making Texas a better place for its citizens.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice continues to support a variety of non-profit organizations across Texas and the nation through fund-raising. Employees contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in FY 2006 through State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) and the approximate 40 charities listed. TDCJ employees are also extremely generous when employees are struck by illnesses or experience a catastrophic event in their lives.
During FY 2006, as in the past, TDCJ employees had the opportunity to give monetary donations to over 300 non-profit organizations through the SECC. Thousands of employees take advantage of the opportunity to give to the charity of their choice through payroll deduction or participation in a variety of fund-raising events. In FY 2005 approximately $480,000 was raised through the SECC.
In addition to the September-through-October SECC campaign, charitable organizations on the Executive Director's Approved List can hold fund-raising events. These organizations include various local, state and national organizations. A complete list of these charities can be found on the TDCJ website under Fund-Raising.
Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2006
|Goal A: Provide Prison Diversions
|Goal B: Special Needs Offenders
|Goal C: Incarcerate Felons
|Goal D: Ensure Adequate Facilities
|Goal E: Operate Parole System
|Goal F: Indirect Administration
Total Operating Budget $2,593,103,024
For organizational chart, click on link
Internal Audit Division
The Internal Audit Division conducts comprehensive audits of TDCJ's major systems and controls. Internal Audit prepares independent analyses, assessments, and recommendations concerning the adequacy and effectiveness of the agency's internal policies and procedures, and the quality of performance in carrying out assigned responsibilities.
To accomplish its mission, Internal Audit performs financial and performance audits according to an annual audit plan approved by the Board of Criminal Justice, and recommendations for improvements to the agency's system of internal controls are provided and tracked. The audit plan submitted annually to the Board is developed using risk assessment techniques and may include audits of internal operations, contract providers, and community supervision and corrections departments. In addition to routine auditing, the division may participate in investigations of specific acts.
Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is the primary investigative and law enforcement entity for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The OIG consists of two departments: Investigations, and Administrative Support and Programs. The Inspector General reports to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. The OIG is dedicated to promoting the safety of employees and offenders throughout the agency.
The Investigations Department was established to conduct timely, impartial, accurate and complete investigations that provide a basis for the appropriate resolution or adjudication of all investigative matters under its jurisdiction. It is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct or criminal violations on the part of TDCJ employees, and criminal violations occurring on TDCJ property affecting TDCJ property or authorized interests. The Investigations Department, as a priority, investigates allegations of excessive or unnecessary use of force. All other legitimate matters are also investigated as requested or directed by the Board of Criminal Justice or by the laws of the state.
Administrative Support and Programs Department
The Administrative Support and Programs Department is responsible for budget and human resource activities for OIG, the Fuginet and Crime Stoppers programs, information technology support, management of a information and tracking database, and maintenance of official records for all investigations. The department initiates and maintains all grant-related activities for the OIG. The Task Force Operations Group is also under the supervision of the Administrative Support and Programs Department.
Task Force Operations Group
OIG's Task Force Operations investigators are assigned to fugitive and violent crime task forces throughout the state. These investigators, working with local, state, and federal agencies, focus on identification, location and apprehension of violent parole violators, and the apprehension of state prison escapees. They also play a proactive role in Homeland Security initiatives, the investigation of high-tech cyber crimes, and target prison gangs and their counterparts for prosecution in organized criminal activities.
Fuginet provides law enforcement agencies throughout the country with direct access to an extensive database of information concerning Texas parolees on active supervision as well as persons wanted by TDCJ for parole violations. More than 650 municipal, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies have access to Fuginet with more being added. Through its Fuginet program, the OIG receives an Auto Theft Prevention Authority grant, from the Texas Department of Transportation. This grant involves interaction with vehicle theft task forces throughout the state with OIG providing a database for law enforcement to access critical leads on felons previously convicted for vehicle theft.
The OIG coordinates the TDCJ Crime Stoppers Program by providing direct access and interaction with law enforcement investigators, both inside and outside of the agency. The program solicits tips by publishing Crime Stoppers articles in the state prison newspaper, The Echo, and other newspapers submitted by law enforcement agencies. The Echo, published monthly, is distributed to all facilities housing TDCJ offenders.
State Counsel for Offenders
State Counsel for Offenders (SCFO) provides quality legal advisement and representation to indigent offenders incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. This enables the agency to comply with constitutional requirements regarding access to courts and right to counsel. There are five legal sections within SCFO that cover the following areas: criminal defense appeals, immigration, civil commitment and general legal assistance. In addition to the legal sections, SCFO is supported by investigators, legal assistants, and legal secretaries.
General Legal Section
The General Legal Section assists indigent offenders with pending charges and detainers, extradition and probation revocation matters, family law issues, and other legal issues not covered by other sections. This section handles the bulk of SCFO's mail which amounted to 43,942 pieces during Fiscal Year 2006.
The Trial Section provides representation to indigent offenders indicted for felonies allegedly committed while the offenders are incarcerated in TDCJ. Trial attorneys, utilizing professional defense investigators, obtain discovery and meet with offenders to investigate their cases. They represent the offenders at all court appearances, file all necessary motions and pre-trial writs, and fully litigate all relevant issues on behalf of the offender. In Fiscal Year 2006, SCFO opened 370 new felony trial cases. Attorneys tried 13 cases to juries, obtained plea agreements for 255 offenders, had 145 cases dismissed, and withdrew from 35 cases. In support of these efforts, the investigators conducted 926 offender interviews and served 430 subpoenas.
The Immigration Section assists indigent offenders in removal proceedings and international prisoner exchange issues. All removal proceedings are conducted at the federal building on the Goree Unit in Huntsville. Attorneys conducted 417 offender interviews and 200 removal hearings during the fiscal year. There were 59 citizenship claims granted, and 43 offenders received relief from removal/deportation.
Civil Commitment Section
The Civil Commitment Section represents indigent sex offenders prosecuted under Chapter 841 of the Health and Safety Code, commonly known as the Civil Commitment statute. In preparation for trial, attorneys investigate cases, depose expert witnesses, respond to and file discovery motions, and meet with offenders. In Fiscal Year 2006 eight commitment cases were received, 14 cases were tried to verdict before a jury, and 16 previously civilly committed offenders underwent their biennial reviews.
The Appellate Section assists indigent offenders with appellate and writ issues, parole and mandatory supervision eligibility requirements, and time-calculation questions. In Fiscal Year 2006 the section filed 46 criminal appeals and four non-time writs. The legal assistants helped to obtain 477,608 days of jail time credit for offenders. When time credits are given, the system realizes an advantage in available bed space, cost avoidance in terms of housing, and reduction of exposure to litigation.
Windham School District
Windham School District (WSD) provides a variety of educational programs to eligible offenders within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The programs are designed to meet the unique needs of adult offenders and address the legislatively-mandated goals of reducing recidivism, lowering the cost of confinement, promoting positive behavior during confinement, and increasing offenders' success in obtaining and maintaining employment. In addition to providing traditional academic and vocational education, WSD also has several life skills, problem-solving, and behavior oriented educational programs designed to meet the needs of offenders. During the 2005-2006 school year, 77,592 offenders participated in WSD programs.
Literacy programs provide adult basic education for offenders functioning below the sixth grade level and secondary level adult education for those working toward a high school equivalency certificate (GED). During the 2005-2006 school year 41,527 offenders participated in academic programs and 4,225 offenders attained a GED.
Life Skills Programs
The Cognitive Intervention Program is designed to improve behavior during incarceration and after release. Perspectives and Solutions, a 15-day tolerance program implemented in response to hate crimes legislation, is offered at four intake facilities. A reintegration program, Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success (CHANGES), offers a life skills curriculum to prepare offenders for release. Completion of the CHANGES program frequently serves as a prerequisite for release for certain offenders. A communication-based parenting program is offered at selected facilities to support the development of healthy family relationships. During the 2005-2006 school year 51,963 offenders participated in these life skills programs.
Career and Technology Education Programs
The Career and Technology (CTE) Program provides 600-hour vocational training courses in 34 trades and supports apprenticeship and on-the-job training in additional occupations. During the 2005-2006 school year 11,634 offenders participated in the CTE program; 5,998 of those students completed the training during the year and earned vocational certificates. In addition, 2,677 industry certificates were awarded.
Post-secondary academic and vocational programs are available for offenders with a GED or high school diploma. Post-secondary programs served 7,781 students during the school year. Students work toward the attainment of associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees as well as vocational certificates in 23 fields. In the 2005-2006 school year 374 associate's degrees, 48 bachelor's degrees, 17 master's degrees, 1,581 vocational credit certificates, and 1,584 vocational non-credit certificates were awarded. Offenders are responsible for costs associated with these programs and may pay using their Inmate Trust Fund accounts or attempt to qualify for assistance from the federal youthful offender grant program or scholarships through their college/university. Participating offenders can also reimburse the state after release as a condition of parole.
Project RIO Program
Project Reintegration of Offenders (RIO) works with the Texas Workforce Commission to link educational and vocational training in TDCJ to job placement after release. During the 2005-2006 school year 32,359 offenders were released with a RIO Individual Employment Plan. In all, 65,182 offenders were served in Project RIO.
The Recreation Program provides offenders on each facility the opportunity for daily exercise and activities. Regional recreation supervisors monitor and support unit operations.
Community Justice Assistance Division
The Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice oversees community supervision (formerly adult probation) throughout the state. The term community supervision refers to the placement of an offender under supervision for a specified length of time, as ordered by a court, with court-imposed rules and conditions. Community supervision may be ordered for misdemeanor or felony offenses and is generally imposed instead of a jail or prison sentence. There are 121 Community Supervision and Corrections Departments (CSCDs) in Texas that supervise offenders who have been placed under community supervision by local courts. CSCDs are established by the local judicial districts they serve. The CSCDs receive approximately two-thirds of their funding though the CJAD. Other funds, such as court-ordered supervision and program fees, help meet a department's remaining budget needs. County governments provide CSCDs with office space, equipment and utilities.
CJAD is responsible for:
- Developing standards and procedures for CSCDs, including best-practice treatment standards.
- Distribution of formula and grant funding provided by the state legislature.
- Reviewing and approving each CSCD's community justice plan and budget.
- Conducting program and fiscal audits of CSCD operations and programs.
- Developing an automated tracking system capable of receiving data from CSCDs' caseload management and accounting system.
- Providing community supervision officer and residential officer certification, in-service training, educational training, and technical assistance to CSCDs.
- Administration of state benefits for CSCD employees.
- CJAD does not work directly with offenders but supports and assists local CSCDs which have this responsibility.
CSCDs provide offender services in accordance with their local community justice plans. Their responsibilities include:
- Supervision and rehabilitation of offenders sentenced to community supervision.
- Monitoring compliance with court-ordered conditions.
- Offering a continuum of sanctions.
- Offering regular reporting and specialized caseloads.
- Providing residential confinement programs.
- Providing both residential and non-residential treatment/correctional programs.
During the past several years, a number of reports have recommended strengthening community supervision by reducing caseload sizes for community supervision officers, increasing residential treatment and sanction resources for prison diversions, increasing outpatient services for offenders needing substance abuse treatment services, and developing systems of progressive sanctions to address technical violations.
The 79th Texas Legislature allocated approximately $27.7 million per year in new diversion program funds to CJAD for strategy diversion programs. Legislative riders directed that these funds be used to strengthen community supervision and reduce technical revocations by reducing caseloads, utilizing progressive sanctions models, and providing more community supervision options by funding residential treatment and aftercare. Prior to the distribution of this new funding, the TDCJ executive director and the CJAD director hosted a working group of legislators, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, and community supervision professionals (including representatives of the Judicial Advisory Council (JAC), Probation Advisory Committee (PAC), Supervision Officer Committee, and the Texas Probation Association (TPA). CJAD sent out an announcement to all CSCDs informing the departments of the additional diversion program funding, the appropriation rider requirements, special grant conditions, training opportunities regarding the application for funds and the categories for funding.
Based on grant proposals received from CSCDs and evaluations by CJAD staff, grant awards were made in the following categories:
- Caseload reduction diversion grants were allocated totaling $14,092,422 for FY 2006.
- 25 caseload reduction grants.
- 9 aftercare specialized caseload grants.
- 1 pilot program grant.
- Residential treatment diversion grants were allocated totaling $13,437,500* for FY 2006.
- 4 new residential facilities.
- 5 grants to avoid the loss of previously funded Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (federal program) beds.
- 2 aftercare treatment grants.
*$200,000 remains unallocated and will be used to cover unforeseen expenses.
As required by Rider 79 of the General Appropriations Act of 2005, CJAD developed an accountability system to track the impact and effectiveness of diversion programs. CJAD, through the evaluation criteria website continues to provide quarterly updates for each CSCD summarizing their activities during the quarter and how those activities compare to FY05 performance for the CSCD. Statewide performance is tracked in a similar manner. The evaluation criteria include:
- Change in felony probation placements compared to FY05.
- Average community correctional facility population compared to FY05.
- Numeric increase in community supervision officers employed compared to FY05.
- Numeric reduction in caseload size compared to FY05.
- Percent reduction in felony revocations compared to FY05.
- Percent reduction in felony technical revocations compared to FY05.
- Percent reduction in felony termination revocation rate compared to FY05.
- Percent increase in felony early discharges compared to FY05.
- CSCDs receiving funding benefited with:
- A 22.96 percent increase in felony early discharges compared to FY05.
- A 7.08 percent reduction in felony revocations compared to FY05.
- A 13.29 percent reduction in felony technical revocations compared to FY 05.
- Caseload sizes decreasing to 107.25 from 121.25 in September 2005.
CJAD provided technical assistance and training for judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and CSCD personnel in the development and implementation of a local progressive sanctions model. Five developmental training sessions were provided in the summer of 2005 in order to provide assistance to local jurisdictions as they developed their progressive sanction plans. During January 2006, two advanced implementation training sessions were conducted in order to give CSCDs additional assistance and analysis of their progressive sanctions models. Additional training sessions were conducted at both the 3rd Annual Sentencing Conference and the 18th Annual Skills for Effective Intervention Conference.
The division began auditing both the caseload reduction funding and the CSCDs implementation of their progressive sanctions models in Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Nueces, Travis, Bexar, Collin, Potter, Caldwell, El Paso and Hidalgo CSCDs. These CSCDs account for 84 percent of the total funding of this new initiative.
Additional Highlights of FY2006
CJAD established a Funding Advisory Committee (FAC) which is composed of members of the JAC, PAC, and CSCDs. The FAC will review issues concerning future funding and the cost of retiree health insurance, pursue alternatives that ensure available funds are effectively distributed to maximize benefits to community supervision, and determine if changes in statues will be required to implement any of the recommendations. The division, in cooperation with Correctional Management Institute of Texas and the Resource Training Officers, updated the Community Supervision Officer Certification curriculum to include evidence-based practices, motivational interviewing techniques, as well as updated laws and statutes. The revised curriculum has been distributed and is currently in use.
The division also conducted a risk assessment validation study on the statewide risk assessment instrument. Additionally, CJAD continues to work with the Department of State Health Services to increase CSCDs utilization of the Access to Recovery Program which provides federal funds for substance abuse treatment services through drug courts in Bexar, Brooks, Collin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Bend, Grayson, Harris, Jim Wells, Lubbock, Tarrant, and Travis counties.
Prior to submitting the Legislative Appropriations Request to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, the TDCJ executive director and CJAD director met with the representatives of the JAC, PAC, and the TPA regarding the Community Supervision Legislative Request for the FY2008 - 2009 biennium. The Texas Board of Criminal Justice approved an Exceptional Items Request for community supervision funding that includes:
- $20 million increase in basic supervision funding.
- $18.4 million increase in funding for outpatient substance abuse treatment.
- $11.3 million increase in funding for residential treatment.
The Community Justice Assistance Division remains committed to strengthening community supervision and maximizing the impact of funding by reducing caseloads in conjunction with local progressive sanctions systems incorporating evidence-based practices. This should help local offenders become more productive members of society resulting in increased public safety and revocation reduction.
Correctional Institutions Division
The Correctional Institutions Division (CID) is responsible for the confinement of adult felony and state jail felony offenders. As of August 31, 2006 the division operated 51 state prison facilities, three pre-release facilities, three psychiatric facilities, one Mentally Retarded Offender Program (MROP) facility, two medical facilities, 13 transfer facilities, 16 state jail facilities, five temporary contract capacity facilities, and five substance abuse facilities (SAFP). There were five expansion cellblock facilities, additional medical facilities, boot camps, and a work camp co-located within several of the facilities mentioned. As of August 31, 2006, there were 135,283 institutional offenders, 14,387 state jail offenders, and 3,219 SAFP offenders for a total of 152,889 offenders incarcerated .
CID employed 27,405 security staff at the end of this fiscal year. The division is also responsible for the following support functions: Classification and Records; Correctional Training and Staff Development; Offender Transportation; Laundry, Food, and Supply; and the managing/monitoring of privately operated facilities. CID monitors seven private prisons, five private state jails, one work program co-located on a private facility, and two pre-parole transfer facilities. There were more than 15,800 offenders in privately operated facilities monitored by the CID during Fiscal Year 2006.
This division is divided into three areas - Prison and Jail Operations, Management Operations, and Support Operations. Each area is under the leadership of a deputy director. An additional department that reports directly to the CID director is the Office of Ombudsman.
The Office of Ombudsman is a central point of contact for the public and legislators to express concerns or make inquiries regarding offenders/issues. Assistance is provided by answering questions regarding specific offenders, responding to inquiries and explanations of CID policies, providing appropriate resolutions, and referring the public to the appropriate department within the agency for assistance. In addition, this office participates in annual Public Awareness Corrections Today (PACT) conferences.
Prison and Jail Operations
The CID deputy director, Prison and Jail Operations, oversees six regional directors who have the responsibility of managing institutional prisons and state jails throughout the state. This position is also responsible for the oversight of the tracking canine coordinator, Security Systems, and the Security Threat Group.
Each regional director, in their respective geographical region, is responsible for a hierarchy of staff who provide security at each prison unit and state jail.
Tracking Canine Coordinator
The Tracking Canine Coordinator manages training, provides technical advice to kennel staff, and maintains the program's statistics. There are 47 kennels throughout the agency with 101 kennel staff attached to them. These kennels are represented in all regions of the CID. Twenty-eight of the kennels have pack-tracking canines only. Thirteen incorporate both pack canines and scent-specific canines while six kennels have scent-specific canines only. Tracking canines are a key resource for correctional staff during escapes and assisting local law enforcement agencies. The use of these canines led to 52 successful responses and the apprehension of 35 individuals during Fiscal Year 2006.
The Security Systems Department consists of 26 staff members who manage security operations, fiscal management, security reviews, and technology review. Security Systems administration provides support to the CID director, deputy directors, and regional directors. They also support units regarding new programs, new information systems, staff development, staff safety, and other special topics. Additionally, this office monitors security reviews and serious incident review findings for follow-up disposition. Security Operations provides support to CID units in areas of security staffing, armory operations, video camera surveillance support, and technology review of new security equipment. This department provides support to units in weapons and weapons repair, Use of Force equipment, chemical agents, and is an emergency responder to critical incidents. Security Operations performs assessments of security systems for units and makes recommendations for enhancements/upgrades as appropriate. It also provides technical support and installation of surveillance and video equipment.
Security Threat Group
The Security Threat Group Management Office (STGMO) monitors the activities of security threat groups (gangs) and their members who threaten the safety and security of TDCJ units, staff, and offenders. The STGMO provides oversight, training and technical support for the unit level staff who gather information on the activities of security threat group members. The STGMO works closely with law enforcement agencies by sharing information on security threat groups and their members. The office also participated in the expansion of the Gang Renouncement and Disassociation Program at the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon.
The CID deputy director, Management Operations, provides oversight of Correctional Training and Staff Development, Private Facilities, Plans and Operations, Safe Prisons Program, and the Community Liaison Department.
Correctional Training and Staff Development (CTSD)
Correctional Training and Staff Development (CTSD) provided pre-service training to 5,796 participants for a 91 percent graduation rate. Additionally, 28,183 employees attended annual in-service training. Another 1,214 staff received specialized training services, while 2,033 agency supervisors attended leadership development training and 1,165 participated in ancillary training.
A top priority for Fiscal Year 2006 was to improve the quality of supervision the correctional officers receive. To that end, CTSD developed and implemented two new training courses to provide newly-promoted sergeants and lieutenants with the skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform their job duties effectively and efficiently. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response to the new Sergeants Academy, CTSD has designed a similar course for veteran sergeants. The mission of this new course is to provide tenured sergeants with high quality, fast-paced interactive training that both informs and motivates. The class is six days in length and will be provided to 30 employees each month. Concurrently delivered with Sergeants Academy, the time impacting this entire level of management will be reduced from four to two years.
The second course piloted in Fiscal Year 2006 is the Lieutenant Command School. The mission for this course is to provide core crisis management skills to staff who are likely to be first responders and charged with setting up the initial incident command. These employees are expected to lead in the use of force, to make command decisions, and are likely to be the highest-ranking official during certain duty hours. The 40-hour course relies heavily on hands-on, practical application training to impart the knowledge and skills necessary for handling crises. The course is conducted monthly in Huntsville with 30 lieutenants attending.
Fiscal Year 2006 also saw the complete overhaul of the In-Service Training Program. In preparation for Fiscal Year 2007, in-service core curriculum was condensed to 28 hours, with the remaining 12 hours consisting of elective workshops. Employees attend workshops of their choice. Fourteen classes are available, including edged weapons defense, field training officer/on-the-job training and mentoring, on-unit escort, off-unit transport, personal finance, fitness and wellness, advanced defensive tactics, and managing the multi-generational workforce. CTSD will continue to add to the list of workshops throughout Fiscal Year 2007.
Private Facilities is responsible for the oversight and monitoring for most of the agency's privately operated facilities. Staff ensures adherence to the terms of the contracts by reporting non-compliance and following up to ensure compliance is achieved. They also calculate per diem deductions for services not received, research, coordinate, and negotiate proposed contract modifications, manage state-owned property on private facilities, and approve expenditures for facility-generated funds. Monitoring duties were expanded in FY 2006 when the agency began contracting for temporary capacity beds to house transfer offenders.
Plans and Operations
The Plans and Operations Department is responsible for the coordination and staffing of all security-related policies and operational plans, budgeting, contracts, and payment functions for private contract prisons and state jails. The department also serves as liaison to other state agencies and governmental officials. Further, Plans and Operations manages the CID Web page, disseminates information concerning emergency preparedness, coordinates, trains and audits the agency's offender property and community work project processes, administers offender drug testing, and completes other special projects assigned by management.
Safe Prisons Program
TDCJ has established the Safe Prisons Program Management Office. This office provides administrative oversight to the Safe Prisons Program and technical support to the unit Safe Prisons Program coordinators and executive administrative staff on issues of prison sexual assaults. The agency has established a "zero tolerance" for sexual assault. Safe Prisons Program Awareness Training and Extortion Awareness Training provides staff with an overview of the elements of the Safe Prisons Plan as well as the prevention of extortion. Offender Victims Representative Training enhances the skills of staff who provide support services for offenders who have been a victim of sexual assault.
The Safe Prisons Management Office maintains a database of reported alleged sexual assaults and monitors these reports for compliance with agency policies. Additionally, this office monitors predators and victims of sexual assaults, and analyzes characteristics related to time, location, and physical characteristics of the victims and assailants. This office also monitors activities related to extortion, offender protection, and alleged sexual assaults to identify issues for further policy development.
The Community Liaison Office facilitates the coordination and implementation of reentry initiatives and Prison Deterrence Education programs for the agency. These tasks necessitate communication and coordination with local, state, and national community organizations and agencies, as well as multiple divisions, departments, and units within TDCJ. This office oversees deterrence education programs which targets young adults and adult probationers. This is accomplished using offenders to inform, educate, and advise the public about the negative consequences of poor decisions involving drugs, alcohol, crime, and gangs in an attempt to deter incarceration. The Community Liaison Office also acts as the coordinating oversight authority for the agency's Crisis Response Intervention Support Program and the reporting authority for prison tours.
The CID deputy director of Support Operations oversees the support functions on all prisons/facilities. This department includes Classification and Records, Mail System Coordinators Panel, Disciplinary Coordination, Counsel Substitute, Offender Transportation, and Laundry, Food and Supply.
Classification and Records
The Classification and Records Department oversees diverse matters pertaining to offender management and provides technical support for various administrative and unit-based departments. It includes the Classification and Records Office, the Unit Classification and Count Room Department, the Intake Department, and the State Classification Committee. Classification and Records supervises approximately 1,700 positions.
The Classification and Records Office (CRO) schedules, receives, processes, and transports offenders for intakes, releases, and transfers. It creates and maintains records on these offenders and serves as the principal repository for the agency's offender records. During Fiscal Year 2006 the CRO in conjunction with the Research, Evaluation and Development Group developed strategies to improve intake/state ready processes that benefited Texas counties and TDCJ. As a result, six admission forms were consolidated into one Document Checklist that was presented in statewide educational forums. Additionally, the CRO assisted the Office of Court Administration in revising the standardized felony judgment forms.
The Unit Classification and Count Room Department provides oversight, training, and technical support for all unit-based classification personnel and classification committees. During Fiscal Year 2006 unit classification provided initial training for new classification chiefs, case managers, and intake staff. Unit classification was also responsible for the implementation of the revised offender custody criteria, offender job descriptions, standard transient housing justifications, and revised the in-cell integration process. Further, work on a new six-hour offender orientation video was started during Fiscal Year 2006.
The Intake Department provides training, supervision, and support for staff at 25 intake facilities statewide. Staff also conducts division-level operational review audits of the intake process. During Fiscal Year 2006, this department initiated a work group tasked with developing an updated intake procedures manual. It also upgraded existing LiveScan fingerprint equipment and implemented a pilot project for the modified version of the Card/Admission Summary.
The State Classification Committee (SCC) is responsible for making initial custody recommendations and determining appropriate units of assignment for all offenders. The SCC reviews recommendations made by unit classification committees for promotions in time earning status, disciplinary actions, transfers, and special housing assignments due to security or safety needs. It works closely with the Safe Prisons Program to identify aggressive and at-risk offenders.
Mail System Coordinators Panel
The Mail System Coordinators Panel (MSCP) assists offenders in keeping in touch with families and friends, and facilitates offenders' access to courts and public officials. The MSCP provides procedural training and technical assistance for unit mailroom staff and conducts operational review mailroom audits. It also generates investigations regarding receipts of threats and unidentifiable substances in uninspected mail. A mainframe computer screen was developed to allow the unit mailroom staff to view one master "watch" list containing names of offenders being monitored.
The Office for Disciplinary Coordination monitors facility compliance with disciplinary rules and procedures. This office produces management statistical reports each month, coordinates revisions to disciplinary rules and procedures, and updates and coordinates printing of the disciplinary rules handbook and the standard offense pleadings handbook. During Fiscal Year 2006 this office completed 33 unit operational reviews, coordinated the revision of a disciplinary rule, and coordinated a pilot project relating to the review of major cases.
The Office of the Spanish Language Coordination manages Spanish language assistance service. This office is responsible for coordinating the testing of employees for oral proficiency in the Spanish language, designating qualified staff as Spanish language interpreters, translating selected documents, and providing technical support to agency staff. The office completed 187 pages of translations and coordinated the testing of 127 employees.
The Counsel Substitute Program secures and protects the due process rights of offenders charged with disciplinary infractions by providing trained staff to assist offenders during the disciplinary process. These employees conduct certification training, provide technical assistance/continuous support for the disciplinary hearing officers, and counsel substitute staff.
Offender Transportation is headquartered in Huntsville at the Byrd Unit with five regional satellite offices located in Amarillo, Abilene, Tennessee Colony, Rosharon, and Beeville. This department is responsible for unit-to-unit transfers, state and federal court appearances, medical transfers, county jail transfers, out-of-state extradition, and responding to emergencies (i.e., floods, hurricanes, and other emergency disturbances).
Offender Transportation has a staff of 325 security and non-security employees operating a fleet of vehicles consisting of 117 buses, 62 vans, five handicap vans, and one car.
More than 4.5 million miles were traveled, and 576,487 offenders were transported in Fiscal Year 2006. This department works closely with Classification and Records to ensure timely, efficient, and safe transport of offenders.
Laundry, Food, and Supply
Laundry, Food, and Supply Headquarters manages the food, laundry, necessities, and unit supply operations. These unit-based programs are vital to the unit's mission and to the well-being of offenders.
The department is responsible for assuring all offenders are provided access to clean and serviceable clothing, footwear, and bedding. Offenders are provided access to appropriate personal hygiene items, and the units are provided the basic supplies they need to operate. Further, offenders are provided access to wholesome and nutritious meals which includes special diets.
This department employs approximately 1,800 laundry managers, inventory coordinators, and food service managers. The unit-based staff works in more than 250 unit laundries, food service and unit supply programs. Approximately 27,000 offenders work in unit food service and laundry departments, where they receive on-the-job training to help prepare them for their reintegration into society. In addition to on-the-job training, offenders are afforded the opportunity to participate in educational programs in food preparation through the joint efforts of the Windham School District and Lee College.
The Parole Division supervises offenders released from prison on parole or mandatory supervision to complete their sentences in Texas communities. The mission of the division is to promote public safety and positive offender change through effective supervision, programs, and services. The division is also responsible for pre-release functions such as investigating release plans and preparing release-eligible cases for consideration by the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP).
This year, more than 77,000 parole and mandatory offenders were under active supervision by approximately 1,250 district parole officers. Offenders must report to parole officers and comply with release conditions established by the BPP. Violations can result in arrest and re-incarceration. Officers also supervise offenders transferred to Texas from other states and by the Texas Youth Commission.
Regional directors in Tyler, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Midland manage 66 district parole offices across the state. Officers monitor an offender's compliance with conditions of release and society's laws, applying supervision strategies based on assessment of each offender's risk and needs.
Central Coordination Unit
The Central Coordination Unit (CCU) provides support services to Field Operations. The unit monitors a detainer/deportation caseload, verifies death notices, receives and monitors interstate transfers, and arranges for placement of offenders into and out of intermediate sanction facilities (ISFs) and substance abuse felony punishment facilities (SAFPFs). In FY 2006 over 11,000 offenders were temporarily incarcerated in ISFs. Two ISFs participate in a substance abuse counseling program, with 350 offenders served at the South Texas ISF and 270 offenders served at the North Texas ISF. Programs and services offered in these facilities encourage offender compliance through appropriate supervision and interventions.
Contract Monitoring Unit
The Contract Monitoring Unit oversees contract compliance for 4 ISFs, 7 halfway houses (HWHs), 2 county jail work release programs, and 20 substance abuse residential contracts. This year, the unit contracted for 4,089 beds and directed 12 investigations, 7 Office of the Inspector General referrals, 6 compliance reviews, 27 topic reviews, 5 financial reviews, 1 grievance review, and 955 scheduled and unscheduled visits.
Four ISFs provide an alternative to parole violators returning to correctional units and hold low-risk offenders. Seven halfway houses lodge offenders placed there upon release or field referral. Offenders needing closer supervision, special services, or lack family and community resources are released to halfway houses to ease reentry. Twenty-one residential transitional treatment centers (TTCs) provide aftercare to offenders from in-prison therapeutic communities (ITPCs) and SAFPFs, and 2 county jail work release programs help return offenders to their county of residence when halfway houses are unavailable.
This year, the Parole Division ombudsman responded to more than 9,700 inquiries from offenders' families, parole and mandatory supervision offenders, legislative offices, and the public. The ombudsman also addressed various family groups.
Budget Coordination is a liaison between Parole Division operations and the Budget Office. The division's budget is monitored and its purchases approved to ensure that spending is responsible and that policies and procedures are followed. Also, division statistics are gathered, maintained, and reported in compliance with agency goals and strategies.
Offenders on community supervision (probation) or parole that meet specific eligibility criteria may be transferred to another state under the Interstate Compact system. The Interstate Compact Office facilitates transfer of supervision for offenders who are approved to reside and work in a state other than their state of conviction. The Interstate Commission on Adult Offender Supervision is the statutory authority for supervision transfer. The Interstate Compact Office establishes practices, policies, and procedures that ensure compliance with Compact rules.
In FY 2006 7,858 Texas probationers and 3,525 parolees were supervised out-of-state. Another 3,740 out-of-state probationers and 2,353 parolees were supervised in Texas.
Internal Review/In-Service Training
Internal Review and In-Service Training delivered training for domestic violence, gangs, and the substance abuse counseling program to all parole officers. In addition, Human Resource Training for Supervisors, Principles of Supervision, and Unit Supervisor courses are held quarterly in Austin for all newly-promoted managers.
Performance reviews were completed of the 66 district parole offices during the fiscal year. Additionally, internal reviews were conducted on individual cases statewide as a result of offender related incidents as directed by the executive staff. These reviews measure the performance of the officer assigned to the case, and review results provide analysis of the implementation and effectiveness of agency programs and policies.
Open Records/Policy Coordinator
In FY 2006 Open Records responded to over 3,600 requests. By law requests must be responded to within 10 business days of receipt. This year policies were updated to reflect the field's use of the Offender Information Management System and were posted on the agency's website.
Support Services is comprised of three sections, all providing direct support to Parole Division Field Operations: Review and Release Processing, Specialized Programs, and Warrants.
Review and Release Processing
Review and Release Processing identifies inmates eligible for release consideration by the BPP. After identifying the inmate through a systematic case-pull process, an institutional parole officer compiles a comprehensive case summary containing information related to the decision-making process. This includes the offender's criminal history, prior alcohol and drug use, and social, psychological, and institutional adjustment. Institutional parole officers work in nine offices located in prison units across the state.
This year, the section produced more than 73,800 case summaries and 15,000 discretionary mandatory supervision transmittals for BPP use in making release decisions. It prepared 32 summaries for BPP use in making clemency decisions on death penalty cases, and processed more than 16,100 parole and 15,600 mandatory and discretionary supervision releases. It also maintained approximately 238,000 offender files, and responded to more than 240,000 letters and 403,600 telephone inquiries regarding the status of an offender's review and release.
Specialized Programs administers a variety of programs and services to enhance the division's ability to supervise and reintegrate offenders following release. Specialized Programs also evaluates the effectiveness of policies, programs, and supervision.
District Resource Centers (DRC) target newly-released offenders who have high needs by using a comprehensive approach to supervision that promotes personal responsibility and growth, victim empathy, and accountability. Volunteers and community agencies assist Parole Division staff in addressing anger management, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse, victim impact, and pre-employment preparation. A rapid response system monitors compliance. In FY 2006, DRCs served a monthly average of 1,892 offenders.
The Super-Intensive Supervision Program (SISP) imposes the highest level of supervision and offender accountability, including global positioning satellite (GPS) monitoring, active and passive. There were an average of 25 offenders on active GPS, which tracks an offender 24/7 and is reserved for the highest-risk offenders. Electronic Monitoring (EM) allows an officer to detect curfew and home confinement violations electronically. Offenders at higher risk of re-offending or who violated release conditions may be placed on EM. This year a monthly average of 1,025 offenders was supervised on EM and a monthly average of 1,758 offenders on SISP was monitored on passive GPS, which downloads tracking data when an offender returns to his or her residence.
The Special Needs Offender Program (SNOP) supervises mentally retarded (MR), mentally impaired (MI), and terminally ill or physically handicapped (TI/PH) offenders. Services are provided through the Health and Human Services Commission. Some of these offenders are released early due to medically recommended intensive supervision. This year, the monthly average of MR offenders on SNOP was 190. MI offenders numbered 3,262, and TI/PH offenders numbered 717.
The Sex Offender Program supervised a monthly average of 3,060 sex offenders in FY 2006. Sex offender treatment services are provided statewide through contracted vendors. The division subsidizes treatment for indigent offenders who could otherwise not afford services. Polygraph testing is a significant component of evaluating and treating sex offenders and subsidized services are also provided for indigent offenders.
The Therapeutic Community Program offers continuity of care to offenders with substance abuse problems. This three-phase aftercare program targets offenders who have participated in an in-prison therapeutic community or substance abuse felony punishment facility. A monthly average of 2,274 offenders received services from contracted vendors and specialized parole officers.
The Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP) provides relapse prevention services to offenders with substance abuse problems. Services were provided to an average of 2,132 newly-released offenders each month by Parole Division counselors – totaling over 25,000 in FY 2006. Vendors and Parole Division counselors (in areas with no vendors) also provided service to offenders with a positive urinalysis test result. Vendors treated a monthly average of 758 offenders and over 9,000 offenders for the year. Parole Division counselors treated a monthly average of 278 offenders and over 3,300 offenders this year. The Substance Abuse Counseling Program Intermediate Sanction Facility began operating September 1, providing residential treatment to 747 offenders in 2006.
The Serious and Violent Reentry Initiative (SVORI) provides transitional services to administrative segregation offenders that begins during incarceration and continues after release to supervision. Upon release programming and services are delivered through DRCs for one year. By year's end 48 SVORI offenders had been placed in Phase II.
Project RIO is designed to reduce recidivism through offender employment. Administered by the Texas Workforce Commission in collaboration with TDCJ, Windham School District, local workforce development boards, and the Texas Youth Commission, RIO offers a link between education, training, and employment during incarceration as well as training, education, and employment referrals after release.
The Warrants Section is primarily responsible for the issuance, confirmation (execution upon arrest), and cancellation or withdrawal of pre-revocation warrants. This year, 35,301 warrants were issued, with 30,592 confirmed and 25,953 cancelled or withdrawn.
The section has two units in operation 24 hours a day. The Command Center processes violation reports submitted by parole officers in the field and alerts received from EM and GPS vendors and halfway houses. The Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System Unit responds to requests for warrant information from law enforcement and maintains wanted persons information. Additionally, these units operate an Absconder Tip Line to allow the public to report locations of offenders who have failed to report.
The Extradition Unit tracks Texas offenders arrested in other states and offenders returned to a TDCJ Correctional Institutions Division facility who have not been through the pre-revocation process. This year, 1,008 extradited offenders were returned to Texas and 556 warrants issued for Texas offenders under Interstate Compact supervision in other states.
The Tracking Unit tracks offenders held in Texas county jails on pre-revocation warrants and ensures that the offender's case is disposed of within the time limits prescribed by law. The Time Credit Unit calculates the amount of time an offender should be credited while in custody on a pre-revocation warrant.
Central File Coordination Unit
The Central File Coordination Unit (CFCU) coordinates the movement and maintenance of approximately 257,735 case files of offenders under Parole Division jurisdiction and inmates within six months of their release eligibility dates. Staff responds to requests for files from multiple sources.
CFCU tracks and verifies restitution owed by offenders, processes case files on the offender's discharge date, and responds to Open Records requests and correspondence. The unit also tracks Workman's Compensation claims and maintains safety training statistics on Parole Division employees.
The Parole Officer Training Academy (POTA) in Beeville provides 248 hours of pre-service foundation training for new officers annually. Twelve classes provided training to 262 new officers in FY 2006.
POTA also houses the Specialized Offender Supervision schools, which cover the Super-intensive Supervision Program, electronic monitoring, therapeutic community, and the Special Needs Offender Program. Classes, conducted quarterly, are 32 to 40 hours in length and prepare parole officers to work with specialized caseloads. A 40-hour firearms certification course provided training to 363 officers who elected to carry a concealed handgun while on duty.
Health Services Division
The Health Services Division monitors access to timely and quality health care for offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The agency contracts with the Correctional Managed Health Care Committee (CMHCC) for the provision of all health services at TDCJ facilities.
The 73rd Legislature established the CMHCC and empowered the committee with developing a managed health care plan for offenders in TDCJ. This statutory mandate was implemented through a series of contractual relationships. TDCJ contracts with the CMHCC, which in turn, contracts with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) and the Texas Tech University Health Science Center at Lubbock (TTUHSC) to provide health care to TDCJ offenders. The universities may then contract with private vendors.
This new health care delivery system was implemented in TDCJ on September 1, 1994. Each university and private vendor has its own internal organizational structure to assure the integrity and quality of the managed health care program. Within each program there is a medical director, administrator, nursing director, dental director, mental health director, clinical pharmacists, clinical laboratory personnel, and health records staff.
TDCJ, UTMB, TTUHSC and the private vendors are in partnership to implement and enforce the health care delivery system. Each entity functions as an independent organization with separate and distinct lines of supervision and responsibilities. The director of the TDCJ Health Services Division has no supervisory or enforcement authority over the university or private vendor health care staff and no responsibility for the daily medical operations. That responsibility rests solely with the appropriate university medical director or private vendor medical director.
Functions performed by the TDCJ Health Services Division include:
- Monitoring the offenders' access to the various health care disciplines (i.e., medical nursing, dental and mental health).
- Cooperating with the university medical schools and the private contractors in monitoring quality of care. The clinical and professional resources of the health care providers are used to the greatest extent feasible for clinical oversight of quality of care issues as mandated by government code.
- Conducting compliance (operational review) audits.
- Investigating and responding to Step 2 medical grievances, inquires, and complaints.
- Controlling the transmission of infectious diseases in TDCJ. The Office of Preventative Medicine collects statistics on the occurrence of selected diseases, publishes guidelines and policies for infection control, investigates disease outbreaks, provides technical consultation, and prepares educational materials and programs for staff and offenders. The office coordinates the Peer Education Program for offenders.
- Recommending unit assignment requirements to meet the medical needs of offenders, screening offenders for programs and acting as a liaison for the university providers, counties and private vendors is the responsibility of the Health Services liaison.
Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division
The Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division centralizes the administration of activities related to offender programs and services involving two or more divisions. The division administers rehabilitation and reintegration programs designated by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice.
Chaplaincy uses a holistic approach to enhance an offender's spirituality. Programs are provided to reduce recidivism, thereby increasing public safety through development of life-changing goals among offenders. The Life Changes Academy includes spiritual growth groups, family and life-skills, and accountability and mentoring.
The agency identifies and refers offenders with two or more qualifying sexually-violent offense convictions to a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) for possible civil commitment under the Texas Health and Safety Code. This process applies to offenders released on or after January 1, 2000. In Fiscal Year 2006, the MDT reviewed 546 offenders and referred 115 for psychological assessment. TDCJ referred 60 offenders to the Special Prosecution Unit (SPU). Thirteen offenders were committed during the fiscal year. As of August 31, 2006, 68 offenders had been committed under the statute.
In 1996, the agency began collecting blood specimens for DNA analysis from offenders convicted of certain sex offenses. Effective September 1, 2005, all offenders incarcerated in a TDCJ facility or a facility under contract with TDCJ must submit a DNA sample. In Fiscal Year 2006, a total of 69,022 offenders provided DNA samples. The samples are sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety for analysis and entry into the national DNA database.
Operated by Prison Fellowship Ministries at the Vance Unit in Sugar Land, InnerChange is a pre-release program which underscores personal responsibility, education, work values, care for persons and property, and faith-based living. This program spans 18 months within the institution and has a transitional aftercare component.
The Female Offender Section researches correctional trends in the management of females as well as gender-responsive programs based on their unique needs.
The Plane/Henley State Jail WrapAround Program allows community resource providers to meet the offender prior to her release to develop a strategy to meet her needs. This reduces duplication in service provision, increases community support for the offender, and allows her to receive services needed to decrease her risk of returning to custody.
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars helps maintain, and in some cases, re-forge the bond between girls and their incarcerated mothers. Through Girl Scout council-facilitated prison visits, mothers and daughters join for troop meetings and traditional Girl Scout activities. Many participating mothers also receive parent education. Girl Scouts Beyond Bars now spans the country with 28 Girl Scout councils currently running programs in 22 states. In Texas, Girl Scouts Beyond Bars is active on the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville and the Plane State Jail in Dayton.
GO KIDS (Giving Offenders' Kids Incentive and Direction to Succeed) Initiative
Today, one in 32 adults in the United States is under some form of correctional supervision, to include jails, prisons, probation and parole. This translates into approximately seven million children having a parent under some form of correctional supervision, with two million of them having parents incarcerated in a state or federal prison or a local county jail.
With recent findings by the United States Bureau of Justice indicating that children of offenders have a 70 percent greater likelihood of becoming involved in the criminal justice system, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) implemented the GO KIDS initiative.
GO KIDS brings to the forefront the importance of preserving family ties and providing positive prevention and intervention services to these high-risk children. Maintained through the TDCJ Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division, a link on the agency's website (www.tdcj.state.tx.us) provides a reliable connection to valuable resources and services, not only within local communities, but across Texas and throughout the nation.
GO KIDS guides offenders through programs geared towards strengthening their parent/child relationships as well as their families and children. For the latter GO KIDS provides resources that offer basic fundamental elements such as mentoring and encouraging parent/child relationships. It also provides support in the areas of health, legal counsel, and employment. For the offenders, GO KIDS focuses on programs that provide effective parenting education and training and offers avenues to facilitate parent/child connections.
Several organizations are working in collaboration with GO KIDS towards the goal of helping the children of offenders. These organizations (Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas, Amachi Texas, No More Victims, Inc., Texas Boys Ranch, and KICKSTART) work directly with the children and offer mentoring, counseling, and empowerment opportunities.
On March 9, 2006 Governor Rick Perry announced a $3.78 million grant to launch Amachi Texas, a collaborative effort between the TDCJ, the Office of the Governor, Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas, and the OneStar Foundation. It will initially provide mentoring opportunities for approximately 1,300 children who have a parent behind bars with a goal to expand to benefit thousands more in the future. Amachi Texas is the first statewide Amachi effort in the nation.
Pre-Release Therapeutic Community
Utilizing principles of a therapeutic community, this six-month program promotes appropriate behavior changes in offenders through collaboration between Windham School District, the Parole Division, and the Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division.
Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative Program (SVORI)
In an attempt to reduce the recidivism rate among administrative segregation offenders and assist them in their reentry to the community, TDCJ created the SVORI Program. This 63-bed program is housed at the Estelle Unit's expansion cellblock facility in Huntsville. The program provides pre-release and in-cell programming, transitional services, and post-release supervision for offenders. SVORI is a coordinated partnership between the Correctional Institutions Division, the Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division, and the Parole Division of TDCJ, as well as the Windham School District and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The program is 18 months in duration and consists of two phases. Phase I is a six-month in-cell cognitive-based program that is provided through computer-based equipment prior to the offender's release. Phase II spans 12 months and is a continuum of care upon transition from Phase I. The Parole Division works with the offender during Phase I to ensure a smooth transition.
Sex Offender Treatment
The Sex Offender Treatment Program is an 18-month rehabilitation initiative for sexual offenders who are within 24 months of release. Curriculum is based on a cognitive-behavioral model as recommended by the National Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. The goal of the program is to lower the re-offense risk among sexual offenders. Eligible offenders must be within 18 months of their release and be considered a moderate to high risk to re-offend sexually.
The Sex Offender Educational Program is a four-month instructive presentation of topics designed to minimize the risk of sex offenders re-offending. Eligible offenders must be within 18 months of release and be considered a low risk to re-offend sexually.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Many offenders sentenced to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have addictions to drugs or alcohol which may have directly or indirectly contributed to their criminal behavior and subsequent incarceration. This program provides services appropriate to the needs of offenders from commitment to termination of supervision. Successful participation in programming helps offenders maintain pro-social lifestyles upon return to their community.
Substance Abuse Felony Punishment facilities (SAFP) are a six-month in-prison treatment component followed by three months of residential aftercare in a Transitional Treatment Center (TTC), six to nine months of outpatient aftercare, and up to twelve months of support groups and follow-up supervision. A nine-month in-prison treatment component is provided for special needs offenders that have mental and/or medical disorders. Offenders in this program are sentenced by a judge to a SAFP as a condition of their community supervision in lieu of going to prison/state jail or as a modification of their parole. Offenders convicted with certain sex offender-related felonies are not eligible for this program.
The In-Prison Therapeutic Community (IPTC) is similar to SAFP in treatment components and length. This program is available to incarcerated offenders within six months of parole release who are identified as needing substance abuse treatment. The Board of Pardons and Paroles must vote to place qualified offenders in the therapeutic community program. Successful graduates are then released on parole to a Transitional Treatment Center (TTC) for three months, six to nine months of outpatient aftercare, and up to twelve months of support groups and follow-up supervision.
The Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program is an intensive, six-month treatment for incarcerated offenders with serious substance abuse/chemical dependency and antisocial characteristics. These offenders are within seven months of release as identified by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Classification Department and Parole Division. Treatment modality is similar to the SAFP facilities.
For more than half a century TDCJ has had a rich legacy of civic participation, public engagement, and resource development with volunteers. Today, TDCJ recognizes, encourages, and supports the valuable contributions of individual volunteers, groups, and organizations. All volunteer activity must support the agency's mission and adhere to sound correctional practices for the purpose of maintaining the orderly operation of the TDCJ. Volunteers currently provide services to offenders in areas of literacy and education, development of life skills and job skills, parenting training, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, support groups, art and crafts, and other programs determined by the agency to aid in the transition between confinement and society and to reduce incidence of recidivism. The Volunteer Coordination Committee (VCC) was established in 1994 in order to enhance the utilization of volunteers within the agency. The VCC consist of representatives from the following divisions/departments: Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division (Substance Abuse Treatment, Chaplaincy, and Sex Offender Treatment); Victim Services Division; Parole Division; Community Justice Assistance Division; and the Windham School District.
Youthful Offender Program
The Youthful Offender Program (YOP) was established in 1995 in response to changes in the law allowing offenders as young as 14 to be tried and sentenced as adults. YOP offenders are separated from the adult incarcerated population and have an opportunity for school, work, and vocation. Additionally, a therapeutic community is offered for those youthful offenders within the YOP who are in need of intensive treatment. Treatment includes education, social skills training, anger management, values development, goal setting, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse counseling, conflict resolution, aggression replacement, and life skills. The topics of focus groups include parenting, cultural diversity, grief/loss, gang intervention, victim empathy, and employment preparation.
Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI)
The Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI) is responsible for addressing the establishment of a comprehensive continuity of care system that emphasizes its primary goals of public safety and treatment intervention for juveniles and adults (including the elderly) with mental illness, mental retardation, development disabilities, serious or chronic medical conditions, and physical disabilities.
In Fiscal Year 2006, legislative mandates of TCOOMMI included, but were not limited to, the following:
- Revising and implementing memoranda of understanding between TDCJ, the departments of State Health Services, Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and Aging and Disability Services, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Office Safety and Education for a seamless continuity of care process for special needs offenders and more specialized training for peace officers.
- Providing funds to jails for post-release (from state hospitals) medications for defendants deemed competent for criminal proceedings.
- Coordinating with the Department of State Health Services and Jail Commission on cross-referencing all jail inmates against statewide MHMR database.
- Coordinating with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to conduct a statewide study on mental health screening and treatment practices in local jails.
- Monitoring statewide compliance with the sharing of confidential information among local/state criminal justice and health/human services agencies.
- Coordinating with regulatory, juvenile justice, criminal justice, health and human service agencies, and other TCOOMMI advisory members to address services delivery barriers affecting offenders with special needs.
- Creating a continuity of care system for defendants being released from state hospitals to jails after a finding of competency.
Community –Based Services
Community-based programs provided intensive case management, jail diversion, and continuity of care and support services to juvenile and adult offenders who were on any form of community supervision (i.e. pre-trial, probation and parole). During Fiscal Year 2006, a total of 25,496 offenders were released through the COC program.
Continuity of Care
Continuity of Care (COC) programs provided pre-release and post-release screening and referral for aftercare medical or psychiatric treatment services for special needs offenders. In Fiscal Year, 2006, 6,727 offenders were released through the COC program.
Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision
Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision (MRIS) provided early parole review of adult offenders who are mentally ill, mentally retarded, terminally ill, physically handicapped elderly, or require long term care. During Fiscal Year 2006, 1600 inmates were screened, 401 were presented to the Parole Board, and 161 were approved for MRIS.
Social Security Pre-Application Process
Social Security benefit applications were initiated for 828 offenders 90 days prior to release. For Fiscal Year 2006 a 17 percent approval rate was achieved.
Additional TCOOMMI activities
TCOOMMI also has been charged with a number of new legislative mandates as a result of the 79th Regular Legislative Session which include, but are not limited to:
- Working with University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas Tech University to develop an automated report to assist in identifying offenders eligible for MRIS.
- Implementing a Permian Basin Mental Health Deputy Pilot Program in Ector and Midland counties.
- Developing standard for post-release supervision and treatment for persons found not guilty by reason on insanity, and are civilly committed to community supervision and corrections.
- Developing a "template" for all competency exams conducted in the various jurisdictions of the state court system to ensure statewide minimum standards and consistency in exam content.
Victim Services Division
The mission of the Victim Services Division (VSD) is to coordinate a central mechanism for victims to participate in the criminal justice process within an environment of integrity, fairness, compassion, and dignity. The division makes a willing and concerted effort to aide and support victims, friends and/or family of victims in the most considerate, proficient, and appropriate channels necessary.
Victim Notification System
Important written information during the parole review process can be obtained through the Victim Notification System, otherwise known as VNS. This confidential 75-point notification database provides victims, their families, and concerned citizens with the necessary information to assist them throughout the review process. At the end of Fiscal Year 2006 there were 106,208 individuals registered on the VNS database, and 102,874 pieces of correspondence were processed.
The Automated Victim Notification System (AVNS) is a toll-free programmed telephone number which provides victims an opportunity to obtain offender information 24 hours a day in English or Spanish. It also has a voice recognition feature for rotary telephones. If requested by a victim, the AVNS can automatically call to notify them when an offender is being processed for release. This system is a service available to victims in addition to written notification. There were 16,256 AVNS "call-ins" and 1,413 AVNS "call-outs," for a total of 17,669 automated calls reported during the fiscal year.
The new automated notification system, Victim Information and Notification Everyday or VINE, will link its services to a more seamless statewide notification system. With the combined efforts of the Information Technology Division and Victim Services personnel the production of the VINE system is currently under construction and should soon be in production for use by the VSD.
Toll Free Information Hotline: (800) 848-4284
Between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, Victim Services employees answer telephone calls and provide information about offender status, the criminal justice system, individual meetings with the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) members, and other services to victims, concerned citizens, criminal justice professionals, offenders, media, and other miscellaneous groups. There were 50,282 telephone calls processed for Fiscal Year 2006.
Case File Analysts
Offender case files are managed by the case file analysts who interact between victims and BPP members, criminal justice authorities, and law enforcement personnel. Assistance is provided for victims requesting enforcement of special conditions, explanation of the parole process, and interpretation of state parole laws. In Fiscal Year 2006, 1,518 cases were analyzed, 252 transmittals were processed, and 250 materials were filed with BPP requesting special conditions or protesting the release of an offender.
Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse
The Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse (TxCVC) supplies information and referrals to victims, victim service providers, and law enforcement and criminal justice professionals. Every odd-numbered year the TxCVC updates the Victim Impact Statement (VIS) upon the close of the regular legislative session. Several versions are available for use depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. Designed to be more user friendly for children, a new VIS has been developed to assist child victims. The VIS is also available in Spanish and Braille upon request. In late 2005 the TxCVC began revising the VIS based on any legislation passed during the 2005 Legislative Session.
The TxCVC also sponsors an annual conference bringing victims, victim advocates, victim service providers, probation and parole professionals, and criminal justice professionals together to train, network, and share information. The 2006 Annual TxCVC Conference held in San Antonio had 321 participants. The Texas Crime Victims Clearinghouse Conference will be in Austin in 2007 to coincide with the Texas Legislative Session.
A Memorial Library is available for victims to obtain books and videotapes to aid in the recovery process. Items may be checked out for 30 days at a time. Currently, there are hundreds of copies of reading material on hand for individuals to sign out.
Victim Impact Panel Program
Through the Victim Impact Panel Program (VIPP), victims and/or survivors of crime have the opportunity to share details of their victimization by focusing on meetings with criminal justice professionals and offenders. The goal is to involve victims and/or survivors in the criminal justice process and give them a voice thereby promoting their personal healing as a result. The audience gains realization, understanding, and sensitivity of the tribulations that victims and their family and friends go through consequently alleviating the chances of further victimization.
During Fiscal Year 2006 there were 59 impact panels conducted with 15 new victim panelists and 99 referral or repeat panelists participating. More than 1,200 criminal justice specialists and 1,500 offenders attended.
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue Program
The Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue (VOM/D) Program provides victims and survivors of violent crime the opportunity to have a controlled, face-to-face meeting with their offender in a protected environment. Mediation is an avenue chosen by some victims to aid in the healing and recovery process and allows them an attempt to get answers to questions only the offender can provide. Thirty-seven mediations were completed during the fiscal year.
From the date of inception of the program, 247 cases have been assigned and completed by case managers for mediation.
Victim and Community Support and Education Program
This section oversees a variety of services available to victims including training, assisting victims who view executions, and prison tours. The Victim and Community Support and Education Program provided training to enhance victim awareness and sensitivity to audiences that included law enforcement, criminal justice professionals, victims, victim advocates, and offenders. When appropriate, training staff utilizes victim impact panels to enhance the comprehension imparted to the attendees. Training was provided to 665 victim advocates, service providers, students, offenders, criminal justice professionals, volunteer mediators and law enforcement personnel in Fiscal Year 2006.
Victim Services screens appropriate individuals for viewing executions. Victims viewing executions can request as many as five relatives or close friends who wish to witness the offender's execution. Witnesses are informed about the process prior to the execution and then accompanied to the execution viewing by a Victim Services staff member. Contact is made following the execution to assess if post trauma symptoms are evident and to make referrals as appropriate. Two or more Victim Services representatives attended 25 executions, providing support to 108 victim witnesses, between September 2005 and August 2006.
Prison tours are conducted to educate criminal justice personnel, victims, and others about the actuality of prison life in Texas. In Fiscal Year 2006, 4 prison tours were conducted with 40 participants. The tours included a visit to 2 prison units and the execution chamber.
Bridges To Life
The Bridges To Life/Restoring Peace Program (BTL/RP) allows victims and/or volunteers to meet with offenders who are near release. The 12-week consecutive visits are conducted in small discussion group settings inside the prison units in a controlled atmosphere. The informal groups separate to talk about such topics as crime, domestic violence, driving while intoxicated, accountability, guilt, forgiveness, and restitution. The outcome of these dialogues hopefully develops a feeling of inner peace for the victims, volunteers, and offenders.
During Fiscal Year 2006 there were 33 BTL projects completed with 35 victim participants and 75 volunteer participants. Offender participants numbered 464. At the close the fiscal year 14 BTL projects were in progress.
The division's Advisory Council is made up of various victim advocate groups, state and federal agencies, and concerned citizens who meet to assess victim needs and relay information to and from statewide organizations.
Hope for Healing Ministries, Inc. and the Victim Memorial Center
Hope for Healing Ministries is a restorative justice project in alliance with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Victim Services Division. Hope for Healing Ministries, Inc., is attempting to establish the Victim Memorial Center and commemorative statue to be located in Huntsville, Texas. The Memorial Center will provide a facility for overnight accommodations, counseling, training, mediations, support groups and ministry development for victims of violent crime, their families, and friends, and victim advocate groups.
Administrative Review & Risk Management
The Administrative Review & Risk Management Division promotes excellence in correctional practice through monitoring, identifying areas of potential risk or liability, and facilitating action to maintain safety, accountability, efficiency, and professionalism.
Access to Courts Program
Access to Courts ensures offenders are provided their constitutional right of access to courts, counsel and public officials, and that access is adequate, effective, and meaningful as required by law. It provides critical functions at each unit, including legal research resources, attorney visits and phone calls, Open Records requests, telephonic court hearings, correspondence supplies for indigent offenders, notary public services, offender legal and educational in-cell storage management, parole revocation hearing reviews, and court transcript administration. Total cumulative attendance in law library sessions for Fiscal Year 2006 was 669,331. Legal resource delivery to segregated offenders totaled 307,647 items.
Administrative Monitor for Use of Force
This office manages current Use of Force policy and procedures and coordinates training systemwide to advance staff understanding and compliance with policy. In addition, staff conducted reviews of 5,924 Major Use of Force reports during the fiscal year.
Monitoring & Standards
Monitoring adherence to agency policy at each correctional facility is the primary focus of the Operational Review program. This is accomplished at the unit level through on-going monthly reviews and every three years at the division level. Follow-up reviews are then conducted within four months to document resolution of findings requiring corrective action. In addition, staff investigates allegations of offender impermissible conduct (i.e., supervisory authority over other offenders, special privileges, and access to sensitive information). Monitoring & Standards also coordinates and assists correctional facilities in obtaining accreditation from the American Correctional Association (ACA). Eleven facilities received their initial accreditation during the 2006 fiscal year. To date, 48 units, the Baten facility and the Correctional Training Academy, have earned ACA accreditation. Twenty-four additional facilities are scheduled for initial accreditation in Fiscal Year 2007.
Offender Grievance Program
This program provides offenders with a formal mechanism to hear and resolve concerns affecting their everyday lives. By providing an outlet for offender grievances the program also enhances the safety of staff while providing agency administrators with valuable insight into issues and problem resolution on the units. During Fiscal Year 2006 unit grievance investigators handled more than 170,000 grievances at the unit level while central office staff processed more than 43,000 appeals.
The Ombudsman offices provide the public access to agency staff who can answer questions and address concerns. The Ombudsman Coordinators' Office in Huntsville supports Ombudsman staff in the Community Justice Assistance, Correctional Institutions, and Parole divisions. Staff responded to approximately 20,868 inquiries in Fiscal Year 2006 through the U.S. mail, telephone, and the Internet. The office also arranged for agency representatives to speak at 11 engagements sponsored by offender family support organizations.
This program has oversight for unit/department occupational safety and health standards, emergency management planning and disaster recovery, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and liability loss control. It coordinates with all agency departments to implement risk reduction strategies regarding personnel, property, and fiscal resources. Fiscal Year 2006 saw a 12 percent reduction in employee injuries and resulting workers compensation claims.
The former agency director's residence, located adjacent to the Huntsville Unit, was transformed into a staff and program development center for TDCJ in 1996 and hosted 391 meetings during the 2006 fiscal year.
Business and Finance Division
Business and Finance supports the agency through sound fiscal management, provision of financial services and statistical information, purchasing and leasing services, agribusiness, land and mineral operations, maintaining a fiduciary responsibility over offender education and recreation funds, and ensuring fiscal responsibility through compliance with laws and court-mandated requirements.
Accounting and Business Services Department
Accounting and Business Services carries out the financial operations of the agency to include providing meaningful financial information, supporting financial processes, and maintaining effective financial control.
Accounting and Business Services consists of Accounting Services, Accounts Payable, Cashier/Travel Services, Business Process Support, and Financial Systems and Reporting. Parolee supervision fees and restitution payments are also processed and remitted. During Fiscal Year 2006, $1.2 million in restitution fees were distributed to crime victims.
The department is responsible for general accounting for state funds and produces the agency's annual financial report. This is achieved through the use of the agency financial system, LONESTARS (which is managed by the department) and the Uniform Statewide Accounting System.
In providing financial oversight for all other agency departments, the Budget Department plans, formulates, analyzes, and monitors agency revenues and expenditures by activity, function, and department. The planning process is initiated through preparation of the Agency Strategic Plan which is monitored quarterly by a system of performance measures. The department then compiles the biennial Legislative Appropriations Request which serves as the fiscal representation of the Agency Strategic Plan.
The Texas Legislature appropriated approximately $5.2 billion to TDCJ for the 2006-2007 biennium. The Fiscal Year 2007 Operating Budget developed, and continuously monitored by the Budget Department, totals approximately $2.658 billion.
The department routinely interacts with the state's executive, legislative and regulatory agencies, which include the Legislative Budget Board, Governor's Office of Budget, Planning and Policy, Public Finance Authority, and the Bond Review Board.
Commissary and Trust Fund Department
The Commissary and Trust Fund Department is responsible for the administration and operation of the agency's commissaries and inmate trust fund.
The inmate trust fund provides offenders access to personal funds for the purchase of commissary items, craft shop supplies, periodicals and subscriptions, some over-the-counter medications, and other approved expenditures. Approximately 90 percent of all funds deposited to the trust fund are received from offenders' families and friends. An automated remittance system is used to encode, image, endorse, and facilitate the electronic posting of the large number of deposits collected by the trust fund. In Fiscal Year 2006, more than 1.7 million deposits totaling in excess of $96.7 million were received and processed.
The department operates two warehouse and distribution centers that provide merchandise for resale at commissary locations throughout the state. Merchandise sold ranges from candy, packaged meat products, and coffee and soft drinks to greeting cards, shoes, and electronics. Utilizing an offender's bar-coded identification card, the commissary's point-of-sale system automatically records detailed sales transaction information and debits the offender's trust fund account. Sales from commissary operations exceeded $78.3 million in Fiscal Year 2006.
In addition to supporting ongoing commissary and trust fund operations, income from commissary sales is used to fund or supplement certain offender programs. These include recreational activities, sports and fitness equipment, television equipment (located in common viewing areas), library books and supplies, and the Echo newspaper available to offenders.
Contracts and Procurement Department
The Contracts and Procurement Department is responsible for procuring the goods and services necessary to support the mission of the agency. Highly trained certified purchasers and contract administrators procure the right goods and services at the right time and at the right price while being consistent with laws, regulations, internal policy, and sound business judgment. Agency requirements range from basic needs, such as food for offenders, to complex professional services and construction projects. The lawful, timely, and cost-effective procurement of goods and services enables other divisions to meet their goals in support of the overall mission of the agency.
During Fiscal Year 2006 the department processed over 46,000 requisitions through the Advanced Purchasing and Inventory Control System. The department also implemented initiatives aimed at improving communications with its customers and providing them additional training opportunities. Those initiatives included publishing The Requisitioner's Manual as a complete guide to the requisitioning process, and developing a Performance Specifications class presented to agency staff throughout the state.
The HUB Program's primary mission is to promote full and equal business opportunities to Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). HUBs, as defined by the Texas Building and Procurement Commission (TBPC), are businesses that have been historically underutilized and have at least 51 percent ownership in the following groups:
- Asia-Pacific Americans
- African Americans
- Hispanic Americans
- Native Americans
- American Women
The HUB Program sponsors a vendor fair annually and participates in a number of HUB forums. It also assists in the certifying of HUB vendors, and this past year, coordinated in establishing two Mentor/Protégé relationships.
Office of Space Management
The responsibility of the Office of Space Management (OSM) is to acquire, allocate, approve and manage administrative lease space based on TDCJ's needs and in compliance with various state statutes and departmental rules and regulations (i.e. TBPC). At the end of Fiscal Year 2006 OSM provided support for approximately 90 leases. In addition, OSM activities include ensuring efficient use of both lease and state-owned administrative space. Other OSM functions include liaison activities between TBPC, accounts payable and lessors concerning payment issues, assistance in resolution of maintenance issues between the tenant and lessor, and assistance in obtaining necessary management and budgetary approvals on TDCJ's behalf. When an emergency occurs in a leased administrative space, OSM staff provides immediate on-site assistance with relocation, support for communication needs, assistance related to public safety issues, and proper notification of the emergency to TBPC. During Fiscal Year 2006 OSM coordinated the consolidation and relocation of San Antonio district and regional parole offices, District Resource Center and support service area, and Board of Pardons and Paroles and hearing offices.
Payroll Processing Department
The Payroll Processing Department processes the agency payroll for approximately 39,000 employees with an annual salary of more than $1 billion. In addition, it manages all payroll deductions, the direct deposit program, federal tax reporting, and the employee time system. Payroll worked closely with Human Resources, Budget, and Accounting and Business Services to successfully complete the Fiscal Year 2006 payroll conversion. The Payroll/Personnel System continues to benefit agency management with state payroll reporting and processing requirements.
Agribusiness, Land and Minerals
Agribusiness, Land and Minerals is responsible for the oversight and management of the agency's land and mineral resources to include administration of oil and gas leases, easements, and other land issues. Land considered suitable for agricultural use is employed in the production of fresh vegetables, cotton, grain, hay, and livestock. In addition to these primary activities, Agribusiness manages and operates several food processing plants, as well as layer hen and swine production facilities that provide the canned vegetables, eggs and various finished meat products required to feed the incarcerated offender population.
In calendar year 2005, Agribusiness raised 31 varieties of fruits and vegetables in gardens comprising 3,846 acres with production in excess of 13.5 million pounds. Community-style, unit-managed gardens contributed an additional 4.9 million pounds of fresh vegetables. Over 30,900 acres were dedicated to the production of cotton, grains, and grasses resulting in the harvest of 96 million pounds of product. At the close of 2005 on-hand livestock included 14,677 head of cattle, 25,371 swine, 286,287 laying hens, and 1,569 horses. The poultry program produced approximately 5.5 million dozen eggs, and the swine program shipped 36,992 hogs to the packing plant. During this period agency food processing plants canned 306,948 cases of vegetables and delivered over 22.8 million pounds of finished meat items.
Agribusiness makes use of approximately 2,500 offenders in its numerous enterprises. Many of these offenders are offered the opportunity to learn marketable job skills that may assist them in securing employment upon their release.
The Facilities Division is responsible for all aspects of facility management for TDCJ, including planning, design, construction, and maintenance services. The division consists of four departments - Engineering, Maintenance, Resources Management, and Program Analysis - to enhance customer support.
The Engineering Department is primarily focused on executing TDCJ's facility project program to address security and infrastructure needs in the agency's facilities through renovations, repairs, and replacement projects. Design solutions focus on security, energy conservation, construction quality, facility durability, and low maintenance. In addition, the Engineering Department monitors all activities affecting environmental interests to ensure that TDCJ complies with state and federal environmental laws and regulations. The department also provides program administration for utility services and energy requirements for all of TDCJ. The Engineering Department is also in the process of completing preliminary energy audits and implementing Energy Services Performance contracting on all TDCJ facilities.
The Facilities Maintenance Department is responsible for maintaining the entire agency including maintenance of all prison units, TDCJ-owned office structures, regional medical facilities, and training facilities. The department is responsible for maintaining an infrastructure that includes wastewater plants, water wells and distribution networks, and power distribution lines, as well as construction projects to upgrade these facilities. Ninety-four unit maintenance departments accomplish these tasks with assistance and technical oversight from six regional maintenance organizations. The Facilities Maintenance headquarters oversees unit and region activity and promotes programs in areas that include locking systems maintenance, the annual facility condition assessment, training, energy conservation, and fire and safety programs. The Facilities Maintenance headquarters also manages equipment replacement and small capital projects.
Subdivided into three branches, Resources Management provides services in human resources, staff development and business services. The department is responsible for coordinating and distributing all division-level policies and procedures, collecting and distributing information included in statistical analysis, annual reports, and executive division updates. Additionally, Resources Management is responsible for all of the division's fixed assets. It provides human resources support to include recruitment, employment, and employee benefits. The branch also provides training and staff development to all of the division's employees.
Program Analysis supports the Facilities Division in all fiscal aspects to include the development and monitoring of budgets for capital construction projects and regional maintenance operations. Additionally, the department includes utilities and energy billing which processes all electric, natural gas, and water and wastewater billing throughout the agency. The department continues to increase its effectiveness by improving its internal processes for financial reporting and financial projections.
Information Technology Division
Automated information services and technology support were provided by the Information Technology Division to all TDCJ departments, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Correctional Managed Health Care, and other external entities. Approximately 30,000 personal computers, terminals, routers, radios, telephone switches, and other devices are operated and supported on behalf of the agency. Additionally, the division operates and maintains numerous computer and telephone voice networks along with a Wide Area Network (WAN) that connects parole offices, correctional facilities, and administrative offices in Huntsville, Austin, and across the state.
The division's computer operations consist of two large mainframe computers and 11 servers located at the Texas State Data Center in San Angelo. This center processes more than 17.9 million transactions a day for the agency. Major technology initiatives include completing the implementation of the pre-release application of the Offender Information Management System (Parole Supervision System) and the conversion of all TDCJ Internet Web pages to comply with Federal 508c accessibility standards.
Manufacturing & Logistics Division
The Manufacturing & Logistics Division benefits the State of Texas by affording work and training opportunities for incarcerated offenders. The division provides quality service in warehousing operations, freight transportation, the management of the TDCJ fleet, and in producing quality manufactured products and services for TDCJ and other state agencies and political subdivisions. The work and training programs offered to offenders help in reducing idleness and provide opportunities for offenders to learn marketable job skills and work ethics. On-the-job training and accredited certification programs, along with the Work Against Recidivism (WAR) program, are specifically targeted to successfully reintegrate the offender into society upon release from the TDCJ.
The division also collaborates with the Windham School District, post-secondary educational institutions, and other entities to establish work and training programs that are directed toward the effective rehabilitation of offenders thereby promoting a seamless integration of training opportunities. Training opportunities consist of apprenticeship programs, diversified career preparation programs, short course programs, on-the-job programs, and college vocational courses. These programs provide offenders with opportunities to acquire workplace knowledge and skills and help offenders develop a work ethic. The division has four designated training facilities located on the Daniel, Ferguson, Mountain View, and Wynne units to provide eligible offenders the opportunity to learn marketable skills and earn nationally-accredited certifications in computer technician services, Braille transcription certifications from the Library of Congress, Geographic Information Systems, welding, construction, refrigerant application, and automotive services. The division oversaw six Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) certification programs during Fiscal Year 2006. The PIE programs, located on the Coffield, Ellis, Hilltop, Lockhart, and Michael units manufactured aluminum windows, hardwood and veneers, wiring harnesses and relay boxes, air conditioning and heating valves, computer components, eyeglass ware, and defacing operations.
Texas Correctional Industries
Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) manufactures goods and provides services to state and local government agencies, political subdivisions, all public educational systems, and private institutions of higher education. TCI has 39 facilities that manufacture everything from textile and janitorial products to furniture, license plates, tire recapping, and stainless steel goods. Sales for Fiscal Year 2006 totaled more than $79 million. TCI provides work program participants with marketable job skills to help reduce recidivism through a coordinated program of job skills training, documentation of work history, and access to resources provided by Project Re-Integration of Offenders (RIO) and the Texas Workforce Commission. This includes access to resources provided through assistance to local workforce development boards in referring work program participants to the Project RIO employment referral services. TCI also works to reduce department costs by providing products and services to the department and providing products and services for sale, on a for-profit basis, to the public, state agencies, and political subdivisions.
Fleet Management has oversight of more than 2,120 on-road, licensed vehicles as well as several thousand trailers and other equipment. The agency's online vehicle management system has the ability to measure how effectively the agency uses a fleet of licensed vehicles.
Freight Transportation manages a fleet of 193 trucks and 412 trailers. During Fiscal Year 2006, four dispatch offices coordinated more than 28,000 freight shipments. Approximately 6.8 million miles were logged. Employees and offenders worked 273,777 hours.
Warehousing & Supply
Warehousing & Supply has eight warehouses with an average inventory of more than $21 million and maintains 7,414 items in stock. Approximately $115 million in supplies were distributed to food warehouses, the Prison Store, and other facilities during Fiscal Year 2006.
Human Resources Division
The Human Resources (HR) Division provides consistent application of the agency's human resources programs, policies, and services to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and to fulfill the needs of the agency's employees.
HR Administrative Support
HR participated in the State Classification Office's Classification Compliance Audit of inspector and investigator positions. In addition, HR developed and submitted the agency's recommended changes for the FY 2008 Position Classification Plan to the State Classification Office.
HR Staff Development (HRSD) delivered 30,208 training hours to 4,073 employees. The training hours included "EEO and Sexual Harassment Training for Supervisors" and "Building a Bridge to the Future Leadership Training," which were developed by HRSD in FY 2006. The leadership training provides a unique opportunity for the agency's mid-managers to be trained by agency officials. The topics focus on the importance of implementing management tools that enhance unity within the agency.
The agency's participation in the 2006 Texas Round-Up Governor's Challenge, a six-week physical activity program, was a tremendous success. The TDCJ wellness program, Wellness Initiative Now, coordinated the agency's participation. There were 9,029 TDCJ employees, friends, and family members who participated in the physical activity program with 7,826 completing the entire event. The increased participation in this event resulted in the agency winning the gold medal in the large state agency category.
During Summer Enrollment employees were advised of the "Opt-Out Credit" provision adopted by the 79th Legislature. This provision allows members of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) who have equivalent health insurance elsewhere (e.g., via military retirement) to opt out of ERS health coverage and receive a maximum $60 credit toward the cost of certain optional coverages (e.g., long-term disability).
The agency's Dispute Resolution Program for employees achieved a 90 percent agreement rate in 209 sessions. This success rate improved the daily working environment for participating staff. The EEO Section revised the EEO complaint and investigation process: The significant changes included development of a new EEO Pre-Hearing Investigation Report and review by EEO reprimanding authorities designated by the executive director.
Recruitment and Selections
To meet the challenge of maintaining correctional officer (CO) staffing levels while the state is experiencing sustained job growth and record-breaking low unemployment rates, HR implemented the aggressive CO recruiting strategies identified in the "FY 2006 - 2007 HR Management Plan." The strategies included: development of the on-line "Sample CO Pre-Employment Test" designed to calm "test jitters" for individuals who have delayed applying for a CO position due to the pre-employment test requirement, supplementing written communications with follow-up phone calls, and implementation of a telephonic "No-Show Survey." The various strategies resulted in the hiring of 6,753 COs during FY 2006 – an increase of 436 over the numbered hired in FY 2005.
Office of the Chief of Staff
In FY 2006, the Office of the Chief of Staff had oversight of Governmental Affairs, Executive Support, and Media Services.
Governmental Affairs ensures that all relevant legislation passed by the Texas Legislature is implemented in a timely fashion and coordinates with legislative committees to assist in supplying departmental statistics and resource information for committee members. This section also assists in the coordination of special projects and fields inquiries about the agency from legislative and executive offices.
Executive Support is comprised of two departments: Executive Services and the Emergency Action Center.
Executive Services provides technical support to TDCJ's executive staff. Staff responds to inquiries regarding offender demographics, coordinate survey responses, maintain the Death Row Web page, and publishes a monthly "Select Statistics Report." They also compile agenda and meeting materials for the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) meetings, produce the minutes, report on the number of community work projects, and coordinate Habitat for Humanity prison partnerships. Additionally, staff coordinates revision of the Department Policy and Operations Manual, the Human Resources Policy Manual, and the Windham School District Policies publication. Executive Services also coordinates the State Employee Charitable Campaign, reports quarterly on the unit photo fund sales, and is TDCJ's Records Management Office. The department produces the following publications: Fiscal Year Statistical Report, Unit Profiles, Agency Organizational Charts, General Information Guide for Families of Offenders, and the TDCJ Records Retention Schedule.
Emergency Action Center
The Emergency Action Center (EAC) staffs a 24-hour communications center to provide a link between TDCJ, TBCJ, agency managers, staff members, and other state and federal agencies regarding serious or unusual incidents occurring within the agency. EAC works closely with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, to provide assistance during statewide emergencies such as hurricanes, fires, and floods.
Media Services supports the agency in the production of printed and audiovisual materials, graphic design, photography, and web site management.
Seven informational and training videos dealing with criminal justice and prison management were written and produced during FY 2006. Routine duties include providing video services and footage to criminal justice agencies, news media, and educators. Additionally, audio support is provided for bi-monthly TBCJ meetings, TBCJ committee meetings, and special events.
Media Services produces the Criminal Justice Connections newsletter for agency employees, local and state government officials, concerned individuals, and interest groups. Readers are also able to access the agency newsletter online by clicking on Web Connections. Other online projects included the TDCJ Directory and the TDCJ 2005 Annual Review.
The photography section produces portraits, photographs, and digital images for a variety of agency displays and publications. The section also manages the agency's photo archive for distribution to various internal and external entities.
The website coordinator works with TDCJ representatives to provide current information via the agency's website located at www.tdcj.state.tx.us. The website features an online job search by region and type of job, press releases from the Public Information Office, online scheduling for prospective employees, and an online offender search.
Office of the General Counsel
The primary objective of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is to add value, in the form of a legal perspective, to management decisions. The OGC is also a legal resource for non-clients, such as members of the legislature, community supervision and corrections departments, judges, prosecutors, other attorneys, media representatives, and members of the public. The OGC is divided into four sections – Legal Affairs, Litigation Support, Preventive Law, and Program Administration.
The Legal Affairs section prepares internal legal opinions and provides advice and counsel to the agency, by interpreting constitutional, statutory, case law, and agency policy provisions in light of facts presented. Legal issues include offender management, corrections, parole, community supervision, environmental, employment, purchasing and contracts, and agricultural law. High volume legal review activities include advising the agency on responses to the Public Information Act (Open Records) and requesting Open Records decisions for the attorney general, and negotiating, drafting and reviewing contracts and other transactional documents. It also reviews internal investigations, disciplinary proceedings, Equal Employment Opportunity reports, employee dismissals, and Major Use of Force reports.
The Litigation Support section is primarily responsible for bridging the relationship between TDCJ and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). This section provides administrative support for OAG litigation activities and coordinates activities for the courts. OAG litigation activities include records production, trial and expert witness coordination, processing payments for litigation costs, and mediations and settlements. Court activities include providing documents to the court for specific requests and hearings, ensuring compliance with specific court orders in civil and habeas actions, and monitoring video teleconference for civil and criminal hearings.
Corrections Law includes the law affecting offender management, offender time calculation, parole, and community supervision. The Corrections Law section prepares internal legal opinions and external advisory opinions and provides advice and counsel to the agency by interpreting constitutional, statutory, and case law, and agency policy in light of the facts presented. This section also routinely reviews Major Use of Force reports, offender disciplinary reports, and provides assistance to the Office of the Attorney General in obtaining documentation needed for federal habeas litigation.
Program Administration is responsible for the overall administrative support and improvement of the OGC. The responsibilities of this section include fiscal management, divisional Human Resources administration, personnel allocation issues, case management tracking, coordination of offender fee and costs payments to state and federal courts, and scheduling of evidentiary hearings for courts by way of video teleconferencing.
Public Information Office
Whether it's a question about the death penalty, the parole process, or the criminal background of an offender, all media inquiries about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice begin with the Public Information Office (PIO) which maintains offices in both Austin and Huntsville.
Because of its rich history, TDCJ often is the focus of in-depth reports and documentaries, as well as many timely or breaking news stories. PIO works with news media throughout the world to tell the TDCJ story. It assists reporters in not only covering the agency and its events, but also those of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. PIO also provides assistance to documentary and film producers, researchers, and book authors.
Last year, hundreds of news media calls were answered and information was provided to reporters from around the globe on a variety of topics - from policies, procedures, and budget details, to information about individual offenders and prison programs. PIO also distributed news releases and media advisories on various events and activities of significance and public interest. In addition, the office keeps agency staff informed of media coverage daily by posting news clips to the TDCJ Web site.
While working to share information about many aspects of the criminal justice system, PIO also spends a significant amount of time answering questions about executions. PIO coordinates death row media interviews and serves as a media escort for each execution.
It is the philosophy of the agency to be as candid as possible with news media in order to inform the public of its activities. Information is given as allowed by agency policy and in accordance with state public information laws. A PIO staff member is always on call to answer media inquiries that come in after regular business hours.
The TDCJ Public Information Office is dedicated to responding to news media inquiries in a timely and accurate manner. By taking a proactive stance, the office is able to disseminate information about TDCJ's many positive programs and successes to the media as a way of educating the public on how the agency fulfills its mission.
Research, Evaluation, and Development Group
The Research, Evaluation, and Development Group, commonly referred to as the RED Group, focuses on education, knowledge, and information to improve system operations. The RED Group manages its operations in concert with the agency's executive administration.
The RED Group's projects during Fiscal Year 2006 were both diverse and challenging, as reflected through the RED Group's three key functions:
- Monitored activities associated with the Agency Research Plan.
- Oversaw the completion of 30 research projects from external researchers.
- Fifteen approved projects are in various active phases.
- Improved the research approval process to ensure quality and timely application reviews.
- Expanded research partnerships with federal and state agencies on mutual criminal justice issues.
- Facilitated a youthful offender forum with a panel of experts focusing on assessment instruments, cultural differences, program strategies, and stages of development.
- Administered a needs assessment survey with male youthful offenders at the Clemens Unit near Brazoria, and developed a statistical profile for executive staff.
- Created research operational briefs from performance-related data.
- Facilitated the development of one master document checklist for Classification & Records, and organized educational forums to discuss offender transfer issues with county representatives.
- Conducted a mental health survey with corrections staff nationwide, and produced a comprehensive offender mental health resource manual.
- Assisted divisional staff with developing strategic plans to enhance operations.
- Assisted TDCJ flight staff in developing a Flight Operations Manual.
- Provided training in diversity, the generational workplace, and the True Colors® Personality Inventory.
John Munro, Media Services Director
David Nunnelee, Editor
Eva Gonzales, Graphic Designer
Jene Robbins and David Nunnelee, Photographers
Published by Texas Department of Criminal Justice