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In this issue

January/February 2018
Volume 25 Issue 3


TBCJ member Tom Wingate.Physical and mental health is essential for the smooth operation of almost every workplace, and they are critical attributes for those who work in the criminal justice profession. Taking the first step toward a healthier life is easy, and the new Wellness Challenge is a great way to help achieve that goal.

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TDCJ executive director Bryan CollierTDCJ has been honored by the American Correctional Association with the prestigious Lucy Webb Hayes Award, given to correctional agencies that have achieved full compliance with ACA accreditation standards and federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards. Only three other correctional agencies in the United States have earned this award, underscoring TDCJ’s commitment to providing public safety by ensuring all of our operations meet nationally recognized industry standards.

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For offenders reentering society, a critical component for their success is the ability to find and keep a job. To achieve its core mission to reintegrate offenders, TDCJ has implemented a new web-based service called “Website for Work” to help connect parolees who possess work experience and skills with potential employers.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice 'Website For Work' banner from website page. Sky background, with Texas flag on right and TDCJ seal on left.

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Offender in wheelchair, sitting in cubical reading a book on his lap.The number of offenders incarcerated by TDCJ has been in decline for nearly a decade, but the number of offenders aged 55 or older has nearly doubled during the same time period. To help support the growing population of elderly offenders whose medical needs cannot be met in a general population environment, TDCJ and the Correctional Managed Health Care Committee, with funding support provided through the Legislature, has created 163 new “sheltered housing” beds at the Carole Young, Jester III and Telford units.

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Expand the Circle - Reach All Victims. Circular design element.Every year in April, the National Crime Victims' Rights Week is held in order to promote victims' rights and honor crime victims and their advocates. The theme of the 2018 NCVRW, which will take place from April 8 to 14, is “Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims.”

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Photo of the sesquicentenial plaza monument in Huntsville, Texas at sunset. Flags to left and right of monument are at half-staff.The 19th Annual Fallen Officers Memorial ceremony is scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m. on May 11 at the Sesquicentennial Plaza on the grounds of the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville. The ceremony, held in honor of correctional officers and employees who have lost their lives in the line of duty, will mark the beginning of the 2018 National Correctional Officers and Employees Week.

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TDCJ Public Information Office director Jeremy Desel.Jeremy Desel has been selected as director of the Public Information Office for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, effective February 20. Desel comes to TDCJ with many years of media experience, including 16 years as a senior reporter for KHOU TV in Houston, where he earned a national Edward R. Murrow award and 21 EMMY awards. He most recently worked as a Director of Communications for NRG EVgo.

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New TDCJ Interstate Compact director Tina Balandran.Ernestina ‘Tina’ Balandran has been selected to be director of TDCJ’s Interstate Compact for Probation and Parole Supervision. Balandran has more than 25 years of experience with TDCJ, most recently working as Program Supervisor V with the Reentry and Integration Division.

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TDCJ Information Technology Division deputy director Tina Clark.Tina Clark has been selected as deputy director of TDCJ’s Information Technology Division. Clark has 20 years of experience with the TDCJ, most recently in the role of project manager supervisor for ITD.

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New TDCJ Accounting and Business Services director Jennifer Gonzales.Jennifer Gonzales was selected as the new Accounting and Business Services director for TDCJ’s Business and Finance Division. Gonzales has more than 20 years’ experience working in Texas government, and has served as the TDCJ’s deputy budget director since 2011.

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Image of the sun with a thermometer; various sizes of bottled water; and a desktop fan in the background.Hot weather is on the way and TDCJ wants both staff and offenders to avoid heat stress during the coming months of high temperatures. Since exposure to heat and humidity for certain staff and offenders can be unavoidable, TDCJ urges everyone to be alert for signs of heat stress in themselves and others.

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Photo of Easter basket filled with candies, eggs and a stuffed rabbit.During March, Victim Services Division staff member Yesenia Bravo-Vazquez organized an Easter donation drive for children in the SAFE shelter, a merger of Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace.

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