Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Annual Review 2010
Table of Contents
- Mission, Philosophy and Goals
- Letter from the Chairman
- Letter from the Executive Director
- Texas Board of Criminal Justice
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice
- Financial Summary
- Organizational Chart
- Internal Audit Division
- Office of the Inspector General
- Prison Rape Elimination Act Ombudsman
- State Counsel for Offenders 18
- Community Justice Assistance Division
- Correctional Institutions Division
- Parole Division
- Private Facility Contract Monitoring and Oversight Division
- Rehabilitation Programs Division
- Reentry and Integration Division
- Victim Services Division
- Administrative Review and Risk Management Division
- Business and Finance Division
- Facilities Division
- Information Technology Division
- Manufacturing and Logistics Division
- Health Services Division
- Human Resources Division
- Office of the Chief of Staff
- Office of the General Counsel
- Office of Incident Management
- Public Information Office
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 through 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
It is my honor to present the Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Review for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). This year’s report continues to highlight the dedication and devotion of the 40,000- plus criminal justice professionals that make up TDCJ. Their hard work and determination are remarkable, and I am proud to be associated with them.
Over the past year, TDCJ continued to intensify its commitment to protecting the public’s safety with a focus on enhancing security practices - to include the installation of new security technology and the expansion of information gathering and intelligence operations. We have also increased our efforts to continuously improve employee proficiency though new and specialized security training initiatives, enhancements to hiring standards for correctional officers and a year-round fitness challenge for agency staff.
Further, with a renewed focus on reentry and diversion, we have continued our emphasis on reducing offender recidivism. Through collaborative partnerships with state and local organizations, the transitional services that are available to offenders as they reenter society are expanding across the state. The use of diversionary community supervision programs has also increased, helping to address the needs of offenders on the front end of the criminal justice system. The success of these initiatives and the efficiency generated to confront and overcome the day-to-day challenges of managing our criminal justice system are indicative of the commitment and dedication of TDCJ employees. They have earned my respect and my appreciation for their service to this great state.
Oliver J. Bell
Letter from the Executive Director
Dear Chairman Bell and members of the Board:
During Fiscal Year 2010 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) remained singularly focused on its vital mission of providing public safety, promoting positive change in offender behavior, reintegrating offenders into society and assisting victims of crime. Attention to detail and a commitment to excellence were emphasized in all aspects of agency operations.
There were several noteworthy accomplishments during FY 2010, to include acquisition and installation of correctional security equipment purchased with funding from the 81st Legislature and providing enhanced transitional planning for offenders returning to their communities. Other significant achievements are identified in the body of this publication.
Please note the agency implemented these initiatives and conducted its day-to-day business in a fiscally responsible manner. TDCJ identified $55 million in budget savings pursuant to the request of the governor and Legislative Budget Board. What is most remarkable about this agency and its accomplishments is not what was new during the past 12 months as much as what remained the same.
Our employees continued to meet all the challenges inherent in one of the most difficult work environments. Whether they supervise offenders in our correctional facilities or in the community, deliver rehabilitative services aimed at reducing recidivism, support crime victims as they interact with the criminal justice system or perform one of the many critical support functions necessary for the agency to operate effectively, the TDCJ workforce performs a great public service for the citizens of Texas.
As we confront the challenges that lie ahead, I could not have more confidence, respect and appreciation for the men and women serving this agency. As always, this report is a tribute to our dedicated employees.
Texas Board of Criminal Justice
The Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) is composed 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 by the governor to serve as chairman.
Charged with governing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Board employs the agency’s executive director as well as develops and implements policies that guide agency operations. Members also serve as trustees for the Windham School District. The Office of the Inspector General, Internal Audit, State Counsel for Offenders, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) ombudsman report directly to the Board. 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 Oliver J. Bell of Austin, chairman; Tom Mechler of Amarillo, vice chairman; Leopoldo Vasquez III of Houston, secretary; and members Pastor Charles Lewis Jackson of Houston, John “Eric” Gambrell of Highland Park, Janice Harris Lord of Arlington, R. Terrell McCombs of San Antonio, J. David Nelson of Lubbock and Carmen Villanueva-Hiles of Palmhurst.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
During Fiscal Year 2010, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice utilized specific appropriations from the 81st Legislature to purchase and install security surveillance enhancements and contraband screening equipment. Noninvasive X-ray chairs, parcel scanners, walk-through metal detectors and ingress/egress systems were installed on all maximum security units. Additionally, a comprehensive video surveillance system was installed at the Polunsky Unit. Installation of similar surveillance systems is taking place at two other maximum-security facilities.
Also during FY 2010, TDCJ continued enhancing offender reentry through collaborative efforts with external stakeholders. The Reentry and Integration Division served as the primary liaison to the statewide reentry council, coordinated interagency efforts to secure identification documents prior to release, and prioritized the assignment of reentry coordinator positions to the agency’s primary release sites. Legislation expanding the number of regional release sites was also implemented during the year.
In addition, TDCJ implemented random drug testing of employees during the fiscal year. All employees who receive hazardous duty pay or longevity pay with unit pay differential became subject to testing. Two percent of eligible employees, or nearly 800 per month, are randomly selected for drug testing.
During FY 2010 the Legislative Budget Board and the Office of the Governor asked all state agencies to reduce expenditures by 5 percent. In response, TDCJ identified various budget reductions totaling $294.3 million in the FY 2010-11 biennium. Ultimately, the agency was directed to reduce spending by $55 million. Reductions were achieved through a managed hiring freeze, cutbacks in travel expenditures and administrative operating costs, substantial decreases to the agency’s already limited capital funding, using one-time funding balances in commissary and industry operations, and utilizing unspent funding resulting from the phase-in of certain programmatic initiatives and the operation of the Marlin correctional medical facility.
Financial Summary: Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2010
|Goal A: Provide Prison Diversions||$280,412,879||9.01%|
|Goal B - Special Needs Offenders||$20,444,499||0.66%|
|Goal C: Incarcerate Felons||$2,478,788,590||79.61%|
|Goal D: Ensure Adequate Facilities||$79,064,897||2.54%|
|Goal E: Board of Pardons and Paroles||$25,390,115||0.82%|
|Goal F: Operate Parole System||$149,043,081||4.79%|
|Goal G: Indirect Administration||$80,363,517||2.58%|
Total Operating Budget $3,113,507,578
Source: Agency Operating Budget for FY 2010 (12/1/09)
Percentages are rounded
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, as well as 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. Recommendations for improvements to the agency’s system of internal controls are then 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. OIG consists of the Investigations Department, the Administrative Support and Programs Department, and the Information Systems Division, which oversees the Offender Telephone System. OIG investigators are commissioned peace officers assigned throughout the state. During Fiscal Year 2010, OIG opened 6,982 investigations. Of those cases opened, 4,327 involved criminal investigations, 203 were administrative investigations and 2,452 were information investigations.
The Investigations Department is dedicated to conducting prompt and thorough investigations of alleged or suspected employee administrative misconduct or criminal violations committed on TDCJ property or authorized interest. Through administrative and criminal investigations, OIG investigators identify criminal violations and serious staff misconduct. The department responds to requests for law enforcement services from numerous sources within and outside the agency. During FY 2010, Investigations Department cases returned 366 indictments and 200 convictions.
Administrative Support and Programs Department
The Administrative Support and Programs Department is responsible for budget and human resources activities, records management and information technology support. This department is also responsible for coordination and management of the special task force investigative operations, as well as the Fuginet and Crime Stoppers programs.
Task Force Investigative Operations
In addition to the law enforcement investigators assigned to prison units and regions across the state, OIG has investigators assigned to fugitive and gang task forces. These investigators, working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement, focus on identification, location and capture of violent parole violators and the apprehension of escapees. They also target prison gangs and their counterparts for prosecution of organized criminal activities. During FY 2010, the task force initiated 1,087 fugitive investigations. The Inspector General also implemented a program for criminal analysts to receive daily reports on absconded sex offenders. From March 1 to September 30, OIG criminal analysts studied 811 absconded sex offenders, providing information to OIG task force officers and investigators from the Office of Attorney General and Department of Public Safety to assist in apprehension.
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 violation of their parole. More than 650 municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies have access to Fuginet.
OIG coordinates the TDCJ Crime Stoppers program by providing direct access and interaction with law enforcement investigators both inside and outside the agency. The program solicits tips by publishing Crime Stoppers articles submitted by law enforcement agencies in the monthly state prison newspaper, The Echo. During FY 2010, Crime Stoppers received 387 calls that resulted in 86 tips, seven arrests and $800 in reward money paid.
Information Systems Division
The Information Systems Division (ISD) monitors the Offender Telephone System, which includes the offender electronic messaging service. Working in coordination with the OIG Investigations Department, ISD conducts criminal, administrative and information investigations. ISD responds to requests for assistance from federal, state and local law enforcement by providing information related to specific investigations. ISD also helps the Texas Fusion Center fulfill its mission to provide timely information and analysis necessary to prevent and protect against all threats by gathering and disseminating unique gang-related information.
Prison Rape Elimination Act Ombudsman
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) ombudsman oversees TDCJ efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the agency’s correctional facilities. The primary responsibilities of the PREA ombudsman are to monitor TDCJ policies for prevention of sexual assault, monitor administrative investigations to help ensure the impartial resolution of offender complaints of sexual assault, and collect data regarding all allegations of sexual assault.
The PREA ombudsman has launched several initiatives to achieve its mission, to include: reviewing agency policy to determine potential effects on prevention, reporting and investigation of allegations of sexual assault, directing initial reports of allegations of offender-on-offender sexual assaults to the PREA ombudsman, responding directly to public inquiries related to allegations of sexual assault in TDCJ correctional facilities, and collecting data from TDCJ and the Office of Inspector General regarding allegations of sexual assault in correctional facilities.
During the fiscal year, the PREA ombudsman attended and presented information to the National Association of Victim Service Professionals in Corrections Conference and Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Annual Conference. In addition, the ombudsman provided training to TDCJ administrators at the annual assistant warden’s training session.
The PREA ombudsman published the Fiscal Year 2009 Safe Prison Annual Report and the PREA Ombudsman Brochure, available to the public on the TDCJ website and to offenders upon request.
State Counsel for Offenders
State Counsel for Offenders (SCFO) provides quality legal advice 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 general legal assistance, criminal defense, immigration, civil commitment, and appeals. In addition to the legal sections, SCFO is supported in its efforts by investigators, legal assistants, legal secretaries and a Spanish interpreter.
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 totaled 30,254 pieces during Fiscal Year 2010.
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 also 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 FY 2010, SCFO opened 285 new felony trial cases. Attorneys tried 11 cases to juries and obtained plea agreements for 127 offenders. In Annual Review Fiscal Year 2010 19 support of these efforts, investigators conducted 957 interviews and served 384 subpoenas.
The Immigration Section assists indigent offenders in removal proceedings and international prisoner transfer requests. Removal proceedings are conducted at the federal building on the Goree Unit in Huntsville. Attorneys conducted 292 offender interviews and 29 removal hearings during FY 2010.
Civil Commitment Section
The Civil Commitment Section represents indigent sex offenders targeted under Chapter 841 of the Health and Safety Code for civil commitment as sexually violent predators. In preparation for trial, attorneys investigate cases, depose expert witnesses, respond to and file discovery motions, and meet with offenders. In FY 2010, 51 commitment cases were received, 25 cases were tried to verdict before a jury, and 37 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 FY 2010, the section filed 39 criminal and civil commitment appeals. The legal assistants helped to obtain 295,728 days of credit for offenders.
Community Justice Assistance Division
The Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) oversees community supervision (adult probation) in Texas. Community supervision refers to the placement of an offender under supervision for a length of time, as ordered by a court, with court-imposed rules and conditions. Community supervision applies to misdemeanor and felony offenses, and is imposed instead of a jail or prison sentence. The 121 community supervision and corrections departments (CSCDs) in Texas are established by the local judicial districts they serve. CSCDs receive approximately two-thirds of their funding through CJAD. Other funds, such as court-ordered supervision and program fees, help finance a department’s remaining budgetary needs. County governments provide CSCDs with office space, equipment and utilities.
CJAD is responsible for:
- Developing standards and procedures for CSCDs, including best practices treatment standards.
- Distributing formula and grant funding appropriated 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 that receives data from departmental caseload management systems.
- Providing community supervision officer (CSO) and residential officer certification, in-service and educational training, and technical assistance to CSCDs.
- Administering state benefits for CSCD employees.
The judicial district’s community justice plans determine the services offered by each CSCD. Basic CSCD duties are:
- Supervising and rehabilitating 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 nonresidential treatment and correctional programs.
The 80th Texas Legislature increased diversion program funding to provide CSCDs equal access to statewide resources and give judges, prosecutors and CSOs the tools they need to successfully promote positive change in offender behavior. The 81st Texas Legislature continued efforts to strengthen community supervision in Texas and to recruit and retain quality community supervision officers and direct care staff. Increased community supervision funding for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 included:
- $11.1 million in basic supervision funding for increased population projections.
- $13.1 million to raise the salary of community supervision officers and direct care staff through a 3.5 percent salary increase in FY 2010 and an additional 3.5 percent salary increase in FY 2011.
- $20 million to operate substance abuse felony punishment facility (SAFPF), intermediate sanction facility (ISF) and community corrections facility (CCF) beds.
Projects and Goals
The Pew Center on the States has recognized Texas for increasing use of community supervision and using progressive sanctions as a response to technical violations.
CJAD has been working to advance the implementation of evidence-based practices (EBP) in Texas probation, most recently in Bexar County CSCD through a partnership with the Council of State Governments. Other CSCDs continue to work toward full implementation of EBP in their local jurisdictions. CJAD is collaborating with the Correctional Management Institute of Texas to develop a mentoring and technical assistance program that will be used by mid- and small-sized departments. CJAD is also collaborating with adult and juvenile probation stakeholders across the state as part of the Texas Motivational Interviewing Cooperative, combining resources and skill sets to build and sustain the effective use of motivational interviewing within Texas correctional communities.
Another top priority is to increase assessment-driven supervision and treatment consistent with EBP. CJAD and stakeholders developed and distributed an assessment-driven substance abuse treatment continuum of care for judges, prosecutors and community supervision professionals to use in Fiscal Year 2009. In FY 2010, CJAD and a committee of CSCD staff, university researchers and TDCJ representatives evaluated the development of a statewide public domain risk and needs assessment tool for offenders in the Texas criminal justice system. This tool would replace the existing assessment process, which has been used for more than 30 years. The proposed assessment instrument will be applied from initial arrest through community sentencing options, and may expand to incarceration and community reentry. Initial training on the proposed instrument will be complete in the fall of 2010, with administration and validation to be completed within 18 to 24 months.
CJAD, CSCDs and other community supervision stakeholders continue to work together to strengthen community supervision during the 2010-2011 biennium. Important steps toward this end include:
- Recruiting and retaining qualified CSOs, residential officers and staff. CJAD distributed $7.3 million in FY 2010 funds for CSO and direct care staff salary increases, with additional FY 2011 funds to be distributed next year.
- Completing an effective and accurate Community Supervision Tracking System (CSTS). In April 2010 CJAD began reporting data taken directly from CSTS Intermediate System (ISYS) to ensure accurate and timely formula funding calculations and distribution of FY 2010-2011 funds.
- Implementing the remaining diversion funds from the 80th Legislature. The 81st Legislature allocated an additional $20 million in funding to continue operating SAFPF, ISF and CCF beds that were initially funded for fiscal years 2008-2009. Funding for state-contracted ISF beds for probation and parole will be combined into one funding line to match current operations.
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, 2010, the division operated 51 state prison facilities, four pre-release facilities, three psychiatric facilities, one Mentally Retarded Offender Program (MROP) facility, two medical facilities, 14 transfer facilities, 15 state jail facilities, one geriatric facility and five substance abuse felony punishment facilities (SAFPF). There were five expansion cellblocks, additional medical facilities, boot camps, and a work camp co-located within several of the facilities mentioned. At the end of the fiscal year, 154,799 offenders were incarcerated in TDCJ facilities, including 139,328 prison offenders, 12,125 state jail offenders and 3,346 SAFPF offenders. CID employed 28,688 security staff at the end of the fiscal year.
This division is divided into three areas, each led by a deputy director: Prison and Jail Operations, Management Operations, and Support Operations. The Office of CID Ombudsman reports directly to the CID director.
The CID Ombudsman Office provides timely responses through a single point of contact for elected officials and members of the general public who make inquiries regarding the agency, offenders or staff. When necessary, investigations are coordinated through appropriate TDCJ officials.
Prison and Jail Operations
The CID deputy director for Prison and Jail Operations oversees six regional directors responsible for the management of institutional prisons and state jails throughout the state. This position is also responsible for the oversight of the Security Systems Department and the Canine Coordinator.
Each of the six regional directors, in their respective geographic region, is responsible for staff members who provide security at each state-operated secure correctional facility.
The mission of Security Systems is to provide technical assistance and operational support to CID administration and correctional facilities in the areas of staffing, video surveillance and production, armory, research and technology, budget, security and serious incident review, and field operations.
The Staffing Section is responsible for analyzing, developing, and maintaining staffing documents for all units and conducting unit-specific staffing evaluations. The Surveillance and Video Equipment/Production Section assists in maintaining and repairing existing surveillance systems, as well as providing technical evaluation on augmentation and improvements. The Armory Section provides all Use of Force equipment for the agency. The Research and Technology Section is responsible for testing and evaluating security equipment and providing technical assistance. The Budget Section monitors expenditures for budgeted programs, audits, and prepares financial documents, budget requests and reports. The Security Review/Serious Incident Review Section performs reviews that monitor unit adherence to policy and provides agency leadership with trend analysis and information to enhance security operations system wide. The Field Operations Section provides monitoring, training and technical support to the field force staff.
Notable Security Systems achievements during 2010 include the installation of surveillance equipment at the front and back gate entry points at maximum security facilities, and the initiation of three major comprehensive surveillance system projects at the Darrington, Polunsky and Stiles units.
The Canine Coordinator provides training and technical advice to kennel staff and regional canine coordinators, and gathers and tracks data about the program. There are 48 kennels in the six regions of CID, with 25 kennels training pack-tracking. Sixteen kennels incorporate both pack canines and scent-specific canines. Seven kennels have scent-specific canines only. Tracking canines are a key resource for security staff during escapes and when assisting local law enforcement agencies. Canines capable of detecting controlled substances and cell phones are strategically located throughout the state.
The CID deputy director for Management Operations provides oversight of Correctional Training and Staff Development, Plans and Operations Department, Safe Prisons Program Management Office, Community Liaison Office and the Security Threat Group Management Office.
Correctional Training and Staff Development
During FY 2010, Correctional Training and Staff Development provided pre-service training to 5,738 participants, of which 5,134 graduated. Additionally, 31,376 employees completed annual in-service training. More than 2,960 received specialized training, 2,204 supervisors attended leadership development training and 2,900 participated in ancillary training.
The quality of training provided to agency employees continued to improve during FY 2010. Enhanced hiring standards require all applicants for uniformed security positions pass a physical agility test (PAT) before entering one of the agency’s six regional training academies. Cadets must pass the test a second time during their 5 ½ weeks of training in order to graduate.
The In-Service Training Program was updated with new TDCJ training-related videos and workshops to meet the interests and needs of the participants. Workshops included Drug Identification, Offender Management Skills, Security Threat Groups, Team Building, Contraband Intervention, Cohesiveness, Officer Down, Your Benefits, History of TDCJ, and Leadership through Pride.
Plans and Operations Department
The Plans and Operations Department provides support to divisional leadership in the tracking and implementation of legislation, and coordinates and staffs all security-related policies and operational plans. This department may serve as the liaison to other state agencies and government officials. Plans and Operations conducts research and evaluation, manages the CID web page and distributes information concerning emergency preparedness. This department also coordinates, trains, and audits the offender property process, community work project processes, offender suicide reconstruction documentation and the lifesaving response kit. In addition, this department provides training to offender drug testing coordinators and gathers related data.
Safe Prisons Program Management Office
The Safe Prisons Program Management Office provides administrative oversight of the Safe Prisons Program and technical support to the unit Safe Prisons Program coordinators and executive administrative staff regarding in-prison sexual abuse. The agency has a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse. Safe Prisons Program and extortion awareness training provide staff with an overview of the Safe Prisons Plan, as well as information regarding how to detect, prevent and respond to sexual abuse and extortion. This office works in coordination with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) ombudsman’s office to eliminate sexual assault in prison, and furnishes pre-service and in-service anti-assault training to PREA staff. Offender victims’ representative training enhances the skills of staff members who provide support services for offenders who have been victims of sexual abuse. The Safe Prisons Program Management Office maintains a database of reported allegations of offender-on-offender sexual assault in order to analyze and evaluate trends in times, locations and patterns. This office also provides statistics related to extortion activity, frequency of offender protection investigations and reports of sexual abuse.
Community Liaison Office
The Community Liaison Office oversees prison deterrence education programs for young adults and adult probationers. This is done by using offenders to inform, educate and advise the public of the negative consequences for poor decisions involving drugs, alcohol, crime and gangs in an attempt to deter behavior that could lead to incarceration. The Community Liaison Office also acts as the coordinating oversight authority for the agency’s Crisis Response Intervention Support Program, and is the oversight reporting authority for prison tours.
Security Threat Group Management Office
The Security Threat Group Management Office (STGMO) monitors the activities of security threat groups (STGs or gangs) and their members who threaten the safety and security of TDCJ units, staff and offenders. STGMO provides oversight, training and technical support for the unit-level staff who gather information on the activities of security threat group members. STGMO works closely with law enforcement agencies by sharing information on security threat groups and their members.
The CID deputy director for Support Operations oversees the support functions on all CID facilities. This department includes Classification and Records, Mail System Coordinators Panel, Office for Disciplinary Coordination, Counsel Substitute, Offender Transportation, and Laundry, Food and Supply.
Classification and Records
Classification and Records 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, Unit Classification and Count Room, Intake, and the State Classification Committee.
The Classification and Records Office schedules, receives, processes, and coordinates transport of offenders for intake, release and transfer. It creates and maintains records on these offenders and serves as the principal repository for the agency’s offender records.
The Unit Classification and Count Room Department conducts routine operational review audits on each unit every three years, and provides oversight, training and technical support for all unit-based classification and count room personnel and operations. During FY 2010, the department enhanced the Intake Data System, making the comments screen more consistent and enabling the screen to hold additional information for each comment. The enhancements also allow information to be retained when an offender is released, so it is readily available if the offender returns to TDCJ. It also allows unit classification committees and state classification committees to make comments that would otherwise be a written notation on a travel or committee card. Enhancements also allow the classification screens to be printed in batches, saving work time on the units, and documentation of both “street” and STG aliases to be recorded.
The Intake Department conducts routine operational review audits on each intake facility every three years and provides training, supervision and support for unit-based intake staff at 25 facilities statewide. Staff also conducts division-level operational review audits of the intake process. During FY 2010, the mainframe screen for offender identification was created as a result of HB 2161. This new screen includes offender identity information, such as the offender’s Social Security number, driver’s license or ID number, nativity and military background. It indicates whether the offender has possession of these documents, to include a birth certificate, at the time of intake. It also includes fields for the Reentry and Integration Division to verify the ID numbers, thus assisting this division in obtaining an identification card for the offender when released. In addition, during FY 2010, the All Offenses screen was enhanced to include additional criminal offense and victim information.
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 custody status, disciplinary actions at private facilities, and transfers and special housing assignments due to security or safety needs. The committee works closely with the Safe Prisons Program Management Office to identify aggressive and vulnerable offenders.
Mail System Coordinators Panel
The Mail System Coordinators Panel (MSCP) assists offenders in maintaining contact with family and friends and arranges offenders’ access to courts and public officials. The MSCP provides procedural training and technical assistance to unit mailroom staff and conducts mailroom operational review audits. This department also generates investigations regarding threats and unidentifiable substances received in uninspected mail as reported by offenders.
Office for Disciplinary Coordination
The Office for Disciplinary Coordination oversees and monitors facility compliance with disciplinary rules and procedures by conducting division-level unit operational reviews. During FY 2010, this office completed 41 such reviews. This office also produces management statistical reports each month, coordinates the revisions to disciplinary rules and procedures, and updates and coordinates the printing of the GR-106, Disciplinary Rules and Procedures for Offenders, and the GR-107, Standard Offense Pleadings Handbook.
In addition, the Office for Disciplinary Coordination oversees the Office of Spanish Language Coordination, which manages Spanish language assistance service and is responsible for coordinating and processing the testing of employees to determine their proficiency in speaking Spanish. Based on test results, qualified Spanish language interpreters are designated. This office is also responsible for conducting division-level unit operational reviews of Spanish language assistance service. During FY 2010, it completed 41 unit operational reviews, 436 pages of translations, and coordinated the testing of 194 employees.
Counsel Substitute Program
The Counsel Substitute Program secures and protects the due process rights of offenders charged with disciplinary infractions by providing trained staff to assist them during the disciplinary process. Counsel Substitute Program employees conduct certification training, provide technical assistance and continuous support to the disciplinary hearing officers and counsel substitute staff. Counsel substitute and disciplinary hearing officer training is provided quarterly. In FY 2010, 82 staff members attended the training.
Offender Transportation is headquartered in Huntsville with five regional offices located in Abilene, Amarillo, Beeville, Rosharon and Tennessee Colony. This department is responsible for unit-to-unit transfers, state and federal court appearances, medical transfers, off-site medical offender tracking, county jail transfers, out-of-state extradition, and emergency response or evacuations during floods, hurricanes, and any other catastrophic event.
Offender Transportation operates a fleet of vehicles consisting of 117 buses, 62 vans, six vans for the physically-disabled, three vans used to transport regional release offenders and one car. More than 4.7 million miles were traveled and 534,953 offenders were transported during FY 2010. This department works closely with Classification and Records to ensure the timely, efficient and safe transport of offenders.
Laundry, Food and Supply
Laundry, Food and Supply manages the food, laundry, necessities, and unit supply operations. These unit-based programs are vital to the units’ mission and offender well-being. The department is responsible for ensuring all offenders are provided access to clean and serviceable clothing, footwear and bedding. Offenders are provided access to appropriate personal hygiene items, and units are provided basic supplies needed to operate. Offenders are also provided access to wholesome and nutritious meals, to include 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. More than 29,000 offenders work in unit food service and laundry departments. 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 Windham School District, Alvin Community College, Central Texas College and Lee College. After completing these programs, qualified offenders have the opportunity to work at the San Antonio Food Bank to further enhance their cooking skills and employment opportunities.
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.
This fiscal year, more than 81,000 parole and mandatory offenders were under active supervision by approximately 1,300 district parole officers. Offenders must report to parole officers and comply with release conditions established by the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP). Violations can result in increased supervision or arrest and reincarceration. Officers also supervise offenders transferred to Texas from other states and from the Texas Youth Commission.
Regional directors in Tyler, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Midland manage 67 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 an assessment of each offender’s risk and needs.
Central Coordination Unit
The Central Coordination Unit 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. In Fiscal Year 2010, 9,373 offenders were placed in ISFs. Two ISFs participate in the Substance Abuse Counseling Program. The South Texas ISF provides services to 350 offenders, while the North Texas ISF serves 294. Programs and services offered in these facilities encourage offender compliance through appropriate supervision and interventions.
This year, the Parole Division ombudsman responded to 4,755 inquiries from offender family members, parole and mandatory supervision offenders, legislative offices and the public.
The Interstate Compact Office arranges for the transfer of supervision to a state outside an offender’s state of conviction. The Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision is the statutory authority for transfer of offenders among the 53 member states and territories of the Compact. The Texas Interstate Compact Office establishes practices, policies and procedures that ensure compliance with Compact rules. In FY 2010, 7,657 Texas probationers and 3,196 parolees were supervised outside the state. Another 4,267 out-of-state probationers and 1,982 out-of-state parolees were supervised in Texas.
Support Operations consists of Review and Release Processing, Specialized Programs, Warrants, the Parole Officer Training Academy and Internal Review/In-service Training. All provide direct support to Field Operations.
Review and Release Processing
Review and Release Processing identifies offenders eligible for release consideration by the BPP, analyzes and processes releases from the Correctional Institutions Division and places offenders without residential resources and those requiring substance abuse aftercare treatment into contracted facilities.
The Huntsville Placement and Release Unit (HPRU) issued 37,061 release certificates and processed 21,050 parole and 11,739 mandatory supervision releases to parole supervision. HPRU placed 6,897 offenders into residential reentry centers and 2,378 offenders into transitional treatment centers.
The Central File Coordination Unit oversees the movement and maintenance of approximately 220,000 case files of offenders under the Parole Division’s jurisdiction and those who are within six months of release eligibility.
Specialized Programs administers and evaluates a variety of programs and services to enhance the division’s ability to supervise and reintegrate offenders following release.
District reentry centers target newly-released, high-need offenders using a comprehensive approach to promote personal responsibility and victim empathy. Volunteers and community agencies assist staff in addressing anger management, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse, victim impact and pre-employment preparation. In FY 2010, a monthly average of 1,753 offenders was served.
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) provides administrative segregation offenders with reentry services that begin during incarceration and continue to community supervision. Programming provided through the district reentry centers addresses the needs of offender and family while maintaining the goal of public safety. Fifty-four offenders were placed in the program in FY 2010.
The Special Needs Offender Program (SNOP), in conjunction with the Health and Human Services Commission, supervises mentally retarded (MR), mentally impaired (MI), and terminally ill or physically handicapped (TI/PH) offenders. In FY 2010, 50 medically-recommended intensive supervision (MRIS) offenders were released to supervision, with a monthly average of 181 MRIS offenders supervised under the program. Averages of 198 MR, 5,108 MI and 702 TI/PH offenders were supervised monthly.
The Sex Offender Program supervises a monthly average of 2,834 offenders. Sex offender treatment services are provided statewide through contracted vendors, with the division subsidizing treatment for indigent offenders. Polygraph testing is a significant component of evaluating and treating sex 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 4,108 offenders received services from contracted vendors and specially-trained parole officers during FY 2010.
The Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP) provides relapse prevention services to offenders with substance abuse problems. Level I prevention services were provided to 28,408 offenders in FY 2010. Level II outpatient treatment services were provided by vendors and parole counselors to 12,948 offenders. The SACP intermediate sanction facilities provided residential treatment to 2,378 offenders.
The Drug Testing Program’s new instant-read testing devices increase accountability and reduce chain of custody issues. On average, 135,952 drug tests were conducted each month in FY 2010.
Project Reintegration of Offenders (RIO) is a joint project of TDCJ, the Windham School District and the Texas Workforce Commission. It is designed to reduce recidivism by helping offenders secure gainful employment upon release. Project RIO serves as a resource link between education, training and employment referrals.
The Warrants Section is primarily responsible for the issuance, confirmation and cancellation or withdrawal of prerevocation warrants. In FY 2010, 35,093 warrants were issued, 29,033 were confirmed and 27,595 were cancelled or withdrawn. The section is also responsible for the oversight of the global positioning satellite (GPS) tracking and electronic monitoring (EM) of offenders.
Warrants has two units in operation 24 hours a day. The Command Unit processes violation reports submitted by parole officers and alerts from GPS/EM 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 which allows the public to inform officials about offenders who fail to report.
The Extradition Unit tracks Texas offenders arrested in other states and offenders returned to a TDCJ correctional institution who have not been through the prerevocation process. This year, 619 offenders were extradited to Texas and 311 warrants were issued for Texas offenders under Interstate Compact supervision in other states.
The Tracking Unit tracks offenders held in Texas county jails on prerevocation warrants and ensures that the offender’s case is disposed of within the time limits prescribed by law. This unit calculates the amount of time credited to offenders while in custody on a prerevocation warrant.
The Super-Intensive Supervision Program (SISP) imposes the highest level of supervision and offender accountability, including active and passive GPS monitoring. Some 61 offenders were on active GPS during each month of the year, with real-time tracking in place for those at highest risk. An average of 1,593 offenders on SISP was monitored on passive GPS, which downloads tracking data when offenders return to their residence.
Electronic monitoring allows an officer to detect curfew and home confinement violations electronically. Offenders at higher risk of reoffending, or who have violated release conditions, may be placed on electronic monitoring. An average of 1,214 offenders was on electronic monitoring each month this year.
The Parole Officer Training Academy in Beeville provides 208 hours of pre-service foundation training for new officers. Training was provided to 114 new officers in 11 classes during FY 2010.
The academy conducts specialized officer supervision schools on a quarterly basis, offering classes on the Super-Intensive Supervision Program, electronic monitoring, sex offenders, therapeutic communities and the Special Needs Offender Program. A 40-hour firearms certification course provided training to 52 officers. During FY 2010, 505 officers attended training classes.
Internal Review/In-Service Training
Internal Review/In-Service Training provided training on the Parole Violation Action and Revocation System, Human Resources Topics for Supervisors, and Principles of Supervision. A total of 1,384 parole employees participated in in-service training classes in FY 2010. Performance reviews of the 67 district parole offices were completed during the fiscal year.
Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division
The Private Facility Contract Monitoring and Oversight Division (PFCMOD) is responsible for oversight and monitoring of contracts for privately-operated secure facilities and community-based facilities, to include substance abuse treatment service providers. The PFCMOD protects the public by ensuring constitutionally safe and sound facilities through effective management, efficient monitoring and clear communication between the agency and its contracted representatives.
The PFCMOD primarily supports the Correctional Institutions Division, the Parole Division, the Community Justice Assistance Division and the Rehabilitation Program Division (RPD), by providing contract monitoring and oversight, performing contract reviews and working with the private vendors to address any compliance issues.
Contract monitoring staff conducts facility risk assessments, coordinates compliance reviews and makes unannounced site visits. Compliance issues are investigated and follow-up reviews conducted. The division responds to ombudsman and other inquiries and provides after-hours emergency contact coverage for secure and community-based facilities.
The division is organized into three sections: Operations Monitoring, Program Monitoring and Business Operations.
Operations Monitoring is responsible for contract monitoring and oversight of privately-operated secure correctional facilities. Three regional supervisors oversee contract monitors who, during Fiscal Year 2010, performed daily, on-site operational and contractual monitoring of seven private prisons, five private state jails, one work program co-located on a private facility, two pre-parole transfer facilities, three privately-operated intermediate sanction facilities and two multiuse facilities. There were approximately 18,100 offenders in privately-operated secure correctional facilities monitored by the PFCMOD during FY 2010.
The Program Monitoring section is responsible for oversight and monitoring of contracts for community-based facilities and substance abuse treatment services. Two regional supervisors oversee contract monitors who monitor privately-operated halfway houses for the Parole Division, and work with RPD to monitor substance abuse treatment program contracts, which include in-prison treatment programs co-located on state-run or privately-operated facilities, residential aftercare treatment programs and outpatient treatment programs. RPD and PFCMOD perform contract monitoring on a rotating schedule, with RPD making quality assessments and PFCMOD performing contract delivery reviews.
In Fiscal Year 2010, this section monitored contracts for seven privately-operated halfway houses, more than 20 substance abuse aftercare treatment facilities (community based transitional treatment centers), 12 privately-operated substance abuse felony punishment facilities/in-prison therapeutic community programs, one driving while intoxicated (DWI) program and six state jail substance abuse programs co-located on state-run or privately-operated facilities.
The Business Operations Section is supervised by the business operations manager who reports to the division director. Functions of the Business Operations Section include, but are not limited to: monitoring spending and projecting future needs, preparing contract modification and renewal documents, monitoring and verifying contractor’s monthly invoices, and calculating deductions for noncompliance.
Central Texas Treatment Center counselor Raymond Cruthis (right) discusses social skill development with residents as part of the “Thinking for a Change” curriculum.
Rehabilitation Programs Division
The Rehabilitation Programs Division (RPD) manages activities related to offender programs within TDCJ and is responsible for ensuring that all programs operate with consistent quality.
As coordinating entity, RPD works with multiple TDCJ divisions and offices, as well as faith-based and community-based organizations and volunteers, to orchestrate effective, evidence-based treatment services for individual offenders throughout their incarceration and supervision.
Chaplaincy uses a holistic approach to enhance an offender’s spirituality. Programs focus on the development of life-changing goals and are delivered through spiritual growth groups, mentoring and volunteer programs.
Faith-based dorms were implemented in January 2003 and have expanded to 27 facilities. The dorms offer support and accountability, along with an intensive faith-based curriculum and mentoring program. The programming is conducted by local faith-based community volunteers whose activities are directed by the unit chaplain and unit administration.
Prison Fellowship Ministries at the Vance Unit in Sugar Land operates the faith-based InnerChange pre-release program. This program spans 18 months of the offender’s incarceration and has a transitional aftercare component.
Offender DNA Collection
Blood specimens for DNA analysis are collected from all offenders incarcerated in TDCJ facilities or facilities under contract with the agency. The samples are sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Combined DNA Index System lab for analysis and entry into the national DNA database.
Dynamic Risk Assessment (DRA)
State law mandates that, prior to their release, TDCJ use the DRA measure with sex offenders currently serving sentences for a registerable sex offense. This measure assigns such offenders a low, moderate or high risk level of sexual re-offense, and is arrived at through the use of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, the Level of Service Inventory-Revised, and the Static-99. These instruments are scored according to a matrix developed by the Texas State Council on Sex Offender Treatment. This risk level information is used by TDCJ for the sex offender registration process and is also provided to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Sex Offender Risk Assessment
The executive director of TDCJ is required by law to appoint five of the seven members of the Risk Assessment Review Committee. The committee includes members with experience in law enforcement, supervision of juvenile sex offenders and sex offender treatment, victims of sex offenses, as well as two persons representing the Council on Sex Offender Treatment. The committee functions in an oversight capacity to ensure that persons using the risk assessment tools are properly trained. It also monitors the use of the screening tools and revises or replaces them as needed.
Sex Offender Rehabilitation Programs
The Sex Offender Education Program consists of a four-month curriculum delivered to sex offenders who have been determined to pose a lesser risk to reoffend. The Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) consists of an 18-month intensive treatment program delivered in a therapeutic community to sex offenders determined to pose a higher risk of reoffending. The SOTP involves three treatment phases employing a cognitive-behavioral model.
Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators
The agency identifies and refers offenders with two or more qualifying sexually violent offense convictions to a multidisciplinary team for possible civil commitment under the Texas Health and Safety Code. This process applies to offenders released on or after January 1, 2000.
Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative Program
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) Program is a 63-bed program housed at the Estelle Unit’s expansion cellblock in Huntsville. The program provides pre-release and in-cell programming for male offenders releasing directly from administrative segregation. SVORI is a coordinated partnership between the Rehabilitation Programs Division, the Correctional Institutions Division, the Parole Division and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The program spans from six to 18 months and consists of one or two phases. Phase I is a six-month in-cell cognitive-based program provided through computer-based equipment and self-help materials, using a curriculum which addresses the leading causes of recidivism. Phase II is required for offenders whose parole stipulation includes SVORI aftercare.
Substance Abuse Treatment
The substance abuse felony punishment facility (SAFPF) and in-prison therapeutic community (IPTC) provide services to qualified offenders identified as needing substance abuse treatment. Both are six-month in-prison treatment programs followed by up to three months of residential aftercare in a transitional treatment center * (TTC), six to nine months of outpatient aftercare, and up to 12 months of support groups and follow-up supervision. A nine-month in-prison program is provided for special needs offenders who have a mental health and/or medical diagnoses. Offenders are sentenced to a SAFPF by a judge as a condition of community supervision in lieu of prison or state jail, or voted in by the Board of Pardons and Paroles as a modification of parole.
The Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program and Pre-Release Therapeutic Community Program (PRTC) are intensive six-month courses based on the principles of a therapeutic community. It is intended for incarcerated offenders with serious substance abuse, chemical dependency or criminality ideology. Offenders are placed in the program based on a vote by the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The PRTC is a coordinated effort between RPD, Windham School District and the Parole Division.
The Driving While Intoxicated In-Prison Program uses six-month multimodal curriculum with an aftercare component which uses a variety of educational modules and treatment activities, to include group and individual therapy.
The State Jail Substance Abuse Program uses multimodal instruction designed to meet the needs of the diverse characteristics of the state jail population. Eligible offenders are placed in a 30, 60 or 90-day track, based on an Addiction Severity Index assessment and their criminal history.
*Both the SAFPF and IPTC programs now offer an alternative to the three months of residential aftercare in the TTC. Offenders who meet strict eligibility criteria may be released to an approved home plan, where they report to a contracted facility for the same number of treatment hours as received by the residential offender who lives at a TTC.
COURAGE Program for Youthful Offenders
The COURAGE Program for youthful offenders was established in 1995. The youthful offender may be male or female and as young as 14. Youthful offenders are assigned to the COURAGE program until they turn 18. The length of time in the program is determined by age rather than completion of prescribed goals, and the issues presented by the population are expected to be complex and varied.
The Courage Program is structured according to a two-track programming system. This system focuses on basic skills and values building, and incorporates an individual strategy for each offender. Track assignment and treatment planning is determined by the transition needs of the participant, that is, whether they will be released to join the general population of offenders or released from TDCJ custody. Offenders in the COURAGE Program are given an individualized treatment plan designed to follow them throughout incarceration to release, parole or probation. Weekly comprehensive interdisciplinary treatment programs include education, social skills training, anger management, values development, goal setting, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse education, conflict resolution, aggression replacement, and life skills.
The Plane State Jail Wraparound Program allows community resource providers to meet female offenders prior to their release. These services increase community support for the offender and help fulfill their identified needs.
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars helps reforge and maintain the bond between girls and their incarcerated mothers. Through prison visits arranged by the Girl Scout Council, mothers and daughters join for troop meetings and traditional Girl Scout activities. Girls Scouts Beyond Bars is active at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville and Plane State Jail in Dayton.
Through the Teeter Totter Village of Houston, Supporting Kids of Incarcerated Parents (SKIP) provides a curriculum focused on responding to the needs of children, their caregiver and their incarcerated parent. They offer a 19-week family strengthening program, child interactive play-and-learn groups, and parenting classes at Plane State Jail. SKIP is also available through the COURAGE Program.
Truth-be-Told, or TBT, offers female offenders the opportunity to honestly recount, to an attentive and respectful audience of invited guests, the events which led them prison. Before they can share their story with an audience, they must first be part of an eight-week series of classes where they share their story with their peers. TBT is a unique program staffed by volunteers, and epitomizes the need for gender-specific programming.
Giving Offenders’ Kids Incentive and Direction to Succeed (GO KIDS) Initiative
GO KIDS brings to the forefront the importance of preserving family ties and providing positive prevention and intervention services to high-risk children. Maintained through the Rehabilitation Programs Division, a link on the agency’s website (www.tdcj.texas.gov) provides a reliable connection to valuable resources and services across Texas.
Several organizations work in collaboration with GO KIDS. 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.
Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative (BAMBI) Program
This program partners the TDCJ Rehabilitation Program with the Health Services Division, Correctional Institutions Division, the University of Texas Medical Branch, Santa Maria Hostel, Inc. and local foundations to provide child development education and training in a residential setting for up to 15 new mothers. The program gives eligible state jail confinees and their newborns the opportunity to form a healthy attachment in a secure setting. In addition, the confinee may attend GED, parenting, life skills, and drug and alcohol education classes, and work with her case manager to prepare a solid transitional plan for herself and her infant.
Rehabilitation Tier Tracking and Placement
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has a rehabilitation tier voting option. The vote specifies that an offender must successfully complete a rehabilitation program and comply with all elements of the individualized treatment plan prior to release on parole. The Tier Tracking and Placement staff tracks offenders from the time of the board vote to ensure they are transferred to the designated program at the appropriate time.
Volunteer Coordination Committee
The Volunteer Coordination Committee (VCC) was established in 1994 to enhance the utilization of volunteers within the agency. The VCC consists of representatives from Rehabilitation Programs Division (Substance Abuse Treatment, Chaplaincy and Sex Offender Treatment), the Correctional Institutions Division, the Victim Services Division, the Parole Division, the Private Facilities Contract Monitoring and Oversight Division, and the Windham School District. At the close of Fiscal Year 2010, there were 21,060 approved volunteers serving TDCJ.
Reentry and Integration Division
Established in August 2009, the Reentry and Integration Division works toward developing a seamless resource support system for offenders as they transition back into society under TDCJ supervision. The division works with groups within and outside the agency to identify gaps in service delivery and promote best practices on reentry issues while sharing information to help maximize efficiency.
A reentry task force composed of criminal justice, health and human services, education, regulatory, judicial and special interest groups provide technical assistance and advice on strategies for improving local and state reentry activities. In addition, the task force establishes topic-specific working groups to address priority reentry issues, such as housing, identification documents, employment, family reunification, access to treatment services and other critical supports.
The division oversees the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI), Project Re-Integration of Offenders (RIO), and Reentry and Support Services.
Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments
TCOOMMI provides intensive treatment, continuity of care and case management services to juvenile and adult offenders with special needs. It also provides continuity of care for non-offender populations, such as defendants initially found incompetent to stand trial, mental health discharges from the Texas Youth Commission and those who have been proven innocent by the court or granted a full pardon by the governor based on innocence. In addition, a 31-member committee composed of representatives from juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, health and human services, education providers, regulatory and law enforcement entities, the courts and advocacy groups serves in an advisory capacity to Board of Criminal Justice and TCOOMMI staff.
Project Re-Integration of Offenders (RIO)
Project Re-Integration of Offenders is a voluntary program which helps incarcerated offenders prepare for entry-level work on a career path. To improve their chances for a successful reintegration into the community, incarcerated RIO participants are counseled on educational, vocational and work opportunities. In order to participate in Project RIO, offenders must be within 24 months of release from an adult prison or 18 months of their projected release from a state jail facility. Offenders assigned to substance abuse felony punishment facilities are eligible for Project RIO six months prior to release. Additional eligibility criteria include appropriate security classification, the absence of felony detainers, a release plan that envisions return to a Texas community, and the physical and mental ability to work.
Reentry and Support Services
During the 81st Legislature, lawmakers allocated funds for the creation of 64 reentry specialist positions to help offenders develop a comprehensive reentry plan through the following actions:
- Coordinating with TDCJ education, treatment, medical, employment and parole programs to identify continued service providers for post-release needs.
- Identifying, securing, and, if allowed, scheduling post-release appointments with community service providers.
- Communicating the offender’s post-release service plan to any supervising officers, to include the offender’s needs and, if applicable, appointments.
- Coordinating with parole and probation to document post-release service access.
- Assisting in the collection and compilation of individual demographic information obtained at initial criminal justice contact or intake.
Victim Services Division
The Victim Services Division’s mission is to coordinate a central mechanism for victims and the public to participate in the criminal justice system.
Victim Notification System
The Victim Notification System (VNS) uses a confidential database to provide registrants – typically crime victims, surviving family members, witnesses who testified at trial, and concerned citizens – written notifications regarding their offender(s). The system provides more than 70 points of possible notification regarding several phases of an offender’s incarceration and supervision, including the parole review process. Most notification letters are automatically generated, while others are manually created by Victim Services staff. Since each case is unique and the points of notification are typically driven by the status of the offender, VNS registrants may not receive each point of notification or letter. Individuals are added to the VNS from Victim Impact Statements or at their request. At the end of Fiscal Year 2010, there were 159,834 individuals registered on VNS. During the fiscal year, Victim Services processed 155,296 pieces of correspondence, including VNS notifications, letters sent and letters or e-mails received.
Toll-free Information Hotline
During regular business hours, Victim Services representatives answer calls and provide information about offender status, the criminal justice system, personal meetings with the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and services available to victims through the division. There were 41,908 telephone calls processed in FY 2010. In addition, 851 calls pertaining to protective orders were processed and referred to the Texas Advocacy Project.
Victim Information and Notification Everyday
The Victim Services Division has partnered with Appriss, Inc., provider of the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE), to enhance notification services. VINE offers a toll-free automated telephone service which gives VNS registrants access to limited offender information 24 hours a day, in either English or Spanish. If requested by the registrant, VINE can automatically call to notify them when their offender is being processed for release. This telephone service is available to victims in addition to written notifications. There were 12,746 VINE call-ins and 496 call-outs in FY 2010.
Case File Management
Offender case files are managed by case file analysts who serve as links between victims, surviving family members, witnesses who testified at trial, the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP), law enforcement, criminal justice professionals and concerned citizens. Assistance is provided to victims who request explanation of the parole process, imposition of special conditions or interpretation of state laws. More than 2,000 cases were analyzed and 299 transmittals were processed to the BPP in FY 2010 requesting that an offender be denied release or have special release conditions imposed.
Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse
The Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse (TxCVC) provides technical assistance, information and referrals to victims, victim service providers, law enforcement and criminal justice professionals. Every odd-numbered year, TxCVC updates the Victim Impact Statement (VIS) upon adjournment of the Texas Legislature. The VIS is available online in English and Spanish. TxCVC provides VIS training to victim assistance and criminal justice professionals whose statutory responsibilities include impact statements. In FY 2010, 32 training sessions were conducted with 1,123 attendees representing 155 Texas counties. The TxCVC also sponsors an educational conference for victims, victim advocates and other criminal justice professionals. Informational brochures and a quarterly newsletter, The Victim’s Informer, are produced by TxCVC and available online.
Victim Impact Panel Program
Through the Victim Impact Panel Program, crime victims have the opportunity to share details of their victimization and subsequent journey through the criminal justice system by addressing audiences of criminal justice professionals, students and offenders. The purpose is to involve victims and survivors in the criminal justice process and give them a voice. There were 52 impact panels conducted in FY 2010 with 19 new victim panelists and 89 existing or repeat panelists participating. More than 830 criminal justice professionals or students and 1,152 offenders attended.
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue Program
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue provides victims and survivors of violent crime the opportunity to initiate a structured, person-to-person meeting with their offender in a safe environment. Mediation is chosen by some victims who wish meet directly with their offender to describe the impact of their victimization and receive answers to questions regarding the offense. Under certain circumstances, alternatives are used in lieu of person-to-person mediation, such as written statements by the victim. There were 43 mediations completed in FY 2010.
Victim Support and Community Education Program
The Victim Support and Community Education Program oversees a variety of services available to victims, including training, prison tours and assisting victims who view executions. In an effort to enhance victim awareness and sensitivity and prevent victimization, targeted training audiences include victims, criminal justice professionals and victim advocates. When appropriate, training staff uses victim impact panels. There were 23 training sessions conducted with a total of 465 attendees in FY 2010. The program also provides training in individual peer support intervention for TDCJ employees who wish to join the Crisis Response Intervention and Support Program (CRISP). CRISP teams are composed of dedicated volunteer employees throughout TDCJ who are trained to help mitigate the effects of a traumatic experience. This training is certified by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.
Victim Services arranges for victims’ family and friends to view executions. As many as five relatives or close friends of the victim can witness the offender’s execution. Witnesses may also include law enforcement personnel, trial officials, or a spiritual advisor. Victim witnesses are prepared for and accompanied to the execution by a Victim Services staff member. Supporters of the victim are allowed to accompany victim witnesses to the Huntsville Unit, but are not allowed to witness the execution. Staff also provides follow-up support and referrals as needed. During FY 2010, at least one Victim Services representative attended 21 executions, providing support to 95 victim witnesses and 49 victim supporters.
Prison Tours are conducted to educate victims, criminal justice staff and others about the realities of prison life in Texas. In FY 2010, four prison tours were conducted with 29 participants.
Special Projects / Ombudsman
The purpose of this position is to evaluate, enhance and increase awareness of the services offered by the Victim Service Division through research and collaboration with a variety of groups. In addition, this position serves as a point of contact for criminal justice professionals and victim advocates, and provides direct support to crime victims. During FY 2010, nine meetings were held with county or regional coalition groups, with a total of 117 attendees. Notification services were improved, with crime victims now receiving notification when a media representative requests information about or schedules an interview with their offender. New collaborative efforts were also initiated with the Office of the Inspector General, Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Special Prosecution Unit.
Administrative Review & Risk Management Division
Access to Courts
Access to Courts ensures offenders receive their constitutional right of access to courts, counsel and public officials, and that such access is adequate, effective and meaningful as required by law. It provides critical functions at all units, including legal research resources, attorney visits and phone calls, public information requests, telephonic court hearings, correspondence supplies for indigent offenders, notary public services, offender legal, educational, and religious in-cell storage management, parole revocation hearing reviews and court transcript administration. Law library attendance in Fiscal Year 2010 totaled 529,581. The number of legal research materials delivered to offenders with indirect law library access totaled 248,862.
Administrative Monitor for Use of Force
This office manages the agency’s Use of Force policy and procedures, and coordinates training to promote staff understanding and compliance with policy. During FY 2010, 6,942 major Use of Force incidents occurred in TDCJ.
Monitoring and Standards
Monitoring and Standards helps correctional facilities in their efforts to obtain American Correctional Association accreditation. At the end of FY 2010, 108 of TDCJ’s 112 facilities had been accredited. Two privately-operated facilities, the Bridgeport and Mineral Wells pre-parole facilities, have been ACA accredited for medical services. Hospital Galveston has been accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Accreditation of the lone remaining privately-operated prison, the Diboll Unit, is expected in early 2011. The Baten Intermediate Sanction Facility and the Correctional Training Academy are also ACA accredited.
The primary focus of the Operational Review Program is to monitor adherence to agency policy at each correctional facility. This is accomplished through ongoing monthly reviews at the unit level and reviews every three years at the division level.
Offender Grievance Program
The purpose of this program is to promote awareness and positive intervention between staff and offenders, to identify and resolve issues at the lowest possible administrative level, and to facilitate the flow of information between the units and agency leaders. By providing an outlet for offender grievances, the program enhances staff safety while providing agency administrators with valuable insight into issues and problem resolution on the units. During FY 2010, unit grievance investigators handled more than 173,500 grievances at the unit level, while central office staff processed more than 43,500 appeals.
The ombudsman offices provide public access to agency staff members who answer questions and address concerns. The Ombudsman Coordinators’ Office in Huntsville supports ombudsman staff in the Correctional Institutions and Parole divisions. Staff responded to approximately 16,650 inquiries in FY 2010 through the U.S. mail, telephone and the Internet. The office also arranged for agency representatives to speak at three engagements sponsored by offender family support organizations.
This program has oversight of unit and departmental 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.
Business and Finance Division
The mission of Business and Finance is to support 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. Business and Finance includes the departments of Accounting and Business Services, Agribusiness, Land and Minerals, Budget, Commissary and Trust Fund, Contracts and Procurement, Historically Underutilized Business (HUB), Office of Space Management, and Payroll Processing.
Accounting and Business Services Department
Accounting and Business Services consists of Financial Systems and Reporting, Accounting Services, Accounts Payable, and Cashier, Travel, Restitution and Fee Services.
Accounting and Business Services carries out the financial operations of the agency by providing meaningful financial information, supporting financial processes and maintaining effective financial control. In Fiscal Year 2010, Accounts Payable received and processed approximately 137,000 invoices from vendors.
The department is responsible for general accounting of state funds and produces the agency’s annual financial report. This is achieved through the use of the agency’s financial system, LONESTARS, which is managed by the department, and the Uniform Statewide Accounting System.
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 and livestock production facilities that provide canned vegetables, eggs and various finished meat products required to feed the offender population.
During the 2009 calendar year, Agribusiness raised 31 varieties of fruits and vegetables in gardens comprising 3,928 acres, with production exceeding 18.8 million pounds. Community-style, unit-managed gardens contributed an additional four million pounds of fresh vegetables. More than 32,000 acres were dedicated to the production of cotton, grains and grasses, resulting in the harvest of 99.3 million pounds of product. At the close of calendar year 2009, on-hand livestock included 13,508 head of cattle, 22,690 swine, 291,523 laying hens and 1,572 horses. The poultry program produced approximately 5.4 million dozen eggs and the swine operation shipped 26,679 hogs to the packing plant. During this period, agency food processing plants canned 275,390 cases of vegetables and delivered more than 23 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 release.
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 and 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 Legislature appropriated approximately $6.2 billion to TDCJ for the 2010-2011 biennium, which also included funding to provide targeted salary increases for correctional and parole officers, unit staff, OIG investigators, community supervision officers and staff providing direct care to probationers. The FY 2010 Operating Budget, developed and continuously monitored by the Budget Department, totals $3.113 billion.
The department routinely interacts with the state’s executive, legislative and regulatory agencies, to 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, periodicals and subscriptions, some over-the-counter medications and other approved expenditures such as craft shop supplies. In FY 2010, more than 1.8 million deposits totaling $107.7 million were received and processed. The majority of deposits were received electronically through third-party vendors. An automated remittance processing system is used to encode, image, endorse and prepare money orders received for deposit.
The department operates two warehouse and distribution centers that provide merchandise for resale at 168 commissary locations throughout the state. Items sold include snacks, packaged meat and fish products, coffee, soft drinks, greeting cards, shoes and electronics. Using an offender’s bar-coded identification card, the commissary’s point-of-sale system records detailed sales transaction information and debits the offender’s trust fund account. Sales from commissary operations exceeded $93 million in FY 2010.
In addition to supporting the commissary and trust fund operations, income from commissary sales is used to fund or supplement other 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 for 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. Certified purchasers and contract specialists approve, record and process purchases requisitioned by agency staff. The department’s mission is to acquire the right goods and services at the right time and at the right price in accordance with laws, rules, policies and sound business judgment. Agency requirements range from basic needs, such as food for offenders, to complex professional services and construction projects.
During FY 2010, the department processed approximately 53,000 Advanced Purchasing and Inventory Control Systems (ADPICS) requisitions, with more than 49,000 purchase order procurement actions processed. In addition, the department completed approximately 500 contract procurement actions.
The Contracts and Procurement Department continues to promote the Historically Underutilized Business Program and strives to improve HUB participation in the procurement of goods and services.
Historically Underutilized Business
The mission of the HUB Program is to promote and increase equal contracting opportunities with historically underutilized businesses. The program provides those businesses and agency staff with help to ensure the success of this mission.
HUBs, as defined by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, are businesses that have at least 51 percent ownership by Asia-Pacific Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans and American Women.
The HUB Program sponsors an annual vendor fair and participates in numerous forums and events across the state. The program also assists the State Comptroller’s Office with identification and certification of HUB vendors.
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.
OSM activities include site visits to ensure efficient use of both lease and state-owned administrative properties. Other routine OSM functions include liaison activities involving the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC), resolving payment issues between Accounts Payable and lessors, and assistance in resolution of maintenance issues between tenants and lessors. When an emergency occurs in a leased administrative space, OSM staff provides immediate, on-site assistance with relocation, communications support, assistance related to public safety issues and proper notification of the emergency to the TFC.
Payroll Processing Department
The responsibility of the Payroll Processing Department is to process accurate monthly salary payments with authorized deductions for approximately 41,000 employees while ensuring compliance with state and federal laws. Core functions include payroll processing, payroll deductions, direct deposit program, employee time program, distribution of payroll warrants and federal tax reporting.
The Facilities Division provides a full range of facility management services to TDCJ, including facility planning, design, construction, maintenance and environmental quality assurance, and regulatory compliance. The division’s headquarters is located in Huntsville, but there are maintenance employees working at state-owned and operated facilities throughout the state. These employees provide long range and day-to-day maintenance as required to keep facilities in proper working condition and to support each facility year-round.
The Engineering Department provides professional architectural and engineering services to support TDCJ. The department provides overall project design and construction management for all delivery methods, including contract design and construction, and internal design and construction activities. The engineers and architects also act as consultants to the Maintenance Department and to any other office requiring technical assistance. Oversight is provided for all activities affecting engineering and environmental interests to ensure compliance with all state and federal rules and regulations.
The Maintenance Department is responsible for maintaining all TDCJ-owned and operated facilities. A unit maintenance office is located on each correctional facility. Each office has a technical staff, the makeup of which varies according to the facility’s mission and offender population. There are six regional maintenance offices supporting the unit maintenance offices. These regional offices have specialty crews performing construction projects, repairs and renovations. This department is also a first responder to evaluate, assess and repair damage caused by hurricanes and other disasters.
The Program Administration Department is responsible for facility project planning and programming functions. It engages in energy conservation initiatives, energy audits and utility billing analysis. Environmental safety and regulatory compliance is also administered within this department, which includes the preparation of numerous technical and complex reports for all TDCJ facilities, and oversight of special investigations, audits and research.
Information Technology Division
Automated information services and technology support are provided to all TDCJ departments, Correctional Managed Health Care, and other external entities by the Information Technology Division. Approximately 32,100 personal computers, terminals, routers, radios, telephone switches and other devices are operated and supported on behalf of the agency. The division also operates and maintains numerous computer and telephone voice networks and a Wide Area Network, which connects parole offices, correctional facilities and administrative offices in Huntsville, Austin and across the state.
In Fiscal Year 2010, the division successfully implemented the Parole and Violation Revocation portion of the Offender Management Information System, completed a successful disaster recovery test at the IBM Recovery Center in Boulder, CO, and completed implementation and activation of the TDCJ Offender Telephone System at Correctional Institutions Division unit locations.
Manufacturing and Logistics Division
The Manufacturing and Logistics Division benefits the state by providing work and training opportunities for eligible incarcerated offenders. The division provides quality service in warehousing operations, freight transportation and fleet management, and by providing quality manufactured products and services to TDCJ, other state agencies, and political subdivisions.
The division collaborates with the Windham School District to establish work and training programs directed toward the effective rehabilitation of offenders. Nationally-recognized certifications are offered through the Environmental Protection Agency, American Welding Society and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. The work and training programs are specifically targeted to reduce recidivism by providing opportunities for offenders to develop a work ethic while learning marketable job skills.
The division has four designated training facilities, located on the Daniel, Ferguson, Mountain View and Wynne units, which provide eligible offenders the opportunity to earn nationally-accredited trade certifications. The Wynne Computer Recovery and Daniel Computer Recovery facilities offer A+, Net+, Microsoft and Cisco certifications. The Mountain View Braille facility offers Braille transcription certifications from the Library of Congress and the National Braille Association. The Ferguson Geographic Information Systems facility offers GeoMedia Professional certification.
During Fiscal Year 2010, the division oversaw four adult Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) Certification programs located on the Coffield, Ellis and Lockhart units. These PIE programs manufactured aluminum windows, wood veneers, AC and heating valves, computer components and wiring harnesses. PIE participants earned more than $2.5 million and contributed $275,594 in federal taxes, $128,123 to crime victims’ compensation, $14,089 to restitution, $360,784 for family support, and $1,292,683 to room and board.
Texas Correctional Industries
Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) manufactures goods and provides services for state and local government agencies, political subdivisions, public education systems and public and private institutions of higher education. TCI’s statutory objectives are to provide work program participants with marketable job skills, help reduce recidivism and reduce state expenditures by providing products and services to TDCJ while selling products and services to other eligible entities on a for-profit basis.
TCI has 43 facilities that produce items such as mattresses, shoes, garments, brooms, license plates, printed materials, janitorial supplies, soaps, detergents, furniture, textile and steel products. Services such as furniture refinishing, tire retreading, and auditorium and school bus refurbishing are also available. Sales for FY 2010 were $83.5 million.
Fleet Transportation has oversight for repairs and record keeping of 2,213 licensed vehicles, trailers and other equipment.
Freight Transportation manages a fleet of 200 trucks and 520 trailers. During the fiscal year, four dispatch offices coordinated more than 27,000 freight hauls and logged approximately six million miles.
Warehousing and Supply
Warehousing and Supply manages eight warehouse facilities with an average inventory of $24 million and maintains 3,786 items in stock. Approximately $144 million in supplies were distributed from food warehouses, Prison Store warehouses and other facilities during the fiscal year.
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 all healthcare services at TDCJ facilities.
The 73rd Legislature established the CMHCC and empowered the committee to develop 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 (UTMB) at Galveston, the Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) at Lubbock and private vendors to provide health care to TDCJ offenders. The universities may also contract with private vendors to provide services.
This health care delivery system was implemented 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 pharmacist and clinical laboratory personnel, as well as 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.
Functions performed by the TDCJ Health Services Division include:
- Monitoring the offenders’ access to the various health care disciplines, to include medical, nursing, dental and mental health.
- Cooperating with the university medical schools and private contractors to monitor 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 audits.
- Investigating and responding to Step 2 medical grievances, inquiries and complaints.
- Controlling the transmission of infectious diseases in TDCJ.
- 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.
Human Resources Division
The Human Resources (HR) Division provides consistent application of TDCJ’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.
The Employee Classification Department completed the State Auditor’s Office classification compliance audit of all Program Specialist job titles. The Policy Development and Legislative Review Department reviewed 40 and published 16 personnel directives during Fiscal Year 2010, of which three were related to bills passed in the 81st Legislature.
Staff Development and HR representatives delivered more than 59,301 training hours to 44,299 employees. A new video, Executive Director’s Statement on Illegal Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Training and Advisory Council on Ethics, was shown to all state employees. Courses related to training in leadership, diversity, employee retention, disciplinary procedures, records retention, records and verifications, and other HR-related topics were presented to specific groups of employees throughout the fiscal year.
TDCJ employees participated in the 2010 Texas Round-Up Governor’s Challenge and earned their fourth consecutive silver medal in the Large State Agencies category (5,000+ employees) with 7,895 employees completing the six-week physical activity program. The competition is an initiative of the TDCJ wellness program, Wellness Initiative Now.
Employee Relations and Labor Relations
Sixty-six external Equal Employment Opportunity cases were closed with no findings.
Labor Relations implemented a random drug testing program for all TDCJ and Board of Pardons and Paroles employees who receive hazardous duty pay or longevity pay with unit pay differential.
The Dispute Resolution Program for employees achieved a 95 percent agreement rate in 115 sessions. This success rate improved the daily work environment for participating staff.
The targeted pay increase for correctional officers (CO), parole officers and unit-based employees was authorized by the 81st Legislature and became effective September 1, 2009. These employees received, on average, a 3.5 percent increase in their gross monthly pay.
Both the TDCJ and CO attrition rates fell in FY 2010. The agency attrition rate was 16.8 percent, a decrease from 17.3 percent the prior fiscal year. The CO attrition rate for FY 2010 was 20.3 percent, down from 21.3 percent the prior fiscal year.
The average CO vacancy level of 974 in August 2010 is a significant improvement from the 3,025 in August 2008. Several aggressive strategies were implemented during the fiscal year that positively affected CO staffing:
- Enhanced hiring standards for CO applicants effective March 1, 2010, which included changes to pre-employment scoring guidelines and the addition of a physical agility test.
- Posted CO employment opportunities on Transition Assistance Online (taonline.com) to attract separating or retiring military personnel and requested invitations to their job fairs.
- Participated in 51 job fairs and conducted 13 hiring seminars.
- Revised recruitment materials and website to promote CO salary increases and retirement benefits.
- Distributed promotional flyers as advertising tools to assist with recruiting efforts.
Office of the Chief of Staff
In Fiscal Year 2010, 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 in responding to inquiries about TDCJ from legislative and executive offices.
Executive Support consists 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, coordinates survey responses, maintains the Death Row Web page and provides a variety of statistical information. They also compile agenda and meeting materials for the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ), produce the TBCJ minutes and report on the number of community work projects. Additionally, staff coordinates revisions of TBCJ rules, the Department Policy and Operations Manual, the Human Resources Policy Manual and Windham School District policies. Executive Services also coordinates the State Employee Charitable Campaign, coordinates research conducted by external entities and serves as TDCJ’s Records Management Office. The department produces unit profiles, agency organizational charts and the following publications: the Fiscal Year Statistical Report, the 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 desk to provide a link between TDCJ, TBCJ, TDCJ managers, staff members and other state and federal agencies regarding serious or unusual incidents occurring within the agency. EAC provides valid, accurate, and timely information, which plays a critical role in managing risks associated with incidents inherent in the correctional environment.
Media Services supports TDCJ through audiovisual and photographic production, design and publication of printed materials, and content management of the TDCJ website.
Agency staff writes and produces informational and training videos dealing with criminal justice and prison management. Routine duties include providing video services and footage to criminal justice agencies, news media and educators. Additionally, audiovisual support is provided for bimonthly Texas Board of Criminal Justice meetings and special events.
The photography section produces photographic images for a variety of TDCJ displays and publications. This section also manages the agency’s photo archive for distribution to both agency and outside groups.
Media Services produces the Criminal Justice Connections newsletter for TDCJ employees, local and state government officials, concerned individuals and interest groups. Readers are also able to access the newsletter online by going to the TDCJ home page and clicking on Web Connections. Other online publications included the Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Review and the TDCJ Phone and Address Directory.
Media Services’ Web content manager monitors and integrates current information from TDCJ divisions into the agency’s website, located at www.tdcj.texas.gov. The website features an online job search by region and type of job, online applications for prospective employees, an online offender search and information in Spanish.
Office of the General Counsel
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) has three sections: Legal Affairs, Litigation Support, and Program Administration. Attorneys oversee the Legal Affairs and Litigation Support sections, while a program supervisor manages the Program Administration section.
Legal Affairs provides advice and counsel to the agency regarding victims’ rights, employment law, purchasing, contracts, real estate, offender health care, sentence time calculation, parole and community supervision matters. It also drafts formal and informal legal opinions for the TDCJ as requested. Attorneys in Legal Affairs provide advice about the Public Information Act, and seek opinions and rulings from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) when necessary. They provide legal support regarding subpoena requests, expunctions and renditions. This section also helps OAG obtain documentation for federal habeas corpus litigation and reviews affidavits in response to state writs of habeas corpus.
The Litigation Support section acts as the liaison between TDCJ and OAG, and provides litigation support to OAG. This section tracks and reviews all significant lawsuits when TDCJ or its employees are named defendants. Most of these cases involve tort, employment, or civil rights offender litigation. Attorneys in this section are involved with discovery and records production, answer interrogatories, coordinate trial and expert witnesses, and participate in mediations and settlements.
The Program Administration section is responsible for the overall administrative support of OGC, including fiscal management, case management, divisional human resource support, preparation of OGC policies and procedures, and records retention and storage. It also processes claims for damages involving TDCJ property and schedules video teleconferences for offender legal proceedings.
Office of Incident Management
The Office of Incident Management (OIM) is the central oversight authority for TDCJ emergency management preparedness and response. The office coordinates with groups throughout TDCJ to develop and update emergency response plans, continuity of operations plans and the Homeland Security Strategic Plan.
The office represents TDCJ on the Texas Division of Emergency Management State Emergency Management Council and oversees the Transportation Annex activities for the State Emergency Management Plan. This involves developing and maintaining an inventory list of transportation assets in preparation for future emergencies, and directing the use and coordination of transportation assets, including those of other state agencies, during actual emergencies. The office also trains agency staff on roles and expectations during emergencies. The Office of Incident Management works with all TDCJ operational divisions to provide a representative to disaster district committees throughout the state.
Further, the office oversees all mitigation reports and activities for the agency, works to identify potential hazards and threats to the agency, and develops mapping, modeling and forecasting tools to lessen their effects. Working in conjunction with the Correctional Institutions Division, OIM provides all necessary training for security staff and unit personnel on the Incident Command System. The office also coordinates National Incident Management System training and hostage negotiation training.
Public Information Office
The Public Information Office (PIO), headquartered in Huntsville, acts as a liaison between the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the media. TDCJ’s public information officers field questions about topics ranging from the death penalty to the criminal background of individual offenders.
Because of its rich history and status as the second largest prison system in the United States, TDCJ is often the focus of reports, documentaries, and many timely or breaking news stories. PIO works with media throughout the world to tell the TDCJ story. It helps reporters cover the agency and its events, as well as the activities of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice.
Last year, hundreds of news media calls were answered and information about agency policies, procedures, budget matters, individual offenders, prison programs and the death penalty was provided to reporters. PIO arranges interviews between media and offenders, coordinates death row media interviews and serves as a media escort at executions.
PIO distributes news releases and media advisories on significant agency events and activities of public interest. It also provides assistance to documentary and film producers, researchers and book authors.
It is the philosophy of the agency to be as candid as possible with 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 on call to answer media inquiries 24 hours a day.
The 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 provide information about TDCJ’s many positive programs and educate the public on the workings of the agency.
Published by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice