Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Annual Review 2009
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 2009 Annual Review for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
This past year, TDCJ confronted many diverse challenges, all of which were addressed in an effective and efficient manner by agency employees. Their hard work and commitment to public safety are remarkable. They are true public servants working toward the betterment of Texas.
The impact of Hurricane Ike was devastating, but through the efforts of TDCJ employees, those under our agency’s supervision remained safe and secure. Well-executed evacuation plans and emergency preparedness saved hundreds and allowed for appropriate offender care in the aftermath.
Whether it was the implementation of the Offender Telephone System, the continued expansion of treatment and diversionary measures, or
the agency’s efforts to eliminate the introduction of contraband on prison facilities, it was the hard work and determination of the agency’s employees that maintained a safe and secure environment.
TDCJ is made up of more than 40,000 devoted criminal justice professionals, each taking pride and ownership in the public safety of Texas. They have earned my respect and my appreciation for their services to this great state.
Oliver J. Bell
Letter from the Executive Director
Dear Chairman Bell and members of the Board:
While every year is noteworthy, during Fiscal Year 2009 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice faced many challenges and achieved many accomplishments, so it is with particular pleasure that I present you with the agency’s Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Review.
The year began with Hurricane Ike devastating parts of the Texas Gulf Coast. Once again TDCJ employees proved capable of meeting any challenge as they provided for the safety of the public and the offender population under the most difficult circumstances. Because our workforce responded so well to this hurricane, as it has to other natural disasters, it is easy to underestimate how much is required of them to maintain the essential operation of this agency under such circumstances. I know you will join me in acknowledging their efforts and expressing appreciation.
Although there were many other challenges and accomplishments during the year, to include continued implementation of the treatment and diversion initiatives funded by the 80th Legislature, installation of the new Offender Telephone System, and implementation of additional security protocols designed to combat the introduction of contraband into correctional facilities, no challenges or accomplishments are more significant than those related to the staffing of our correctional institutions.
As the year began there were just less than 3,000 correctional officer (CO) vacancies. Due to a combination of factors, including but not limited to economic conditions, changes to the correctional officer career ladder, recruiting bonuses and pay raises approved by the state’s elected officials, the number of CO vacancies had fallen to just more than 1,000 by year’s end. I cannot thank the governor and Legislature enough for their actions which benefited our workforce. While challenges related to staffing remain, the greatest operational issue facing this agency has been the number of correctional officer vacancies, and significant progress was made during Fiscal Year 2009.
So it is with great pride that I present you with the TDCJ Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Review. As always, this report is a tribute to TDCJ’s workforce. Whether they supervised offenders in our correctional facilities or in the community, delivered rehabilitative services aimed at reducing recidivism, supported crime victims as they interacted with the criminal justice system, or performed one of the many critical support functions necessary for this agency to effectively operate, these men and women continued a proud tradition of public service.
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
Throughout Fiscal Year 2009, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) overcame extreme challenges, including a devastating hurricane. By planning and preparing far in advance of Hurricane Ike’s landfall, the agency weathered the storm with no injuries and limited structural damage. In all, more than 7,000 offenders and parolees at TDCJ facilities along the Texas Gulf Coast were moved out of harm’s way days ahead of the Category 2 storm. The evacuation was the largest carried out since Hurricane Rita struck the coast in September 2005.
In Ike’s wake, TDCJ mobilized offender work crews to assist hard-hit communities with the task of cleaning up debris.
During the year, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and TDCJ enforced a zero tolerance policy regarding the smuggling of contraband into correctional facilities. Specially-equipped search teams were formed, and personnel and vehicle inspection policies and procedures enhanced.
Through dedication and outstanding performance under demanding conditions, employees fulfilled TDCJ’s primary mission to provide for the public’s safety. Despite the economic downturn throughout the nation, correctional officers, parole officers and other security personnel received a 7 percent pay increase during the 81st Legislative Session. TDCJ employees not eligible for the pay increase received a retention bonus.
Recruiting incentives and a struggling economy led to a sharp increase in the number of correctional officers during the fiscal year. By April 2009, the correctional officer vacancy rate had fallen to 5.5 percent, down considerably from its all-time high of 15.1 percent in September 2007. Among the factors cited for the lower vacancy rate was an increase in the starting salaries for new correctional offices, upgrades to the career ladder, and the offer of a $1,500 hiring bonus for officers who agreed to work at understaffed units.
The implementation of a secure, prepaid telephone system for offenders began in January 2009. The state receives 40 percent of the gross billable revenues, with the first $10 million annually going to the state’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. All remaining revenues are divided equally between that fund and the General Revenue Fund. As of August 31, 2009, 84 TDCJ units were operating a secure offender telephone system.
TDCJ continues to operate one of the world’s largest criminal justice systems, with more than 650,000 offenders on probation, parole or incarcerated in prison. Because the need for successful offender reintegration into society is critical to public safety, the agency enhanced its reentry efforts, to include the creation of a statewide reentry council, collaboration with other state agencies to develop a process for providing identification documents for offenders prior to release, and the employment of 64 reentry coordinators to provide pre- and post-release transitional planning. Also, in August 2009, TDCJ created the Reentry and Integration Division, which serves as the lead division in collaborating with external stakeholders in the offender reentry process. It also supervises and manages the new reentry coordinators, assumes responsibility of Project Re-Integration of Offenders (RIO) and manages the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments.
Financial Summary: Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2009
|Goal A: Provide Prison Diversions
|Goal B - Special Needs Offenders
|Goal C: Incarcerate Felons
|Goal D: Ensure Adequate Facilities
|Goal E: Board of Pardons and Paroles
|Goal F: Operate Parole System
|Goal G: Indirect Administration
Total Operating Budget $2,884,070,810
Source: Agency Operating Budget 2010
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 Texas 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.
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.
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.
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 violations 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.
Information Systems Division
The Information Systems Division monitors the Offender Telephone System for criminal intelligence, analyzes the information obtained, and either provides the information to OIG investigative staff and local law enforcement agencies or conducts a specific investigation based on the intelligence.
Prison Rape Elimination Act Ombudsman
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) ombudsman monitors the agency’s efforts to eliminate the occurrence of sexual assaults in correctional facilities.
The PREA ombudsman reviews the agency’s policies and procedures to ensure they are in compliance with federal and state laws and standards. Currently under review are the proposed national standards submitted to the United States attorney general by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission.
The PREA ombudsman also responds to public inquiries related to allegations of sexual assault in TDCJ correctional facilities.
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 the following areas - 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 30,777 pieces during Fiscal Year 2009.
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 Fiscal Year 2009, SCFO opened 266 new felony trial cases. Attorneys tried 15 cases to juries and obtained plea agreements for 103 offenders. In support of these efforts, investigators conducted 778 interviews and served 324 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 381 offender interviews
and 24 removal hearings during Fiscal Year 2009.
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 Fiscal Year 2009, 50 commitment cases were received, 18 cases were tried to verdict before a jury and 34 previously civilly-committed offenders underwent their biennial reviews.
The Appellate Section assists indigent offenders with appellate and writ issues, parole and mandatory supervision eligibility requirements and time-calculation questions. In Fiscal Year 2009, the section filed 49 criminal appeals. The legal assistants helped to obtain 321,822 days of jail time credit for offenders.
Windham School District
The Windham School District (WSD) provides a variety of educational programs to eligible offenders within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The programs are designed to meet the needs of adult offenders and address the legislatively-mandated goals of reducing recidivism, lowering the cost of confinement, promoting positive behavior during confinement and increasing offenders’ success in obtaining and maintaining employment. In addition to providing traditional academic and vocational education, WSD also offers life skills programs designed to meet the needs of offenders. During the 2008-2009 school year, 78,887 offenders participated in WSD programs.
Literacy programs provide basic adult education for offenders functioning below the sixth grade level and secondary level adult education for those working toward a high school equivalency certificate (GED). During the school year, 37,790 offenders participated in literacy programs and 4,893 offenders attained a GED.
Life Skills Programs
The Cognitive Intervention Program is designed to improve behavior during incarceration and after release. Perspectives and Solutions, a 15-day tolerance program implemented in response to hate crimes legislation, is offered at intake facilities. A reintegration program, Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success (CHANGES), offers a life skills curriculum to prepare offenders for release. The communication-based Parenting Program supports the development of healthy family relationships. LifeMatters, a program for offenders more than 24 months from their projected release date, provides opportunities to develop life skills and social values. During the 2008-2009 school year, 49,733 offenders participated in these programs.
Career and Technical Education Program
The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program provides 600-hour vocational training courses in 34 trades and supports apprenticeship and on-the-job training in additional occupations. During the school year, 11,290 offenders participated in the CTE program; 5,585 of those students completed training during the year
and earned vocational certificates. In addition, 3,163 industry certificates were awarded.
Postsecondary academic and vocational programs are available for offenders with a GED or high school diploma. Postsecondary programs served 8,976 students during the school year. Students work toward the attainment of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as vocational certificates in 25 fields. In the 2008-2009 school year, 382 associate degrees, 36 bachelor’s degrees, 11 master’s degrees, 1,717 vocational credit certificates, 198 noncredit vocational certificates and 1,310 workforce noncredit certificates were awarded. Offenders may pay using their Inmate Trust Fund accounts or may qualify for assistance from the federal Youthful Offender Grant program or college/university scholarships. Participating offenders can also reimburse the state after release as a condition of parole.
Project Reintegration of Offenders (RIO) Program
Project Reintegration of Offenders works with the Texas Workforce Commission to link educational and vocational training in TDCJ to job placement after release. Project RIO served 59,070 offenders during the 2008-2009 school year, and 28,472 offenders were released with a RIO Individual Employment Plan. As the year drew to a close, oversight of Project RIO was transferred to TDCJ’s new Reentry and Integration Division.
The Recreation Program provides offenders the opportunity for daily exercise and activities. Regional recreation supervisors monitor and support unit operations.
Community Justice Assistance Division
The Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) 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 122 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.
- 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.
CJAD does not work directly with offenders, but rather works with the local CSCDs that supervise the offenders. The community justice plans of judicial districts determine the offender services of 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/correctional programs.
The 79th Texas Legislature allocated approximately $55.5 million in new diversion program (DP) funds for Fiscal Year 2006-2007 to strengthen community supervision through reduced caseload sizes, increased residential treatment and a system of progressive sanctions to address technical violations.
The 80th Texas Legislature followed up the efforts of its predecessor with increased DP funding to provide CSCDs equal access to statewide resources and equip judges, prosecutors and CSOs with the tools they need to successfully change offender behavior. This new diversion program funding for Fiscal Year 2008-2009 included:
- $63.1 million increase for 1,500 new substance abuse felony punishment treatment beds.
- $32.3 million increase for 800 new community corrections beds.
- $28.8 million increase for 1,400 new intermediate sanction beds shared with the Parole Division.
- $17.5 million increase in basic supervision funding.
- $10 million increase for outpatient substance abuse treatment.
- $10 million increase for mental health treatment through the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments.
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. Community supervision funding for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 included:
- $11.1 million increase in basic supervision funding for increased population projections.
- $13.1 million increase to raise the salary of community supervision officers and direct care staff through a 3.5 percent pay increase in Fiscal Year 2010 and an additional 3.5 percent salary increase in Fiscal Year 2011.
- $20 million increase 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. The Council of State Governments recently released Ten Strategies to Sustaining More Effective Practices in a Probation Department, based on implementation of EBP in the Travis County CSCD. CJAD and the Council of State Governments are developing a similar initiative for the Bexar County CSCD. 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 based on the Ten Strategies blueprint which will be used by mid- and small-sized departments.
Another top priority for community supervision is to increase assessment-driven supervision and treatment. CJAD worked with stakeholders to develop an assessment-driven substance abuse treatment continuum of care. It includes the establishment of a validated standard for the assessment process before placement in a substance abuse program. It also incorporates a decision tree based on local and state resources and relevant offender characteristics that are linked to program options. The substance abuse treatment continuum was finalized in Fiscal Year 2009 and distributed to judges, prosecutors and community supervision professionals for immediate use. Fiscal Year 2009 also saw the beginning of a subcommittee to evaluate and update the statewide assessment tool for Texas community supervision.
CJAD, CSCDs and other community supervision stakeholders continue to work together to strengthen community supervision during the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 biennium. Important steps toward this end include:
- Recruiting and retaining qualified CSOs, residential officers and staff. CJAD is distributing Fiscal Year 2010 funding for CSO and direct care staff salary increases, with additional Fiscal Year 2011 funding to be distributed next year.
- Having a complete and accurate Community Supervision Tracking System (CSTS). CJAD is phasing out the Monthly Community Supervision and Corrections Report, which it uses to collect data and allocate funding to CSCDs, in favor of funding formulated from information taken directly from CSTS. CJAD will be able to pull certain program data from CSTS to verify program participation and ensure that funding for direct supervision cases goes where it’s most needed.
- Implementing the remaining new diversion funding 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, 2009, 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 cellblock facilities, additional medical facilities, boot camps and a work camp co-located within several of the facilities mentioned. At the end of the fiscal year, there were 139,231 institutional offenders, 12,536 state jail offenders and 3,312 SAFPF offenders for a total of 155,079 offenders incarcerated in TDCJ facilities. CID employed 28,642 security staff at the end of this fiscal year.
This division is divided into three areas: Prison and Jail Operations, Management Operations and Support Operations. Each area is led by a deputy director. An additional department that reports directly to the CID director is the Office of CID Ombudsman.
The TDCJ-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, Prison and Jail Operations, oversees six regional directors who are 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.
Each of the six regional directors, in their respective geographical region, is responsible for a hierarchy of staff members who provide security at each prison unit and state jail.
The mission of Security Systems is to provide technical assistance and operational support to the CID administration and correctional facilities in the areas of staffing, surveillance, armory, technology and research, budget, operational/incident reviews and field/kennel operations.
The Staffing Section is responsible for analyzing, developing and maintaining staffing documents for all units and conducting unit specific staffing evaluations. The Surveillance/Video 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, firearms, ammunition and chemical agents for the agency. The Technology and Research Section is responsible for testing and evaluating security equipment and providing technical assistance. The Budget Section monitors expenditures for budgeted programs and audits, and prepares financial documents, reports and budget requests. The Operational/Incident Review Section performs reviews that monitor unit adherence to policy and provides agency leadership with trend analysis and information to enhance security system wide. The Field/Kennel Section provides monitoring, training and technical support to the field force and kennel staff.
Notable Security Systems achievements during 2009 include posting the Security Systems Procedures Manual on the TDCJ Intranet and providing various departments with an up-to-date source of technical guidance and methods to fulfill agency policy. Additionally, unit radio allocation levels have increased by more than 2,400 system wide.
The CID deputy director, Management Operations, provides oversight of Correctional Training and Staff Development, Plans and Operations, the Safe Prisons Program Management Office, the Community Liaison Office and the Security Threat Group Management Office.
Correctional Training and Staff Development
Correctional Training and Staff Development provided preservice training to 7,605 participants, of which 89 percent graduated. Additionally, 29,353 employees attended annual in-service training. More than 3,330 received specialized training, 2,190 supervisors attended leadership development training and 2,791 participated in ancillary training.
The quality of training provided to agency employees continued to improve during Fiscal Year 2009. 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 include, but are not limited to, Drug Identification, Offender Management Skills, Security Threat Groups, Team Building, and Contraband Intervention.
Plans and Operations
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. The department may serve as the liaison to other state
agencies and government officials. Plans and Operations participates in the research, evaluation and audit of offender suicide prevention, manages the CID Web content and disseminates information concerning emergency preparedness. The department also coordinates, trains and audits the agency’s offender property and community work project procedures. In addition, it trains and compiles offender drug testing reports and completes special projects assigned by management.
Safe Prisons Program Management Office
The Safe Prisons Program Management Office provides administrative oversight to the Safe Prisons Program and technical support to the Unit Safe Prisons Program coordinators and executive administrative staff on issues of in-prison sexual assaults. The agency has a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault. Safe Prisons Program awareness training and extortion awareness training provide staff with an overview of the Safe Prisons Plan, as well as information about how to detect, prevent and respond to sexual assault and extortion. Offender victims’ representative training enhances the skills of staff that provide support services for offenders who have been victims of sexual assault. The Safe Prisons Program Management Office maintains a database of reported alleged sexual assaults and analyzes characteristics related to time, location and demographics of the participants. This office also provides statistics related to extortion, offender protection investigations and allegations of sexual assaults, which help identify issues for further policy revision and development.
The Community Liaison Office facilitates the coordination and implementation of reentry initiatives and prison deterrence education programs for the agency. These tasks require communication and coordination with local, state and national community organizations and agencies as well as multiple divisions, departments and units within TDCJ. This office oversees prison deterrence education programs targeting young adults and adult probationers. This is accomplished using offenders to inform, educate and advise the public about the negative consequences of poor decisions involving drugs, alcohol, crime and gangs. The Community Liaison Office also acts as the coordinating oversight authority for the agency’s Crisis Response Intervention Support Program, and is the reporting authority for prison tours.
Security Threat Group
The Security Threat Group Management Office (STGMO) monitors the activities of security threat groups (gangs) and their members who threaten the safety and security of TDCJ units, staff and offenders. The STGMO provides oversight, training and technical support for the unit-level staff who gather information on the activities of security threat group members. It works closely with law enforcement agencies by sharing information on security threat groups and their members.
The CID deputy director, Support Operations, oversees the support functions on all TDCJ-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
The Classification and Records Department oversees diverse matters pertaining to offender management and provides technical support for various administrative and unit-based departments. It includes the Classification and Records Office (CRO), Unit Classification and Count Room Department, Intake Department and the State Classification Committee.
The Classification and Records Office schedules, receives, processes and transports 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. In Fiscal Year 2009, the CRO assisted in coordinating the opening of the Burnet Unit, which houses in-prison therapeutic community, substance abuse felony punishment facility and intermediate sanction facility offenders.
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/operations. During Fiscal Year 2009, the department compiled a database of offender housing information to improve tracking and recognition of offenders. Also, a mainframe evacuation tracking (EVAC) system was created during Fiscal Year 2009. The EVAC system will help TDCJ staff evacuate and track offenders during crisis situations. EVAC system training was provided to unit classification senior staff at all units designated on the agency hurricane evacuation schedule and to administrative staff involved in the CID Command Center operation.
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 Fiscal Year 2009, the mainframe State Jail System was enhanced to include pre-incarceration and quality control functions. The enhancements allow entry of state jail commitment information and ensure that each offender received is accurately identified with verified time calculations. Intake staff at each facility was trained, and the system enhancements were successfully implemented.
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 SCC 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 families and friends and facilitates offenders’ access to courts and public officials. The MSCP provides procedural training and technical assistance for unit mailroom staff and conducts operational review mailroom audits. It also generates investigations regarding receipts of threats and unidentifiable substances in uninspected mail 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 unit operational reviews. This office also produces management statistical reports each month, coordinates the revisions to the disciplinary rules and procedures, and updates and coordinates the printing of the Offender Disciplinary Rules Handbook and the Standard Offense Pleadings Handbook. During Fiscal Year 2009, this office completed 39 unit operational reviews.
The Office of the Disciplinary Coordination also oversees the Office of Spanish Language Coordination, which manages Spanish language assistance services and tests employees’ proficiency in the language for designation as qualified interpreters. Also, this office is responsible for conducting division-level unit operational reviews of Spanish language assistance. During Fiscal Year 2009, the office completed 39 unit operational reviews, 410 pages of translations and coordinated the testing of 286 employees.
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. These employees conduct certification training and provide technical assistance and continuous support for the disciplinary hearing officers and counsel substitute staff.
Offender Transportation is headquartered in Huntsville at the Byrd Unit with five regional offices located in Amarillo, Abilene, Tennessee Colony, Rosharon and Beeville. This department is responsible for unit-to-unit transfers, state and federal court appearances, medical transfers, 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 and one car. More than 4.5 million miles were traveled and 503,462 offenders were transported in Fiscal Year 2009. This department works closely with Classification and Records to ensure timely, efficient and safe transport of offenders.
Laundry, Food and Supply
Laundry, Food and Supply manages the food, laundry, necessities and unit supply operations. These unit-based programs are vital to the unit’s mission and offenders’ well being. The department is responsible for ensuring that 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 and Lee College. Upon completion of 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, 80,000 parole and mandatory offenders were under active supervision by approximately 1,275 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 2009, 10,544 offenders were placed in ISFs. Two ISFs participate in the Substance Abuse Counseling Program. The South Texas ISF houses 350 offenders, while the North Texas ISF houses 294. Programs and services offered in these facilities encourage offender compliance through appropriate supervision and interventions.
This year, the Parole Division ombudsman responded to 10,213 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 Fiscal Year 2009, 9,981 Texas probationers and 4,119 parolees were supervised outside the state. Another 6,039 out-of-state probationers and 2,848 out-of-state parolees were supervised in Texas.
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 1,455 parole employees participated in in-service training classes in 2009. Performance reviews of the 67 district parole offices were completed during the fiscal year.
Support Services consists of four sections: Review and Release Processing, Specialized Programs, Warrants and the Training Academy. 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.
During Fiscal Year 2009, institutional parole officers submitted 79,390 case summaries and 18,977 discretionary mandatory supervision transmittals for BPP use in making release decisions. Thirty-three summaries for clemency decisions on death penalty cases were prepared. In the summer of 2009, the 81st Texas Legislature transferred the institutional parole officers to the BPP.
The Huntsville Placement and Release Unit (HPRU) issued 35,956 release certificates and processed 20,668 parole and 12,782 mandatory supervision releases to parole supervision. HPRU placed 6,588 offenders into residential reentry centers and 3,442 offenders into transitional treatment centers.
The Central File Coordination Unit oversees the movement and maintenance of approximately 300,000 case files of offenders under Parole Division jurisdiction and inmates 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 parole staff in addressing anger management, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse, victim impact and pre-employment preparation. In Fiscal Year 2009, a monthly average of 1,499 offenders was served.
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative provides administrative segregation offenders with reentry services that begin during incarceration and continue upon release to 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 Fiscal Year 2009.
The Special Needs Offender Program, 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 Fiscal Year 2009, 40 Medically-Recommended Intensive Supervision (MRIS) offenders were released to supervision, with a monthly average of 210 MRIS offenders supervised under the program. An average of 198 MR, 4,449 MI and 713 TI/PH offenders were supervised monthly.
The Sex Offender Program supervises a monthly average of 2,857 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 3,037 offenders received services from contracted vendors and specially-trained parole officers during Fiscal Year 2009.
The Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP) provides relapse prevention services to offenders with substance abuse problems. Level I prevention services were provided to 26,411 offenders in Fiscal Year 2009. Level II outpatient treatment services were provided by vendors and parole counselors to 15,706 offenders. The SACP intermediate sanction facilities provided residential treatment to 3,285 offenders.
The Drug Testing Program has incorporated new instant-read testing devices. These devices increase accountability and reduce chain of custody issues involved with drug testing. An average of 127,836 tests was conducted each month in Fiscal Year 2009.
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 Fiscal Year 2009, 36,528 warrants were issued, 25,335 were confirmed and 29,524 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.
The section has two units in operation 24 hours a day. The command center 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 to allow the public to report locations of offenders who have failed to report.
The Extradition Unit tracks Texas offenders arrested in other states and offenders returned to a TDCJ correctional institution who have not been through the prerevocation process. This year, 726 offenders were extradited to Texas and 246 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. It 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. An average of 72 offenders was on active GPS during each month of the year, with real-time tracking in place for those at highest risk. An average of 1,519 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 1,206 offenders was on electronic monitoring each month this year.
The Parole Officer Training Academy in Beeville provides 216 hours of pre-service foundation training for new officers. Training was provided to 194 new officers in 11 classes during Fiscal Year 2009.
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 63 officers. During Fiscal Year 2009, 544 officers attended training classes.
Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division
The Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division (PFCMOD) is responsible for oversight and monitoring of contracts for privately-operated secure facilities as well as community-based facilities, which includes substance abuse treatment services.
The division’s responsibilities include managing and monitoring privately-operated facilities: 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, two multiuse facilities, seven privately-operated halfway houses, and 20 substance abuse aftercare treatment facilities (community-based transitional treatment centers). PFCMOD is responsible for monitoring 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. There were approximately 17,500 offenders in privately-operated facilities, not including transitional treatment centers or temporary housing, monitored by the PFCMOD during Fiscal Year 2009.
Rehabilitation Programs Division
The Rehabilitation Programs Division (RPD) coordinates with multiple divisions within TDCJ to provide effective, evidence-based treatment services for individual offenders throughout their periods of incarceration and supervision. Emphasis is placed on the reintegration of offenders into the community.
Chaplaincy uses a holistic approach to enhance an offender’s spirituality. Programs focus on the development of life-changing goals among offenders and are delivered through spiritual growth groups, mentoring and volunteer programs.
Faith-based dorms were implemented in January 2003 and have expanded to 21 facilities. The faith-based dorms offer support and accountability, along with an intensive faith-based curriculum and mentoring programs. 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 within the institution and has a transitional aftercare component.
Offender DNA Collection
In 1996 the agency began collecting blood specimens for DNA analysis from offenders convicted of certain sex offenses. Samples are now collected from all offenders incarcerated in a TDCJ facility or a facility under contract with TDCJ. 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.
Sex Offender Risk Assessment
The executive director of TDCJ is required by law to appoint a 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 warranted. The 80th Legislature required that a Dynamic Risk Assessment tool be implemented by TDCJ for offenders serving a sentence for an offense that requires registration.
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 who have been determined to pose a higher reoffense risk. 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, transitional services and post-release supervision for offenders in administrative segregation. SVORI is a coordinated partnership between the Rehabilitation Programs Division, the Correctional Institutions Division, the Parole Division and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP). 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. Offenders with the parole stipulation of SVORI aftercare must also participate in Phase II.
Substance Abuse Treatment
The Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF) / In-Prison Therapeutic Community (IPTC) provide services to qualified offenders who are 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 mental health and/or medical diagnoses. Offenders are sentenced to a SAFPF by a judge as a condition of their community supervision in lieu of going to prison/state jail, or voted in by the BPP as a modification of their parole.
The Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program and Pre-Release Therapeutic Community (PRTC) are intensive six-month programs 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 BPP. The PRTC is a coordinated effort between RPD, Windham School District and the Parole Division.
The Driving While Intoxicated In-Prison Program is a six-month multimodal program with an aftercare component containing a variety of educational modules and treatment activities, to include group and individual therapy.
The State Jail Substance Abuse Program is a multimodal program 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 criminal history.
COURAGE Program for Youthful Offenders
The Youthful Offender Program, now the COURAGE Program, was established in 1995 in response to changes in the law that allow offenders as young as 14 to be tried and sentenced as adults. These young offenders (ages 14 through 17) are separated from the adult incarcerated population and live in sheltered housing that uses a token economy to promote positive change and enhance self-improvement. Treatment includes education, social skills training, anger management, values development, goal setting, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse counseling, conflict resolution, aggression replacement and life skills.
Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) Pre-Release Program
The Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) pre-release program is funded by a Department of Justice grant. The PRI is a collaborative effort between TDCJ and the Department of Labor’s faith/community-based organizations. The program is a 90-day, three-phase model focusing on cognitive behavioral change, employment and transitional planning. Prior to release, offenders develop a Transitional Community Plan and are connected with the program’s community partners for continued services and training. The PRI is offered at Lychner, Kegans, Hutchins, Dominguez and Plane state jails.
The Plane State Jail Wraparound Program allows community resource providers to meet female offenders prior to their release. The 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 Girl Scout Council-facilitated prison visits, 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, Texas SKIP (Supporting Kids of Incarcerated Parents) 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 Clemens Unit COURAGE Program.
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 RPD, a link on the agency’s website (www.tdcj.state.tx.us) provides a reliable connection to valuable resources and services across Texas.
Several organizations are working 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 is a partnership among TDCJ Health Services, CID, the University of Texas Medical Branch and philanthropic foundations to provide child development education and training for new offender mothers in a residential setting. The program gives offender mothers and their newborns the opportunity to form a healthy attachment in a secure setting.
Rehabilitation Tier Tracking and Placement
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has a rehabilitation tier voting option. The vote designates 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 RPD (Substance Abuse Treatment, Chaplaincy and Sex Offender Treatment), CID, the Victim Services Division, the Parole Division, the Private Facilities Contract Monitoring Oversight Division and the Windham School District.
Reentry and Integration Division
Established in August 2009, the Reentry and Integration Division (RID) assists incarcerated offenders as they transition from TDCJ supervision back into society by developing and coordinating a seamless resource support system. The division works with groups both within and outside the agency to identify gaps in service delivery, share information, promote best practices on reentry issues and minimize waste.
A Reentry Task Force composed of criminal justice, health and human services, education, regulatory, judicial and special interest groups provides 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 operates three main programs: 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, and continuity of care for non-offender populations such as 46.B defendants (those 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 given a full pardon from 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 the Texas 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. The program, formerly managed by the Windham School District, was transferred to RID oversight near the end of the fiscal year.
To improve their chances for a successful reintegration into the community, incarcerated RIO participants are counseled regarding 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 prior to 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 Legislative Session, 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 and/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) is a confidential notification database that provides victims, their families and concerned citizens with written information throughout the parole review process. Individuals are added to the VNS from Victim Impact Statements or at their request. At the end of Fiscal Year 2009, there were 152,364 individuals registered on VNS. During the fiscal year, Victim Services processed 163,112 pieces of correspondence.
Toll Free Information Hotline
Between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, Victim Services representatives answer calls and provide information about offender status, the criminal justice system, personal meetings with parole board members and services available to victims through the division. There were 43,871 telephone calls processed in Fiscal Year 2009. In addition, 612 calls pertaining to protective orders were processed and referred to the Texas Advocacy Project.
Victim Information and Notification Everyday
Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) is a toll-free automated telephone service which allows victims to obtain offender information 24 hours a day in English or Spanish. If requested by a victim, VINE can automatically call to notify them when their offender is being processed for release. This system is a service offered to victims in addition to written notification. There were 13,022 VINE “call-ins” and 246 “call-outs” in Fiscal Year 2009.
Case File Analysts
Offender case files are managed by the case file analysts who liaison between victims and parole board members, criminal justice professionals and law enforcement personnel. Assistance is provided for victims requesting imposition of special conditions, explanation of the parole process and interpretation of state parole laws. In Fiscal Year 2009, 3,693 cases were analyzed and 238 transmittals were processed to the parole board requesting special conditions or protesting the release of an offender, or both.
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 legislative session. The VIS is available in English and Spanish. TxCVC provides VIS training to victim assistance staff in district and county attorneys’ offices. It also sponsors an educational conference for victims, victim advocates and other criminal justice professionals. A quarterly newsletter, The Victim’s Informer, is produced by TxCVC and mailed to approximately 4,000 people.
Victim Impact Panel Program
Through the Victim Impact Panel Program, victims and survivors of crime have the opportunity to share details of their victimization by addressing audiences of criminal justice professionals and offenders. The goal is to involve victims and survivors in the criminal justice process and give them a voice. There were 45 impact panels conducted in Fiscal Year 2009 with 31 new victim panelists and 73 referral or repeat panelists participating. More than 510 criminal justice professionals and 990 offenders attended.
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue Program
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue is a victim-initiated program that provides victims and survivors of violent crime the opportunity to have a structured, face-to-face meeting with their offender in a safe environment. Mediation is a process chosen by some victims to facilitate healing and recovery and to ask questions only the offender can answer. Under certain circumstances, alternatives are utilized in lieu of face-to-face mediation. Surrogate offenders or videotaped statements by the victim or the offender are two examples of these alternatives. There were 50 mediations completed in Fiscal Year 2009.
Victim Support & 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 927 victim advocates and service providers, students, criminal justice professionals and law enforcement personnel trained in Fiscal Year 2009. The program also provides training in individual peer support intervention for TDCJ employees interested in serving in the Crisis Response Intervention and Support Program (CRISP). CRISP teams are composed of dedicated volunteer employees throughout TDCJ, who have been trained in peer support to help mitigate the effects of a traumatic experience. This training is certified by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.
Victim Services facilitates the viewing of executions for victims. 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. Witnesses are prepared for and accompanied to the execution viewing by a Victim Services staff member. Staff also provides follow-up support and referrals as needed. During Fiscal Year 2009, at least one Victim Services representative attended 20 executions, providing support to 95 victim witnesses.
Prison Tours are conducted to educate victims, criminal justice staff and others about the realities of prison life in Texas.
Bridges To Life
During Fiscal Year 2009, Bridges to Life and Restoring Peace projects have taken place on 22 prison units, with 47 projects in progress during the year. The projects last 12 to 14 weeks and are conducted in small group settings. Discussion topics include crime, domestic violence, DWI, accountability, guilt, forgiveness and restitution. Nearly 295 victim/volunteers participated during the year, with some attending more than one project at a time. More than 1,640 offenders participated during the fiscal year.
Special Projects / Ombudsman
During Fiscal Year 2009, a position was established to handle special projects. The primary responsibilities of this position are to act as ombudsman and interact with county and regional victim services coalitions
Administrative Review & Risk Management Division
Access to Courts Program
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, Open Records requests, telephonic court hearings, correspondence supplies for indigent offenders, notary public services, offender legal and educational in-cell storage management, parole revocation hearing reviews and court transcript administration. Law library attendance in Fiscal Year 2009 totaled 551,267. The number of legal research materials delivered to offenders with indirect law library access totaled 251,656.
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 Fiscal Year 2009, 6,516 major Use of Force incidents occurred in TDCJ.
Monitoring & Standards
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. Follow-up reviews are then conducted to document any findings that require corrective action. In addition, staff investigates allegations of offender misconduct, including supervisory authority over other offenders, special privileges and access to sensitive information. Monitoring and Standards also coordinates and assists correctional facilities in obtaining accreditation from the American Correctional Association. During Fiscal Year 2009, nine facilities received their initial accreditation. The TDCJ Hospital at Galveston is scheduled for initial accreditation during Fiscal Year 2012.
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 Fiscal Year 2009, unit grievance investigators handled more than 168,000 grievances at the unit level, while central office staff processed more than 41,000 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 19,880 inquiries in Fiscal Year 2009 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. Fiscal Year 2009 saw a 7 percent decrease in employee injuries and a 2 percent decrease in resulting workers’ compensation claims.
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 following departments: Accounting and Business Services, Agribusiness, Land and Minerals, Budget, Commissary and Trust Fund, Contracts and Procurement, Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Program, Office of Space Management and Payroll Processing.
Accounting and Business Services Department
Accounting and Business Services consists of Financial Analysis and Support, 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 2009, Accounts Payable received and processed approximately 135,000 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.
In calendar year 2008, Agribusiness raised 31 varieties of fruits and vegetables in gardens comprising 4,445 acres, with production in excess of 16.5 million pounds. Community-style, unit-managed gardens contributed an additional 4.5 million pounds of fresh vegetables. Nearly 30,900 acres were dedicated to the production of cotton, grains and grasses, resulting in the harvest of 99.4 million pounds of product. At the close of calendar year 2008, on-hand livestock included 16,716 head of cattle, 22,480 swine, 281,154 laying hens and 1,589 horses. The poultry program produced approximately 5.7 million dozen eggs and the swine program shipped 33,729 hogs to the packing plant. During this period, agency food processing plants canned 243,884 cases of vegetables and delivered more than 24 million pounds of finished meat items.
Agribusiness makes use of approximately 2,500 offenders in its numerous enterprises. Many of these offenders are offered the opportunity to learn marketable job skills that may assist them in securing employment upon their release.
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 Fiscal Year 2009 Operating Budget, developed and continuously monitored by the Budget Department, totals $2.884 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, craft shop supplies, periodicals and subscriptions, some over-the-counter medications and other approved expenditures. In Fiscal Year 2009, more than 1.8 million deposits totaling $108.7 million were received and processed. An automated remittance system is used to encode, image, endorse and facilitate the electronic posting of the large number of deposits collected by the trust fund.
The department operates two warehouse and distribution centers that provide merchandise for resale at commissary locations throughout the state. Merchandise sold includes candy, packaged meat products, coffee, soft drinks, greeting cards, shoes and electronics. Utilizing 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 $90 million in Fiscal Year 2009.
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 Fiscal Year 2009, the department processed approximately 47,000 Advanced Purchasing and Inventory Control Systems (ADPICS) requisitions, with more than 46,000 purchase order procurement actions processed. In addition, the department completed approximately 1,000 contract procurement actions.
The Contracts and Procurement Department continues to promote the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program and strives to improve HUB participation in the procurement of goods and services.
Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Program
The mission of the HUB Program is to promote equal contracting opportunities with historically underutilized businesses. HUBs, as defined by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, are businesses that have been historically underutilized and have at least 51 percent ownership by the following groups:
- Asia-Pacific Americans
- African Americans
- Hispanic Americans
- Native Americans
- American Women
The HUB Program sponsors an annual vendor fair and participates in a number of HUB forums. It also assists in certifying 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. At the end of Fiscal Year 2009, OSM provided support for approximately 89 leases. In addition, OSM activities include ensuring efficient use of both lease and state-owned administrative properties. Other OSM functions include liaison activities involving the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC), resolving payment issues between Accounts Payable and lessors, assistance in resolution of maintenance issues between tenants and lessors, and assistance in obtaining necessary management and budgetary approvals on behalf of TDCJ. When an emergency occurs in a leased administrative space, OSM staff provides immediate, on-site assistance with relocation, support for communication needs, assistance related to public safety issues and proper notification of the emergency to 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 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 compliance are also administered through this department, which includes the preparation of numerous complex technical 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 33,000 personal computers, terminals, routers, radios, telephone switches and other devices are operated and supported on behalf of the agency. Additionally, the division operates and maintains numerous computer and telephone voice networks and a Wide Area Network (WAN) that connects parole offices, correctional facilities and administrative offices in Huntsville, Austin and across the state.
In Fiscal Year 2009, the division successfully migrated to a new mainframe computer at the Texas State Data Center, completed a successful disaster recovery test at the IBM Recovery Center in Boulder, Colorado and continued implementation and activation of the TDCJ Offender Telephone System at respective Correctional Institutions Division unit locations. The data center consolidation service contract with the state’s Department of Information Resources is currently in the transformation phase and is scheduled to be completed in 2010.
Manufacturing & Logistics Division
The Manufacturing and Logistics Division benefits the state by providing work and training opportunities for incarcerated offenders. The division provides quality service in warehousing operations, freight transportation, management of the TDCJ fleet, and by providing quality manufactured products and services to TDCJ and other state agencies and political subdivisions.
The division collaborates with the Windham School District and post-secondary educational institutions to establish work and training programs directed toward the effective rehabilitation of offenders. Training opportunities consist of apprenticeship programs, diversified career preparation programs, short course programs, on-the-job training programs and college vocational courses. Nationally recognized certifications are offered through the Environmental Protection Agency, Outdoor Power Equipment & Engine Service Association, American Welding Society and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. These work and training programs reduce offender idleness, provide opportunities for offenders to develop a work ethic while learning marketable job skills, and are specifically targeted to reduce recidivism.
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 2009, 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 $3 million and contributed $346,976 in federal taxes, $154,151 to crime victims’ compensation, $12,956 to restitution, $433,594 for family support and $1,536,596 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 to help reduce recidivism, and to 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 Fiscal Year 2009 exceeded $95 million.
Fleet Transportation has oversight of approximately 2,100 licensed vehicles as well as several thousand trailers and other equipment.
Freight Transportation manages a fleet of 202 trucks and 511 trailers. During the fiscal year, four dispatch offices coordinated more than 27,000 freight hauls and logged approximately 6.2 million miles.
Warehousing & Supply
Warehousing and Supply manages eight warehouses with an average inventory of more than $28 million and maintains 5,878 items in stock. Approximately $155 million in supplies were distributed to food warehouses, the Prison Store in Huntsville and other facilities during Fiscal Year 2009.
Health Services Division
The Health Services Division monitors access to timely, 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 health 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 the private contractors in monitoring quality of care. The clinical and professional resources of the health care providers are used to the greatest extent feasible for clinical oversight of quality of care issues as mandated by government code.
- Conducting compliance (operational review) audits.
- Investigating and responding to Step 2 medical grievances, inquiries and complaints.
- Controlling the transmission of infectious diseases in TDCJ. The Office of Public Health collects statistics on the occurrence of selected diseases.
- 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 the agency’s HR programs, policies and services to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and to fulfill the needs of TDCJ employees.
The Employee Classification Department completed the 81st Texas Legislature State Classification Plan salary conversion changes. For Fiscal Year 2010, comprehensive classification changes were made during the salary conversion. The Policy Development and Legislative Review Department revised 11 personnel directives related to 20 bills passed by the 81st Legislature.
Employee Retirement System (ERS) retirement benefits were modified during the 81st Legislature. The modifications will improve the fund’s financial position and ensure that ERS will continue to be a dependable and healthy public retirement system for future participants. These extensive modifications were communicated to employees through training and printed materials.
TDCJ employees participated in the 2009 Texas Round-Up Governor’s Challenge and earned their third consecutive silver medal in the Large State Agencies category (5,000+ employees). More than 11,490 employees participated in the six-week physical activity program, an initiative of the TDCJ wellness program, Wellness Initiative Now (WIN).
Employee Relations/Labor Relations
Forty-one external EEO cases were closed with no EEO findings. The Dispute Resolution Program for employees achieved a 95 percent agreement rate in 127 sessions. This success rate improved the daily work environment for participating staff.
A targeted pay increase for correctional and parole officers as well as unit-based employees was authorized by the Legislature. These employees received, on average, a 3.5 percent increase in their gross monthly pay effective September 1, 2009. In addition, those same employees will see another 3.5 percent increase effective September 1, 2010. The remaining eligible employees received an $800 gross payment retention bonus on August 30, 2009.
Both the TDCJ and correctional officer (CO) attrition rates fell in Fiscal Year 2009. The agency attrition rate was 17.3 percent, down from 19.9 percent in the prior fiscal year. The CO attrition rate for Fiscal Year 2009 was 21.3 percent, down from 24.1 percent the prior fiscal year.
The CO staff shortage level of 1,043 in August 2009 was the lowest in over a decade, and is a significant improvement from the August 2008 level of 3,025. HR implemented several aggressive CO recruiting strategies during the fiscal year that positively affected CO staffing:
- Advertised on radio in 16 areas with CO staffing shortages: Abilene, Amarillo, Beaumont, Beeville, Dalhart, Grapeland, Crockett, Huntsville, Fort Stockton, Palestine, Lufkin, Lubbock, Sweetwater, Wichita Falls, West Texas and the Panhandle area.
- 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 213 job fairs and conducted 32 hiring seminars.
- Revised recruitment materials and website to include information regarding the legislatively authorized CO salary increase.
Office of the Chief of Staff
In Fiscal Year 2009, the Office of the Chief of Staff had oversight of Governmental Affairs, Executive Support and Media Services.
Governmental Affairs ensures that all relevant legislation passed by the Texas Legislature is implemented in a timely fashion and coordinates with legislative committees to assist in supplying departmental statistics and resource information for committee members. This section also assists in the coordination of special projects and fields inquiries about 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 center 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. During Fiscal Year 2009, the EAC received more than 17,498 reports of serious or unusual incidents occurring at TDCJ facilities. EAC works with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management to monitor emergencies such as hurricanes, fires and floods that could affect the agency.
Media Services supports TDCJ in the production of printed and audiovisual materials, graphic design, photography and website content management.
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 TBCJ meetings, Board committee meetings and special events.
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 2008 Annual Review and the TDCJ Phone and Address Directory.
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 various internal and external entities.
Media Services’ website coordinator integrates current information from TDCJ divisions into the agency’s website, located at www.tdcj.state.tx.us. 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 mission of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is to provide competent legal services in a timely manner. OGC provides legal advice and opinions to the agency and its employees. It is also a legal resource for non-clients, such as members of the Legislature, community supervision and corrections departments, judges, prosecutors and other attorneys. OGC is divided into three sections: Legal Affairs, Litigation Support and Program Administration.
Legal Affairs prepares internal legal opinions and provides advice to the agency by interpreting constitutional, statutory and case law. Legal advice pertains to community supervision, offender management, corrections, parole, environmental, employment, purchasing and contracts, and agricultural law. OGC advises the agency on requests for public information and seeks Open Records opinions from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). OGC coordinates the agency’s response to state and federal writs of habeas corpus. It negotiates, drafts and reviews contracts and other transactional documents. It also reviews internal investigations, disciplinary proceedings, discrimination complaints and the agency’s investigation and response. Employee dismissals and major Use of Force reports are also reviewed by Legal Affairs.
Litigation Support assists OAG in representing the agency and its employees in litigation. OGC assists OAG in trial preparation by locating documents, coordinating witnesses, facilitating settlement offers, attending trials and providing other support functions as needed.
Program Administration provides administrative support for OGC. This section’s responsibilities include fiscal management and divisional human resources administration. It is also responsible for drafting reports, writing and maintaining OGC policies and procedures, case management tracking, records retention and storage, and claims processing. Program Administration also schedules videoconference evidentiary hearings for courts.
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 its status as the second largest prison system in the United States, TDCJ is often the focus of in-depth reports and documentaries, as well as many timely or breaking news stories. PIO works with media throughout the world to tell the TDCJ story. It assists reporters in covering 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 and budget matters, individual inmates, prison programs and the death penalty was provided to reporters. PIO facilitates interviews between the media and inmates, and also spends a significant amount of time coordinating death row media interviews and serving as a media escort at each execution.
PIO distributes news releases and media advisories on various events and activities of significance and 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 always on call to answer media inquiries that come in after regular business hours.
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 to the media and educate the public on the workings of the agency.
Jerry Holdenried, Director
David Nunnelee, Editor
Eva Gonzales, Graphic Designer
David Nunnelee and Jene Robbins, Photographers
Published by Texas Department of Criminal Justice