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An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

April 2020

TDCJ Mourns Loss of Akbar Shabazz

CO Akbar Shabazz

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is mourning the loss of a long-time agency leader that may be related to the COVID-19 virus.

Chaplain Akbar Shabazz fell ill on April 3, 2020 with symptoms of COVID-19. After a nearly three weeklong fight, Shabazz passed away early this morning at Methodist Hospital in The Woodlands. He was 70 years old and had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. Mr. Shabazz began his more than 40 years of service as a TDCJ volunteer and joined the agency as an employee in September of 1977. His formal title was Regional Area Muslim Chaplain in that role, he coordinated Taleem classes, Jum'mah services and led the coordination of yearly Ramadan observances.

“Chaplain Shabazz was a part of the foundation of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,” said Bryan Collier TDCJ Executive Director. “His dedication to his faith, his family, and this agency will not ever be forgotten. I considered him a personal friend and this loss to all is heavy. We can only hope that the thoughts and prayers of the TDCJ family help to lighten the burden.”

Mr. Shabazz will be deeply missed for his leadership, his knowledge and his endless willingness to help anywhere he was needed.