An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Five and a Half Decades of TDCJ Employment - Robert Moore
Fifty-five years ago, our country was fighting the North Vietnamese overseas… civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy were assassinated… the first manned mission to the moon happened… and Robert Moore began working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
A native of Reagan, Texas, in Falls County, Moore graduated from Marlin High School in 1965. He came to Sam Houston State University to further his education with a criminology degree and found out that he could pay for his schooling by working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
A TDCJ career that has spanned five decades has been defined by positions at the Ferguson Unit in Midway where Moore was a custodial officer, a sergeant, and a lieutenant before being promoted to Special Services and later the State Classification Committee, which he became the Vice-Chairman of in 1990. Three years later he promoted to the assistant director of Classification Operations and retired from that post in January 2000. He returned to the agency that following August as a program specialist in Executive Administration where he continues to focus on capacity and immigration issues and serves as an agency historian.
Moore has seen a lot during his years with the agency. “Almost everything has changed from when I came to work here,” Moore said. “From recruiting to training to staffing, it’s been interesting to see the progress that’s been made.”
As an example, training was a two-week period that Moore said he barely remembers and that you learned ‘on the job.’ “You paid attention to the veterans because there weren’t any instructions in a textbook,” Moore said. “You listened to what they said and you watched what they did,” he added.
Moore has had his mentors over the years. “Frank McCarty promoted me to lieutenant and Slim Savage is who recommended that I should look into Classification as a full-time career,” he said. “And Jeff Baldwin (former chief of staff, now retired) was great to me over the years and the reason that I’ve stayed on as long as I have.” Moore had other mentors over the years including Jamie Williamson, Billy Ware, “Red” McKaskle, “Woody” Woods, Carl Jeffries, and Wayne Scott. “One of the most important things in the world is a good boss,” said Moore when mentioning his current supervisors Jason Clark and Karen Hall. He said that he is thankful for so many leaders who have impacted his career.
In his fifty-five years, Moore notes that the most prominent overall change that he has witnessed has been in Classification.
“It was the genesis of our modern system,” Moore said. “Prior to then, we just had stand-alone units that the wardens ran.” Moore added that TDCJ implemented changes to staffing, increased medical help, and implemented programs for the individual units. “There’s also now defined, written policies and procedures for employees for specific situations which we did not have before,” Moore said.
Another major change he has witnessed is the integration of female employees in to all the units. “Prior to the 1980s, even administrative roles within the agency were staffed by males,” Moore said.
Moore and his wife Linda were married in 1969 and have continued living in the Huntsville area. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, reading, and restoring a 1967 Pontiac GTO.
He has no regrets about his five and a half decades of employment with TDCJ. “I have a saying: You can always look backwards but that’s the wrong thing to do,” Moore said. “Look forward. See where you’re going in the future,” he added.
Moore also has some sage advice for TDCJ employees. “Look at your position within the agency as a positive thing,” he said. “Focus on what’s ahead and what you have that many jobs don’t offer, like retirement and the benefits that go with it.”