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Inaugural 'building a bridge' training for future leadership conducted

Executive Director Brad Livingston’s vision that TDCJ create and provide leadership training for the agency’s management and supervisory staff was evident during a recent training session in May.

group photo of staff members in front of TDCJ memorial
TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston, center, and Deputy Executive Director Ed Owens, center right, stand with the first graduating class of the agency’s Building a Bridge training program for supervisors and managers.
Photo by David Nunnelee
Human Resources Staff Development held the first ‘Building a Bridge’ training class at the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville over 2 1/2 days with 29 employees participating. Each participant was nominated by their division director and personally selected by the executive director. Afterwards, participants gave the training rave reviews, emphasizing the benefits of hearing directly from agency leadership on specific topics, as well as listening to their thoughts on leadership.

The executive director and other agency leaders presented various topics to participants, and were on hand to answer questions on their specific areas of expertise. Livingston also presented participants with an encouraging message on the eve of their graduation.

Talks included the executive director’s views on leadership and the agency’s future. Other sessions included partnering and customer service, fiscal management, litigation liability and legal impact, EEO & sexual harassment, diversity and the multi-generational workforce, building operational efficiency, and managing organization change.

Human Resources Director Carol Johnston said Human Resources looks forward to offering the training in the future and continuing the support of the executive director’s vision for developing strong agency leadership.

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Councils, committees help agency operations, impact overall Criminal Justice system
By Greg Coleman, TBCJ member

Portrait of Greg Coleman
Greg Coleman, TBCJ, member
Several councils and committees have been statutorily established to advise the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (Board). These councils and committees ensure communication and collaboration in areas that are either affected by or have an impact on other agencies and organizations. This article provides a quick overview of these councils and committees, as well as their role in the operation of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

The Judicial Advisory Council (JAC), a direct descendent of the former Texas Adult Probation Commission, was created in 1991
to advise the Director of the Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) and the Board on matters of interest to the judiciary. The JAC considers requests for grants-in-aid from local jurisdictions, and reviews and provides recommendations to the CJAD Director and the Board on issues confronting the community corrections system. It also serves as a forum to exchange information for the improvement of that system. The JAC is comprised of 12 members, appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Advisory Committee on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (ACOOMMI) advises the Board and the Director of the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI) on matters related to offenders with medical or mental impairments. The ACOOMMI and the TCOOMMI are direct descendents of the former Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments, which was created in 1991. The ACOOMMI is comprised of 31 members, 21 of whom represent agencies and organizations with an interest in offenders with special needs, and 10 at-large members appointed by the Governor.

The Texas State Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision (CIAOS), created in 2003, is responsible for advising the Interstate Compact Administrator and the state’s commissioner to the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (Compact) on the state’s participation in the commission activities and the administration of the Compact. The Compact was established by mutual adoption of the participating members’ states for the management, monitoring, and supervision of adult parolees and probationers who are located in states other than the one in which they were sentenced.

The CIAOS is comprised of seven members, to include the TDCJ Executive Director or a designee. In addition, three members are appointed by the Governor, with the remaining three appointed individually by the Speaker of the House, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Correctional health care in Texas is provided through a contractual agreement between the TDCJ and the Correctional Managed Health Care Committee (CMHCC). Comprised of nine members, the CMHCC provides oversight and collaboration for the health care services provided through this agreement. The CMHCC also serves as a representative forum for decision-making in terms of overall health care policy, allocation of resources and assignment of responsibilities.

Membership of the CMHCC includes three individuals appointed by the Governor, two of which must be licensed to practice medicine in Texas, and two individuals appointed by each of the represented entities (TDCJ, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Texas Tech University Health Science Center). These later appointments must include one physician from each entity. The CMHCC Chairman is designated by the Governor and must be a physician member of the committee.

The Private Sector Prison Industries Oversight Authority was created in 1995 to approve, certify and oversee the operation of the private sector prison industries programs in TDCJ, the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), and in county correctional facilities in compliance with the federal Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) Certification Program. In addition, the Authority is responsible for developing and implementing policies, adopting rules and gathering data to determine whether participation in private sector prison industries programs is a factor that reduces recidivism.

The Authority is comprised of eight members appointed by the Governor. They include a representative of each area – organized labor, employers, victims, offenders, and vocational rehabilitation, as well as three public members. In addition, there are six ex-officio members, which include a member of the House of Representatives, designated by the House speaker; a member of the Senate designated by the Lieutenant Governor; the Executive Director or designee of TDCJ, the TYC and the Texas Workforce Commission; and an employee liaison (appointed by the Governor) who is an employer in a PIE program certified as in compliance with the federal PIE program.

The guidance and assistance provided by these councils and committees is invaluable and wide reaching. Their work not only benefits TDCJ operations, it benefits the offenders, individuals on parole or probation, as well as various local and state entities, positively impacting the Texas criminal justice system as a whole.

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