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2013 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Banks receives TDCJ volunteer award

Photo of Award Winner(s) TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston, Mr. and Mrs. James Banks, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and TBCJ Vice-Chair Tom Mechler (l-r).

(Austin) - Houston resident James Banks received the Governor’s 2013 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award for Extensive Travel today in recognition of his dedication to helping offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell and TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston during a ceremony held in Austin. Banks is one of 20 recipients from across Texas recognized for their efforts to help state offenders and those who are on parole or probation.

“Each of this year’s award recipients personify a selfless dedication to helping offenders succeed both while incarcerated, and once they’re released,” said Livingston.

Banks has spent more then 10 years as a volunteer chaplain’s assistant with TDCJ, dividing his time among the Polunsky Unit at Livingston, the Ellis Unit at Huntsville and the Gib Lewis unit at Woodville. In 2012 he traveled more than 14-thousand miles serving TDCJ offenders and assisting staff. Banks helps the local priest with the Roman Catholic mass and assists with other general chaplaincy duties such as crisis counseling, offender family death/critical illness notification and regular or special pastoral care to offenders.

A native and longtime resident of Houston, Banks and his wife also spend considerable amount of time at their lake home near Coldspring.

Banks is one of thousands of concerned volunteers who donate many hours of their personal time every year with the goal of changing the lives of convicted offenders, and aiding and comforting their victims. Annually, approximately 18,000 volunteers make 163,000 visits to criminal justice facilities and work with offenders who are on supervision, donating over 526,000 hours of service.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jason Clark, Director of Public Information, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at