TBCJ Approves Legislative Appropriations Request
During the 212th meeting of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) held telephonically this morning the nine board members unanimously approved a 3.6-billion-dollar annual budget in the Legislative Appropriations Request for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
This budget request was developed consistent with the guidance received from State leadership directing agencies not to exceed 2020-2021 levels after a 5% reduction. For TDCJ that results in a $306 million dollar reduction. This reduced funding request includes the closure of an additional facility that will be determined in the near future.
“We recognize the State’s leadership will be making many difficult funding decisions during the upcoming legislative session,” said Bryan Collier TDCJ Executive Director. “We appreciate the hard work of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Legislature and their recognition of the valuable service performed by the employees of this agency. We share a commitment to public safety and sound correctional management and are confident the critical funding requirements of the criminal justice system will be met.”
There are five exceptional items that are also included in addition to the agency base request.
- These items begin with a $179 million dollar adjustment to the state reduction which would allow for adequate public safety and security. Continued funding of the items identified in the exceptional items list are critical to the effectiveness of the criminal justice system and ensure the safety of our staff and offenders.
- Many of TDCJ’s facilities are more than 75 years old and have significant needs to keep them safely up and running. This $153.8 million dollar item includes a portion of the agencies needs and prioritizes based on safety and security requirements.
- In an effort to address TDCJ’s ongoing staffing shortages specifically at its 23 maximum security units there is a $113.8 million-dollar exceptional item which would provide a 10% differential pay increase for correctional staff at those units.
- Providing health care services to offenders is a significant part of the mission of TDCJ. That is why there is a $330.3 million dollar item to fund current operations, upgrade information technology and add pharmacy positions.
- The Corrections Information Technology System project was an exceptional item approved in the FY 2020-2021 budget package. It was cut to achieve the 5% reduction in the current fiscal year. The $24.2 million dollar item would upgrade the agency technology system from a 40-year-old mainframe system programmed in an obsolete programming language.