Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Success Through Supervision
Annual Review 2007
Mission, Philosophy, and Goals
The mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is to provide public safety, promote positive change in offender behavior, reintegrate offenders into society, and assist victims of crime.
The Department will be open, ethical, and accountable to our fellow citizens and work cooperatively with other public and private entities. We will foster a quality working environment free of bias and respectful of each individual. Our programs will provide a continuum of services consistent with contemporary standards to confine, supervise, and treat criminal offenders in an innovative, cost effective, and efficient manner.
- To provide diversions to traditional incarceration by the use of community supervision and other community-based programs.
- To provide a comprehensive continuity of care system for special needs offenders through statewide collaboration and coordination.
- To provide for confinement, supervision, rehabilitation, and reintegration of adult felons.
- To ensure that there are adequate housing and support facilities for convicted felons during confinement.
- To provide supervision and administer the range of options and sanctions available for felons' reintegration back into society following release from confinement.
- To establish and carry out policies governing purchase and public work contracting that foster meaningful and substantive inclusion of historically underutilized businesses.
Letter from the Chairman
To the Honorable Governor of Texas and Members of the Texas Legislature Austin, Texas
It is my honor to present the 2007 Annual Review for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
During Fiscal Year 2007, the Agency continued to experience positive growth and development through the dedication and hard work of the TDCJ staff as well as that of the volunteers working both within our prisons and in the freeworld.
Their efforts in fulfilling the Agency's mission were rewarded with a favorable and positive review by the Texas Sunset Commission. The Commission's findings supported several key areas within the Agency's budget request and laid the groundwork for you, as State Leaders, to increase funding for treatment programs in all three (3) supervision arenas - probation, incarceration, and parole.
To ensure continued accountability and sound management/oversight, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and the TDCJ reassessed its core policies and procedures, enhanced officer training efforts, and created a private facility contract monitoring/oversight division to ensure effective monitoring of privately operated facilities and treatment programs.
As always, I consider it a true privilege to serve the State of Texas with the more than 38,000 employees of the TDCJ. I am confident that under the strong leadership team provided by Mr. Livingston and his administration, the Agency will continue to meet the challenges of today's criminal justice system through successful supervision and treatment programs while always keeping in mind the responsibility of security to the citizens of our Great State!
Christina Melton Crain
Chairman, Texas Board of Criminal Justice
Letter from the Executive Director
Dear Chairman Crain and Board Members:
I am proud to present the agency's Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Review. This report is dedicated to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) staff members who help make this agency one of the nation's finest correctional systems. Our belief in success through supervision is reflected through the accomplishments highlighted in this report.
While self-evaluation is an ongoing process at TDCJ, we greatly recognize the benefits of other perspectives. The agency underwent Sunset review in Fiscal Year 2007 and received another favorable evaluation. For example, many TDCJ programs were recognized for their demonstrated success in reducing recidivism, and the positive report contributed to the Legislature's decision to significantly expand our treatment initiatives. In addition to the Sunset process, review of TDCJ's correctional facilities pursuant to the American Correctional Association's accreditation process continued with impressive results. The agency is on track to having one of the country's fully-accredited correctional systems.
Our successes reflect your leadership and dedication in making TDCJ a model agency. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
Texas Board of Criminal Justice
The Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) is composed of nine non-salaried members appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve staggered six-year terms. One member of the Board is designated as chairman to serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
Charged with governing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the TBCJ employs the agency's executive director as well as develops and implements policies that guide agency operations. Members also serve as trustees for the Windham School District. The Office of the Inspector General, with oversight of Internal Audit and Investigations, and the State Counsel for Offenders report directly to the Board. The Board meets, at a minimum, once each calendar quarter and more frequently as issues and circumstances dictate.
Serving on the Board during the fiscal year were Christina Melton Crain of Dallas, chairman; Pierce Miller of San Angelo, vice-chairman; Patricia Day of Dallas, secretary; and members Adrian A. Arriaga of McAllen; Greg S. Coleman of Austin; Oliver J. Bell of Austin; Pastor Charles Lewis Jackson of Houston; Tom Mechler of Claude; and Leopoldo Vasquez III of Houston.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
The success of a state agency is largely dependant on two factors: Its employees and state leadership. During the past year, Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees have once again proven that the successful supervision of adult felons in both a community supervision setting and a confinement setting is obtainable. The state legislature acknowledged the success of correctional employees by providing additional funding for various types of offender treatment programs, passing Sunset Review legislation, and providing employee pay increases.
Additionally, a new training initiative put into practice during the fiscal year involves a program that emphasizes safety and leadership among correctional staff. Like the Sergeants Academy, which was implemented in Fiscal Year 2005, the new Lieutenant Command School is aimed at improving the quality of supervision the agency's correctional officers receive by increasing the success of their supervisors.
The Sunset Review resulted in the implementation of several recommendations, and the passage of the bill extended the life of the agency until 2011. Sunset reviews generally occur every 12 years, but during the next four years, legislators want to evaluate how expanding both alternatives to incarceration and programs intended to reduce recidivism have impacted offender population growth.
Other legislative initiatives include the funding for 1,500 additional beds in Substance Abuse Felony Punishment facilities; 800 more beds in community corrections facilities; 1,400 Intermediate Sanction Facility beds for probationers and parolees; increased basic supervision probation funding; expanded outpatient substance abuse treatment for probationers; increased funding for mental health treatment through the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments; new funding for medically targeted substance abuse treatment serving probationers; funding for substance abuse treatment programs in state jails; funding to dedicate an additional 1,000 existing prison beds to the In-Prison Therapeutic Community Program; 500 beds in a new medium security DWI treatment facility; 300 more halfway house beds; transfer of two Texas Youth Commission facilities to TDCJ; and transfer of the Marlin Veterans Affairs facility to TDCJ for use as a 200-bed mental health care facility.
The Texas State Legislature again granted state employees back-to-back pay raises. This is the fourth consecutive year of across-the-board pay raises. Employees in correctional career positions also received an increase in hazardous duty pay, and the $300 maximum on hazardous duty pay was rescinded.
Agency leadership established the Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division in June 2007. This division is responsible for oversight and monitoring of contracts for privately-operated secure facilities as well as community based facilities, which includes substance abuse treatment services.
The exemplary performance of agency employees throughout the year enabled the agency to continue fulfilling its vital mission: providing public safety, promoting positive change in offender behavior, reintegrating offenders into society, and assisting victims of crime.
Community and Public Work Projects
Offenders participate in community and public work projects for the benefit of the entire community, not the welfare of a specific individual or class of people. TDCJ facilities are allowed to enter into agreement with eligible non-profit or governmental entities that provide services to the public and add to the general well being of the community to provide offender labor. Some community and public work projects also provide valuable training certification that will help the offenders to become part of the community workforce upon their release. Offenders participate in community work projects both inside the facility and out in the community.
Community Service Goals
It is the intention of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that the performance of community and public work projects by offenders will demonstrate the offender's willingness to become a useful, productive citizen; will serve as a deterrent to crime for the offender and serve as an example to others that there are consequences to unlawful behavior; will help in the rehabilitation of the offender; and provide meaningful work opportunities for the offenders while building pride and self-esteem that will assist in the successful reintegration of an offender and thereby reduce recidivism.
Projects That Build a Safer and Better Texas
Service projects are planned to match the needs of the community with the skills and services at each facility. During Fiscal Year 2007, TDCJ offenders built playgrounds, restored and maintained state-operated cemeteries, cleaned roadways, and constructed low income housing. TDCJ has one of the most active Habitat for Humanity Prison Partnerships in the nation. During the fiscal year, offenders logged more than 68,600 hours of work on Habitat projects. TDCJ provided more than 2.1 million pounds of crops to local food banks through Texas Fresh Approach, unit gardens, and the Gleaning Project.
TDCJ is proud to be a good neighbor. During Fiscal Year 2007, offenders contributed more than 1.1 million community and public work hours to making Texas a better place for its citizens.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) continues to support a variety of non- profit organizations across Texas and the nation through fund-raising activities. TDCJ employees are also extremely generous when employees are struck by illnesses or experience a catastrophic event in their lives.
As in the past, TDCJ employees had the opportunity to give monetary donations to more than 300 non-profit organizations through the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC). Thousands of employees take advantage of the opportunity to give to the charity of their choice through payroll deduction or participation in a variety of fund-raising events. During the September-October 2006 campaign, approximately $652,000 was raised through the SECC.
In addition to the SECC campaign, charitable organizations on the Executive Director's Approved List can hold fund-raising events. These organizations include various local, state and national organizations. A complete list of these charities can be found on the TDCJ website under Fund-Raising.
Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2006
|Goal A: Provide Prison Diversions||$240,060,355||8.90%|
|Goal B: Special Needs Offenders||$16,562,460||0.61%|
|Goal C: Incarcerate Felons||$2,140,775,4||79.35%|
|Goal D: Ensure Adequate Facilities||$52,681,394||1.95%|
|Goal E: Operate Parole System||$177,536,436||6.58%|
|Goal F: Indirect Administration||$70,130,691||8.90%|
Total Operating Budget $2,697,746,834
Source: Fiscal Year 2007 Agency Operating Budget
Internal Audit Division
The Internal Audit Division conducts comprehensive audits of TDCJ's major systems and controls.
Internal Audit prepares independent analyses, assessments and recommendations concerning the adequacy and effectiveness of the agency's internal policies and procedures, and the quality of performance in carrying out assigned responsibilities. To accomplish its mission, Internal Audit performs financial and performance audits according to an annual audit plan approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Recommendations for improvements to the agency's system of internal controls are then provided and tracked.
The audit plan submitted annually to the Board is developed using risk assessment techniques and may include audits of internal operations, contract providers, and community supervision and corrections departments. In addition to routine auditing, the division may participate in investigations of specific acts.
Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is the primary investigative and law enforcement entity for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The OIG consists of two departments - the Investigations Department and Administrative Support and Programs. The Inspector General ensures coordination and effective communication between the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and TDCJ executive management. OIG investigators are commissioned Texas peace officers assigned throughout the state.
The Investigations Department is dedicated to conducting prompt and thorough investigations of alleged or suspected employee administrative misconduct or criminal violations committed on TDCJ property or authorized interests. Through administrative and criminal investigations, OIG investigators identify criminal violations and serious staff misconduct. The department responds to requests for law enforcement services from numerous sources from within and outside the agency.
Administrative Support and Programs Department
The Administrative Support and Programs Department is responsible for budget and human resource activities for OIG, records management, and information technology support. This department is also responsible for coordination and management of special task force investigative operations as well as the Fuginet and Crime Stoppers programs.
Task Force Operations Group
In addition to the law enforcement investigators assigned to prisons units and regions across the state, the OIG has investigators assigned to fugitive and gang task forces. These investigators, working hand-in-hand with local, state, and federal investigators, focus on the identification, location and apprehension of violent parole violators and the apprehension of escapees. Prison gangs and their counterparts are also targeted for prosecution of organized criminal activities.
Fuginet provides law enforcement agencies throughout the country with direct access to an extensive database of information concerning Texas parolees on active supervision as well as persons wanted by TDCJ for violations of their parole. More than 650 municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies have access to Fuginet.
The OIG, through its Fuginet program, participates in the Auto Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA) grant funded through the Texas Department of Transportation. This grant involves interaction with vehicle theft task forces throughout the state, with OIG providing a database for law enforcement to access critical leads on felons previously convicted for vehicle theft.
The OIG coordinates the TDCJ Crime Stoppers program by providing direct access and interaction with law enforcement investigators both inside and outside the agency. The program solicits tips by publishing Crime Stoppers articles, submitted by law enforcement agencies, in the monthly state prison newspaper, The Echo.
State Counsel for Offenders
State Counsel for Offenders (SCFO) provides quality legal advice and representation to indigent offenders incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. This enables the agency to comply with constitutional requirements regarding access to courts and right to counsel. There are five legal sections within SCFO that cover the following areas - criminal defense, appeals, immigration, civil commitment, and general legal assistance. In addition to the legal sections, SCFO is supported in their efforts by investigators, legal assistants, legal secretaries and a Spanish interpreter.
General Legal Section
The General Legal Section assists indigent offenders with pending charges and detainers, extradition and probation revocation matters, family law issues, and other legal issues not covered by other sections. This section handles the bulk of SCFO's mail, which totaled 33,935 pieces during Fiscal Year 2007.
The Trial Section provides representation to indigent offenders indicted for felonies allegedly committed while the offenders are incarcerated in TDCJ. Trial attorneys, utilizing professional defense investigators, obtain discovery and meet with offenders to investigate their cases. They represent the offenders at all court appearances, file all necessary motions and pre-trial writs, and fully litigate all relevant issues on behalf of the offender. In Fiscal Year 2007, SCFO opened 288 new felony trial cases. Attorneys tried 14 cases to juries, obtained plea agreements for 195 offenders, had 91 cases dismissed, and withdrew from 31 cases. In support of these efforts, investigators conducted 931 interviews and served 428 subpoenas.
The Immigration Section assists indigent offenders in removal proceedings and international prisoner exchange issues. Removal proceedings are conducted at the federal building on the Goree Unit in Huntsville. Attorneys conducted 602 offender interviews and 101 removal hearings during Fiscal Year 2007. Five citizenship claims were granted.
Civil Commitment Section
The Civil Commitment Section represents indigent sex offenders prosecuted under Chapter 841 of the Health and Safety Code, commonly known as the Civil Commitment Statute. In preparation for trial, attorneys investigate cases, depose expert witnesses, respond to and file discovery motions, and meet with offenders. In Fiscal Year 2007, 14 commitment cases were received, 5 cases were tried to verdict before a jury and 26 previously civilly-committed offenders underwent their biennial reviews.
The Appellate Section assists indigent offenders with appellate and writ issues, parole and mandatory supervision eligibility requirements, and time-calculation questions. In Fiscal Year 2007, the section filed 11 criminal appeals. The legal assistants helped to obtain 420,237 days of jail time credit for offenders. When time credits are given, the system realizes an advantage in available bed space, cost avoidance in terms of housing, and reduction of exposure to litigation.
Windham School District
Windham School District (WSD) provides a variety of educational programs to eligible offenders within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The programs are designed to meet the needs of adult offenders and address the legislatively-mandated goals of reducing recidivism, lowering the cost of confinement, promoting positive behavior during confinement, and increasing offenders' success in obtaining and maintaining employment. In addition to providing traditional academic and vocational education, WSD also has life skills, problem solving, and behavior oriented educational programs designed to meet the needs of offenders. During the 2006-2007 school year, 78,124 offenders participated in WSD programs.
Literacy programs provide adult basic education for offenders functioning below the sixth grade level and provide secondary level adult education for those working toward a high school equivalency certificate (GED). During the 2006-2007 school year, 38,250 offenders participated in literacy programs, and 5,039 offenders attained a GED.
Life Skills Programs
The Cognitive Intervention Program is designed to improve behavior during incarceration and after release. Perspectives and Solutions, a 15-day tolerance program implemented in response to hate crimes legislation, is offered at four intake facilities. A reintegration program, Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success (CHANGES), offers a life skills curriculum to prepare offenders for release. Completion of the CHANGES program frequently serves as a prerequisite for release for certain offenders. A communication-based parenting program is offered at selected facilities to support the development of healthy family relationships. During the 2006-2007 school year, 48,443 offenders participated in life skills programs.
Career and Technology Education Programs
The Career and Technology (CTE) Program provides 600-hour vocational training courses in 34 trades and supports apprenticeship and on-the-job training in additional occupations. During the 2006-2007 school year, 11,160 offenders participated in the CTE program; 5,733 of those students completed training during the year and earned vocational certificates. In addition, 2,751 industry certificates were awarded.
Post-secondary academic and vocational programs are available for offenders with a GED or high school diploma. Post-secondary programs served 8,135 students during the school year. Students work toward the attainment of associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees as well as vocational certificates in 24 fields. In the 2006-2007 school year, 455 associate's degrees, 31 bachelor's degrees, 11 master's degrees, 1,689 vocational credit certificates, 196 non-credit vocational certificates, and 1,464 workforce non-credit certificates were awarded. Offenders are responsible for costs associated with these programs and may pay using their Inmate Trust Fund accounts, qualify for assistance from the federal youthful offender grant program, or receive college/university scholarships. Participating offenders can also reimburse the state after release as a condition of parole.
Project RIO Program
Project Reintegration of Offenders (RIO) works with the Texas Workforce Commission to link educational and vocational training in TDCJ to job placement after release. During the 2006-2007 school year, 31,517 offenders were released with a RIO Individual Employment Plan. Project RIO served 61,663 offenders during this year.
The Recreation Program provides offenders on each facility the opportunity for daily exercise and activities. Regional recreation supervisors monitor and support unit operations.
Community Justice Assistance Division
The Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) oversees community supervision throughout Texas. Community supervision refers to the placement of an offender under supervision for a length of time, as ordered by a court, with court-imposed rules and conditions. Community supervision applies to misdemeanor or felony offenses and is imposed instead of a jail or prison sentence. The 122 community supervision and corrections departments (CSCDs) are established by the local judicial districts they serve. CSCDs receive approximately two-thirds of their funding though CJAD. Other funds, such as court-ordered supervision and program fees, help finance a department's remaining budgetary needs. County governments provide CSCDs with office space, equipment and utilities.
CJAD is responsible for the following:
- Developing standards and procedures for CSCDs, including best practices treatment standards.
- Distributing formula and grant funding appropriated by the state legislature.
- Reviewing and approving each CSCD's community justice plan and budget.
- Conducting program and fiscal audits of CSCD operations and programs.
- Developing an automated tracking system that receives data from departmental caseload management.
- Providing community supervision officer (CSO) and residential officer certification, in-service and educational training, and technical assistance to CSCDs.
- Administrating state benefits for CSCD employees.
CJAD does not work directly with offenders, but rather it works with the local CSCDs that supervise the offenders.
The community justice plans of judicial districts determine the offender services of each CSCD. The following are basic departmental duties:
- Supervising and rehabilitating offenders sentenced to community supervision.
- Monitoring compliance with court-ordered conditions
- Offering a continuum of sanctions.
- Offering regular reporting and specialized caseloads.
- Providing residential confinement programs.
- Providing both residential and non-residential treatment/correctional programs.
The 79th Texas Legislature allocated approximately $55.5 million in new diversion program (DP) funds for Fiscal Year 2006-2007 to strengthen community supervision through reduced caseload sizes, increased outpatient and residential treatment, and a system of progressive sanctions to address technical violations.
CSCDs receiving the new diversion funding for the Fiscal Year 2006-2007 biennium exhibited the greatest:
- Reductions in caseload size.
- Reductions in felony revocations.
- Reductions in technical revocations.
- Increases of early dismissals.
Funding, Goals, and Timelines
The 80th Texas Legislature followed up the efforts of its predecessor with increased DP funding. The intent of the new funding is to provide CSCDs equal access to statewide resources and equip judges, prosecutors, and CSOs with the tools they need to change offender behavior successfully. This new diversion program funding for Fiscal Year 2008 - 2009 includes:
- $63.1million increase for 1,500 new Substance Abuse Felony Punishment (SAFP) treatment beds.
- $32.3 million increase for 800 new Community Correctional Facility (CCF) beds.
- $28.8 million increase for 1,400 new Intermediate Sanction Facility (ISF) beds (shared with Parole).
- $17.5 million increase in basic supervision funding.
- $10 million increase for outpatient substance abuse treatment.
- $10 million increase for mental health treatment through the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI).
With an expanded menu of supervision and treatment options, the task of CJAD and CSCDs is to continue strengthening community supervision. Important steps toward this end include:
- Having a complete and accurate Community Supervision and Tracking System (CSTS).
- Implementing the new diversion funding.
- Increasing assessment-driven supervision and treatment.
- Continuing the focus on a culture of success.
Additionally, the General Appropriations Act riders promote the strengthening of community supervision by:
- Providing $1 million per year to avail methamphetamine and/or cocaine addicted offenders with acute medical treatment under the supervision of a physician.
- Transferring $270,000 to the DP funding line during Fiscal Year 2008 to offer grants to DWI courts or courts operating dual DWI/drug court programs.
- Allowing greater flexibility in allocating excess refunds to specific areas of need; a CJAD priority is the use of refunds to shore up community corrections funding.
- Permitting CJAD the latitude of withholding funds from CSCDs that refuse to comply with TDCJ data reporting requirements.
CJAD is collaborating with a group of community supervision stakeholders to develop an assessment-driven substance abuse treatment continuum-of-care with two criteria:
- Utilizing a standardized assessment process to determine offender placement in a substance abuse program.
- Utilizing local/state resources, identifying offender characteristics, and interfacing with program selection.
Community supervision's focus on a culture of success translates to a 5 percent reduction in felony revocations from Fiscal Year 2007 to Fiscal Year 2008 and a 10 percent reduction in felony revocations in Fiscal Year 2009. For each CSO, these projections mean one less revocation per officer, or approximately 2,400 fewer total felony revocations.
Correctional Institutions Division
The Correctional Institutions Division (CID) is responsible for the confinement of adult felony and state jail felony offenders. As of August 31, 2007, the division operated 51 state prison facilities, three pre-release facilities, three psychiatric facilities, one Mentally Retarded Offender Program (MROP) facility, two medical facilities, 13 transfer facilities, 16 state jail facilities, four temporary contract capacity facilities and five substance abuse felony punishment (SAFP) facilities. There were five expansion cellblock facilities, additional medical facilities, boot camps, and a work camp co-located within several of the facilities mentioned. At the end of the fiscal year, there were 135,666 institutional offenders, 13,808 state jail offenders and 3,187 SAFP offenders for a total of 152, 661 offenders incarcerated in TDCJ facilities.
CID employed 25,642 security staff at the end of this fiscal year. The division is also responsible for the following support functions - Classification and Records, Correctional Training and Staff Development, Offender Transportation and Laundry, Food, and Supply.
This division is divided into three areas: Prison and Jail Operations, Management Operations, and Support Operations. Each area is under the leadership of a deputy director. An additional department that reports directly to the CID director is the Office of CID Ombudsman.
The Office of Ombudsman is a central point of contact for the public and legislators to express concerns or make inquiries regarding offenders/issues. Assistance is provided by answering questions regarding specific offenders, responding to inquiries and explanations of CID policies, providing appropriate resolutions and referring the public to the appropriate department within the agency for assistance. In addition, this office participates in annual Public Awareness, Corrections Today (PACT) conferences.
Prison and Jail Operations
The CID deputy director, Prison and Jail Operations, oversees six regional directors who have the responsibility of managing institutional prisons and state jails throughout the state. This position is also responsible for the oversight of the tracking canine coordinator and the Security Systems Department.
Each of the regional directors, in their respective geographical region, is responsible for a hierarchy of staff members, who provide security at each prison unit and state jail.
Tracking Canine Coordinator
The Tracking Canine Coordinator manages training, provides technical advice to kennel staff and maintains the program's statistics. There are 47 kennels throughout the agency with oversight of 119 kennel staff. These kennels are represented in all regions of the CID. Forty-one of the kennels have pack-tracking canines, 15 kennels incorporate both pack canines and scent-specific canines, and six kennels have narcotic canines. Tracking canines are a key resource for correctional staff during escapes and in assisting local law enforcement agencies. The use of these canines led to 90 successful responses during Fiscal Year 2007.
The Security Systems Department manages the Security Operations section and is responsible for fiscal management, security reviews, and technology review. Security Systems administrators provide support to the CID director, deputy directors and regional directors. They also support units regarding new programs, new information systems, staff development, staff safety, and other special topics. Additionally, this office monitors security reviews and serious incident review findings for follow-up disposition.
Security Operations provides support to CID units in areas of security staffing, armory operations, video camera surveillance support, and technology review of new security equipment. This department provides support to units in weapons and weapon repair, Use of Force equipment, chemical agents, and as an emergency responder to critical incidents. Security Operations performs assessments of security systems for units and makes recommendations for enhancements/upgrades as appropriate. It also provides technical support and installation of surveillance and video equipment.
The CID deputy director, Management Operations, provides oversight of Correctional Training and Staff Development, the Security Threat Group Management Office, Plans and Operations, the Safe Prisons Program Management Office, and the Community Liaison Department.
Correctional Training and Staff Development (CTSD)
Correctional Training and Staff Development (CTSD) provided pre-service training to 4,440 participants for a 90 percent graduation rate. Additionally, 28,757 employees attended annual in-service training; 2,760 staff received specialized training services; 2,056 agency supervisors attended leadership development training; and 2,327 participated in ancillary training.
A top priority for Fiscal Year 2007 was continued improvement of the quality of training the correctional officers receive. With the high success rate of the sergeant and lieutenant training courses, CTSD continued to support both programs with constant upgrades to the curriculum. Through the successful submission of a proposal, CTSD has begun the development of a training course for captains. This course is scheduled for implementation in April 2008.
Fiscal Year 2007 saw the successful overhaul of the In-Service Training Program, splitting CTSD curriculum between core topics and optional workshops. This year, CTSD provided new workshops for the students to choose from, such as Beyond Con Games, Crime Scene Investigation, Female Offenders, Field Training Officer Interpersonal Skills, and Hostage Survival. Students welcomed the fresh change and showed appreciation with extremely favorable critiques of the entire program.
Plans and Operations
The Plans and Operations Department provides support to divisional leadership in the tracking and implementation of legislation; coordination and staffing of all security-related policies and operational plans; budget, contracts, and payment functions for private contract prisons and state jails; and liaison to other state agencies and governmental officials. It also manages the CID Web page, disseminates information concerning emergency preparedness, coordinates, trains and audits the agency's offender property and community work project processes, administers offender drug testing, and completes special projects assigned by management.
Safe Prisons Program Management Office
TDCJ has established the Safe Prisons Program Management Office. This office provides administrative oversight to the Safe Prisons Program and technical support to the Unit Safe Prisons Program coordinators and executive administrative staff on issues of prison sexual assaults. The agency has a "zero tolerance" for sexual assault. Safe prisons program awareness training and extortion awareness training provide staff with an overview of the elements of the Safe Prisons Plan as well as the prevention of extortion. Offender victims representative training enhances the skills of staff that provide support services for offenders who have been a victim of sexual assault. The Safe Prisons Program Management Office maintains a database of reported alleged sexual assaults and monitors these reports for compliance with agency policies. Additionally, this office monitors predators and victims of sexual assaults and analyzes characteristics related to time, location and physical characteristics of the victims and assailants. This office also monitors activities related to extortion, offender protection, and alleged sexual assaults, which helps to identify issues for further policy development.
The Community Liaison Office facilitates the coordination and implementation of reentry initiatives and prison deterrence education programs for the agency. These tasks necessitate communication and coordination with local, state and national community organizations and agencies as well as multiple divisions, departments and units within TDCJ. This office oversees prison deterrence education programs that target young adults and adult probationers. This is accomplished using offenders to inform, educate and advise the public about the negative consequences of poor decisions involving drugs, alcohol, crime, and gangs. The Community Liaison Office also acts as the coordinating oversight authority for the agency's Crisis Response Intervention Support Program, and is the reporting authority for prison tours.
Security Threat Group
The Security Threat Group Management Office (STGMO) monitors the activities of security threat groups (gangs) and their members who threaten the safety and security of TDCJ units, staff, and offenders. The STGMO provides oversight, training and technical support for the unit level staff that gathers information on the activities of security threat group members. The STGMO works closely with law enforcement agencies by sharing information on security threat groups and their members. This year, the office participated in the expansion of the Gang Renouncement and Disassociation Program at the Ramsey Unit.
The CID deputy director, Support Operations, oversees the support functions on all prisons/facilities. This department includes Classification and Records, Mail System Coordinators Panel, Disciplinary Coordination, Counsel Substitute, Offender Transportation, and Laundry, Food and Supply.
Classification and Records
The Classification and Records Department oversees diverse matters pertaining to offender management and provides technical support for various administrative and unit-based departments. It includes the Classification and Records Office, Unit Classification and Count Room Department, Intake Department and the State Classification Committee.
The Classification and Records Office (CRO) schedules, receives, processes and transports offenders for intake, release and transfer. It creates and maintains records on these offenders and serves as the principal repository for the agency's offender records. During Fiscal Year 2007, the CRO implemented a quality control computer program that provides enhanced assurance of accurate offender records by requiring double data entry for all offenses received from the counties and entered in the computer by either the State Ready or Time sections. Computer programming was also developed to eliminate the manual calculation of jail time credit for both prison and state jail sentences. The combination of these two programs provides CRO with increased consistency and reliability in the initial offender computation.
The Unit Classification and Count Room Department provides oversight, training and technical support for all unit-based classification personnel and classification committees. During Fiscal Year 2007, the department provided initial training for classification chiefs, case managers and intake staff. Visitor tracking system training was also completed for unit-based classification and intake staff. The 10-hour offender unit orientation was also implemented on all intake facilities during Fiscal Year 2007.
The Intake Department provides training, supervision and support for unit-based intake staff at 24 intake facilities statewide. Staff also conducts division-level operational review audits of the intake process. During Fiscal Year 2007, this department completed implementation of the modified version of the Card/Admission Summary. It also revised, distributed and trained staff on the Intake Procedures Manual. Expansion of the Live Scan fingerprint equipment, which included an interface with the TDCJ mainframe to eliminate duplicate data entry, was also initiated.
The State Classification Committee (SCC) is responsible for making initial custody recommendations and determining appropriate units of assignment for all offenders. The SCC reviews recommendations made by unit classification committees for promotions in custody status, disciplinary actions at private facilities, and transfers and special housing assignments due to security or safety needs. The SCC works closely with the Safe Prisons Program to identify aggressive and at-risk/weak offenders.
Mail System Coordinators Panel
The Mail System Coordinators Panel (MSCP) assists offenders in maintaining contact with families and friends and in facilitating offenders' access to courts and public officials. The MSCP provides procedural training and technical assistance for unit mailroom staff and conducts operational review mailroom audits. It also generates investigations regarding receipts of threats and unidentifiable substances in uninspected mail. A mainframe computer screen was developed to allow the unit mailroom staff to view one master "watch" list containing names of offenders being monitored.
Office for Disciplinary Coordination
The Office for Disciplinary Coordination monitors facility compliance with disciplinary rules and procedures by conducting unit operational reviews. This office also produces management statistical reports each month, coordinates the revisions to the disciplinary rules and procedures, and updates and coordinates the printing of the disciplinary rules handbook and the standard offense pleadings handbook. During Fiscal Year 2007, this office completed 40 unit operational reviews, coordinated the revision of one disciplinary rule and updated the handbooks. It also drafted revisions to one administrative directive.
The Office of the Spanish Language Coordination manages Spanish language assistance service. This office is responsible for coordinating the testing of employees to determine their proficiency in speaking the Spanish language for designation as qualified Spanish language interpreters, translating selected documents, and providing technical support to agency staff. The office assumed the responsibility of conducting division-level unit operational reviews of Spanish language assistance in January 2007 and completed 33 unit operational reviews. This office also completed 301 pages of translations and coordinated the testing of 110 employees.
The Counsel Substitute Program secures and protects the due process rights of offenders charged with disciplinary infractions by providing trained staff to assist offenders during the disciplinary process. These employees conduct certification training, provide technical assistance /continuous support for the disciplinary hearing officers and counsel substitute staff.
Offender Transportation is headquartered in Huntsville at the Byrd Unit with five regional offices located in Amarillo, Abilene, Tennessee Colony, Rosharon and Beeville.
This department is responsible for unit-to-unit transfers, state and federal court appearances, medical transfers, county jail transfers, out-of-state extraditions, and emergency response (i.e., floods, hurricanes, and other serious disturbances).
Offender Transportation operates a fleet of vehicles consisting of 117 buses, 62 vans, five handicapped-accessible vans, and one car.
More than 4.5 million miles were traveled and 496,807 offenders were transported in Fiscal Year 2007. This department works closely with Classification and Records to ensure timely, efficient and safe transport of offenders.
Laundry, Food, and Supply
Laundry, Food, and Supply manages the food, laundry, necessities and unit supply operations. These unit-based programs are vital to the unit's mission and the well-being of offenders.
The department is responsible for assuring all offenders are provided access to clean and serviceable clothing, footwear and bedding. Offenders are provided access to appropriate personal hygiene items and the units are provided the basic supplies they need to operate. Offenders are also provided access to wholesome and nutritious meals, to include special diets.
This department's unit-based staff works in more than 250 unit laundries, food service and unit supply programs. Approximately 27,000 offenders work in unit food service and laundry departments where they receive on-the-job training to help prepare them for reintegration into society. In addition to on-the-job training, offenders are afforded the opportunity to participate in educational programs in food preparation through the joint efforts of Windham School District, Alvin Community College and Lee College. Upon release, these participating offenders are given assistance in finding employment opportunities where they can utilize the skills they learned while incarcerated.
Private Facility Contract Monitoring /Oversight Division
The Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division (PFCMOD) was formed in May 2007. Previously, the Correctional Institutions Division was responsible for the monitoring and oversight of private facilities. The PFCMOD is responsible for oversight and monitoring of contacts for privately- operated secure facilities as well as community-based facilities, which includes substance abuse treatment services. The division's responsibilities include managing/monitoring privately-operated facilities that include seven prisons, five state jails, one work program co-located on a private facility, two pre-parole transfer facilities, four intermediate sanction facilities, seven substance abuse felony punishment/in-prison therapeutic community facilities that provide treatment services, seven halfway houses, four county jails (leased beds), and 22 substance abuse aftercare treatment facilities (community based transitional treatment centers). There were approximately 15,900 offenders in privately-operated facilities (not including transitional treatment centers) monitored by the PFCMOD during Fiscal Year 2007. The Parole Division monitored another 3,100 offenders.
The Parole Division supervises offenders released from prison on parole or mandatory supervision to complete their sentences in Texas communities. The mission of the division is to promote public safety and positive offender change through effective supervision, programs, and services. The division is also responsible for pre-release functions, such as investigating release plans and preparing release-eligible cases for consideration by the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP).
This year, more than 77,000 parole and mandatory offenders were under active supervision by approximately 1,220 district parole officers. Offenders must report to parole officers and comply with release conditions established by the BPP. Violations can result in arrest and re-incarceration. Officers also supervise offenders transferred to Texas from other states and by the Texas Youth Commission.
Regional directors in Tyler, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Midland manage 66 district parole offices across the state. Officers monitor an offender's compliance with conditions of release and society's laws, applying supervision strategies based on assessment of each offender's risk and needs.
Central Coordination Unit (CCU)
CCU provides support services to Field Operations. The unit monitors a detainer/deportation caseload, verifies death notices, receives and monitors interstate transfers, and arranges for placement of offenders into and out of intermediate sanction facilities (ISFs) and substance abuse felony punishment (SAFP) facilities. In Fiscal Year 2007, 10,950 offenders came through ISFs. Two ISFs participate in the Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP); South Texas ISF services 350 offenders while the North Texas ISF services 270. Programs and services offered in these facilities encourage offender compliance through appropriate supervision and interventions.
This year, the Parole Division ombudsman responded to 8,230 inquiries from offenders' families, parole and mandatory supervision offenders, legislative offices and the public.
The Interstate Compact Office facilitates transfer of supervision to a state outside an offender's state of conviction. The Interstate Commission on Adult Offender Supervision is the statutory authority for supervision transfer. The Interstate Compact Office establishes practices, policies, and procedures that ensure compliance with Compact rules. In Fiscal Year 2007, 8,190 Texas probationers and 3,530 parolees were supervised out-of-state. Another 3,972 out-of-state probationers and 2,354 parolees were supervised in Texas.
Internal Review/In-Service Training
Internal Review/In-Service Training provided training on the new Parole Violation and Report System, Human Resource Training for Supervisors, and Principles of Supervision. A total of 1,329 parole employees participated in in-service training in 2007. Training on domestic violence was conducted for the staff of the BPP.
Performance reviews measuring the overall performance of the 66 district parole offices were completed during the fiscal year. Fifty-two internal reviews were conducted on individual cases statewide as a result of offender related incidents as directed by executive staff. These reviews measure the performance of the officer assigned to the case, and results provide analysis of the implementation and effectiveness of agency programs and policies.
Support Services is comprised of five sections -- Review and Release Processing, Specialized Programs, Warrants, Central File Coordination and the Training Academy. All provide direct support to Field Operations.
Review and Release Processing
Review and Release Processing identifies offenders eligible for release consideration by the BPP. After identifying the offender through a systematic case-pull process, an institutional parole officer compiles a comprehensive case summary containing information related to the decision-making process. This includes the offender's criminal history, prior alcohol and drug use, social, psychological and institutional adjustment. Institutional parole officers produced 75,902 case summaries and 16,890 discretionary mandatory supervision transmittals for BPP use in making release decisions. Thirty-eight summaries for clemency decisions on death penalty cases were prepared, and 18,385 parole and 13,686 mandatory and discretionary supervision releases were processed.
Specialized Programs administers and evaluates a variety of programs and services to enhance the division's ability to supervise and reintegrate offenders following release.
District Reentry Centers (DRCs) target newly-released, high-need offenders using a comprehensive approach to promote personal responsibility, growth, victim empathy, and accountability. Volunteers and community agencies assist parole staff in addressing anger management, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse, victim impact, and pre-employment preparation. In Fiscal Year 2007, a monthly average of 1,767 offenders was served.
The Special Needs Offender Program (SNOP), in conjunction with Health and Human Services, supervises mentally retarded (MR), mentally impaired (MI), and terminally ill or physically handicapped (TI/PH) offenders. In Fiscal Year 2007, 239 medically recommended intensive supervision offenders were released, and an average of 175 MR, 3,580 MI, and 775 TI/PH offenders were supervised.
The Sex Offender Program supervises an average of 2,808 offenders per month. Sex offender treatment services are provided statewide through contracted vendors, with the division subsidizing treatment for indigent offenders. Polygraph testing is a significant component of evaluating and treating sex offenders.
The Therapeutic Community (TC) Program offers continuity of care to offenders with substance abuse problems. This three-phase aftercare program targets offenders who have participated in an in-prison therapeutic community or substance abuse felony punishment facility. A monthly average of 2,274 offenders received services from contracted vendors and specially-trained parole officers.
The Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP) provides relapse prevention services to offenders with substance abuse problems. Level I (prevention) services were provided to 26,072 offenders in Fiscal Year 2007. Level II (outpatient treatment) services were provided by vendors and parole counselors (in areas with no vendor) to 15,693 offenders. The SACP ISFs provided residential treatment to 4,457 offenders.
The Drug Testing Program has incorporated new instant-read testing devices. These devices increase accountability and reduce the chain of custody issues involved with drug testing. Of the 310,310 offenders tested in Fiscal Year 2007, 47,733 tested positive. A total of 918,948 tests were conducted for an average of 76,759 per month.
The Serious and Violent Reentry Initiative (SVORI) provides transitional services to administrative segregation offenders that begins during incarceration and continues for one year after release to supervision. Programming provided through the district reentry centers includes anger management, substance abuse education, victim impact panels, and cognitive-based classes. Additional assistance is met by community partnerships with faith-based services, employment services and mentoring services. Programming addresses the needs of offender and family while maintaining the goal of public safety. The SVORI grant expired at the end of calendar year 2006, but aspects of the program have become an integral part of the district reentry centers. Ninety-eight offenders were placed in the program in Fiscal Year 2007.
Project RIO (Reintegration of Offenders) is a joint project of TDCJ, the Windham School District, and the Texas Workforce Commission. It is designed to reduce recidivism by assisting the offender in securing gainful employment. Project RIO serves as a resource link between education, training and employment referrals.
Central File Coordination Unit
The Central File Coordination Unit (CFCU) coordinates the movement and maintenance of approximately 238,000 case files of offenders under Parole Division jurisdiction and inmates who are within six months of release eligibility. CFCU tracks and verifies restitution owed by offenders, processes case files on the offender's discharge date, and responds to Open Records requests and correspondence.
The Warrants Section is primarily responsible for the issuance, confirmation (execution upon arrest), and cancellation or withdrawal of pre-revocation warrants. In Fiscal Year 2007, 36,417 warrants were issued, 33,589 were confirmed, and 28,763 were cancelled or withdrawn. The section is also responsible for the oversight of programs involving the global positioning satellite (GPS) tracking and electronic monitoring (EM) of offenders.
The section has two units in operation 24 hours a day. The command center processes violation reports submitted by parole officers and alerts from EM/GPS vendors and halfway houses. The Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (TLETS) Unit responds to requests for warrant information from law enforcement and maintains wanted persons information. Additionally, these units operate an absconder tip line to allow the public to report locations of offenders who have failed to report.
The Extradition Unit tracks Texas offenders arrested in other states, and offenders returned to a TDCJ correctional institution who have not been through the pre-revocation process. This year, 1,073 extradited offenders were returned to Texas, and 354 warrants were issued for Texas offenders under Interstate Compact supervision in other states.
The Tracking Unit tracks offenders held in Texas county jails on pre-revocation warrants and ensures that the offender's case is disposed of within the time limits prescribed by law. The Time Credit Unit calculates the amount of time for which an offender should be credited while in custody on a pre-revocation warrant.
The Super-Intensive Supervision Program (SISP) imposes the highest level of supervision and offender accountability, including both active and passive GPS monitoring. There was an average of 29 offenders on active GPS during the year, with around-the-clock tracking for the highest-risk offenders. A monthly average of 1553 offenders on SISP was monitored on passive GPS, which downloads tracking data when an offender returns to his or her residence.
Electronic monitoring (EM) allows an officer to detect curfew and home confinement violations electronically. Offenders at higher risk of re-offending or have violated release conditions may be placed on EM. A monthly average of 1,107 offenders was supervised on EM this year.
The Parole Officer Training Academy (POTA) in Beeville provides 216 hours of pre-service foundation training for new officers. Training was provided to 230 new officers in 12 classes during Fiscal Year 2007.
POTA also houses the Specialized Offender Supervision Schools (SOSS), which cover the Super-Intensive Supervision Program, electronic monitoring, therapeutic community, and the Special Needs Offender Program. Classes, conducted quarterly, are 32 to 40 hours in length. A 40-hour firearms certification course provided training to 52 officers who elected to carry a concealed handgun while on duty. During Fiscal Year 2007, 634 officers attended training.
Health Services Division
The Health Services Division monitors access to timely and quality health care for offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The agency contracts with the Correctional Managed Health Care Committee (CMHCC) for all health services at TDCJ facilities.
The 73rd Legislature established the CMHCC and empowered the committee with developing a managed health care plan for offenders in TDCJ. This statutory mandate was implemented through a series of contractual relationships. TDCJ contracts with the CMHCC, which, in turn, contracts with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) and the Texas Tech University Health Science Center at Lubbock (TTUHSC) to provide health care to TDCJ offenders. The universities may then contract with private vendors.
This health care delivery system was implemented in TDCJ on September 1, 1994. Each university and private vendor has its own internal organizational structure to assure the integrity and quality of the managed health care program. Within each program there is a medical director, administrator, nursing director, dental director, mental health director, clinical pharmacists, clinical laboratory personnel and health records staff.
TDCJ, UTMB, TTUHSC and the private vendors are in partnership to implement and enforce the health care delivery system. Each entity functions as an independent organization with separate and distinct lines of supervision and responsibilities.
Functions performed by the TDCJ Health Services Division include:
- Monitoring the offenders' access to the various health care disciplines (i.e., medical nursing, dental and mental health).
- Cooperating with the university medical schools and the private contractors in monitoring quality of care. The clinical and professional resources of the health care providers are used to the greatest extent feasible for clinical oversight of quality of care issues as mandated by government code.
- Conducting compliance (operational review) audits.
- Investigating and responding to Step 2 medical grievances, inquires, and complaints.
- Controlling the transmission of infectious diseases in TDCJ. The Office of Preventative Medicine collects statistics on the occurrence of selected diseases, publishes guidelines and policies for infection control, investigates disease outbreaks, provides technical consultation, and prepares educational materials and programs for staff and offenders. The office coordinates the Peer Education Program for offenders.
- Recommending unit assignment requirements to meet the medical needs of offenders, screening offenders for programs and acting as a liaison for the university providers, counties, and private vendors is the responsibility of the Health Services liaison.
Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division
The Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division centralizes the administration of activities related to offender programs and services involving two or more divisions. The division administers rehabilitation and reintegration programs designated by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice.
Chaplaincy uses a holistic approach to enhance an offender's spirituality. Programs are provided to reduce recidivism, thereby increasing public safety through development of life-changing goals among offenders. The Life Changes Academy includes spiritual growth groups, family and life skills, and accountability and mentoring.
The agency identifies and refers offenders with two or more qualifying sexually-violent offense convictions to a Multidisciplinary Team for possible civil commitment under the Texas Health and Safety Code. This process applies to offenders released on or after January 1, 2000.
In 1996, the agency began collecting blood specimens for DNA analysis from offenders convicted of certain sex offenses. Effective September 1, 2005, all offenders incarcerated in a TDCJ facility or a facility under contract with TDCJ must submit a DNA sample. The samples are sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety for analysis and entry into the national DNA database.
Operated by Prison Fellowship Ministries at the Vance Unit in Sugar Land, InnerChange is a pre-release program which underscores personal responsibility, education, work values, care for persons and property, and faith-based living. This program spans 18 months within the institution and has a transitional aftercare component.
The Plane/Henley State Jail Wraparound Program allows community resource providers to meet the female offenders prior to their release to develop a strategy to meet their needs. This reduces duplication in service provision, increases community support for the offender, and allows the offender to receive services needed to decrease their risk of returning to custody.
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars helps maintain, and re-forge the bond between girls and their incarcerated mothers. Through Girl Scout council-facilitated prison visits, mothers and daughters join for troop meetings and traditional Girl Scout activities. Many participating mothers also receive parenting education. In Texas, Girl Scouts Beyond Bars is active in Gatesville and Dayton.
The Teeter Totter Village of Houston and Texas SKIP (Supporting Kids of Incarcerated Parents) provide a curriculum focused on responding to the needs of children, their caregiver, and their incarcerated parent by offering a 19-week family strengthening program. SKIP consists of four components - Supporting Parents as First Teachers, Caregiver Support Sessions, Incarcerated Parent and Child Interactive Play & Learn Groups, and the Porch Teaching Parenting Class. This is currently offered in Dayton.
GO KIDS (Giving Offenders' Kids Incentive and Direction to Succeed) Initiative
GO KIDS brings to the forefront the importance of preserving family ties and providing positive prevention and intervention services to these high-risk children. Maintained through the TDCJ Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division, a link on the agency's website (www.tdcj.texas.gov) provides a reliable connection to valuable resources and services, not only within local communities, but across Texas and throughout the nation.
GO KIDS guides offenders through programs geared towards strengthening their parent/child relationships as well as their families and children. For the latter, GO KIDS provides resources that offer basic fundamental elements such as mentoring and encouraging parent/child relationships. It also provides support in the areas of health, legal counsel, and employment. For the offenders, GO KIDS focuses on programs that provide effective parenting education and training and offers avenues to facilitate parent/child connections.
Several organizations are working in collaboration with GO KIDS towards the goal of helping the children of offenders. These organizations (Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas, Amachi Texas, No More Victims, Inc., Texas Boys Ranch, and KICKSTART) work directly with the children and offer mentoring, counseling and empowerment opportunities.
Pre-Release Therapeutic Community
Utilizing principles of a therapeutic community, this six-month program promotes appropriate behavior changes in offenders through collaboration between Windham School District, the Parole Division and the Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division.
Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative Program (SVORI)
The SVORI Program is a 63-bed program housed at the Estelle Unit's expansion cellblock facility in Huntsville. The program provides pre-release and in-cell programming, transitional services, and post-release supervision for offenders. SVORI is a coordinated partnership between the Correctional Institutions Division, the Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division, and the Parole Division of TDCJ, as well as the Windham School District and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The program is 18 months long and consists of two phases. Phase I is a six-month in-cell cognitive-based program that is provided through computer-based equipment prior to the offender's release. Phase II spans 12 months and is a continuum of care upon transition from Phase I. The Parole Division works with the offender during Phase I to ensure a smooth transition.
Sex Offender Treatment
The Sex Offender Treatment Program is an 18-month rehabilitation initiative for sexual offenders who are within 24 months of release. Curriculum is based on a cognitive-behavioral model as recommended by the National Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. The goal of the program is to lower the re-offense risk among sexual offenders. Eligible offenders must be within 18 months of their release and be considered a moderate to high risk to re-offend sexually.
The Sex Offender Educational Program is a four-month instructive presentation of topics designed to minimize the risk of sex offenders re-offending. Eligible offenders must be within 18 months of release and be considered a low risk to re-offend sexually.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance Abuse Felony Punishment (SAFP) facilities are a six-month in-prison treatment component followed by three months of residential aftercare in a Transitional Treatment Center (TTC), six to nine months of outpatient aftercare, and up to 12 months of support groups and follow-up supervision. A nine-month in-prison treatment component is provided for special needs offenders that have mental and/or medical disorders. Offenders in this program are sentenced by a judge to a SAFP as a condition of their community supervision in lieu of going to prison/state jail or as a modification of their parole. Offenders convicted of certain sex offender-related felonies are not eligible for this program.
The In-Prison Therapeutic Community (IPTC) is similar to SAFP in treatment components and length. This program is available to incarcerated offenders within six months of parole release who are identified as needing substance abuse treatment. The Board of Pardons and Paroles must vote to place qualified offenders in the therapeutic community program. Successful graduates are then released on parole to a TTC for three months, six to nine months of outpatient aftercare, and up to 12 months of support groups and follow-up supervision.
The Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program is an intensive, six-month treatment for incarcerated offenders with serious substance abuse/chemical dependency and antisocial characteristics. These offenders are within seven months of release as identified by the agency's Classification & Records Department and Parole Division. Treatment modality is similar to the SAFP facilities.
Volunteers currently provide services to offenders in areas of literacy and education, development of life skills and job skills, parenting training, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, support groups, art and crafts, and other programs determined by the agency to aid in the transition between confinement and society. The Volunteer Coordination Committee (VCC) was established in 1994 in order to enhance the utilization of volunteers within the agency. The VCC consist of representatives from the following divisions/departments: Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division (Substance Abuse Treatment, Chaplaincy, and Sex Offender Treatment); Victim Services Division; Parole Division; Community Justice Assistance Division; and the Windham School District.
Youthful Offender Program
The Youthful Offender Program (YOP) was established in 1995 in response to changes in the law allowing offenders as young as 14 to be tried and sentenced as adults. YOP offenders are separated from the adult incarcerated population and have an opportunity for school, work and vocation. Additionally, a therapeutic community is offered for those youthful offenders within the YOP who are in need of intensive treatment. Treatment includes education, social skills training, anger management, values development, goal setting, cognitive restructuring, substance abuse counseling, conflict resolution, aggression replacement, and life skills. The topics of focus groups include parenting, cultural diversity, grief/loss, gang intervention, victim empathy, and employment preparation.
Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) Pre-Release Program
The PRI Pre-Release Program is a collaborative effort between TDCJ and the Department of Labor's faith/community-based organizations. The design of the program is a 90-day three phase model, followed by a community component. The program focuses on the offender's identified needs with an emphasis on assessments, cognitive behavioral change, employment and transitional planning. Prior to release, the offenders develop a Transitional Community Plan and are connected with the program's community partners for continued services and training. The PRI program is currently offered at Lychner, Kegans, Hutchins, Dominguez and Plane state jails.
Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI)
The Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI) is responsible for addressing the establishment of a comprehensive continuity of care system that emphasizes its primary goals of public safety and treatment intervention for juveniles and adults (including the elderly) with mental illness, mental retardation, development disabilities, serious or chronic medical conditions, and physical disabilities.
Fiscal Year 2007 saw the completion and final implementation of several legislative mandates from the 79th Legislative Session. These enhancements to TCOOMMI's mission included, but were not limited to, the following:
- Revised and implemented memoranda of understanding between TDCJ, the departments of State Health Services, Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and Aging and Disability Services, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Office Safety and Education for a seamless continuity of care process for special needs offenders and more specialized training for peace officers.
- Provided funds to jails for post-release (from state hospitals) medications for defendants deemed competent for criminal proceedings.
- Coordinated with the Department of State Health Services and Jail Commission on cross-referencing all jail inmates against statewide MHMR database.
- Coordinated with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to conduct a statewide study on mental health screening and treatment practices in local jails.
- Monitored statewide compliance with the sharing of confidential information among local/state criminal justice and health/human services agencies.
- Coordinated with regulatory, juvenile justice, criminal justice, health and human service agencies, and other TCOOMMI advisory members to address services delivery barriers affecting offenders with special needs.
- Created a continuity of care system for defendants being released from state hospitals to jails after a finding of competency.
- Worked with University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas Tech University to develop an automated report to assist in identifying offenders eligible for medically recommended intensive supervision.
Community - Based Services
Community-based programs provided intensive case management, jail diversion, and continuity of care and support services to juvenile and adult offenders who were on any form of community supervision (i.e. pre-trial, probation and parole). During Fiscal Year 2007, a total of 28,921 adults and juveniles received community-based treatment services.
Continuity of Care
Continuity of Care (COC) programs provided pre-release and post-release screening and referral for aftercare medical or psychiatric treatment services for special needs offenders. In Fiscal Year 2007, 4,457 offenders were released through the COC program.
Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision
The Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision (MRIS) Program provided early parole review of adult offenders who are mentally ill, mentally retarded, terminally ill, physically handicapped, elderly, or require long term care. During Fiscal Year 2007, 941 inmates were screened, 290 were presented to the parole board, and 101 were approved for medically recommended intensive supervision.
Additional TCOOMMI activities
As Fiscal Year 2007 drew to a close, TCOOMMI had been charged with a number of new legislative mandates as a result of the 80th Regular Legislative Session. They include, but are not limited to:
- Incorporating Legislative enhancements adding the Department of Public Safety to the agencies participating in the continuity of care process.
- Fostering an increased ability to share information between the Department of Public Safety and the Department of State Health Services to facilitate greater delivery of service to special needs offenders on a "real time" basis.
- Expanding community-based programs, including residential programs, with new funds appropriated by the Legislature for mental health diversion activities.
- Broaden the Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision Program to include a review of certain categories of sex offenders and medically eligible state jail inmates.
- Coordinate with the Department of State Health Services for the development of community-based competency guidelines, and participate in funding outpatient competency restoration pilot programs.
Victim Services Division
The Victim Services Division's mission is to coordinate a central mechanism for victims to participate in the criminal justice process within an environment of integrity, fairness, compassion, and dignity.
Victim Notification System
The Victim Notification System (VNS) is a confidential, 75-point notification database that provides victims, their families, and concerned citizens written information throughout the parole review process. At the end of Fiscal Year 2007, there were 127,593 individuals registered on the VNS database and 235,291 pieces of correspondence had been processed.
Toll Free Information Hotline: (800) 848-4284
Between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, Victim Services representatives answer calls and provide information about offender status, the criminal justice system, personal meetings with Board of Pardons and Parole members, and services available to victims through the division. There were 48,705 telephone calls processed during the fiscal year.
Victim Information and Notification Everyday
Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) is a toll-free automated telephone service that allows victims to obtain offender information 24 hours a day in English or Spanish. If requested by a victim, VINE can call them automatically to notify them when their offender is being processed for release. This system is a service offered to victims in addition to written notification. There were 19,448 VINE "call ins" and 1,282 VINE "call outs" in Fiscal Year 2007.
Case File Analysts
Offender case files are managed by the case file analysts who liaison between victims and parole board members, criminal justice professionals, and law enforcement personnel. Assistance is provided for victims requesting imposition of special conditions, explanation of the parole process, and interpretation of state parole laws. In Fiscal Year 2007, 1,724 cases were analyzed and 303 transmittals were processed to the parole board requesting special conditions or protesting the release of an offender.
Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse
The Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse (TxCVC) provides technical assistance, information, and referrals to victims, victim service providers, law enforcement, and criminal justice professionals. Every odd-numbered year, the TxCVC updates the Victim Impact Statement (VIS) upon adjournment of the legislative session. There is also an age-appropriate VIS for child victims designed to be more user friendly to children. The VIS is readily available in Spanish and in Braille upon request. The TxCVC provides training specific to victim assistance staff in district and county attorney's offices on the VIS. A quarterly newsletter, The Victim's Informer, is produced by the TxCVC and mailed to approximately 4,000 recipients.
The TxCVC sponsors an annual training conference designed to bring victims, victim advocates, service providers, probation and parole professionals, and other criminal justice professionals together to train, network and share information. This event historically has been held in Austin every odd-numbered year to coincide with the Texas legislative session and in various cities across Texas in even-numbered years. The 2007 TxCVC Conference in Austin hosted 338 attendees and offered 48 workshops in addition to several general sessions.
Victim Impact Panel Program
Through the Victim Impact Panel Program (VIPP), victims/survivors of crime have the opportunity to share details of their victimization by addressing audiences of criminal justice professionals and offenders. The goal is to involve victims/survivors in the criminal justice process and give them a voice, thereby promoting their personal healing. The audience gains victim awareness, empathy and sensitivity, thus alleviating the chances of further victimization. There were 51 impact panels conducted in Fiscal Year 2007 with six new victim panelists and 71 referral or repeat panelists participating.
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue Program
The Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue (VOM/D) Program provides victims and survivors of violent crime the opportunity to have a structured, face-to-face meeting with their offender in a safe environment. Mediation is a vehicle chosen by some victims to facilitate the healing and recovery process and to get answers to questions only the offender can answer. Under certain circumstances, "creative alternatives" are utilized in lieu of a face-to-face mediation. Use of surrogate offenders or videotaped statements by the victim or the offender, are two such examples of creative alternatives. There were 28 mediations completed in Fiscal Year 2007.
Victim and Community Support and Education Program
The Victim and Community Support and Education Program oversees a variety of services available to victims, including training, assisting victims who view executions, and prison tours. In an effort to enhance victim awareness and sensitivity, and to prevent victimization, target-training audiences include criminal justice professionals, victims, victim advocates, and offenders. When appropriate, training staff utilizes victim impact panels. In Fiscal Year 2007, training was provided to 1,410 victim advocates and service providers, students, offenders, criminal justice professionals, and law enforcement personnel.
Victim Services screens appropriate individuals for viewing executions. Victims viewing executions can request as many as five relatives or close friends who want to witness the execution of an offender. If the victim so desires, witnesses may also include law enforcement personnel and/or trial officials in their five choices. Witnesses are prepared for and accompanied to the execution viewing by a Victim Services staff member. Contact is made following the execution to assess if post-trauma symptoms are evident and to make referrals as appropriate. From September 2006 through August 2007, at least one Victim Services representative attended 19 executions, providing support to 87 victim witnesses.
Prison tours are conducted to educate criminal justice staff, victims, and others about the realities of prison life in Texas. During Fiscal Year 2007, there were three prison tours with 26 participants. The tours included a visit to two prison units and the execution chamber.
Bridges To Life
During Fiscal Year 2007, Bridges to Life and Restoring Peace projects took place on 21 prison units, with 45 projects in progress during the year. The projects lasted 12 to 14 weeks and are conducted in small group settings. Discussion topics include crime, domestic violence, DWI, accountability, guilt, forgiveness, and restitution. Approximately 200 victim/volunteers participate during the year, some attending more than one project at a time. About 1,500 volunteer inmates participated during the fiscal year.
Administrative Review & Risk Management
Access to Courts Program
Access to Courts ensures offenders receive their constitutional right of access to courts, counsel, and public officials, and that such access is adequate, effective, and meaningful as required by law. It provides critical functions at all units, including legal research resources, attorney visits and phone calls, Open Records requests, telephonic court hearings, correspondence supplies for indigent offenders, notary public services, offender legal and educational in-cell storage management, parole revocation hearing reviews, and court transcript administration. Total cumulative law library attendance in Fiscal Year 2007 was 635,160. The number of items of legal research material delivered to offenders with indirect law library access was 288,161.
Administrative Monitor for Use of Force
This office manages the agency's Use of Force policy and procedures and coordinates training systemwide to promote staff understanding and compliance with policy. In addition, office staff conducted reviews of 7,727 Major Use of Force reports during the fiscal year.
Monitoring & Standards
The primary focus of the Operational Review program is to monitor adherence to agency policy at each correctional facility. This is accomplished through ongoing monthly reviews at the unit level and reviews every three years at the division level. Follow-up reviews are then conducted to document any findings that required corrective action. In addition, staff investigates allegations of certain offender misconduct (i.e., supervisory authority over other offenders, special privileges, and access to sensitive information). Monitoring & Standards also coordinates and assists correctional facilities in obtaining accreditation from the American Correctional Association (ACA). Twenty-four facilities received their initial accreditation during Fiscal Year 2007. To date, 72 units, the Baten Intermediate Sanction Facility and the Correctional Training Academy, have earned ACA accreditation. Twenty-four additional facilities are scheduled for initial accreditation in Fiscal Year 2008.
Offender Grievance Program
This program provides offenders with a formal mechanism to hear and resolve concerns affecting their everyday lives. By providing an outlet for offender grievances, the program also enhances the safety of staff while providing agency administrators with valuable insight into issues and problem resolution on the units. During Fiscal Year 2007, unit grievance investigators handled more than 164,000 grievances at the unit level, while central office staff processed more than 41,000 appeals.
The ombudsman offices provide public access to agency staff members who answer questions and address concerns. The Ombudsman Coordinators' Office in Huntsville supports ombudsman staff in the Correctional Institutions and Parole divisions. Staff responded to approximately 18,470 inquiries in Fiscal Year 2007 through the U.S. mail, telephone, and the Internet. The office also arranged for agency representatives to speak at 14 engagements sponsored by offender family support organizations.
This program has oversight for unit/department occupational safety and health standards, emergency management planning and disaster recovery, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and liability loss control. It coordinates with all agency departments to implement risk reduction strategies regarding personnel, property and fiscal resources. Fiscal Year 2007 saw an 8.6 percent reduction in employee injuries and resulting workers compensation claims.
Business and Finance Division
Business and Finance supports the agency through sound fiscal management of resources and ensures fiscal responsibility through compliance with laws and court-mandated requirements.
Accounting and Business Services Department
Accounting and Business Services carries out the financial operations of the agency by providing meaningful financial information, supporting financial processes, and maintaining effective financial control.
Accounting and Business Services consists of Financial Analysis & Support, Accounts Payable and Cashier/Travel/Restitution/Fee Services.
The department is responsible for general accounting of state funds, and produces the agency's annual financial report. This is achieved through the use of the agency's financial system, LONESTARS (which is managed by the department) and the Uniform Statewide Accounting System.
In providing financial oversight for all other agency departments, the Budget Department plans, formulates, analyzes and monitors agency revenues and expenditures by activity, function and department. The planning process is initiated through preparation of the Agency Strategic Plan, which is monitored quarterly by a system of performance measures. The department then compiles the biennial Legislative Appropriations Request, which serves as the fiscal representation of the Agency Strategic Plan.
The Texas Legislature appropriated approximately $5.6 billion to TDCJ for the 2008-2009 biennium. The Fiscal Year 2008 Operating Budget, developed and continuously monitored by the Budget Department, totals $2.872 billion, which also includes approximately $27 million provided for employee pay raises.
The department routinely interacts with the state's executive, legislative and regulatory agencies, which include the Legislative Budget Board, Governor's Office of Budget, Planning and Policy, Public Finance Authority, and the Bond Review Board.
Commissary and Trust Fund Department
The Commissary and Trust Fund Department is responsible for the administration and operation of the agency's commissaries and inmate trust fund.
The inmate trust fund provides offenders access to personal funds for the purchase of commissary items, craft shop supplies, periodicals and subscriptions, some over-the-counter medications, and other approved expenditures. In Fiscal Year 2007, more than 1.8 million deposits totaling $101.2 million were received and processed. An automated remittance system is used to encode, image, endorse and facilitate the electronic posting of the large number of deposits collected by the trust fund.
The department operates two warehouse and distribution centers that provide merchandise for resale at commissary locations throughout the state. Merchandise sold includes candy, packaged meat products, coffee, soft drinks, greeting cards, shoes and electronics. Utilizing an offender's bar-coded identification card, the commissary's point-of-sale system records detailed sales transaction information and debits the offender's trust fund account. Sales from commissary operations exceeded $81.8 million in Fiscal Year 2007.
In addition to supporting the commissary and trust fund operations, income from commissary sales is used to fund or supplement other offender programs. These include recreational activities, sports and fitness equipment, television equipment (located in common viewing areas), library books and supplies, and the Echo newspaper available to offenders.
Contracts and Procurement Department
The Contracts and Procurement Department is responsible for procuring the goods and services necessary to support the mission of the agency. Highly-trained certified purchasers and contract specialists approve, record and process purchases requisitioned by agency staff. The department's mission is to acquire the right goods and services, at the right time, and at the right price in accordance with laws, rules, policies, and sound business judgment. Agency requirements range from basic needs, such as food for offenders, to complex professional services and construction projects.
During Fiscal Year 2007, the department processed more than 44,000 requisitions and approximately 800 contract procurement actions.
In partnership with the Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) Department, Contracts and Procurement also promotes the HUB program and continuously strives to improve HUB participation in the procurement of goods and services.
The primary mission of the HUB Program is to promote full and equal business opportunities to historically underutilized businesses. HUBs, as defined by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, are businesses that have been historically underutilized and have at least 51 percent ownership in the following groups:
- Asia-Pacific Americans
- African Americans
- Hispanic Americans
- Native Americans
- American Women
The HUB Program sponsors a vendor fair annually and participates in a number of HUB forums. It also assists in the certifying of HUB vendors, and, this past year, participated in the awarding of over $14 million in construction contracts to HUBs.
Office of Space Management
The responsibility of the Office of Space Management (OSM) is to acquire, allocate, approve and manage administrative lease space based on TDCJ's needs and in compliance with various state statutes and departmental rules and regulations. At the end of Fiscal Year 2007, OSM provided support for approximately 88 leases. In addition, OSM activities include ensuring efficient use of both lease and state-owned administrative properties. Other OSM functions include liaison activities involving the Texas Facilities Commission, payment issues between Accounts Payable and lessors, assistance in resolution of maintenance issues between tenants and lessors, and assistance in obtaining necessary management and budgetary approvals on TDCJ's behalf. When an emergency occurs in a leased administrative space, OSM staff provides immediate on-site assistance with relocation, support for communication needs, assistance related to public safety issues, and proper notification of the emergency to TFC.
Payroll Processing Department
The Payroll Processing Department processes the agency payroll for approximately 39,000 employees with an annual salary of more than $1 billion while ensuring compliance with state and federal laws. It also manages all payroll deductions, the direct deposit program, federal tax reporting, and the employee time system. Payroll successfully completed the Fiscal Year 2007 payroll conversion and implemented various policy changes throughout the fiscal year.
Agribusiness, Land and Minerals
Agribusiness, Land and Minerals is responsible for the oversight and management of the agency's land and mineral resources to include administration of oil and gas leases, easements, and other land issues. Land considered suitable for agricultural use is employed in the production of fresh vegetables, cotton, grain, hay and livestock. In addition to these primary activities, Agribusiness manages and operates several food processing plants and livestock production facilities that provide the canned vegetables, eggs, and various finished meat products required to feed the incarcerated offender population.
In calendar year 2006, Agribusiness raised 28 varieties of fruits and vegetables in gardens comprising 4,236 acres, with production in excess of 17.5 million pounds. Community-style, unit-managed gardens contributed an additional 4.9 million pounds of fresh vegetables. More than 30,518 acres were dedicated to the production of cotton, grains and grasses, resulting in the harvest of 124 million pounds of product. At the close of 2006, on-hand livestock included 16,137 head of cattle, 24,526 swine, 331,049 laying hens, and 1,630 horses. The poultry program produced approximately 5.3 million dozen eggs, and the swine program shipped 35,180 hogs to the packing plant. During this period, agency food processing plants canned 245,457 cases of vegetables and delivered over 24.2 million pounds of finished meat items.
Agribusiness makes use of approximately 2,500 offenders in its numerous enterprises. Many of these offenders are offered the opportunity to learn marketable job skills that may assist them in securing employment upon their release.
The Facilities Division provides a full range of facility management services to TDCJ, including facility planning, design, construction, maintenance and environmental quality assurance, and compliance. The Facilities Division's headquarters is located in Huntsville but has maintenance employees working at state-owned and operated facilities throughout the state. Those employees provide long range and day-to-day maintenance as required to keep the facilities in proper working condition and to support each facility year-round.
The Engineering Department provides professional architectural and engineering services to support TDCJ. The department provides overall project design and construction management for all delivery methods, including contract design and construction and internal design and construction activities. The engineers and architects also act as consultants to the Maintenance Department and to any other office requiring technical assistance. Oversight is provided for all activities affecting engineering and environmental interests to ensure compliance with all state and federal rules and regulations.
The Maintenance Department is responsible for maintaining all TDCJ-owned and operated facilities. A unit maintenance office is located on each correctional facility. Each office has a technical staff, the makeup of which varies according to the mission and facility offender population. There are six regional maintenance offices supporting the unit maintenance offices. These regional offices have specialty crews performing construction projects, repairs, and renovations.
Program Administration Department
The Program Administration Department is responsible for facility project planning and programming functions. This department engages in energy conservation initiatives, energy audits and utility billing analysis. Environmental safety and compliance is also administered within this department, which includes the preparation of numerous technical and complex reports for all TDCJ facilities and oversight of special investigations, audits and research.
Program Analysis Department
The Program Analysis Department supports the Facilities Division in all financial phases of design, construction, maintenance, job closings, and available funding approval. The department monitors the bond-funded and administrative budgets, develops and analyzes project budgets, tracks expenditures in order to create a history that provides appropriate information for future budget projections, and works closely with all departments in the division to apply funding necessary to purchase and replace unit equipment.
Project Administration Department
The Project Administration Department provides support to the Engineering Department for both the design and construction phases of project management. This department manages the receipt and coordination of all incoming Major Work Requests and provides support to project engineers during design reviews. It also administers project schedules and monitors construction performance as it relates to established schedules. Additional responsibilities include the management of construction projects, to include quality assurance performed by internal or contracted methods
Information Technology Division
Automated information services and technology support are provided to all TDCJ departments, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Correctional Managed Health Care, and other external entities. Approximately 32,000 personal computers, terminals, routers, radios, telephone switches and other devices are operated and supported on behalf of the agency. Additionally, the division operates and maintains numerous computer and telephone voice networks and a Wide Area Network (WAN) that connects parole offices, correctional facilities and administrative offices in Huntsville, Austin, and across the state.
The division's computer operations consist of two large mainframe computers and 11 servers located at the Texas State Data Center in San Angelo. This center processes more than 19.7 million transactions a day for the agency. In Fiscal Year 2007, the division launched the pre-release application of the Offender Information Management System and implemented the Data Center Consolidation services contract with the Department of Information Resources for data center and disaster recovery services.
Manufacturing & Logistics Division
The Manufacturing & Logistics Division benefits the state by affording work and training opportunities for incarcerated offenders. The division provides quality service in warehousing operations, freight transportation, the management of the TDCJ fleet, and by providing quality manufactured products and services to TDCJ and other state agencies and political subdivisions.
The division collaborates with the Windham School District, post-secondary educational institutions, and other entities to establish work and training programs that are directed toward the effective rehabilitation of offenders. Training opportunities consist of apprenticeship programs, diversified career preparation programs, short course programs, on-the-job programs, and college vocational courses. Work and training programs offered to eligible offenders help to reduce idleness and provides opportunities for offenders to learn marketable job skills and develop a work ethic. On-the-job training and accredited certification programs, along with the Work Against Recidivism (WAR) program, are specifically targeted to successfully reintegrate offenders into society upon release from TDCJ.
The division has four designated training facilities located on the Daniel, Ferguson, Mountain View and Wynne units, which provide eligible offenders the opportunity to earn nationally-accredited certifications. The Wynne Computer Recovery and Daniel Computer Recovery facilities offer A+ and Network+ certifications that certifies the competency of service technicians in the computer industry. The Mountain View Braille facility offers Braille transcription certifications from the Library of Congress. The Ferguson Geographic Information Systems facility offers GeoMedia Professional certification. Qualified offenders working within the division are also offered certifications through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Center for Engineering & Educational Research (NCEER), Outdoor Power Equipment & Engine Service Association (OPEESA), American Welding Society (AWS), and National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
During Fiscal Year 2007, the division oversaw five Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) certification programs. The PIE programs were located on the Coffield, Ellis, Lockhart and Michael units, where aluminum windows, hardwood and veneers, wiring harnesses, A/C and heating valves, computer components, and trailer beds are manufactured. PIE participants contributed $195,800 to the state's Crime Victims' Compensation Fund, $15,362 in restitution, $569,618 for family/child support, and $1,864,401 for room and board.
Texas Correctional Industries
Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) manufactures goods and provides services for state and local government agencies, political subdivisions, public educational systems, and to private institutions of higher education. TCI has 43 facilities that manufacture everything from textile and janitorial products to furniture, license plates, tire recapping and stainless steel goods. Sales for Fiscal Year 2007 totaled approximately $83 million. TCI has two statutory objectives. One is to provide work program participants with marketable job skills to help reduce recidivism through a coordinated program of job skills training, documentation of work history, and access to resources provided by Project Re-Integration of Offenders (RIO) and the Texas Workforce Commission. The second is to reduce costs by providing products and services to the department, and to sell products and services to other eligible entities on a for-profit basis.
Fleet Transportation has oversight of approximately 2,100 licensed vehicles as well as several thousand trailers and other equipment. The agency's online vehicle management system has the ability to measure how effectively the agency uses its fleet of licensed vehicles.
Freight Transportation manages a fleet of 192 trucks and 419 trailers. During Fiscal Year 2007, four dispatch offices coordinated more than 26,000 freight hauls and logged approximately 6.5 million miles. Employees and offenders worked 288,769 hours.
Warehousing & Supply
Warehousing & Supply manages eight warehouses with an average inventory of more than $20 million and maintains 6,739 items in stock. Approximately $116 million in supplies were distributed to food warehouses, the Prison Store in Huntsville and other facilities during Fiscal Year 2007.
Human Resources Division
The Human Resources (HR) Division provides consistent application of the agency's human resources programs, policies and services to ensure compliance with federal and state laws, and to fulfill the needs of the agency's employees.
HR Administrative Support
HR participated in the State Classification Office's Classification Compliance Audit of attorney and auditor positions, conducted position classification reviews for several positions within the Facilities Division and the Information Technology Division (ITD), and coordinated the implementation of Fiscal Year 2008-2009 changes to the State Classification Plan.
HR Staff Development (HRSD) delivered more than 26,215 training hours to 4,409 employees. The training hours included "Keeping the Good Ones", an employee retention training program developed by HRSD in Fiscal Year 2007. HR partnered with the Correctional Institutions Division (CID) to provide 84 classes of the retention training to CID managers and supervisors.
The TDCJ wellness program, Wellness Initiative Now (WIN), coordinated the agency's participation in the 2007 Texas Round-Up Governor's Challenge. Approximately 9,970 TDCJ employees, friends and family members participated in the six-week physical activity program, with 9,059 completing the entire event.
The agency's Dispute Resolution Program for employees achieved a 97 percent agreement rate in 180 sessions. This success rate improved the daily working environment for participating staff.
HR coordinated with ITD to implement significant improvements to the employee disciplinary database. The improvements allow HR to develop improved statistical and trend analyses regarding employee disciplinary actions.
HR continued to improve the correctional officer (CO) application process by updating the CO screening test and streamlining many application processing procedures. In addition, HR implemented several aggressive CO recruiting strategies to include:
- Advertising on CareerBuilder.com in seven areas with critical CO staffing shortages.
- Posting CO employment opportunities on several military websites, including Transition Assistance Online, to attract separating or retiring military personnel.
- Conducting a radio advertising campaign in areas with critical CO staffing shortages.
- Providing recruitment information to 243 military bases with transition assistance programs and requesting invitations to their job fairs.
- Participating in 166 job fairs. Many were in response to the letters mailed to every Texas high school and approximately 200 colleges requesting invitations to their job fairs.
- Recruiting Texas Youth Commission (TYC) employees affected by the transfer of the San Saba and Marlin facilities from TYC to TDCJ.
In response to the State Auditor's Report, State Agencies Use of Criminal History Records, HR coordinated with ITD to enhance the agency's process of performing employee criminal history background checks. These changes included implementing the Department of Public Safety automatic arrest notification system, coordinating the fingerprinting of each current employee, and development of a file transfer process. In addition, HR enhanced the process for tracking the status of an employee's criminal charge to ensure the agency takes appropriate action upon an employee's conviction.
Office of the Chief of Staff
In Fiscal Year 2007, the Office of the Chief of Staff had oversight of Governmental Affairs, Executive Support, and Media Services
Governmental Affairs ensures that all relevant legislation passed by the Texas Legislature is implemented in a timely fashion and coordinates with legislative committees to assist in supplying departmental statistics and resource information for committee members. This section also assists in the coordination of special projects and fields inquiries about the agency from legislative and executive offices.
Executive Support is comprised of two departments: Executive Services and the Emergency Action Center.
Executive Services provides technical support to TDCJ's executive staff. Staff members respond to inquiries regarding offender demographics, coordinate survey responses, maintain the Death Row Web page, and provide various statistical information. They also compile agenda and meeting materials for the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) meetings, produce the meeting minutes, report on the number of community work projects, and coordinate Habitat for Humanity prison partnerships. Additionally, staff members coordinate revision of TBCJ Board Rules, the Department Policy and Operations Manual, the Human Resources Policy Manual, and the Windham School District Policies. Executive Services also coordinates the State Employee Charitable Campaign, coordinates research conducted by external entities, and is TDCJ's Records Management Office. The department produces the following publications: Fiscal Year Statistical Report, Unit Profiles, Agency Organizational Charts, General Information Guide for Families of Offenders and the TDCJ Records Retention Schedule.
Emergency Action Center
The Emergency Action Center (EAC) staffs a 24-hour communications center to provide a link between TDCJ, TBCJ, agency managers, staff members, and other state and federal agencies regarding serious or unusual incidents occurring within the agency. During Fiscal Year 2007, EAC received more than 15,400 reports of serious or unusual incidents occurring at TDCJ facilities. EAC works with the
Media Services supports the agency in the production of printed and audiovisual materials, graphic design, photography, and website content management.
Six informational and training videos dealing with criminal justice and prison management were written and produced during Fiscal Year 2007. Routine duties include providing video services and footage to criminal justice agencies, the news media, and educators. Additionally, audio support is provided for bi-monthly Board meetings, Board committee meetings, and special events.
Media Services produces the Criminal Justice Connections newsletter for agency employees, local and state government officials, and concerned individuals and interest groups. Readers are also able to access the newsletter online by clicking on Web Connections. Other online publications included the 2006 TDCJ Annual Review and the TDCJ Phone and Address Directory.
The photography section produces photographic images for a variety of agency displays and publications. This section also manages the agency's photo archive for distribution to various internal and external entities.
Media Services' website content manager integrates current information from TDCJ divisions into the agency's website, which is located at www.tdcj.texas.gov. The website features an online job search by region and type of job, press releases from the Public Information Office, online scheduling for prospective employees, an online offender search, and information in Spanish.
Office of the General Counsel
The mission of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is to provide competent legal services in a timely manner. The OGC provides legal advice and opinions to the agency and its employees. It is also a legal resource for non-clients, such as members of the legislature, community supervision and corrections departments, judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys. The OGC is divided into three sections - Legal Affairs, Litigation Support, and Program Administration.
Legal Affairs prepares internal legal opinions and provides advice to the agency by interpreting constitutional, statutory, and case law. Legal advice pertains to community supervision, offender management, corrections, parole, environmental, employment, purchasing and contracts, and agricultural law. The OGC advises the agency on requests for public information and seeks Open Records opinions from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). It negotiates, drafts and reviews contracts and other transactional documents. It also reviews internal investigations, disciplinary proceedings, discrimination complaints, and the agency's investigation and response. Employee dismissals and major Use of Force reports are also reviewed by Legal Affairs.
Litigation Support assists the OAG in representing the agency and its employees in litigation. High-profile cases are assigned to an attorney to track and monitor. The OGC assists the OAG in trial preparation by locating documents, coordinating witness participation, facilitating settlement offers, attending trials, and participating in appellate proceedings.
Program Administration is in charge of administrative support for the OGC. The responsibilities of this section include fiscal management and divisional human resources administration. This section is also responsible for drafting reports, writing and maintaining OGC policies and procedures, case management tracking, records retention and storage, and claims processing. It also schedules evidentiary hearings for courts by way of video teleconferencing.
Public Information Office
All media inquiries about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice begin with the Public Information Office (PIO), which is headquartered in Huntsville and fields questions about everything from the death penalty to the criminal background of an individual offender.
PIO works with media throughout the world to tell the TDCJ story. PIO assists reporters not only in covering the agency and its events, but also those of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice.
Last year, hundreds of news media calls were answered and information was provided to reporters from around the world on a variety of topics ranging from policies, procedures and budget matters to information about individual inmates, prison programs, and the death penalty. A significant amount of time is spent each
PIO distributes news releases and media advisories on various events and activities of significance and public interest. It also provides assistance to documentary and film producers, researchers, and book authors. In addition to its external work with the media, PIO keeps agency staff informed of pertinent media coverage on a daily basis by posting news clips to the TDCJ website.
It is the philosophy of the agency to be as candid as possible with media in order to inform the public of its activities. Information is given as allowed by agency policy and in accordance with state public information laws. A PIO staff member is always on call to answer media inquiries that come in after regular business hours.
The TDCJ Public Information Office is dedicated to responding to news media inquiries in a timely and accurate manner. By taking a proactive stance, the office is able to disseminate information about TDCJ's many positive programs and successes to the media as a way of educating the public on how the agency fulfills its mission.
John Munro, Media Services Director
David Nunnelee, Editor
Eva Gonzales, Graphic Designer
Jene Robbins and David Nunnelee, Photographers
Published by Texas Department of Criminal Justice