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Office of the Independent Ombudsman

Brian Patrick, Director, Office of the Independent Ombudsman
Brian Patrick

The Texas Board of Criminal Justice, Office of the Independent Ombudsman, is committed to providing the public, elected or appointed state officials, and inmates a confidential avenue for complaint resolution by receiving, reviewing, investigating, and responding to inquiries regarding non-criminal matters within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Independent Ombudsman

Please submit inquiries in writing. For expediency, it is best to attempt to resolve issues and obtain information at the unit or parole office level; however, when it is not possible, or the inquiry does not concern issues at that level, contact us at:

Starting Monday, September 11, 2023, the Independent Ombudsman’s hours for receiving telephone calls will change to 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. E-mail and webform inquiries are able to be submitted any time.

Texas Board of Criminal Justice
Office of the Independent Ombudsman
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
Phone: (936) 437-5620
Toll Free Hotline: (833) 598-2700
Fax: (325) 223-1334
E-mail Contact Form

Bilingual staff available - Se habla Español


In accordance with Section 493.016 of the Texas Government Code, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) Ombudsman Program provides a single point of contact for elected officials and members of the general public who have inquiries regarding the agency, inmates, or staff. When necessary, investigations shall be coordinated through appropriate Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) officials. The TBCJ Ombudsman Office strives to provide timely responses to the public.

Frequently Asked Questions

What an Ombudsman Can Do

  • Act as a liaison between the TDCJ and the general public;
  • Respond to informational inquiries regarding agency policies, procedures, or actions;
  • Respond to questions concerning a specific inmate;
  • Facilitate problem resolution;
  • Make appropriate referrals to agency staff;
  • Act as a contact and information resource for special interest groups

Board Policy (BP-01.08) Independent Ombudsman Policy Statement

What an Ombudsman Cannot Do

  • Override decisions made by appropriate authorities (i.e., judges, Board of Criminal Justice, Office of the Inspector General, etc.).
  • Handle issues outside the oversight of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
  • Address medical concerns. Due to privacy laws, all medical concerns must be sent to the TDCJ Health Services Division at
  • Investigate an allegation of a criminal act or criminal conduct. By policy, all complaints that involve potential criminal conduct must be sent to the TBCJ Office of the Inspector General at

Whom do I Contact if I Have Questions Regarding an Inmate?

Many concerns can best be addressed by contacting unit administrative staff at the inmate's unit of assignment, by telephone or mail. Addresses and telephone numbers for agency facilities are found on the TDCJ website. Additional information is also available on the Inmate Information webpage or by contacting the TBCJ Ombudsman Office.

What if I Have Contacted the Unit and I Would Like Additional Assistance?

Contact the Ombudsman Office.

How Does an Inmate Seek Problem Resolution?

The Offender Grievance Program was developed to help inmates communicate with staff regarding concerns affecting their incarceration. The grievance process provides an inmate an opportunity for problem resolution at two distinct administrative levels.

Step 1 allows the inmate to request relief from unit administration by completing a grievance form and submitting it to a Unit Grievance Investigator. Inmates receive a written response which they may appeal to Step 2 (central administrative staff) if desired.

By encouraging inmates to utilize this process you provide them an opportunity for enhancing their skills in responsible problem resolution.