Friday, March 13, 2009

TDCJ officer lobby day pushed for pay hikes

Yesterday the Texas capitol was filled with grey-uniformed Texas prison guards there for a lobby day sponsored by AFSCME advocating for the 20% raise proposed by the Department of Criminal Justice. See coverage from the Austin Statesman. I chatted with several guards making the rounds who thought the event went well and everyone said they were well-received, but there's a long way to go before we'll know if their raises will make it into the budget.

TDCJ needs the improved pay package to fill more than 2,000 empty guard slots and improve its abysmal officer retention rates. The Senate may still include the raise in its budget, but in the House it's been put on their "wish list."

As far as I'm concerned, Texas either needs to spend what it takes to adequately staff its prisons or incarcerate fewer people. Pick one, or the other - the status quo is untenable.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree we need to send fewer people to prison. In that regard, I think we need to revisit the range of sentences allowed by law for certain offenses. I was on the jury panel for two cases the other day and was asked to consider a max sentence of 10 years and 10K for a theft of 20-100K, and 2 years and 10K for possession of less than a gram of meth. The cost of that kind of incarceration kept running through my mind, compared to the relative need for it and benefit from it. I am still shaking my head.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we do both? Incarcerate fewer people and adequately staff it's prisons? I think those two things go hand in hand. We don't have to lock people up and throw away the key. People do need to be held accountable for their actions, but I think we can be smarter on crime vs the old adage of tough on crime. The tough on crime mentality is not working!

Anonymous said...

http://www.chron.com/databases/texasstatesalaries

I'm amazed at the amount of overtime worked.

sunray's wench said...

anon 4.28 ~ most of it is mandatory too. Its a wonder more COs dont have accidents on their way home, or in the workplace.

Anonymous said...

Umm why do we want this again? Did the Guards put out too much cash for all of the disposable cell phones last year?

Tonia said...

"Pick one or the other" - I love it! I completely agree; why don't others understand this?

Anonymous said...

I believe that we should do both. But why do we need to pay TDCJ officers more money when TDCJ does not require any type of formal education and no experience to be hired as a correctional officer? Don’t you know that if we have inmates acting as caged animals, our correctional officers are acting the same as well simply b/c that is the environment?!! Psychology, people!!!! And TDCJ’s 6 week pre service program is a joke! It simply teaches you NOTHING! The answers for the tests are practically handed to the test taker. Therefore, what kind of people does TDCJ have employed to make sure our offenders are treated fairly and equally? This funding people are lobbying for should go to pay increases only if the officer is equipped with some kind of formal training and/or education. Our offenders need to be feed more than slop! And why not offer the employees something other than the slop the offenders eat? It’s no wonder why the state of Texas treats our offenders like caged animals only to attempt to reintegrate them into society as the cage animals they have learned to become thro conditioning. Overall, the pay incentives that are being requested are pure hog wash when it comes to boosting moral! You can’t transform an idiot just b/c he is getting paid more, now can you?!!!!!