Friday, February 12, 2010

Tidbits from TDCJ board meeting

A couple of items came up at yesterday's Texas Board of Criminal Justice meeting that may interest Grits readers:

Understaffing problems alleviated
The economic downturn has apparently made TDCJ guard jobs more attractive. Executive Director Brad Livingston reported that as of January 31, TDCJ had just 512 vacancies among correctional officer slots, down from around 4,000 vacancies in fall of 2007. Livingston said the agency was in its best shape regarding staffing in more than a decade.

New notification procedures for banned books
Also, the board approved for publication in the Texas Register amendments to inmate correspondence rules to comply with a new law (HB 3649) allowing authorized certain volunteer organizations to send inmates books. Also, the rule will require that both the sender and intended recipient of any material banned as inappropriate will be notified of the denial and procedures for appeal.


Anonymous said...

Rule to thumb in the corrections business: when we're in a recession, period of high employment, people scared for their jobs, corrections vacancies are easy to fill. It's in good economic times when all these vacancies occur. I've been watching it for 35 years and that's the way it is.

sunray's wench said...

It would make less work for TDCJ in the long run if they just published a legitimate and open list of books that they will not allow that the public can refer to BEFORE they pay for and have a book sent to an inmate.

outlawprincess said...

Now, sunny, why in the world would TDCJ do something that has "common Sense" written all over it?

Paul From TX said...

I find this very interesting. My son is a guest of the TDCJ system and his unit has been consistently short staffed since the holiday. They're running one chow line. Vistation has more restrictions and he called this week to say that there was only 1 guard to 4 halls so all classes and other activities were cancelled for the day.

Anonymous said...

They deleted positions to the staffing plan that is one of the reasons they can say we have enough officers. Someone needs to compare approved positions 3 years ago to approved positions we have today. I know 4 people on our shift have retired and we were told that they won't be replaced because we were over staffed. Thats all good if we were not short staffed everyday.

Anonymous said...

To: Paul From Texas,

There are really two sets of staffing on units. One is the Staffing Plan and the other is the staff available to work on any given day.

A unit may be staffed at 85% of authorized staff but may only have 60% or less, of the assigned staff available to pull a shift. This is caused by staff calling in sick, staff on extended sick leave, staff at annual training, staff on regular vacation, staff being utilized by higher headquarters in off-unit, non-staffing authorized positions.

Go back about 20 years and look at the staffing plans for units. They have been cut repeatedly for only one reason; to reduce staff vacancies!

TDCJ Administrators will tell you the staffing plan has built in relief factors and several other responses to placate the public AND POLITICIANS. The reality is unsafe prisons due to staffing shortages.

Remember the Executive Director is not a correctional professional, he is just the political administrator, a "Yes" Man, surrounded by other "Yes" men and women.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Lockdown & sack lunch because nobody came to work. Cold this week, don't want to go out in the cold, call in. Find 5% in the budget, no problem, lockdown.

Charlie O said...

"Also, the rule will require that both the sender and intended recipient of any material banned as inappropriate will be notified of the denial and procedures for appeal. "

Now, who does TDCJ consider the "sender" of a book? I can't send a book to my wife. I have to order it through Amazon or Literary Guild. Do they notify those retailers that the book is "inappropriate"? What would they care. I'm still waiting for the Lane Murray unit to either cough up the books they refused to give my wife or the $55.00 I paid for them. Sunray's Wench is absolutely correct, just publish a frigging list already.

Con-Care said...

TDCJ does publish a list of banned books every month. You can ask the Ombudsman to have new and old ones emailed to you. They're a "hoot."

sunray's wench said...

jcc ~ as far as I'm aware, that list is just the books that have been banned in the previous month. What individuals need is a definitive list of books that will not be permitted into any TDCJ facility, not a list of books that may get through somewhere else depending on whether the mailroom staff are familiar with the content or bother to read the jacket blurb.

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