In a report obtained from the Texas Board of Criminal Justice ... TDCJ leaders claim the agencies [staffing] situation is now brighter. Brad Livingston, TDCJ's executive director, stated that just a year ago the agency had nearly 4,000 vacant Correctional Officer positions open. Now he states there are only 512 open. The reasoning behind the jump in applicants was blamed on the current slump in the economy and the accompanying layoffs in many other fields.It'd be interesting to examine side-by-side staffing ratios under both the old staffing plan and the new one at each unit to see the extent to which improved staffing really results from artificially reducing denominators.
This situation has prompted agency leaders to institute new hiring standards for incoming correctional staff that will center around physical fitness. Soon applicants must be able to run a specified distance within a time limit, and complete other physical fitness standards before even being offered employment. Those employees then must re-qualify on a yearly basis to retain that employment.
Although Correctional Officer numbers are looking good on paper, many TDCJ facilities statewide are still mandating staff to work overtime, canceling days off, and even cutting back on some internal facility movement due to the lack of staffing. The TDCJ staffing plan that was unveiled statewide almost a year ago took Correctional Officer slots off of unit rosters in most cases. It made it appear that there were enough staff on duty, when in fact it actually meant changing the required numbers to reflect that less were needed to do the same work done previously. A smoke and mirrors act if you will that has not only made it harder to run those facilities, but also created a dangerous situation for staff members who must bear the burden of those vacant positions.
Another, related post (Back Gate posts regrettably don't have permalinks) informs us that:
The numbers for 2009 representing hiring and separation of TDCJ employees has been recently released to the Backgate Website. TDCJ’s Region III lead the state in Officer turnover for 2009. Region III hired 1,263 for the year, but lost 1,091. That total amounted to only retaining a mere 172 hired employees for the year. Region I, who lead the state in hiring employees in 2009 with 2,327, lost 1,502 retaining 825 Officers for the year. The average time employed by a leaving Correctional Officer for Region I was 3.4 years. The average experience level of employee lost from Region III was 4.1 years on average.
TDCJ hired a total of 8,375 Correctional staff members in 2009, but lost a total of 5,780. That means they ended up with only 2,592 positions filled out of hiring 8,375 people.