Saturday, March 13, 2010

TDCJ preparing to use regional release facilities

The Texas Legislature last year passed a statute requiring TDCJ to stop sending all prisoners back to Huntsville for release, but instead to release them either from the unit where they're housed or "regional release facilities." Judging from this article in the Beeville Bee-Picayune, the agency has opted for the latter approach:
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has confirmed that prison inmates could soon be released in Beeville and other regional sites around the state after they have served their time.

Jason Clark, public information officer for the TDCJ in Huntsville, said the state prison agency is assessing a mandate from the Texas Legislature which requires that inmates be released from centers in each of the agency’s six regions across the state.

Clark said those centers have not yet be selected.

TDCJ’s Region IV headquarters is located at the Chase Field Criminal Justice Center southeast of Beeville. As a regional headquarters, Chase Field could be a likely site for such releases when the locations are chosen

Sixteen units are located in Region IV, including three units in Bee County.
Another important change regarding releases passed last year was a new requirement that TDCJ provide departing inmates with identification sufficient to get a driver's license from DPS. I spoke last week to the reentry coordinator from Tarrant County who told me that only recently had he met someone who actually left prison with that documentation, but most didn't have it and he didn't think it was happening yet universally.

19 comments:

ckikerintulia said...

Releasing them from the unit where they're housed would be a money saver that would help at least a little toward their 5% reduction.

Anonymous said...

I would hope that TDCJ has several region units they use so that it will be more accessible for families of inmates.

I also hope the regions that inmates get released from have organizations or churches that will step up to the plate as the organization or church in Huntsville who provides great information and support for families waiting on their loved ones being released. Each region's TIFA should really assist in the release process.

Anonymous said...

this makes so much sense...and here's another question, in the age of computers why does it take one month from a program completion to get a parole certificate cut and then two or more weeks to get a release date?
As the nice young woman said on the phone "Well, Mam, it IS the STATE..." Streamlining all of these processes will save much more than 5% and hopefully make departing TDCJ easier for waiting families.

Peter said...

I know that TDCJ has region units that could be very accessible to inmates and families. They even have expensive serving trays in those homes as what I have heard.

Anonymous said...

It's about time. This has been an issue for years.

sfenn said...

TIFA has been involved in this planning from the beginning. Although we have not been asked for suggestions on where these release units will be located, we will make every effort to have a TIFA presence there. I was appointed to the TDCJ Reentry Task Force to speak for the families. I welcome any suggestions from anyone on how the families can best be involved, not only with the release of their loved ones but for the general good of all inmates reentering society.

Susan Fenner
tifa@tifa.org
512-371-0900

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, sites not picked yet. I believe every region already has units identified as release. Example Region II I heard that Beto will be the release unit and will transport them to TYLER, TX to catch the bus!

This was at a Warden's Staff Meeting where I heard the info.

Charlie O said...

This applies primarily to male inmates. Women are released from the Crain Unit at Gatesville and most female units are there. Hobby Unit is not far away and I don't think Dayton is far either.

Anon. 2:22 is exactly right. My wife completed CHANGES in early February. I FINALLY picked her up on March 9, 2010. It's been one hell of a week. Happy, happy.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has walked through those doors at the Walls, I think it's a great idea so that perhaps families will not have to drive as far if they want to pick up their relative or friend. I hope TDCJ will make arrangements with a bus company for service from these release centers for those inmates who have no one to pick them up.
BTW, Charlie O, Tell your bride welcome home, I know you are happy.

sunray's wench said...

Charlie O ~ so glad your wife is finally back with you again.

outlaw's princess said...

mine comes home next week. once a week since january i have called and some have told me the same thing. "its not up and running yet". Then some asked " what are you talking about"? Its amazing that they get anything done in huntsville.They finally put up on the web site,where he is being released.
The state donesn't get in ANY hurry for anything. The phone service in the units was the only thing that went in fast. I figure that they will get it running right before the dead line.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Congrats, Charlie! Good luck to you both.

OP, where on TDCJ's website did you find out where he'd be released, and was it Huntsville?

9:39 - any more details about other sites from the Warden's mtg? Tylerites are going to love that!

12:36 makes a great point. In Huntsville there are at least some reentry support services available from faith based groups and others. That may take some ramp up time to replicate, assuming there are even folks in those towns available to pick up the ball.

sunray's wench said...

Scott ~ a few days before the inmate is to be released, notification appears on their inmate record on the TDCJ online inmate locator. However, it can be as late as the day before the inmate is released.

Anonymous said...

I've said of this journey that I should write a book. But I
really think an informative how to manual for both sides of the fence would be more valuable!
Charlie, best to you and yours! we are looking for a "hell of a week" very soon, too! :)
Jan Lee

Anonymous said...

Anon. 9:39
Will have to check for the other sites to see if they were discussed. BUT FOR SURE - Beto and taking them to the TYLER BUS STATION (is what I heard).

Oh and most of the people that heard this were commenting about the drain on staff. Not only will they have to have staff to receive the releasee, dress them out in release clothing and have drivers for the bus station. Tyler should protest, there are lots of units in big cities that have a bus station in the area. Why take to tyler? Why not palestine?

Anonymous said...

Why not cut a deal with bus companies to make stops at or close to prison units at designated times? dan

Charlie O said...

Thank you all for your kind words. My wife thanks you as well. Next project, getting her parole transferred from Texas to PA, where I live, work, and own a home. She has health insurance, a car, her own home in PA, seems like something they would expedite quickly, but no, it will be "awhile."

Grits, as to the release date information, I found my wife's release information online through the TDCJ Offender Information look up. It was posted Friday, February 26 for a March 9 release. Funny, I had been on the phone the previous day, Feb. 25, and in talking to 5 different people in different locales, (Gatesville, Huntsville, Austin), no one could tell me anything. They love to "not know." Yet, there it was on Friday morning.

Outlaw's Princess, Jan, best of luck to you all.

Boyness said...

I am not sure how releasing these men and women from regional release centers is going to save the state any money. TDCJ will still be buying bus tickets from these release centers to the offenders home.

As for making it "easier" for offenders families, my understanding is that most offenders are NOT at unit's close to home, so you may still have to drive across Texas to pick up your loved one.

Anonymous said...

Yep, typical government. They get to pick and choose which laws to abide by.