In a push to bolster security and curb contraband in Texas' massive prison system, officials for the first time plan to order random drug tests for a majority of the state's 41,000 corrections employees including all guards and parole officers.
Bryan Collier, deputy director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said Thursday that the policy to be unveiled next week is designed to raise staffing standards inside Texas' 112 state prisons. ...
The drug testing "will cover a majority of the agency's employees," Collier said. "Any of us who are in this business, if people are doing drugs, we don't want them working in the institutions. It's not safe."
The agency has more than 41,300 employees, including more than 29,200 correctional officers and supervisors and nearly 1,300 parole officers.
UPDATE: Sen. John Whitmire sent around an email expressing his support for the new policy, and I replied with the question above about where to cut the budget to pay for it. Whitmire responded that "I am not for cutting TDCJ's budget and am confident funding will be found to cover the additional expense." The good senator remains much more sanguine than I am that it's possible to avoid cutting prisons. TDCJ was taken off the list of exempted agencies in the most recent round of budget cut requests from state leaders.