Wednesday, October 06, 2010

TDCJ may lose hundreds of guards due to positive drug tests

From the Cherokean Herald ("TDCJ employees pass drug tests," Oct. 6):
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s 112 prison units saw something new added in August– random drug testing for all employees. Statewide 15 employees failed the tests in September and were terminated. ...

TDCJ officials plan to test 9,600 employees this year, averaging 800 per month. Within four years, almost 40,000 employees will have been tested.

Officials are prioritizing job descriptions which have regular contact with offenders, including correctional officers, parole and administrative positions.

Some staff members who have no contact with inmates will be exempt from testing.

Each drug test costs approximately $29.
If TDCJ tested 800 in September and identified 15 drug users, that's a rate of about 1.875%. If that rate continues, and they test all 40,000 guards, parole officers, and other employees in contact with inmates, the agency could lose 750 employees in the next four years as a result of failed drug tests - around 180 in the coming year if they test 9,600 as planned.

Another interesting aspect of this is that TDCJ implemented the policy without legislative budget authorization, meaning that to test 9,600 employees this year at $29 each, they'll spend $278,400 on the project that they're having to pull out of thin air - presumably by shifting resources from other priorities. By contrast, when the Senate Criminal Justice Committee recently was told it would cost $390,000 to begin inspecting and regulating municipal jails, legislators said it simply couldn't be done because of the budget crunch. I wouldn't hazard a guess which one is more important - both are essential government functions - but it's funny how there's money available to hold prison guards accountable but not municipal police agencies. You sure can tell that police unions and local law enforcement have a lot more political clout than do prison guards.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

well now they have up to a year to flush themselves. WTG TDJC.. what ever happened to walking in a room and proclaiming piss test today, hope you studied!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I wish I was that good at spin.

Prison Doc said...

I think positive drug tests are a pretty common thing in any workplace where you have lots of young, semiskilled workers such as security officers. I once worked at a private security firm that could hardly put a cadet class together due to positive drug tests.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows there are more criminals watching the inmates than than are inmates. SOOOO sad but true. Sorta like the TYC system...more criminals than juveniles in the system. When will it change??? They cover for each others and advance each thers positions. The criminals are at a disadvantage since the state criminals in charge have the states backing. Hense, no prisons will close fore their protection. NOT criminals - the state officers!Shameful.....but true.

Anonymous said...

drug testing is a rediculous product of the Reagan administration and anyone who supports the right to subject anyone to these gestapo antics either does not realize how easily they can be spoofed probably hasn't taken the time to do even the slightest of research and/or is blinded by their psuedo-conservatism. In corporate America testing is used as a way to offer large companies big breaks on their insurance premiums and that is why after a pre-employement screening (so they get a cute certificate that guarantees a drug-free workplace) it suddenly becomes a low priority beyond that. It makes me wonder if the idiots who actually process these tests and render results are required to take tests themselves.... i highly doubt it since there are so many false positives. The most benign "drug" is pot and pot stays in ones system quite some time even in those who may partake on weekends only. Opiates, speed and all those other bad boys out there can be flushed in a matter of days so they will go unnoticed. Point is the whole thing is so rediculous and something so third reicht I'm surprised Hitler didn't invent drug tests.. or perhaps Brezhnev and the KGB.. It's as farcicle as the sex offender registries and equally as useless. Oh I can hear those who are recoiling in disgust that this is the ranting of some lunatic drug addict... well I may be, but I am not .. I question the sobriethy of anyone who thinks they are useful.

as for the article at hand... is there any real surprise here?

p.s. if there are any young readers here... KGB isn't a date rape drug... google it if you don't know and if you don't care you probably are pro-drug testing anyway

Anonymous said...

Yep, TDCJ will have a shortage of guards, after the drug test start up, but what about all those Administrators sitting in their ivory towers in Huntsville. Will they be tested? TYC should also drug test their employees. I bet everyone would be surprised at the results as they moved up the chain!

Anonymous said...

So, who do you think is providing drugs to inmates, duh? It's the drug taking guards, not the visitors.

Paul UK said...

Only 29 Dollars a test? I am wary of that. Once I used to deal with a firm which did medical testing for us, they also offered testing for blood alcohol levels for forensic purposes. Due to the nature of the tests and need to keep an evidence chain the tests cost over 100 British Pounds (About 150 Dollars) and that was ten years ago

rodsmith said...

now i have a good question. If all these prison guards are failing drug tests! Where are the massive headlines about the large number of guards being ARRESTED for dug use and maybe smuggling illegal items into the prison system? last time i looked BOTH were a crime.

Texasman534 said...

I am a correctional officer within TDCJ i am glad to see the drug testing. I am also kinda offended by the criminals watchin criminals comment. Now im not saying there are no crooked officers but you cant just profile all CO's as being crooked.Hopefully this new testing with clear some bad apples out though.

Anonymous said...

The adult prisons are similiar to the juvenile prisons. There are some good folks there but there are also many bad apples. Just look at all the criminals that were washed out in the TYC scandal, that TYC stated were not employed there. The bad apples makes the whole basket seem tainted; especially when the leadership covers for the bad ones.

Anonymous said...

10:39 has it right. We do live in the third reich with litle Hitlers demanding drug tests.

07:54
Visitors don't bring in drugs. It's the guards.

Dale said...

We certainly need to return to the basics of honesty and integrity mingled with a large dose of self discipline. Coworkers who break the law in any way make our job harder.