Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2,000 jobs cut at TDCJ

Summarizing the effect of state budget cuts on job losses, the Texas Tribune's Becca Aaronson mentioned that the greatest number of jobs eliminated came from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which employs more people than any other state agency:
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the largest state government employer, lost more than 2,000 state-paid full-time positions. Agency spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said the job losses were “absolutely because of the budget cuts.” The agency attributes the loss of 1,000 positions directly to lost funding. The agency also chose not to fill many vacant positions, Lyons said, and eliminated programs, transferring the services offered by those programs to other departments. “Everyone was trying to be pro-active in identifying areas where we could save money in these economic times,” she said.
So Texas cut 2,000 prison jobs but failed to enact legislation that will significantly reduce the prison population. As Grits suggested earlier this year, most of those cuts came through attrition, which is possible because of the extraordinarily high turnover rate among Texas prison guards. Not only does high turnover among "new boots" contribute to understaffing at prisons, it also partially explains the high volume of contraband flowing into Texas prisons despite so-called "zero tolerance" policies which have been in place for several years. Less experienced staff with fewer institutional ties are more prone to corruption.

Will such large force reductions harm safety for prison staff and inmates or limit the number of beds the state can operate? Already we've seen reports of increased mandatory overtime to make up for fewer boots on the ground. It wasn't that long ago that TDCJ faced staffing shortages so severe that administrators had to shut down whole prison wings because of too few guards to oversee them. One wouldn't be surprised to see the same situation recur in the near future. With accompanying cuts to health insurance and retirement benefits for prison staff, even in the current recession, it's not likely to get any easier for TDCJ to recruit and/or retain staff in the short to medium term.


The Comedian said...

This is more evidence of the Texas Miracle. I'm sure that some Job Creators will step up to provide employment for those losing their jobs. What! Oh no! They won't?

Prison Doc said...

Comedian, actually job creation is a big part of the problem. Low wage, minimally skilled security staff are heading to the oil patch in droves where a willingness to work hard is richly rewarded.

Nurseypooh said...

If they would pay overtime to the officers instead of time on the books they wouldn't have such a problem with staffing short shifts.
Also they hire 18 yr olds right out of high school and they are easily manipulated by offender and turn dirty.
BTW- if anyone remembers I was layed off at my unit and transferred to another unit, well it lasted less than a month, after giving the inmate's there meds to take back to their cells and take them responsibily many overdosed. All the meds were then confiscated.

So UTMB had a lightbulb moment and decided to resend the lay off for 13 units who had a reduction of hours from 12 per day to 8. We will go back to providing medical care for offender for 12 hours a day as soon as we can get fully staffed again because some of the layed off staff have refused to come back. I went back. I just don't understand why they acted suprised when this happened because many, many staff wrote letters warning them of the impending overdoses if they issued the meds. Just more upper management decisions we don't understand.
I'm glad to be back home though.....
P.S. no deaths due to o.d. ing at our unit but all incured hospital bills, and some will have permanent damage to organs and or their brain.

sunray's wench said...

Nurseypooh said "P.S. no deaths due to o.d. ing at our unit but all incured hospital bills, and some will have permanent damage to organs and or their brain."

I'm glad you have your job still, but I can only imagine the reaction of those higher up, which would undoubtedly be "damn, they didn't die? What else can we try?". Given the interview I recently heard Senator Whitmire give and some of his comments, plus the letter demanding that the last meal requests for Death Row inmates be immediately stopped unless TDCJ wanted to face legislation next session (how's that for bullying tactics?), I can only assume that he is voicing how others of his seniority feel. They apparently have as little regard for the frontline staff as they do for inmates.

David E said...

Permanent brain damage? If that happens they would still be ahead of the brain dead morons in management that came up with this idea.

Judy said...

Jester 1 Warden Bradshaw gives his staff verbal abuse everyday. People are leaving that are good workers. His out side yard Offenders do not get hot meals. But he does.

Grandmom said...

How can the legislature cut jobs, food budgets, medical care and final meals for condemned inmates and then install expensive cameras outside every cell on death row and pay personnel to check every piece of mail that goes in or out of death row? Where is just a small particle of rational priority?

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Changing a policy for last meals and potentially having the last meal legislated out of existence because some white supremacist wanted to stick it to the system is just plain retarded. When I first heard that story I thought the CO’s on the row were getting fed, it was found out, and this is how it was decided to cover it up. But the cover up story made me ask, are the CO’s on the row stupid mindless drowns who just follow orders? This guy couldn’t have eaten all that food. I heard he didn’t eat any of it. It’s got to be a publicity nightmare for TDCJ, but how foolish, to just make themselves look more stupid with this policy change. The TDCJ people who allowed this incident to be played like it’s been played are the real morons.
The last meal should be whatever the condemned should want, within reason, and it should be for the condemned, not the CO’s.

Nursery Pooh, I’m glad for you if you are. However, you folks in the medical profession, I really don’t understand how y’all can practice medicine in that environment. Saints or sadist depending on who you talk to I suppose. I wouldn’t wish TDCJ employment on my worst enemy.

Nurseypooh said...

Sheldon, I understand your viewpoint about my job.
It wouldn't seem to the general public to be the best job a medical proffesional could have, but I have enough state time in the system that the benefits outweigh going out into the public sector to work and I can actually say most days I enjoy my job I do help my patients, I advocate for them and I'm a good nurse! I've heard the horror stories but as I've said before at the unit I work at and I've worked at 4 now, we do our best to take care of the inmates, if we can't help them and they need emergent treatment we send them out either to H.G. or a local hospital. Correctional nursing offers a varied spectrum of health care. I teach my pt.'s every day so they may take it home with them one day, pass it on to family members or other inmates.
If an inmate is seen by me and they are truly sick and need care I do everything in my power to get them the treatment they allow me to give. I offer a totally different perspective than some since I'm there day in and day out and see the other side of the story. Most views come from offender's family members, offenders themselves, or other citizens. Prison Doc and myself are the only ones that I know of on this site who offer comments from our positions.
I'm not sure I'm in the saint category but I'm certainly no sadist! There are rules and I don't make them the nurses and Dr.'s at my unit do our best to treat our pt.s as best we can. The public sector health care is lacking also, I stopped working in the hospital setting due to not being able to take care or spend enough time with my pt.s due to being understaffed and having to many pt.s. A clinic job pays very little.

muebles en tarragona said...

So, I do not really suppose this is likely to work.