Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chronicling compliance, oversight cuts at TDCJ

Eric Dexheimer at the Austin Statesman today has an interesting story on how budget cuts will affect compliance/enforcement positions at Texas state agencies. He included this tidbit about TDCJ:
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, too, said the loss of compliance-related jobs won't affect its operations.

The agency shrunk by 760 positions as the result of budget cuts since 2009. Seventeen of those losses could be considered oversight or compliance positions, agency spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said.

Among them: two prison health services employees who audited vendor contract compliance, three internal auditors and three roving compliance officers from the Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division. The division keeps an eye on private prisons to make sure the facilities follow Texas corrections rules.

The state prison agency also lost five investigators and supervisors from the Office of Inspector General, "which, as the law enforcement arm of the prison system, ensures that employees and inmates are compliant in following state and federal laws," Lyons explained.
Grits hadn't realized the Lege had reduced the number of OIG staff nor compliance/enforcement officers related to private prisons, which on its face seems problematic when in the same budget the Lege opened the door to wider private prison contracting.


sunray's wench said...

The Lege really knows nothing about TDCJ. That is obvious every time Sen. Whitmire starts shouting about the latest TDCJ thing he doesn't like - which usually have been ticking along for years such as a DR inmate's last meal request. Then he blows things out of all proportion and demands TDCJ "do something". If he made some real effort to understand the system he and his fellow politicians have created instead of jumping on people just because he didn't have all the facts, perhaps he would start working with TDCJ and inmate families instead of against them all the time, and he wouldn't look quite such an idiot for not knowing in the first place.

However, if the Lege remove the people doing the watching, the Lege can then later say "we didn't know" with straighter faces.

Anonymous said...

Whitmire receives his share of money from the private prison industry. What's new about politicians talking from both sides of their mouths?

Nurseypooh said...

We get audited every time we turn around by someone, all kinds of different agencies. At least once a month. 2 weeks ago they stayed for 4 days. I feel were overaudited as it is. Just my opinion.

We usually fair ok but if we didn't we could get in big trouble and not be acredited.

Anonymous said...

We think that they are going to do the same thing in TYC. They have already gotten rid of 2 investigators that we know of due to lay offs. There will be more expected during the merger.

Anonymous said...

Honestly for as long as I have been dealing with TDCJ the ombudsman office will call the unit and they will deny everything and that is the end of it. The OIG has been known to send an investigator to a unit where their spouse works, so how can there be a fair investigation after that. Their compliance people give the fox guarding the hen house a whole new meaning.

Con-Care said...

The value and importance of auditors, monitors, or overseers in the prison system is made plain by the administration's willingness axe them. I spent 40 consecutive years inside, during that time working as a clerk in several different departments. Not once did I see a department suffer any real grief because of an audit gone bad. For example, in the kitchen when the Pest Control people inspected us, we always knew in advance that they were coming. The kitchen Captain would have the place tidied up, and the actual inspection would be a ho-hum walk-through affair. Nurseypooh expressed a lot of anxiety over audits...Can she remember a time when anyone was seriously sanctioned, fined, or fired because of a bad one? I think not. The inspectors from the O.I.G.'s office are a joke, with the last laugh on Texas taxpayers, who pay their salaries. They're good ol' boy croonies, most of whom came up through the pecking order, or are related to someone who did. Within the TDCJ-ID, Nepotism rules.