Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Done deal: TDCJ will close Dawson, Mineral Wells units

It's official: The Texas Department of Criminal Justice will shutter two prison units operated by Corrections Corporation of America - the Dawson State Jail in Dallas and the Mineral Wells pre-parole transfer facility - for a two-year savings of $97 million. The Lege had formally delegated the decision which units to close to TDCJ, but no other facilities ever arose as likely candidates, despite complaints by locals in Mineral Wells that this would hurt the economy. Coupled with the closure of the Central Unit in 2011, that'll put Texas three down from a high of 112 facilities. If the Lege would pass just a few, modest de-incarceration reforms for low-level, nonviolent offenders, a task forestalled this year by the failure of the House Calendars Committee to set such bills for a vote, they could easily close more in 2015.


Anonymous said...

The first thing one need to know about Harris County judges from HCCJC
is that no normal ethical person would agree in his right mind to take
the position of judge there, and even if one is there he would
voluntarily quit in less than few months and write about atrocities
out there.

1) If justice in Harris County would have dealt with natural crimes
such as murder, burglary, and rape as it is supposed to do, the
current system would collapse, the majority of sheriffs, prosecutors,
and judges would find themselves jobless, endlessly whining because as
taxeaters they are unable to do anything else with their lives.

2) The majority of cases that flows into the conviction pipeline of
Harris County is not dealing with violent crimes, it simply keeps
system afloat. There are 100,000 new cases every year
(70% misdemeanors, 30% felonies) while the population of Harris County
is 4 million. A few percent of cases goes to trial, while the rest
at least 95% are not.

3) For Thomas Jefferson, it was certain that any criminal case requires
trial. The fact that more than 95% of criminal cases never reach trial
in Harris County amounts to gross criminal negligence by prosecutors,
judges, and legal mafia who are benefiting from this system.

4) The locations Harris County criminal "criminal" justice offices
gravitate towards Commerce Street and Market Square in downtown
Houston, the destination place where ships from Galveston transported
new slaves in nineteennth century. Slavery is allowed in the modern US
as exception for convicts (Amendment XIII).

5) The operations of Harris County "justice" system resemble operations
of a bank, but risks are much lower, and the degree of
control is by far superior. Around nearly 20 courts, there are 100 bailing
agencies. One of confirmed functions of bailing agencies is to maintain
slush funds for reelecting judges linked to bail companies, and quickly
respond to special interests.

6) The bank (or Harris Co) disguises the profits that comes from
bonding business. While misdemeanors generate $100M and felonies
generate $100M at minimum, the "bank" does not report how much income
comes from those where bond set at >$20,000. These cases evidently
a special category for the number of bond posted is 5,000 every year,
this gives $100M at the very minimum, and at could be $1 billion.
The total budget of Harris County is higher for sure, but comparable.

7) One of the basics of the bonding business is that not everybody
informed that only a percentage of the bond is required to be posted,
10%, and when case is settled some money can be taken back. The bet
from bonding companies is that (1) the whole amount of bond will be
posted (2) when case is settled no one comes to take money back.
While it is a secret of how much bonds end this way, it is surely a
driver to keep money. If 50% of bonds ends this way a minimum of
$150M can be added to slush funds each year.

End of the part I of indictments.

Anonymous said...

What in the world does that have to do with the closure of two prison facilities?

Anonymous said...

When it comes to TDCJ, confusion is a understatement. No one has a clue what TDCJ really is and it ain't found in a media article. TDCJ Correctional Officers are my heroes and have to endure horrendous working circumstances. Most are insulted by money making media stories about rotten apples that have gone bad and broken the law but to lump everyone in the same hat is not fair. These horrific media stories have cost all Correctional Officers a DECENT RAISE! MHMR workers get a 10% raise and TDCJ Officers work with incredibly difficult individuals...the ones no society wants. To say these decent men and women in grey uniforms don't deserve a raise when they have gotten NOTHING the past two years is a travesty of justice and shows the true ignorance of the State Legislature who claim the ones in grey ain't nothing but gloried babysitters. Folks, For GOD's sake, don't let the State Legislature use the media to diminish one of the proudest groups of men and women this state has and the tremendously important work they must do by helping control a very dangerous convict population. TEXAS, give these workers a DECENT RAISE and not a kick in their pants! The largest of them are law abiding, decent,family men and women and not what you read in newspapers...make a difference and speak up for them cause they get fired if they do!!!!

sunray's wench said...

Anon 4.44 ~ the more citizens come into contact with employees of TDCJ through having someone they know incarcerated, the less chance of a pay rise being backed by the citizens of Texas becomes. The ones I have dealt with over the past 9 years do not seem to grasp that they are public servants, and need to practice good customer relations, rather than treating every person who comes through the front gate the same as they treat inmates coming through the back gate. Those TDCJ employees who behave well (as in consistently upholding the rules and not seeking to ride their time or create dangerous situations for themselves and others by taking in contraband, sleeping with inmates or other staff, or treating inmate friends and family like dirt) are few and far between in our experience, but when I come across one, I make sure I praise them to their Warden. The majority just look like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards when in uniform, and have no grasp of the rules when asked.

Your "very dangerous convict population" is as much a myth as the one that says "all Officers are babysitters". Some inmates are dangerous, just as some officers are not worth what they currently get paid. Some, not all, on both sides.

Will the officers do a better job if they get more money? Will they treat me better when I visit? Will the consistently enforce the rules so that everyone knows where they stand? Will they cease to take in contraband?

Inmate population is declining, which I'd hope you would agree is a good thing. TDCJ staff would be better off if they looked for work elsewhere, even if that meant re-training with new skills. There is no such thing as a job for life these days.

Anonymous said...

Grits when will you post a paragraph on upcoming closures at TJJD and their central office? With approved budget cuts those are both imminent and those affected have a right to know. Thanks