Sunday, April 23, 2006

Prison guards arrested at record pace

This doesn't sound good - Texas prison employees were arrested at a record-setting pace in the first two months of 2006, reported the Austin Statesman ("Prison employees arrests continue to climb," April 23):

It might have seemed like a few tough weeks for Texas' prison system.

The system's former gang-enforcement chief pleaded guilty to sexually harassing employees. The personnel chief of the prison school system was arrested after being accused of lewd conduct at a Conroe park. A human resources official was sought as a fugitive after being charged with killing two pedestrians in an alleged drunken driving hit-and-run.

And three guards were arrested separately, one accused of raping a male convict, another of smuggling marijuana into a prison and the third of holding his ex-wife hostage at gunpoint.

Five weeks this spring saw almost two dozen arrests of correctional employees, on an assortment of felony and misdemeanor charges.

But it wasn't just a bad month. It was fairly typical for the state's 38,600-employee prison system, the second-largest in the country.

State records show at least 761 arrests of Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees in 2005. Another 148 arrests have been logged during the first two months of 2006 — a number that, if the trend continues, could set a record.

The number of employee arrests has steadily climbed during the past decade to a record 781 in 2003, the agency's statistics show, even as officials say the number of employees has remained about the same.

"Maybe it's bad luck, and maybe it's because we pay too little. Because we're 2,500 correctional officers short all the time, I guess we can't be too choosy about who we hire," said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, which monitors Texas' corrections system. "Maybe the problem is where we built all these prisons. Maybe there isn't anything else to do out there but get in trouble."


OP said...

In California senior correctional administrators who sexually harass thier staff get promoted, or are allowed to retire quietly. At least the TDC prosecutes them.

Anonymous said...

Arrests of prison employess is routine. Check the stats for suicides and the firings for employees that have sex with inmates and provide weapons, intelligence, drugs and other contraband.....then you'll get a fair overview of the typical TDCJ emloyee.

Anonymous said...

Not everyone is cut out for corrections as a career. Some fall prey to the manipulations of offenders. Others are there for a quick buck. Having the notion that money can be made by either bringing contraband in, or by performing sex acts is not uncommon. Unfortunatly, the officers that commit such crimes have the same attitude most of the offenders do..."I won't get caught."

Anonymous said...

every acticle I read about this says,the most likely reason for their breaking the law is,they are so underpaid,let's have a reality check here,a great deal of the offender's these people are PAID to guard,are there quite possibly for stealing to AFFORD their drug habit or whatever,certainly looks like the situations are VERY simular,(NO MONEY)they were convicted and sent to prison for breaking the law,so, the differance would be what??we spend tax dollars taking care of some the whole while we are spending tax dollars to pay people doing the same or worse and then again,spending tax dollars to defend their butt's in court! Where is this all headed??What is the purpose??

Anonymous said...

Higher pay, fewer inmates per officer, and some reform in the jail system would cure most of the problem.

Anonymous said...

TDCJ will hire anybody. Then treat them badly. Then the employee doesn't care and they just get walked off. "Nobody Cares"

Anonymous said...

I myself am a corrections officer for TDCJ and I have seen a whole lot in the short 3 years that ive done this job. I honestly do feel underpaid. I feel that the job im doing is a danger to myself at all times .... compound that with the fact that we are short handed and it gets worse. sometimes things have to be done with less officers present and it can get hairy. Some of the problem is the standard of witch TDCJ will hire, if they raise the bar for employment less ignorant people will be there and more of the staff would be willing to stay. That would also justify a pay raise for The then ... capable staff. Texas corrections officers are some of the lowest paid in the nation. This year we got a 2% raise while the national average was 3% This might not seem like a huge deal but for corrections officers who are already underpaid and behind on their raises its a slap in the face. I dont expect people to adore a "prison guard" or even respect us, But I wish there was a way to get a better understanding to the public of the job that we actually do and the daggers that we face on a day to day basis. Another hurdle The texas department of criminal justice faces is Gov. Rick Perry owning stock in private prisons that he plans to have in Texas. He has no real interest in seeing T.D.C.J. to be a strong agency. The worse it gets the easyer it will be for him to push the Idea of privatizing prisons in Texas. If anyone here actually has ever worked a private prison they will tell you, Its not prison its a dorm and the staff is paid even less with near to no standard for employment.