Tribpedia: Texas Department Of Criminal Justice

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is the state agency responsible for managing state prisons and jails and the oversight of more than 150,000 offenders. The agency also supervises offenders released from prison on parole.

The board is composed of nine members who are appointed by the governor to staggered, six-year terms. The governor also designates one member as ...

Liveblog: What's Left for the 83rd Legislature

The Texas Capitol on the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.
The Texas Capitol on the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.

The clock is ticking for lawmakers hard at work to pass prize bills in the final days of the 83rd legislative session. Here's a look at what's still outstanding. Check back often: We'll update this story as deals are brokered or broken. 

 

A sign outside of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Headquarters in Huntsville. Last year, Texas prison officials approved a $3,000 bonus for correctional officers in units where a boom in oil and gas jobs has made it hard to find new hires. They are currently working with state lawmakers to grant all correctional officers a 5 percent pay increase.
A sign outside of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Headquarters in Huntsville. Last year, Texas prison officials approved a $3,000 bonus for correctional officers in units where a boom in oil and gas jobs has made it hard to find new hires. They are currently working with state lawmakers to grant all correctional officers a 5 percent pay increase.

Prison Officers' Union Unhappy With 5% Pay Raise

Correctional officers in a statewide union say that a 5 percent pay increase lawmakers have proposed in the state budget is not sufficient to stymie the corruption and reduce physical dangers they face every day. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice argues that that all critical security positions are filled.

Robert Pruett, 33, was sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of correctional officer Daniel Nagle. Pruett says he was framed by corrupt guards and inmates while the prison employee union says chronic understaffing led to Nagle's murder.
Robert Pruett, 33, was sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder of correctional officer Daniel Nagle. Pruett says he was framed by corrupt guards and inmates while the prison employee union says chronic understaffing led to Nagle's murder.

Pending Execution Revives Prison Staffing Debate

Officials of a prison workers' union say that understaffing had a role in the 1999 murder of a correctional officer, who was fatally stabbed by an inmate. They say such issues continue to exist and put officers in danger today. The inmate convicted of the officer's murder says he was framed.

Jail officials across Texas are worried that state budget cuts to community-based mental health care services will mean more mentally ill inmates in their facilities.
Jail officials across Texas are worried that state budget cuts to community-based mental health care services will mean more mentally ill inmates in their facilities.

Police Want Power to Take Weapons From Mentally Ill

Texas Weekly

The mental health code doesn't give police the right to take a gun from someone who is having a mental health crisis. After hearing from stakeholders across Texas, mental health advocates, judges and law enforcement officials are urging state lawmakers to overhaul the nearly 30-year-old mental health code to address gaps like that one.

Report Supports Calls for Prison System Oversight Board

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition has released a report calling on lawmakers to approve several bills that would increase supervision over the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which oversees the state’s prisons and has not been subject to measures like prison inspections since 2002.

Trouble in Mind: The Andre Thomas Story

This six-part series explores the intersections of the mental health and criminal justice systems in Texas, examining the case of Andre Thomas, a death row inmate who as a boy began exhibiting signs of mental illness, committed a brutal triple murder in 2004 and has since pulled out both of his eyes. Thomas awaits a court decision on whether he is sane enough for execution.

The Cleveland Corrections Center, located 50 miles northeast of Houston, is a private prison operated by the GEO group under the authority of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The Cleveland Corrections Center, located 50 miles northeast of Houston, is a private prison operated by the GEO group under the authority of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Prison Employee Union Calls for Pay Raise

A union representing Texas prison employees is calling on the Legislature to consider a pay raise for correctional officers, citing a rise in drilling jobs that can be more lucrative than prison jobs.

Andre Thomas: Mental Health, Criminal Justice Collide

The case of mentally ill death row inmate Andre Thomas offers a lens through which to examine the effects of a long underfunded mental health system. As the now-blind 29-year-old awaits a court decision on his execution, the case also raises important questions about how Texas punishes the mentally ill. 

Updated Interactive: Payouts to Exonerated Prisoners

Texas has paid 89 exonerees nearly $61 million since 1992, according to data from the Texas comptroller's office, and the cost of wrongful imprisonments continues to rise. Use this interactive to see how much money the state has paid to exonerated prisoners by fiscal year, and to compare their years incarcerated to their compensation.

Morgan Crocker delivers a business proposal for a fitness training service during the weekly session of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program at the Cleveland Correctional Center in Cleveland, Texas.
Morgan Crocker delivers a business proposal for a fitness training service during the weekly session of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program at the Cleveland Correctional Center in Cleveland, Texas.

Inmates Bank on Business Program for a New Start

Through a program operated by a nonprofit, some Texas inmates who will soon be released get a chance to learn business skills and work on plans to start their own businesses. Members of the business community have praised the program, saying successful former inmates become consumers and taxpayers. 

An inmate returns tests to his peers during a break from class. Inmates are regularly tested as a part of their academic business curriculum, part of which is modeled on Harvard MBA classes.
An inmate returns tests to his peers during a break from class. Inmates are regularly tested as a part of their academic business curriculum, part of which is modeled on Harvard MBA classes.

Slideshow: Turning Prisoners into Entrepreneurs

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program at the Cleveland Correctional Center trains selected inmates, who will soon be released, to design their own businesses. Here's a series of photographs from a recent class.

Texas Prisons Run Low on Deodorant, Toothpaste

Texas prisons are running low on hygiene products like toothpaste and deodorant. Family members and inmates are frustrated as state officials try to find a contractor. For the roughly 151,000 inmates in the Texas prison system, there are 1,800 units of deodorant and 28,000 units of toothpaste left.

Business Association Launches Criminal Justice Agenda

Texas Weekly

The state's largest business lobby is adding criminal justice reform to its agenda for the first time after years of cajoling from reform advocates. The association says reducing the prison population and increasing the workforce makes business sense.