Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TDCJ cuts Project Rio program as of March 15th

 By Max Rodriguez, Backgate Website

Agency Project Rio employees have been notified that they will no longer be employed in their present capacity after state budget cuts have eliminated their jobs. Those staff members will have until March 15th to either find another position within the agency, or go elsewhere.

Project RIO is administered by the Texas Workforce Commission in collaboration with Local Workforce Development Boards, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), the Windham School District and The Texas Youth Commission (TYC). The project provides a link between education, training and employment during incarceration with employment, training and education after release.

The program is designed to reduce recidivism through employment. Numerous studies have shown reduced recidivism rates for employed ex-offenders. Even when one takes into account other factors such as age, risk score, race/ethnicity and type of previous offense, post-release employment reduced rearrests and reincarcerations.

In an inter-agency email, TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston announced the cuts, and also mentioned the deletion of  400  TDCJ employee positions on the horizon. 


  1. I understand the dire fiscal situation for the entire state during the 2011 legislative session. All state organizations, including one I work for, are being asked to make cuts and make tough decisions. However, TDCJ's decision to eliminate Project RIO is unfortunate on so many levels. Project RIO is a successful program that has helped reduce recidivism by helping inmates find and keep jobs since 1984. Research shows that legitimate employment is the primary way to staying out of prison. This decision clarifies for me that reentry programs are just lip service--our prison system is more interested in its own survival more than helping ex-offenders and reducing recidivism. This is shameful indeed.

  2. When released from prison,someone has to support them. With a job ,hopefully, they can support themselves, and pay taxes.

  3. Brad Livingston should be ashamed!!! You can choose to pay on the front or back end. Prepare the releasee/parolee for job attainment/retention or pay for more staff, when the parolee returns to prison, due to not being equipped for the workforce. The choice is yours...in this RED state of Texas...I already know which you'll choose...Keep satisfying those special interests and lobbyists...I bet that probably own stock shares in GEO or CCA...along with Brad...Poetic Justice will win out & you'll (or a family member of yours) probably become victimized (robbed) by a parolee who couldn't find a legitimate job...