Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TDCJ spokesperson addresses issue of state law regarding State Jails in Texas

By Tonya Peters, Backgate Website

TDCJ forwarded us a statement via email this morning regarding the issues we
brought forth on security and classification practices at state jails. There
are no perimeter pickets for security at state jails, and most are in close
proximity to highly populated areas. The question was raised that offenders
sentenced to life sentences, child molesters, and violent others that fall outside
of the two year sentencing requirements for assignment to state jails are being
housed at them due to lack of bed space at other facilities. There are
stipulations to assigning offenders to a state jail, and we believe TDCJ is
overstepping it's bounds and endangering the general public by hiding offenders
in state jails that are not supposed to be there for periods in excess of that
allowed by law.

Those Officers assigned to state jails know that TDCJ in fact house offenders
that do not fit the criteria of the statute posted below. We have asked TDCJ
to provide facts as to how many mis-classified offenders, or offenders housed
outside of the required criteria are actually housed in state jail facilities
in Texas. We are awaiting an answer. State Senator John Whitmire, and state
representative Jerry Madden, both on State Criminal Justice Committees, have
received information from the Backgate and we expect a reply from them soon as
well. If you are an employee of a state jail and have knowledge of these
practices we want to hear from you, email us at admin@thebackgate.org. You
will remain anonymous.
 Sec. 507.006.  USE OF FACILITY FOR OTHER INMATES.  (a)  Notwithstanding any
other provision of this subchapter, the state jail division, with the
approval of the board, may designate one or more state jail felony
facilities or discrete areas within one or more state jail felony
facilities to treat inmates who are eligible for confinement in a substance
abuse felony punishment facility under Section 493.009 or to house inmates
who are eligible for confinement in a transfer facility under Section
499.152, but only if the designation does not deny placement in a state
jail felony facility of defendants required to serve terms of confinement
in a facility following conviction of state jail felonies.  The division
may not house in a state jail felony facility an inmate who:
(1)  has a history of or has shown a pattern of violent or assaultive
behavior in county jail or a facility operated by the department;  or
(2)  will increase the likelihood of harm to the public if housed in the

(b)  Sections 499.154 and 499.155 apply to an inmate eligible for
confinement in a transfer facility under Section 499.152 who is nonetheless
confined in a state jail felony facility in the same manner as if the
inmate were confined in a transfer facility.
(c)  The responsibility of the department to provide substance abuse felony
punishment facilities is governed by the General Appropriations Act and
Section 493.009.  This section does not affect the responsibility of the
department to provide substance abuse felony punishment facilities.

Sec. 499.152.  ELIGIBLE INMATES.  The institutional division may confine an
inmate in a transfer facility authorized by this subchapter:
(1)  only if paperwork and processing required under Section 8(a), Article
42.09, Code of Criminal Procedure, for transfer of the inmate to the
division has been completed;  and
(2)  only during a period in which the inmate would otherwise be confined
in a county jail awaiting transfer to the division following conviction of
a felony or revocation of probation, parole, or release on mandatory


  1. by definition, the statute means that TDCJ cannot leave any other offender class at a state jail other then a felon serving a state jail felony (2 yrs or less) or the offender is currently under classification or re-classification status (such as a transfer facility). But if they are bogging down that process to simply maintain those offenders that are not supposed to be there just to spare beds at other units and placing those communities at risk were the jails are located then thats wrong. Those communities were welcoming to the jails based on the custody of offender to be housed there. Not expecting murderers and pedophiles with life sentences to reside there full time on a unit with little security.

  2. Pam Lynchner is the only state jail that has an administrative segregation holding facilty. They are misclassifying the offenders as SR(security risks) meaning they are at high risk to be in population, and are being held in the K1 and K2 buildings of the unit. The facility is not housing its offenders according to TDCJ rules and regulations.

  3. this facility is next to one of the biggest soccer/softball fields in Atascosita, and has children there year around. There is no true wiring or fences around this facility to keep the offenders that are being misclassified from completely getting out and getting to these children.

  4. Have any inmates actually escaped yet? Or are you just playing devil's advocate again?

  5. We are needing information from anyone currently assigned to a state jail that can provide it. email is here at admin@thebackgate.org.