Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Immimigrant Employees on work visas, is it safe ?

By Marcus Williams, Backgate Website


The question was posed back in 2009, and at least one State Senator questioned it's practice. Over the past 18 months, TDCJ seems to have seen an influx of newly recruited Correctional Officers from overseas that have been hired to fill the current gap of over 2,100 Officers statewide. Many of these newly hired staff members were hired on temporary work visas and English is their second language. Can this have an impact on Officer safety on prison facilities? That question has been raised by employees who have experienced it firsthand. Records show that the majority of newly hired recruits possessing work visas come to TDCJ from Africa. Although any help is welcomed help when your 2,100 Officers short, their ability to speak English seems to have been overlooked during the hiring process.

We received information from TDCJ in regards to the issues presented on the subject. As of December 31st 2011, there were 26 Officers employed by TDCJ on temporary work visa status. Of those, TDCJ states that the " majority" are assigned to facilities in Region III. When questioned, a TDCJ spokesperson stated that there is currently no policy regarding employment of Officers that speak English as a second language, or even how well they communicate.

"It's not a race, or cultural issue, it's a safety issue based on the inability to communicate and understand the English language." stated a veteran Darrington Officer.  That statement was echoed by another Correctional Officer at the Wynne unit in Huntsville. Staff members don't only feel uneasy about the fact that they are unable to communicate issues such as assaults or disturbances, but also the background checks, or lack of. " How can we do complete and effective background checks on employees from other countries when there is no verifiable criminal  history?" emailed another TDCJ employee.

There are no rules or policies that deal with these issues, and employees fear that it will take a serious incident or a death to bring the issues to light. 

TDCJ employees are not alone. State Senator Kel Seliger also has continued concerns about recruiting from other countries to fill state correctional jobs. We will be speaking to state Legislators, as well as Senator Selig about these issues in coming weeks. What are your thoughts ?

15 comments:

  1. I think we should be able to fill executive adiminstrator jobs from foreign countries too.

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    1. Even better, let's fill our political offices with foreigners. After watching the Presidential Debate, I realized Governor Perry can't speak English either.

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    2. They are from foreign countries or should I say Counties. Trinity?

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  2. as stated before we have way more than 30 on clemens alone....numbers way off.

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  3. These numbers reflect those on visas.. some are not as they are new citizens already.

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  4. Get what you pay for.TDCJ leadership does'nt care what we have to endure.Remember, it's always policy and procedure and if you don't follow it you're screwed.This is from a 30 year dedicated employee.













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    1. Remember, you must have signature block training.What a joke.

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    2. Hey, Brad did you get your new job in Austin? I hope so because you have'nt done much for us.Do you know who us are? WE are the ones who endure the verbal abuse, and the B/S from the Use of Force office because we did'nt read a card word for word.In closing, I have my 30 years in but I promise to keep in touch with dedicated employees to tell the injustices that occur to them.

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  5. Its interesting how people come to conclusions on matters involving immigrants.How can anyone even begin to say that these Africans dont understand English when most of them are bachelor degree holders and these courses were taught in English by the way.Most of these African officers speak the correct English compared to the so-called english spoken by the Americans,WHITE OR BLACK.

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  6. when your in a country that speaks english, you need to learn the language. If your co-workers cant understand your broken english someone could get hurt or killed as a result. TDCJ is not the place for immigration experiments.

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    1. How naive,you call all that you speak english.You need to pay a visit to the United Kingdom where English Language is spoken at its best. I have and i n know what i am talking about.Its unfortunate.Even the United Nations refused to use so-called American english in its training materials,instead it uses English as spoken in England.Once again,American english spoken by most of these co-workers as you put it is another version of broken english.Lets put a rest to this waste of air and respond to the needs of the Agency.

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  7. Well we aren't in England now are we? This is Texas!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. You know I have to agree, we are not in the United Kingdom, or Africa or any other country. We are in the United States, that's the "English" you need to be able to speak. It really does not matter how many degrees you have, if you can not speak the language so that it's understood by those around you then you really cannot share your knowledge.

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  8. These people are now coming the South Texas area, they have been kicked out of the officer's dorm, because they are taking bird baths and have damaged the dorms. They sign in for each other, come in late, want to leave early, and cry because they have to work in “seg”, get real this a prison. They also walk around with their hands in their pockets and take a 45-minute break when the rest of us can’t even get a break. And their famous phrase "in my county I was a banker, custom agent, etc…, that is not my job". TDC needs to revaluate their hiring process.

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  9. The numbers of africans at darrington is approximately 95%. Safety is a big issue there. They believe in long lunch breaks or breaks and the hell with the rest of the staff. It appears that the powers that be, would rather have a none productive body rather than a productive one who can safely communicate withtheir fellow officers.

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