Sunday, March 18, 2012

Should TDCJ work towards closing units located in areas were staffing is an ongoing issue?

 Should TDCJ and the Legislature work towards closing units located in those hard to staff areas of the state ?  Should new facilities be built closer to large metropolitan areas to help in recruiting ? Lets hear from you. Post your comments below, and remember to keep them professional.

33 comments:

  1. There's no easy fix. The state is going to have to get serious about dealing with the problem. The prisons are already built where they are. The problem is one of incentive. Who in hell wants to work in a prison for $30,000 a year? And drive 50 miles and an hour plus to work, with gas at $4 a gallon, to work a 12 hour shift, which is actually closer to a 13 hour shift, then an hour plus home and half a night's sleep?

    Did I mention for $30,000 a year? To work under supervisors who make $3,000 a year more? Who but an egomaniac & sadist would want the extra responsibility and hours for such chump-change?

    It's all coming to a head and soon tough choices will have to be made. Do Texans want to pay what it takes to incarcerate so many thugs in the style the federal courts demand? Pay what it takes to get competent & honorable people to work there and put up with it? Or pay the price when schemes are created to release large numbers of ruffians back into society in order to save a little money?

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    1. Probation should be used more for low and medium risk offenders. Prisons should be used for the higher risk offenders. Probation is cheaper and more cost effective, with better outcomes(lower recidivism. The units that can't find staff need to be closed down and the legistature needs to implement laws for mandatory community supervision.

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    2. I live on the North side of Houston and i'm forced to drive to the Stiles unit for work. The State will not transfer me to a unit closer to home...regardless of the fact that I have had Senior Wardens, my academy Major and Captain, recommending that I be transferred to a unit closer to me where someone with my skill set is greatly needed. Oh yeah...and the fact that i'm spending just over $100 a day on gas is insane.

      TDCJ's response?

      "Because you were financially able to work at the Stiles unit at the time of your placement there, you are still able to work there now. Your request for transfer has been denied."

      Are you effin kidding me?!

      It's bad enough that I didn't find out that I was assigned to the Stiles unit until three days before graduating the academy. What's even worse is that when I called HR in Huntsville about it, they told me that there was officer housing available on the premises.

      Yeah...that worked out well.

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    3. That is bull. You took that unit when you were given an academy date. Bonus and all cry baby!!!

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    4. Actually my class in CJC wasn't told until 4 weeks into the academy what unit we would be assigned to. Maybe that was because it was Huntsville academy and not through a college.

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    5. That's not how it works. A unit is assigned the time you are given an academy date. You can't go to the academy without a unit of assignment. the CJ center doesn't do that. Human Resources does.

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    6. That's how it worked for my class. Reported for academy 2-7-02 and it was after March 1st when Sgt. Brunet handed out the IOCs with unit assignment. They might have known where we were going when we started but we sure didn't.

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    7. meant that's not how it worked for my class.

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  2. You start off as a CO-I at near 28k a year. You can build next to Dallas and Houston all day long, but few people want to put up with what we do for that kind of money. You can't live on that kind of money in a major metro.

    Now, there's a reverse to that. Who's bright idea was it to build a unit in Dalhart? I'd be willing to go Dalhart, or Cotulla, or even Beeville, but I'd need state housing to get me to do it.

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    1. I worked at the McConnoll unit (Beeville) from Oct. 1996 until July 1998. Beeville was a nice ½-way cheap town to live in. Rent was $400 per month for our 2 BR APt. However, here's a word of advice: Don't rent from Imperial Apartments. They'll screw you out of your security deposit. I was warned about that when I first came down there. (I was dumb enough to think "Aww, they probably screwed something up"--Wrong). And Yes, we DID have many officers come from Corpus Christi everyday to work. When I first started, we had 8 Hr shifts. But when we went to 12 hour shifts it got better. THink about it: 4 days off in a row --without having to burn off you Vac. days!!! Get 4 off in a row approved and you're OFF for 12 days and only using 4 ! Plus, the 4ON, 4OFF Schedule saves you a little in gas each month

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    2. I should've added something: I live in Iowa now. The IDOC not only pays better than TX, but is far safer!!! I ♥ed it in Texas..people, the food, etc. but was not crazy about the way the TDCJ prison system worked. from the 3rd lowest paying in all 50 states (at that time) to the 4th or 5th highest. AND..from the 4th most dangerous to the 3rd or 4th safest!!

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  3. My question would be where would the state get the funds to build the new units to replace the older ones they close? I agree with the above 2 comments. Raise pay and improve the management skills that our supervisors currently lack and also stop allowing upper administration to keep trying to find new ways to fire people. I.e. apft/inservice test failure, etc.

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  4. The introduction of BOQ facilities or other employee housing may make a difference. And the way management interact with staff is an issue in itself from the top down. I would love to see brad Livingston on the next episode of undercover boss. He may just get a clue on what's really going on without the Broadway presentation he us used to getting.

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    1. Undercover boss would be a great idea....Will it happen??? NOT

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  5. Yeah, but would he really care?

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    1. AD Livingston doesn't care at all. I've done some searching on him and can't find a lick of info on if he ever wore the "greys".

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    2. Livingston, 43, joined TDCJ in October 1997 as the Deputy Director of the Financial Services Division. He was appointed Chief Financial Officer in June 2001 and assumed broad responsibility for the agency's day-to-day business, fiscal, and administrative operations. Before joining TDCJ, Livingston served as a Group Director in the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning. In this capacity, he played a key role in developing, as well as presenting the Governor's budget proposal to the Legislature.

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  6. Closing units is not the cure. I have worked for this agency for almost 20 years and I work in the region V area. The solution of building units in large towns is not the solution, its pay! There are units at Amarillo,Lubbock and Abaline all large cities and yet having a staffing problem, most complaints,yes is the drive time and the cost of gas. Most staff say if they had a place to stay for the days they have to work and not have to drive 50 to 70+ miles to get home would not mind and would be alot better in the pocket book. How many of us acctually worked for TDC for the pay? its the benifits that I have enjoyed working for this agency. This survey that comes out to be filled out by staff to see how the agency is going is a joke. If they realy want to know how "their" employees are doing they should personnaly talk to staff, not on the unit, not thru surveys, What happened to walking and talking? I guess when they get up to the hill they forget where they came from?

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  7. I have to be amazed at all the talk about budgets and no money while the administrators can spend all the cash on Back Gate cameras and such. All the talk of Zero Tolerence only applies to the amount of trust that TDCJ has for the people that go the extra mile and come to work every day to do a job that few people would do. I had to laugh last week as I was in inservice...this major cost cutting move to not let the non-uniformed security shoot on the range? hahahah Now that saves a bundle doesn't it. Pay is a major issue, but it is more the petty crap that wears officers down. If you don't follow the policies to the letter you will catch a disciplinary, and if you do follow it to the letter, you are most likely going to be hurt when the chips are down. As one of the responses above pointed out,,,several of the units are near major cities,,,,and still have a staffing problem other areas could care less how far one has to travel to work. When I came to the agency 10 years ago,,,I actually liked my job. Now, like so many others,,,,I am marking the days before I can leave with enough benefits to cover my medical expenses.

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  8. OK yes Mothball Connally and ship the Officer to McConnell that just got 2.5 million worth of Cameras and the Unit in El Paso from what I heard is at 90% staffing and have no problems,so why not build another one behind it and close the N-5 unit in Fort Stockton. I work at McConnell and the problem is over here the Oil Companies and trucking companies are paying Double and Apts and housing is at high rates for them type to pay and not Officers. Come on look in the parking lot alot of Officers drive junk and try to car pool cause of Gas prices

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  9. here is a survey for TDCJ. If TDCJ could provide affordable housing near unit of assignment ( less than 15 miles) would you rent/purchase that home? or as staff, would you prefer TDCJ to spend millions of dollars on video cameras for 100+ units state wide or use that money to make neccesary improvements to those units, or give another $50. raise?
    Why is TDCJ spending millions each year putting a band-aide sollution instead of fixing the problem that would cost less in the long run.

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    1. Look at the mentality running these units?

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  10. The answer to your question above, simple.... it is TDCJ and how they work. Knee jerk, throw money at useless solutions.

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  11. If they build state-owned housing (doubtful in these days of tight budgets) you know they are in turn going to expect you to pay rent-there is no free lunch. They turned over the Hospital Galveston TDC-era constructed apartments to UTMB students years ago. Maybe TDCJ should contract with a local university for some of their unused dorm space-and meals in the campus cafeteria.

    Or you could get a camper on the back of a truck and just live in the employee parking lot and go home to Mama (or Daddy) on your days off.

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  12. 25 yr employee - retiredMay 17, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    When the planning for the Dalhart Unit was announced, a local developer announced that he was building "affordable" housing on the south side of Dalhart. Those houses ultimately started at the $150K level, which is unrealistic for a COII. No on-site staff housing is available, except for the Warden. A large percentage of employees live 30 miles or more away from the Unit, often in Oklahoma or New Mexico. Fuel prices at local gas stations often exceeds the State-wide average.
    Farm operations on the unit are meager due to staffing and water issues. Large areas could be converted to use for employee housing, similar to that available in the Huntsville area with little impact on farm operations. However, to do so would require Legislative authorization.
    Similar situations exist at many of the other units which have chronic staffing problems. Barring the institution of unit pay differentials, housing allowances, or implementation of a construction program for employee housing these units will probably continue having staffing difficulties. But the shuttering of units is not the answer. Many of the employees at these units have not only close ties to the area, but are also loyal and dedicated employees. Forcing them to choose either relocation or termination would probably result in them choosing the latter. They deserve better treatment than that choice.

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  13. In Brazoria County area we are close to a number of large cities but the turn over rate is still bad. These units are so old and the pay we get and the "12" hour shifts (I wish I only worked 12) for working at these dinosaurs makes it hard to keep people or even get them to come to work. The ones that stay do it because they don't have any skills for a good paying job or need the health insurance and can not find a free world job that they have the skills for. It would be easier to deal with these places if we got paid for the hours we worked and that includes the briefing and shake down. Summer at Brazoria County TDCJ is hell and the pay just is so much of an insult. Any one that says they feel that TDCJ is a good career has not worked in the free world for a GOOD company. Austin needs to show their correctional staff some respect.

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    1. Yeah, because you sure don't have any for them. Very big of you to say that the only people who stay with the state don't have any skills to work anywhere else.

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  15. TDCJ just needs to get off the money that they so called are trying to save for a rainy day and give the officers and, yes I'm saying it, Supervisors a raise. I've even read in and Astin newspaper that the State of Texas had found, lol, an additional 500 million plus dollars last year and wanted to split it with TDCJ and DPS. I guess TDCJ didn't get that share and it all went to DPS and DoT. Unless TDCJ got their share and are being stingy with it. I used to drive that 50+ miles a day from North Houston to Rosharon. I was on a waiting list to transfer to the Jesters and HR said the wait was about 4 yrs. I started applying for Sgt positions and I got one. Now if the pay would just increase.

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  16. So so so tired of our supervisors .....they are more worried about petty non sense and cleanliness of our unit instead of making offenders follow rules . Not only does the state have issues with staffing they bring new officers in who are poorly trained. I keep hoping that one day there will be training for communication, that would solve so many problems on a unit level ..... (Day with Dad) .....Just don't understand how children are going to be safe inside prison walls if a riot breaks out .....if the media gets a hold of that,... can you imagine?

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  17. TDC sucks...the pay is not good and their technology is old and tired. If the public knew what really goes on and how the monies are misappropriated, the units would go back into the hands of the feds. Food have crickets, magets,and mold. The inmates are forced to eat it or they won't eat...this is plane state jail. The heads of the unit are trash and tired. Always bullying the unit and hollering at the staff. And they wander why the high turn over rate. No one should feel afraid of their supervisors...without the grey, you would have to shut the unit's operation down. Morality rates from all units are low. Promotion is solely based on how you suck up to the heads or your skin color. Beware, stay in school and stray away from TDC. You will never learn anything while employed for this agency. It's not worth it. Your personality will forever change while on the other side of that iron and cement.

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  18. TDC sucks...the pay is not good and their technology is old and tired. If the public knew what really goes on and how the monies are misappropriated, the units would go back into the hands of the feds. Food have crickets, magets,and mold. The inmates are forced to eat it or they won't eat...this is plane state jail. The heads of the unit are trash and tired. Always bullying the unit and hollering at the staff. And they wander why the high turn over rate. No one should feel afraid of their supervisors...without the grey, you would have to shut the unit's operation down. Morality rates from all units are low. Promotion is solely based on how you suck up to the heads or your skin color. Beware, stay in school and stray away from TDC. You will never learn anything while employed for this agency. It's not worth it. Your personality will forever change while on the other side of that iron and cement.

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