Friday, May 17, 2013

TDCJ denies Backgate open records info on unit short staffing based on obscure rule

By Doug Glass, Backgate Website

The Backgate submitted an official request for records approximately 60 days ago requesting current information on chronic serious unit under staffing on TDCJ facilities state wide that may present safety risks to staff and the general public. TDCJ denied the request and sent a request to the Texas Attorney Generals office asking that the information be denied in whole due to an obscure rule that enables the agency from releasing information publicly that may jeopardize staff safety or unit security.

 TDCJ contends that the release of basic staffing information on any TDCJ unit presents a risk to staff and the facility in that the offender population will see we are short and create havoc on units lacking staff statewide. Doing this merely paints the agency as withholding vital information to the public that may show just what TDCJ staff members are required to endure due to staffing shortages hidden by the agency. In the legislative season, it can only be taken as an attempt to shelter legislators and the public from the truth about just how unsafe our prisons have become for everyone. The Attorney Generals office has sided with the agency and blocked the release, but were not giving up so easily. Our own Attorney contacts have become involved and will soon press for full disclosure.

Seems as though a publicly funded agency would have to answer to the public right?


  1. You got that right. What is the next step? Does "thebackgate" have to pursue administrative remedies, such a request for reconsideration? Is the issue ripe for a lawsuit? Where are the precedents? Hasn't a large media organization been down the same road recently? Or do we go back to the secretive Bush administrations' litigation, who used the safety strategy to hide information from their constituents? I bet they will delay and figure out a way to get close to compliance before TDCJ is forced to release the secret internal communications.

  2. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    Executive Administration is full of caca. Their own website under "Unit Directory" reflects how many employees work there broken down by security staff, medical staff, non-security staff and Windham staff. It gives the exact location of the unit, acres it sits on and inmate population. You could Google Map the unit to determine how the unit is laid out and how to access and/or plan escape routes. What's the big secret? They don't want the public to know just how unsecure and dangerous they have let the system become.

  3. The inmates know which units are understaffed, they can see first hand positions left vacant. The only people TDCJ is trying to shield the truth from is the general public.

    Lack of transparency is a sign of corruption. What other things is the agency with the help of our crooked Texas Attorney General gregg Abbott attempting to hide.

  4. They are attempting to hide the number of mandatory overtime hours worked, and what the state is paying out in costs associated with that by facility. That's what the Backgate was getting at in the request. It seems there may be lawsuits from staff on overtime issues in the works and that's why they want to shield it (so we hear). All it does when they hide information from taxpayers is draw more suspicion and legislative attention.

    1. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      Luckily for the citizens of Texas, Senator Twitmire will get to the bottom of this. That is after he's made aware of it - RIGHT?