Sunday, March 30, 2014

Governor Perry to US Attorney General Eric Holder - Texas won't cooperate with PRIA standards




By Backgate Staff

This is an excerpt of a letter sent by Texas Governor Rick Perry recently to US Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the feasibility of Texas prisons being able to follow the federal governments mandated PRIA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) standards. I found it myself to be a rather sensible response to a complex issue regarding basic security practices behind the walls.

Here it is...


"Because PREA standards prohibit most cross-gender viewing, TDCJ would be compelled to deny female officers job assignments and promotion opportunities, simply based on their gender. A consultant referred to TDCJ by the PREA Resource Center absurdly suggested that TDCJ solve this proglem by removing security cameras and obstructing lines of sight. That is ridiculous. Doing so would not only be a security risk for both prisoners and staff but also increase the likelihood of assaults taking place, defeating the intent of the law.

PREA also infringes on Texas' right to establish the state's own age of criminal responsibility. That age in Texas is 17. PREA, unlike the JJDP Act, which recognizes each state's age of full criminal responsibility, makes no allowances for differences among the states. PREA sight and sound separation standards would require Texas to separate 17-year old adult inmates from 18-year old adult inmates at substantial cost with no discernible benefit to the state or its inmates.

PREA standards also set specific staffing ratios for juvenile detention facilities different from the state's current rate. While this ratio may be ideal in some facilities, the decision of what constitutes appropriate staffing ratios should be left to each state and to those professionals with operational knowledge. One of Texas' 254 counties has said that compliance with this standard would require them to hire 30 more detention officers. That is an unacceptable cost for a small county with a limited budget. ...

PREA standards also mandate that by May 15, 2014, the governor of each state must certify, under threat of criminal penalties, that all facilities under the governor's control are compliant with PREA standards. Texas has approximately 297 facilities subject to PREA, including 164 lock-up facilities. PREA requires one-third of these facilities to be audited each year, yet no audit tool for lock-ups has even been developed. There is no way that I will certify compliance for facilities that have not even been audited. The compliance and certification deadline is further complicated by the fact that PREA requires states to conduct audits by PREA-certified auditors. There are only about 100 PREA-certified auditors nationwide, and the first of those were not certified until late 2013.

Even if the manifest problems with PREA standards I laid out above did not exist, I cannot and will not certify as true those things for which I do not have the facts.

Washington has taken an opportunity to help address a problem in our prisons and jails, but instead created a counterproductive and unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulatory mess for the states.

I encourage the administration to change these standards and do so soon. Absent standards that acknowledge the operational realities in our prisons and jails, I will not sign your form and I will encourage my fellow governors to follow suit. In the meantime, Texas will continue the programs it has already implemented to reduce prison rapes"

Rick Perry 

30 comments:

  1. You found it rather sensible???? This decision is going to invite the Federal Courts into the life of TDCJ, just like Ruiz case did in the 80's. Texas bucked up to the Federal Government in the 80's and lost, when they could have settled the Ruiz case but chose to be knuckle heads.

    Not all PREA standards are bad, we need staffing ratios and better employee background requirements. The decision to go against PREA compliance will negatively impact employees. The agency and employees are now open to PREA litigation and civil claims. The State due to low wages has more women working in the men's prisons and realizes they would have to raise wages to comply with PREA.

    It is CALLED PREA not PRIA.... Just FYI..

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    1. "we need staffing ratios and better employee background requirements." - And how would you suggest that be accomplished? TDCJ can't even get close to current staffing levels at most units. Don't say more pay. That's always what is said, but it never works. The pay is quite good for someone with nothing more than high school education or GED. And even if they increase pay and staffing, who will pay it? The money doesn't appear out of thin air. All those people who are working in civilian jobs will foot the bill - and I doubt any politician want to double to cost of prisons in an election year. I large portion of the public thinks prisoners already get too much. Texas and the feds are not exactly drinkin' buddies right now.There are dozens of law suites Texas has brought against the Feds over the past few years. This is a very different world than the Ruiz era.

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    2. You are in a boat of pious righteous thought all by yourself and you don't get it...are you that stupid cause your answer is plain retarded and STUPID. Pat yourself on your back you idiot. Go to the mall wearing your I AM THE STUPID ONE t-shirt.

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    3. Very sadly, the Texas Department of Corrections has grown way too large...and being so large, it generates its own problems without problems from Federal Mandates. There are no quick answers, politicians give politically benefiting responses and laymen give actual answers. When you want to go fishing, you take a fisherman with you. When you want to correct PREA, you put the task in the hands of the Prison Officials duly elected to correct any problems or shortcomings. Governor Perry, get ready for another round of Ruiz lawsuits that will sound like a large hail storm on a tin roof. Where is this money coming from? I like the comment about females working at female units and males working at male units...makes lots of sense...women don't need to be around opposite sex criminals...they are criminals and have mostly criminal thought on their minds. But if you are looking for a man to marry, then go work for TDCJ and find your next husband...

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  2. My favorite part about all Perry's gibberish is how he wants us to think this is Obama's fault. Although I do have a more than a few issue's with President Obama, PREA was SIGNED into LAW by Governor George Bush in 2003. It was going to happen and Rick Perry knew it. Of course, anytime Rick Perry suddenly takes interest in the happenings of TDCJ, it's time to get suspicious of his motivations. Rick Perry for President anyone?

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  3. PREA was signed into law by President George Bush. Another reason I should always proof read my rants. Sorry folks.

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  4. The law was signed by Bush, but these new standards are under Obama. Just another way for Feds to push itself into state affairs. The law was intended to reduce inmate on inmate violence and it has morphed into something more. I'm glad to see Perry stand up to the Fed and tell it the State of Texas will not follow this nonsense.

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    1. The law was bipartisan and so is the PREA commission. The PREA commission is headed by a Federal Judge appointed by GEORGE W BUSH. This is not a case of PERRY standing up to OBAMA on behalf of the correctional officers in TDCJ. Perry should have stood up for CO's during payraise time. Perry had almost 10 years to send his letter. PREA's biggest problem is we don't have the staff to run the prisons anymore. Perry caused the staffing issues by not backing CO's pay.

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    2. You got it right. Yes, the problem with TDCJ is and always has been with how Legislators believe they will be viewed by their voters. But the pay thing is and always has been something Texans should be ashamed of-pay people who work in dangerous conditions proper pay. This is a real issue and not something to be running away from...PREA is a real issue and not going away...Governor Perry cannot beat Washington and does not need to lock horns with them on this stupid issue of prison rapes. Who made rape such an issue in this day and time when folks are getting married in same sex marriages. These inmates are not nice people and they live by prison code, not normal society's codes. Way to go Perry, leave Texas with another Prison Lawsuit...one Texas will lose. The Correctional Officers should take legal action over poor pay...

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  5. What new standards? Can you please clarify? The rules governing PREA were implemented in 2012. Rick never said anything. The finalization governing state audits of TDCJ facilities was finalized in 2013. Still no Rick Perry? Nothing has changed as far as the Law itself. Rick Perry has chosen this issue at this time for his own benefit. He can see the White House from his back porch, that's the only really he is speaking out now. Wouldn't it be nice if Rick Perry were this passionate about Correctional Officers as a whole.

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    1. The major agencies were given PREA questionnaire's that the admin used to determine how, and to what extent, PREA would affect their agency institutions. All of those questionnaires were used by the agencies to develop the information necessary to report up the chain about how the standards would affect them. My educated guess is that the Governor came out with his letter once he had enough information from the various agencies on how PREA would affect their operations. I guarantee he certainly would not have written it just based on summation. He had thorough knowledge from the heads of many Texas agencies as to the effects of PREA. But, getting that information took time. Anytime a new policy, or law goes into affect it takes a bit of time to see it's affects or impact on operations. Trust me, TDCJ definitely evaluated how the new standards would impact our operations, and I can just about guarantee they reported their findings up the chain all the way to the Governors office.

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  6. I wonder if what Rick Perry is saying about the impact of PREA on female employees is true. If it is true, it seems like a no win situation for TDCJ. If they comply with PREA, they will face numerous lawsuits from female employees. The federal EEOC folks are likely to come down on them for discriminating against females, and hard at that. If they don't comply with PREA, they will have to deal with the feds because they didn't comply with PREA. I don't see how TDCJ can win.

    What happens to all the current female employees? Where is TDCJ going to get enough males to work the duty posts that women are no longer allowed to work? It was the federal courts who forced prisons systems across the country to start allowing females to work in male prisons. I've worked with some great female officers, and I just don't think any prison in the state can meet its staffing needs without them. On the other hand, if they can't be assigned to housing areas anymore, then there isn't much point to having them on the roster anyway.

    It seems like the federal government has created a situation where TDCJ can't possibly be in full compliance. At some point necessity and common sense have to trump political correctness and good intentions. The feds have to give TDCJ a pass on PREA compliance, or a pass on not allowing women to work in men's prisons.

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    1. I work at a male prison and we have 60% female officers and I would love to see all female Correctional Officers removed from it...force them to work at female units and not male units. They create way too many problems with their "hen fights and hen talk". Female Correctional Officers should not be touching male inmates...at one unit I worked, nine female correctional officers GOT MARRIED to inmates at the unit in one year alone...is this sick or what? And the sex scandals are rampant with the inmates, not with fellow male correctional officers. The only ones who enjoy female correctional officers besides inmates are correctional officers with rank-they consider the women guards their own playthings and are always putting their hands on them and having relationships with them. Please, get them out of the male prisons in Texas.

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    2. Oh thank God, I thought I was the only one whop saw the problem females cause in a male prison.

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    3. I am a female correctional officer and take offense to some of your comments. I am a competent professional who has no desire to hook up with an offender. I agree some women are immature and behave inappropriately and thus do cause problems. However, male officers can be, and some are, the exact same way and create their own brand of problems on their respective units. The offenders are responsible for their own behavior, and blaming the female officers for offender behavior is not the answer. Also, to be find fault with all females working at a male facility is simply ludicrous. I've had to work with some male officers who were, at best, marginal employees.

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  7. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    I don't feel sorry for TDCJ Executive Leadership. Now they know how their employees feel when we're put in a a no win situation. Squirm Brad, squirm. This is why you're paid the big bucks. Now perform!

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  8. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    For some reason this article made me think of this song.

    Love is a burning thing
    And it makes a fiery ring.
    Bound by wild desire
    I fell into a ring of fire.

    I fell into a burning ring of fire,
    I went down, down, down as the flames went higher
    And it burns, burns, burns,
    The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

    The taste of love is sweet
    When hearts like ours meet.
    I fell for you like a child,
    Oh, but the fire went wild.

    I fell into a burning ring of fire,
    I went down, down, down as the flames went higher
    And it burns, burns, burns,
    The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

    I fell into a burning ring of fire,
    I went down, down, down as the flames went higher
    And it burns, burns, burns,
    The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

    And it burns, burns, burns,
    The ring of fire, the ring of fire,
    The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

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  9. The REAL question now is- will the federal government attempt to force Texas, and other states, to comply with the cross gender viewing standard. And, if the states fail to comply what will be the consequences? What can the federal government REALLY do about non compliance of PREA? Will our Texas Governor drop his nuts?? Will he drag a sac and continue to defy the federal government? Or, will he tuck tail and comply when the FG gets a little rough with him? What do ya'll think?

    Can Texas get away with NOT complying?? Do we even need PREA, since Texas has the Safe Prison Program which started TWO years prior to PREA. It's gonna get interesting.

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    1. My thoughts- Perry will continue to buck as long as Obama is in Office. He will seize this opportunity to continue his hate campaign and blame this mess on the evil one. If however, this fight continues into the next election with a Republican winning, then Perry will quietly comply. Oh wait!, he won't have to do anything, he won't be Governor anymore. He will be known as the one who stood up for us, the new Governor...not so much. Slick Rick knows how to play a hand. I will give that to him.

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    2. Well said well said.....Hey let's just blame Obama! that's what he's there for.....let's blame him for all the problems all over the country and throughout the world....hey let's blame Obama for things even out of his own control let's blame him for this let's blame him for that hell we never had a president who would let us blame him for everything that goes bad in our lives....yeah for Obama you da man!

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  10. There are so many problems with TDCJ that why fix anything? You ever wonder why TDCJ is short 3000-5000 Correctional Officers at any one time? Because the State Legislature just doesn't give a crap about paying proper wages to them. They even let them go years at a time with no pay raise. If they want extra money, then let these retarded Correctional Officers go work overtime at a TDCJ Unit where the manpower shortage is horrendous. But like TDCJ problems, they promote idiots who will follow a billy goat off any cliff no matter how high and expect the ones beneath them to follow them without regard for levels of their own stupidity. TDCJ is ripe for another Federally Mandated Instructional Takeover like the one under Judge William Wayne Justice, III but Texas LEGISLATORS need the real educating about how stupid they have become in dealing with problems that they are not smart enough to deal with...LET TDCJ RUN TDCJ and pay its employees fair wages which should be $50000 or more for most employees. Oh, I forgot,they are State Employees so it is ok to feed them fish heads and kick them in the rump all the time. Please Correctional Officers, follow your number one rump kicker-Governor Rick Perry. Am I the only one that can smell that sardine smell floating out of that domed building in Austin? Rick, do something greater than yourself for the good of hard working men and women that work in dangerous conditions at the Texas Prison Systems. Pay them proper wages...

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    1. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      We're not short an Executive Director so nothing else matters.

      Delete
  11. At the end of the day what this really spells is a shortage of federal funds to Texas until gov Perry goes with federal mandates. I wonder what is going to be sacrificed first?

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  12. Security cameras are needed. Officers need salaries raised. Air conditioning for inmates at the tune of $55 million shouldnt even be getting brought up. Whats next, inmates wanting McDonalds. I think whats needed is limits placed on reproduction for offenders. Offenders families not being able to reproduce and im not talking about DUI first timers etc. Also, what Perry should be telling the Fed is allow Ruiz to be broadened. Meaning place all inmates on close custody status, install air conditioners in more areas for officer convenience, pass out johnny sacks @ all units for all 3 meals, dont pool taxes from all to support the penal system but rather tax the offenders family and laslty enforce those who further burden society via bad parenting to renounce their citizenship. South America and Africa come to mind. Im not racist, but unless major changes are made, more problems will abound. GTR 637784.

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  15. The guy gets himself a pair of glasses and now you can't get him to shut up!....He feels the need to shed his "dumb as a big bag of rocks" image he gave himself during his failed presidential campaign and now you see him all over Fox news. Hey Perry! you are still dumb maybe not as dumb as a "big bag of rocks" but somewhat dumb as a little bag of rocks" and no amount of books you can read or shows you watch or those new eyeglasses you wear will change that! but on the lighter side.....you are as smart as Palin though.

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  16. Giving the inmates McDonalds food may not be such a bad idea considering the poison in that artificially enhanced crap they make....the inmates will die a slow death and no one will ever know the truth

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  17. My thing with these right wing nut cases is that they are so anti government but that doesn't stop them from taking or asking for funds.....I hate you big brother and for all you stand for but I will defiantly take this money but hate you more!

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  18. TDCJ is an Inbreed Breeding farm for Women Guars

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