Sunday, June 15, 2008

Help and Resources

One of the biggest challenges I face as many do who have someone incarcerated, is doing something about what their loved one says is going on behind the walls. While I for one am not the type to believe much that is said from the TDCJ in general, I have had results, when I have dealt through the proper channels. PTO, has been more than a life line for me personally, the information and friends I have found will be sources of inspiration for me for years to come. Nowhere will you find kinder more knowledgeable folks than through the pages of PTO.

That being said, you MUST do all you can to ensure TDCJ if following the rules, the laws and conducting business in a professional manner. The smallest thing you can imagine has much greater repercussions for those incarcerated. Something as simple as being out of toilet paper (this did happen for more than 3 days), you or I will go to the store and get some. What can your loved one inside the walls do? Not a damn thing, they ask, they're told the Unit is out, they try to buy it at Commissary, they are told they are out, all the while they can see a full box in plain view for the Staff's use.

Ok so it's TP right? It's not about TP, it's about the basic human rights, it's about health concerns, it's about hygiene. That is just a simple situation gone way wrong, but as I said, what could they do? nothing but We, as family members, friends and as Citizens can do plenty.

The TDCJ created the Office of The Ombudsman, precisely for this reason. Of course as Voters our voices are also heard through "our" "elected" officials. While we all know politicians in general are worth the chair they sit in when it comes to responding to our complaints, some, and in Texas there are some, are actually crusaders of the Democratic process.

So next time there is an issue you feel violates your loved one's rights, as basic as it may be, do something, write a letter, make a phone call. Here is some contact information.

Ombudsman Coordinator
General Issues concerning the agency’s operation and policy and procedures.
P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
(936) 437-8035 (936) 437-8067 fax

TDCJ-Correctional Institutions Division
Ombudsman Office
Issues from the public relating to secure facilities (prison units, state jails, and substance abuse felony punishment facilities), and any specific concerns regarding offenders confined in these types of facilities.
P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
(936) 437-6791 (936) 437-6668 fax
**Bilingual Staff Available - Se habla Espanol**

TDCJ-Parole Division Ombudsman
Issues from the public relating to parole supervision. May also respond to concerns from offenders on parole or mandatory supervision.
P.O. Box 13401, Austin, TX 78758
(512) 406-5795 (512) 406-5858 fax
Agency Toll-Free Telephone Number:1-800-535-0283

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