Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More issues plague the TDCJ.

Again the TDCJ is in the news, still over the Cell Phone debacle that has brought down several of it's own. The problem still persists says the Tyler Paper in their news story published on Feb. 26th. (see below).

When will the TDCJ learn?

The number of good CO's I am sure greatly out numbers the bad. But the hiring practices of the TDCJ in the last couple of years has made this situation worse than ever.

Over crowding, the rush to incarcerate and keep incarcerated offenders in Texas will only serve too further expand this and many other problems facing the TDCJ and it's personnel. Until the State Of Texas (and many others) realize that the system of Justice is broken, and it can no longer continue to function in it's current model, these and other problems will continue to plague us.

It is a fact that, and a very well known and proven one at that, that the TDCJ can not meet it's minimum staffing levels nor provide the Tax Payers reasonable return of the dollars expended by the Division. At the current rate according to reports I have read in the last few weeks, the cost of keeping a single inmate for 1 day equals that of having the same inmate on Parole or Probation for 17 days in Texas. "Our" elected officials need to go back and take some remedial math classes.

That coupled with having an alarming 1 in 22 adults either in or under TDCJ/BOPP supervision, and crime still rising should tell the story of just how inept and up to the task the system as a whole is. The CO's are as much victims of this system as the inmates, their resources few, the pay amongst one of the lowest in the country while having the second largest Penal system in the Country, places them at risk not only on the job, but off as stress related illness is sure among many of their complaints.

The voices of those within the system CO's Administration etc have got to reach Austin, they know best just how bad the system is. In the mean time, they are working with one hand tied behind their backs and now having to keep an eye on their own not just the inmates.

Until the TDCJ, can first house all it's inmates within it's own units, with the current level of staffing, reduce all of the safety concerns of over crowding and bring the budget to a reasonable and responsible number, we will not see any changes. Building more prisons is not the answer, they can not properly staff what they have and neither can the centers providing rented space. The answers are right in front of them, data from countless sources point to Community programs, education and prevention, rehabilitation and a strong and reliable Parole and Probation system.

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