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$250 Million in Prison Budget Cuts

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is preparing for a $250 million budget cut for the 2018-2019 budget. The agency has declined where the savings will occur but closing prisons and releasing more nonviolent offenders is not out of the question. In June, Governor Greg Abbot instructed state agencies to submit budget plans reflecting a 4 percent reduction for 2017 budget negotiations. Texas Department of Criminal Justice has an annual operating budget of more than $3 billion with the bulk of that expense going to approximately 40,000 employees.   TDCJRead More


Cell Phones in Prison and How They Can Affect Parole

Cell Phones in Prison The prison systems are now taking the position that the #1 problem in the facilities are contraband cell phones. To support their case they are arguing the cell phones create a "danger" of escape, being used to arrange illegal activity, etc. Why Is It a Big Deal? The prisons and legislators point to a case where a contract killer was allegedly hired by a prisoner via cell phone to kill someone. However, the real reason that they are being pursued so heavily is that it is an additional wayRead More


TDCJ Unveils New Inmate Censorship Policy

In the new Offender Orientation Handbook released this earlier this month, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice instituted a new policy punishing offenders for having a social media presence even if it is managed by a friend or family member.   The new offender manual creates a prohibition on inmates "maintaining active social media accounts for the purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging others, through a third party or otherwise."   Offenders who violate the new policy will be charged with a level three disciplinary violation which can result inRead More


What is the CHANGES Program?

The CHANGES Program is a program offered to offenders through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Windham School District which provide life skills to prepare offenders for release.  CHANGES stands for Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success. Offenders who are expected to be released within two years or have F13R parole requirements are allowed and sometimes required to take the courses.   The CHANGES program include topics that are important to being successful on the outside.  These include: Personal Development –  preparing for change, goal setting, self-discovery, values, attitudes,Read More


Getting Your GED While Incarcerated

Windham School District (WSD) provides a GED preparation program for inmates seeking to obtain their GED while incarcerated and is available for any qualified inmate in a Texas county or state jail or prison at no charge. When inmates enter TDCJ they are tested to determine their academic level.  Inmates are then placed in educational program based on their Individualized Treatment Plan, which outlines education services for the offender.    Inmates are taught the skills needed to prepare for the GED test.  Classes are typically three hours a day andRead More


Writing to Inmates

Don't be afraid to write a friend or loved one while they are in prison.  Writing a letter is a small and easy thing to do for those on the outside but receiving letters while incarcerated makes a huge difference in their day.  Letters received while in prison makes them feel loved, and allows them to still be part of the family. Once you send the first letter, each one that follows will be easier to write. However, not only is it important to write the letter but also toRead More