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Changes expected to come to Texas criminal justice system

Posted at 10:51 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 10:05:46-04

GATESVILLE — The Texas criminal justice system could soon expect changes to solve turnover and vacancies of employees.

A representative from AFSCME, a Texas Corrections union, explained turnover and vacancies account for more than a third of the current industry.

Though after Governor Abbott signed a two year budget of $84.1 million, changes to the correction industry are underway.

"The legislature is part of the budget for the next biennium for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that was approved by the last session of the legislature. In general, recruitment and retention of qualified staff is and has always been a top priority of TDCJ. Historically though that challenge is greatest at times like right now when the Texas economy is strong, is growing and unemployment is low" said TDCJ Director of Communication Jeremy Desel.

Explaining that among the many changes to occur, some are targeted towards salary and ensuring recruitment and retention increase.

"What we found in our research is the highest number of turnover, the area that we're most likely to lose those employees is in that very first year. So now, how the career ladder is structured, the people can get to higher levels of the career ladder in the first year. Ideally, it helps recruitment and retention," said Desel.

Changes the Texas Department of Criminal Justice anticipate are targeted salary increases, modernization to mainframes, repair/renovation projects, further developed treatment and health programs and changes to parole operations.

"Look no further than our Executive Director Bryan Collier who started his career as a correctional officer. There's great room to move, it's just a matter of how quickly you're able to get there," said Desel.