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March 06, 2009

Texas Senate Group Approves 20% while House says 5%

Austin, Texas - The Texas Senate Finance Committee work group voted to fund the full 20-percent pay raise for Texas correctional officers in a meeting held in Austin March 5, 2009.  This action came hours after the House Appropriations Committee work group proposed only a 5% increase for correctional staff.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee agreed to dramatically decrease TDCJ’s proposed salary adjustment for Texas correctional employees.  The committee moved the pay adjustment to items they termed as a “wish list” if funds are left over. 

The House Committee group ignored the recommendation proposed by TDCJ agency administration, the employee’s union, the Texas Senate’s own Criminal Justice Committee report, and other criminal justice experts

At the current time the agency is unable to properly staff their prisons in the middle of a recession.  The agency is plagued with rising social issues ranging from increased violence, prison rapes, staff assaults, emergence of new prison gangs, and increasing employee corruption. 

TDCJ employees are encouraged to contact the House Appropriation Criminal Select Committee and voice their concerns over staffing issues at Texas prisons, including hiring standards.

Texas correctional employees will have their state lobby day at the Capitol building March 12, 2009.  All state correctional employees are encouraged to attend this event.  Employees will gather at the corner of Lavaca St & 11th Street wearing their uniform or gray clothing at 9 AM.  At noon time a memorial service will be held on the south step of the Capitol to honor fallen TDCJ employees.  March 12 will be a great opportunity to address the low salary issues with the Texas House leadership.

Final policy decisions on the pay raises will likely be decided after April when the Texas Comptroller certifies the revenue forecast.  TDCJ employee political action is needed.

Please contact the following Legislative members.

Texas Legislature Appropriations
Select Committee
Criminal Justice Members:

Representative Debbie Riddle
Room E2.306, Capitol Extension
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0572
(512) 463-1908 Fax
[email protected].

Representative Joe Driver
Room 4S.6, Capitol Building
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0574
(512) 463-1481 Fax
[email protected]

Representative Ruth McClendon
Room 4N.4, Capitol Building
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0708
(512) 463-7071 Fax
[email protected]

Representative Myra Crownover
Room GN.9 Capitol Building
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Phone: (512) 463-0582
Fax: (512) 463-0471
[email protected]

Representative Al Edwards
Room 1W.9, Capitol Building
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0518
(512) 463-0941 Fax
[email protected]

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