TDCJ Volunteer Services Newsletter February 2014

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services Newsletter February 2014

"Without two parents, working together as a team, the child has more difficulty learning the combination of empathy, reciprocity, fairness and self-command.  If the child does not learn this at home, society will have to manage the child's behavior in other ways to include rehabilitation and/or incarceration."- J. Roback Parents or Prison - Policy Review, 2003

Possum Talks - From the Inside Out

possum talks

With the help of the child's caregiver, the child is surprised each day with messages from their incarcerated dad.  A note inside of the child's lunchbox may read, "The first thing I thought of this morning was you.  And you made my heart smile.  I love you, Daddy." 

In the program participants discuss difficult topics such as:

  • How can I protect my children when I am not with them?
  • How can I be a positive role model for my children while I am incarcerated?
  • How can I fill the "hole" in my child's soul to ensure the "wound" is healed and break the cycle?
  • How do I gain my child's trust?

The purpose of Possum Talks: From the Inside Out is to strengthen bonds between children and incarcerated dads. We seek to reduce the number of children who are, statistically, 85% more at risk of becoming incarcerated themselves by growing up in a fatherless home.

Possum Talks first began at the Huntsville Unit and has recently expanded to nearby units in the Huntsville area.  The founders, Michael and Shari Buie are hoping to offer the program at all TDCJ facilities and are needing volunteers in order to meet this goal.  Learn how you can become involved...

A TDCJ Volunteer Celebrates His 92nd Birthday!

Michael Kiddo will turn 92 years young in April.  When asked why he volunteers for the TDCJ his response was, "The pay is good!  God has given me a lot in life and He expects a lot from me."  Mr. Kiddo recently completed the online volunteer retraining and at 91 appears to meet the challenges of today's technology.

Mr. Kiddo never fails to encourage the offender participants at the Carol Vance Unit.  He is a great role model for continuing to serve the needs of the offenders on into his 90's.

Mr. Kiddo we salute you!

M. Kiddo


A day with dad


If your organization/church is willing to sponsor a family program please contact the unit administration or chaplain at any unit for details.  You can also contact Volunteer Services by email and we will assist you in locating a unit in need of services.


The Ellis Unit (located in the Huntsville area) is needing a volunteer who is fluent in Spanish to facilitate a Spanish Overcomers class.  For more information contact Casey Spencer.


Did you know as a volunteer you are responsible for informing Volunteer Services if you have a family member or close friend who becomes incarcerated.  Disclosing this information will not disqualify you from volunteering, but it allows for us to ensure you do not volunteer at the unit where the family member/friend is housed.  Not disclosing this information can jeopardize your status as an approved volunteer.  Call Volunteer Services at 936-437-3026 if you have questions regarding this policy.