TDCJ Volunteer Services Newsletter April 2014

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services Newsletter April 2014

19th Annual Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Services Awards Ceremony

Maxine Young- 2014

“These men and women give their time not for monetary reward,” said Brad Livingston, TDCJ Executive Director. “They volunteer because they have a personal passion in seeing others succeed. We are grateful for their selfless dedication.”

On Thursday, April 17, 2014, 21 Criminal Justice volunteers were recognized for their efforts in serving the TDCJ and the State of Texas during 2013.

Read more about the recipients...

Founder and Executive Director of Restorative Justice Ministries Network Emmett W. Solomon Passed Away

Emmett Webster Solomon, Jr., former TDCJ Director of Chaplaincy and the Founder and Executive Director of Restorative Justice Ministries Network went to be with the Lord on April 22, 2014 at the age of 78.

In 1985, Emmett became the second Director of Chaplaincy after serving the agency for more than 20 years as a unit chaplain.  After retirement he served for 20 years as Founder and Executive Director of the RJMN comprised of people who do ministry with prisoners, prisoner families, victims of crime and Criminal Justice Professionals. RJMN also sponsored 14 statewide Restorative Justice Ministry Conferences and dozens of regional conferences. During the last 8 years, RJMN has focused on the needs of the returning citizens who were being released from prison.

There are many ex-offenders, unit chaplains and volunteers who were personally mentored by Emmett.  He will be missed by us all but his legacy, Restorative Justice Ministries Network will continue on as a leading ministry for the Texas prison system.


Pastors & Ministry Leaders - You Are Invited!

You are invited on May 14, 2014 to a very special event hosted by the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, Texas called, "Hope for America from a Hopeless Place."  This event will cover a broad number of topics related to the idea of "Restorative Justice," which affects all Texas communities.  The featured speakers are Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship and Don Waybright, Pastor of Love & Lead Ministry at Sugar Creek Baptist Church. 

Statistics show 8 out of 10 people who actively participate in the faith community are directly affected by the various topics used to describe restorative justice.  Topics such as human trafficking, bridge churches, victim care and reconciliation, healing of broken families, juvenile prevention, and re-entry challenges for male and female offenders.  To participate in this valuable workshop you are asked to pre-register at

Truth Be Told- Volunteer facilitators are needed in the Gatesville area

Truth Be told photo

Truth Be Told is a nonprofit service organization, headquartered in Austin TX that provides transformational tools of Community building, Communication skills, Creativity and self-Care for women behind and beyond bars.  The programs provide for personal and spiritual growth and healing from past trauma through truth telling in safe communities.  In Talk to Me Classes, students develop skills in writing, public speaking or performance arts, depending on which classes they choose.  Volunteers encourage the offenders to have a deeper sense of responsibility, face the reality of what brought them to prison, and embrace the hope of their future to build better lives and safe communities.  The programs are primarily volunteer facilitated by women who use various forms of recovery, empathy, and the ability to use the 4 Cs in their own lives.  To learn more about how you can become involved, please email the Programs Director, Carol Waid or call (512)292-6200. 

Visit the TRUTH BE TOLD website to watch a 5 minute video


Native American Camp Tours

NA Camp Tour

On April 7, 2014, Golden Eagle Ministries Texas and the TDCJ collaborated in the first ever Native American Camp Tour at the Michael Unit.  This was the first of 10 unit tours that will be accomplished this year. The day consisted of Prayer, Traditional Music, Wisdom from the Elders, Ceremony, Cultural Education, and sharing of a Noon Meal.

Volunteers came from Mississippi, Louisiana, and West Texas. Chief Warhorse of the Tchufuncta Nation Chahta Tribe was the guest speaker. Jorie & Christie West of the NAMMY award winning music duo Sayani, performed throughout the day, as well as other volunteers who played traditional flute and drum music.

The vision of the “Native American Camp Tour” is to partner with the TDCJ in bringing Tradition, Cultural Education, Healing and Spirituality to Native American offenders.  The Camp Tours are an opportunity for volunteers to be of service and share their wisdom, experiences & Creator’s love with offenders searching for a better way of life.

To find out if there is a Camp Tour in your area with volunteer opportunities contact Golden Eagle Ministries at 325-668-2563.

The Segovia Unit Celebrates National Day of Prayer - May 1, 2014

National Day of Prayer

Offenders assigned to the faith based dorm at the Segovia Unit closely relate to the words stated by President Barack Obama at the 63rd Annual National Day of Prayer, "forgiveness and reconciliation will be sought through prayer."  These dorms offer support and accountability, along with a faith based curriculum and mentoring program. The programming is conducted by local faith based community volunteers whose activities are directed by the unit chaplain and unit administration. Faith based dorms are open to offenders of all faiths or of no faith.  Forgiveness and reconciliation are common topics covered in most every faith based dorm curriculum.  If you wish to learn more about how you can become involved in the faith based dorm program contact a unit chaplain or Chaplaincy Headquarters at 936-437-3030. (pictured below is the Segovia Unit staff and volunteers in observance of National Day of Prayer)  

National Day of prayer staff

Volunteers Needed for Offenders with Mental Illnesses and Developmental Disabilities

Volunteers are needed in the Richmond and Gatesville TDCJ Correctional Facilities specifically Jester IV and Crain Unit Valley Satellite to help facilitate programs for offenders, such as arts & crafts, garden therapy, music therapy, and others.  For more information contact Volunteer Services.