Volunteer News - Read All About It!

texas department of criminal justice

Volunteer Quarterly Newsletter

Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Roy England

Roy England has been a Texas Department of Criminal Justice volunteer for eight years. During those years, he has carried over three hundred meetings into a number of different TDCJ facilities. Roy has a heart for those incarcerated. He typically makes eight meetings per month at six different facilities. He lives in Houston but travels as far as Huntsville, Beaumont, and San Antonio to bring a message of hope to the incarcerated.  Additionally, Mr. England maintains a mentoring relationship with released offenders and assists their transition is made into society. Through his example and actions, Mr. England has positively impacted the lives of a countless number of citizens. Keep up the good work Roy England. You are greatly appreciated.

Volunteers Make A Difference

Volunteer Bob Weatherford

Bob Weatherford describes himself as a rascal deep from the cotton fields of Decatur, Alabama. He loves fast cars and smiles as he says, “I arrived in Texas as quickly as I could”.  He shared that his journey in prison ministry began with Bill Glass Evangelistic Association in 1980. For fifteen faithful years, he traveled with the Bill Glass Evangelistic Ministry across the United States sharing the Gospel throughout Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina and New Mexico.  In 1995, Bob started volunteering on the Garza Complex and has faithfully continued teaching “Experiencing God”.  He also assisted in the implementation of the first Faith Based Dorm at the McConnell Unit.  

When the question was proposed, “What keeps you going in prison ministry?” Bob replied, “In 1980, I saw what God was doing in the prisons and decided I wanted to watch God work and be a part of it.  I just keep going.  Today, I want to see more men come to know God,” said Bob. “I’m now seventy-six years old and the grace of God has brought me this far. I plan to keep going for The Lord!” 

Bob Weatherford has made an eternal difference; he continues to do so at the Garza Units.  Many offenders do not have a father figure in their lives and Bob stands head and shoulders above the norm in that department.  His presence alone is second to none at a towering 6’ 6“ tall and a heart the size of Texas to match!  He has a firm grip and a powerful way of looking you straight in the eye and sharing what life with Christ truly encompasses.  Bob loves these men and is not afraid to give correction, when necessary, and is always ready to admonish and encourage anyone willing to listen.  Bob always teaches, as any good father should, by a godly example of character and integrity.   Recently, a young offender came up to Bob after class and stated, “I wish my Dad had taught me the way you teach me. If he had, I would not be in this prison.”    

We are thankful for God’s faithful servant, Bob Weatherford.  He worked hard in those cotton fields in Decatur, Alabama, years ago, and he continues to work hard now.  Bob knows the labor and toil it takes to reap a great harvest.   He not only continues to sow into broken hearts, but he gets to observe the great harvest in the TDCJ.  When one thinks of how to describe Bob, a few of the words that come to mind are steadfast, faithful and loving. He is the father that many of these correctional clients desperately need.  Thank you, Bob Weatherford, for making an eternal difference in the lives and hearts of these men.

"If you want peace, work for justice."

Pope Paul VI

Send Your Volunteer Photos To Us

Volunteer Services would love to see what our volunteers are doing across Texas.  Please send your photos to Clint Morris or the Volunteer Services Department by  by email:  VolunteerServices@ tdcj.texas.gov 

Bradshaw State Jail Volunteers
Bradshaw State Jail volunteers Vickie and Emmet Gagnard
Bradshaw State Jail volunteers Betty Webb and Jim McClurkin
Stevenson Unit volunteer Richard VanWormer ministers to Native Americans with prayer

Michigan State University Students Visit TDCJ

The Michigan State University (MSU) Alternative Spartan Breaks partnered with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to plan an Alternative Spring Break (ASB). MSU ASB mission statement is: “Encourages the active citizenship of its students through quality service opportunities, education about social issues, and exposure to diverse cultures and communities.”  Students are able to read a description of each trip and decide which one they are interested in before knowing the itinerary and destination of their trip.

Michigan State University ASB Students back row: Kaite,Troy, Nick, Maya, Allie, Emily front row: Amanda, Njeri, Lauren, Johnny

There were several ministries that partnered with TDCJ Volunteer Services.  Those ministries were Hospitality House of Huntsville, Solomon’s House of Hope, Restorative Justice Ministries, and Rahab’s Retreat and Ranch.  Ten Students decided to choose this trip that would give them the opportunity to experience the affects of social and criminal justice in Texas.

ASB students were able to witness first-hand the affects of victimization, family reunification, incarceration and restorative justice in a wide range of activities. The activities the students participated are listed below:

  • Toured the Huntsville “Walls” Unit and shared in a peer-education class that prepared offenders for release
  • Interacted with family members and witnessed the reconciliation of their loved ones upon release.  Joined in a release prayer with Restorative Justice Ministries at the bus station
  • Assisted Hospitality House (HH) with facility maintenance and spring cleaning
  • Worked at Solomon’s House of Hope resale shop
  • Prepared a meal for the Trinity community in S.O.U.L.      (Sharing Our Unconditional Love) Soup Kitchen
  • Toured Estelle Unit High Security
  • Worked at Rahab’s Ranch and Retreat resale shop

In summary, the MSU students were able to engage in some life changing activities during their spring break.  They experienced the impact of crime on all aspects of life.  Restorative justice was truly experienced in a hands-on environment.  They assisted with all stakeholders of the Restorative Justice process.  Anita Parrish of Solomon’s House of Hope stated, “The students worked hard without complaint. Not only was it a pleasure to interact with the students, the tasks completed were done beyond expectations.  We would welcome the students back any time!”  The TDCJ and other providers wish to thank the MSU  students for serving our Texas community.

This is only one of many stories in which volunteers are making a positive impact. Volunteers, from my desk to yours, I thank you for making a difference!

Clint D. Morris, Volunteer Services Director

The Impact Of Substance Abuse On Society

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reports that eighty-two percent of individuals incarcerated in the United States have substance abuse involvement with their offense.  In the fall of 2016, Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) Correctional Facilities Chairs met with the Rehabilitation Programs Division (RPD)& Correctional Institutions Division (CID) staff in Huntsville to discuss the expansion of substance abuse programming throughout TDCJ.  Since the meeting, there has been collaborated efforts to increase education and volunteer recruiting, where we have seen an increase of twelve percent in TDCJ substance abuse volunteers.  TDCJ has a long history of working with the Alcoholic Anonymous community to expand services throughout TDCJ to meet this need for programming. 

There are several fellowships that contribute to meeting the needs of individuals incarcerated such as Celebrate Recovery, Narcotics Anonymous, Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS) and Winner’s Circle.  We appreciate these fellowships partnering with our efforts to expand services in the area of substance abuse.

Tejas Bluebonnet Regional Convention Of Narcotics Anonymous 17 (TBRCNA17)


“Lost Dreams Awaken And New Possibilities Arise” was the title of the TBRCNA17 convention in League City.  The Hospitals and Institutions Service Committee sponsored a workshop where a TDCJ offender spoke about the importance of carrying the message of Narcotics Anonymous inside the prisons.  TDCJ approved volunteers spoke about their experiences and the love they have for volunteering inside TDCJ Units. Tejas Bluebonnet Region of Narcotics Anonymous, we appreciate the dedication and support you provide to those incarcerated.

Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) Students Minister In TDCJ

BSSM ministry team visits Estelle High Security

The Students from BSSM minister to offenders at Estelle, Goree, Holliday, Hughes, Marlin and Wynne Units.  BSSM students travel to Texas to do mission work at TDCJ facilities three to four times a year. They serve on TDCJ’s mission field revealing God’s love, truth, and power as they minister.  BSSM mission teams have ministered on eight facilities since 2013.

BSSM is a vocational ministry school in Redding, California.  Their curriculum centers on students embracing their royal identity and learning kingdom values.  The mission of BSSM is to develop individuals in to revivalist.  They emphasize hands-on training and experience along with academic understanding. This creates a “teach and do” culture where students take risks to stretch their faith and grow in their understanding of God. 

To read more about BSSM.

Kris Vallotton, Kathy Vallotton, Bethany Roper, Judy Owens, Charlie Owens and Warden Carter

Recently, Kris and Kathy Vallotton – BSSM Senior Administrators visit the Estelle Unit. Kris is a noted prophetic voice worldwide and has served on Bill Johnson’s apostolic team for decades. Kris is a sought-after speaker around the world and has written numerous bestselling books. Kathy is an anointed worship leader and assists with the training of the worship teams.

To read more about the Kris and Kathy Vallotton.

Volunteers Wanted In Texas Department Of Criminal Justice

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) would like to partner with you as a volunteer.  If you would like more information about a specific program please feel free to click on any of the following areas of interest for more information:

• Parole

• Reentry and Integration

• Rehabilitation Programs

• Victim Services

• Windham School District

 To learn more about becoming a TDCJ volunteer visit the TDCJ website and click on the Unit Directory to identify a facility near you.  If you would like to discuss the specific volunteer needs for the facility, please feel free to contact the Unit Administration or the Chaplain.  You can also visit the Volunteer Services webpage by clicking on Volunteer with the TDCJ.  You are encouraged to complete a Volunteer Application and take the application to a Volunteer Training/Orientation site near you.  You may search the Volunteer Training/Orientation schedule by date or by city.