TDCJ Volunteer Services Newsletter August 2014

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services Newsletter August 2014

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)


It is a felony offense and the TDCJ is required by law to report to the proper authorities if anyone at a TDCJ facility, including a volunteer, engages in sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a person in custody.  A volunteer with knowledge of any misconduct, either by personal detection or being confided in by an offender or who witnesses any such misconduct is required to report the misconduct immediately to one or more of the following:  facility staff, administrator, warden, the appropriate departmental authority, TDCJ Volunteer Services Department, Office of Inspector General - Investigations Division in Huntsville, TX at 866-372-8329; or the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Ombudsman Office in Huntsville, TX.  The TDCJ has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct.

If an offender reports to you that he/she was assaulted sexually, you are required to;

1.  Request the alleged victim not take any actions that could destroy evidence such as use the restroom, take a shower, change clothing or eat/drink

2.  Notify staff immediately

Volunteers Are An Essential Element in the Rehabilitation and Re-Entry of Offenders


The Texas Department of Criminal Justice places a significant focus on Volunteer Services, realizing volunteers are an essential element in the rehabilitation and re-entry of offenders into the community. Volunteers assist in providing various types of programs such as literacy and educational assistance, life skills, job skills, and parenting classes.  Volunteers facilitate medical education and prevention training as well as arts and crafts, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, faith-based programming, and other programs determined by the TDCJ to aid in the transition between confinement and society.  The following areas provide volunteer services to offenders:


Click here for more information about becoming a TDCJ approved volunteer.

Michael Cady - An Ex-Offender Called to Serve as a Missionary in Peru

M cade

Michael Cady spent 4 years in the TDCJ for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.  He is a graduate from the InnerChange Freedom Initiative Program (IFI) at the Carol Vance Unit, located in Richmond, Texas and will soon obtain an Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies.  "Since my release, I have had the privilege of serving abroad on short-term missions in Mexico, New Mexico, Peru and South America.  I have been called by God to spend 1-2 years in Huanuco, Peru. There, I will be doing physical labor by assisting in the building of a school for children of abusive and difficult backgrounds and doing evangelism and discipleship primarily for the youth and men in the area." 

Michael released to the Calvary Commission in July 2012 and has since completed his third year.  "I have devoted my life to pursuing the will of God, wherever He leads me.  My hope is that my testimony will compel you to pray for those incarcerated and to inspire people to become involved in advancing the Kingdom of God."  Read more about the Calvary Commission After-Prison Initiative...

r & b

Personal Finance Program

"What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired" is a personal finance book co-authored by two sisters named Tina "Red" Pennington and Mandy "Black" Williams.  The book is an engaging compilation of instant messages, emails and conversations between the sisters during a time in which one sister was experiencing a difficult time in life.  A pilot program conducted by a unit chaplain was recently completed using the book as the main teaching source.  "I always thought money was everything, now I know life is more important than money," said one participant after completion of the program. 

The "Red and Black: Personal & Life 101" program was piloted at the Stringfellow Unit located in Rosharon, Texas.  The program covers topics ranging from personal finance, how to handle stress, relationships, personal values and priorities.  The book, once proposed as the basis for a television sitcom, teaches personal finances while keeping participants laughing.  The participants enjoy applying the sister's teaching to their own struggles in life.  "If I had this information earlier, I'd be sitting on top of the world.  [I would have] more time with my kids, going to school, [and] not throwing away money, [I'd have] been there for my wife, [and] been a better man all around," states one participant.

The Plane State Jail is seeking volunteers to facilitate the program for offenders in the "Our Roadway to Freedom Program".  If you are interested in facilitating this program at the Plane State Jail in Dayton, Texas contact "Red" or Chaplain Rutledge to discuss the details.

Click here to watch a video and for additional information on the Red & Black prison program.