TDCJ Volunteer Services Newsletter October 2014

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services Newsletter October 2014

Military Veteran Peer Network Reentry Program


The Military Veteran Peer Network (MVPN) has partnered with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in a pilot program to provide incarcerated veterans a meaningful reentry-specific veteran-only dormitory.  This dorm includes peer support; both pre- and post- release to enhance reentry and integration.  These services are designed to increase reentry readiness by identifying needs to include peer support, family reunification, veteran entitlement and educational or rehabilitative service needs of an incarcerated veteran.  Services are developed based on research informed practices designed to meet the needs of today’s veterans. 

Based at Travis County State Jail, the Veteran Reentry Dorm is designed to prepare military veterans for a successful return to the community following incarceration.  It is a twenty-four (24) bed housing unit for incarcerated military veterans in which military peer and veteran-specific reentry programming is provided within ninety (90) to one hundred twenty (120) days pre-release.  The program includes topics that encourage personal growth and community readiness which may address familial relationships, traumatic experiences, service related trauma, anger management, stress management, recognition of behavior triggers and development of personal responsibility to increase healthy lifestyle choices upon release.  The veteran specific program curriculum includes Seeking Safety, Bringing Everyone In the Zone (BEITZ), Brief Solution Focused Therapy, Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous, Tai Chi, and group sessions focused on Home Readiness activities.  

The MVPN is an affiliation of service members, veterans and family members dedicated to establishing camaraderie and trust with each other, identifying and vetting community resources for veterans and collectively contributing to the communities where we live.  They accomplish this through commitment, training and volunteerism.  Through their collaborative efforts, the MVPN is providing the TDCJ the ability to offer unparalleled support and service linkage to our military veterans through the Veteran Reentry Dorm.  For more information about this program and how you may become involved contact Kristi Rushing with the TDCJ Reentry and Integration Division at 936-437-4554. 

The WELCOME BACK Program in Tarrant County


Jerry Cabluck found a new purpose in life serving as a volunteer for the TDCJ Parole Division.  Jerry partners with Restorative Justice Ministry (RJM) of Texas to provide community resources to offenders releasing in the Tarrant County area.  The WELCOME BACK/Tarrant County gives the "first cup of water" to the returning citizen.  The cup signifies "HOPE"; hope to believe that they can change and that life can be different than before incarceration.  The releasee is directed to employment, education, counseling, food, and clothing.  They are given information such as what to expect during their first week after release from prison, managing substance abuse and locating a faith-based community in the Tarrant County area.  When Jerry isn't working with offenders, he spends time developing partnerships with the local churches, as well as serving as a board member for RJM.

WELCOME HOME/Tarrant County helps where the need is greatest:

  • Most men and women returning need basic items: food, clothing, and hygiene
  • Spiritual direction
  • The greatest need for men is getting back to work
  • The greatest need for women is family and health
  • Many churches and ministries are already helping and serving our returning citizens
  • Funding for documents, drivers license, electricians or plumbers license

Jerry Cabluck grew up in the Fort Worth area and was a photographer for 35-years for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and other national publications, such as the New York Times and Sports Illustrated before becoming a volunteer for the TDCJ Parole Division.     

Volunteers Should Follow Good Practices to Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases

Going to W. Africa

The TDCJ Volunteer Services wants to remind all volunteers to follow good practices as recommended by the Center for Disease Control to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. 

To learn more on Influenza, visit the CDC information site:

To learn more on Ebola, visit the CDC information site:;

Other resources related to the prevention of communicable diseases can be found at:

TDCJ Policies and Procedures


As the holidays draw nearer, be mindful of the TDCJ policies governing Food Donations and Media Releases (Photos).  Contact the unit administration to obtain additional information and prior approval for these types of activities.

Food Donations For Volunteer Led Activities

Donated food items shall be obtained from sources that comply with the law and must be safe and unadulterated, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Food Establishment Rules, and be prepared in a kitchen that has been licensed or inspected. Some examples include licensed caterers or restaurants, such as pizza, barbeque, or sandwich shops, grocery stores with items sold in sealed containers, or churches, typically with daycare centers or community outreach kitchens where food is prepared and served to the public.  You are encouraged to visit with the unit administration if you have questions regarding bringing in food items for a volunteer led activity.

Approval to take Photographs on a Unit and Media Release Forms

A volunteer or volunteer organization must obtain prior approval before taking photographs on a TDCJ unit/facility.  The Unit Volunteer Coordinator or Unit Chaplain will assist you as well as provide a Media Release Form (ED- 02.40) and Chaplaincy Media Agreement Worksheet, if applicable.  A Media Release Form is required to signify that the offender freely and voluntarily consents to be photographed the Media Agreement Worksheet explains where, when and the purpose/specified use of the video/photographs.

Media requests require additional time for processing.  Submit a request to your unit coordinator in a timely manner to prevent delays or denials based on inadequate notice.