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Frequently Asked Questions

CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS DIVISION

STGMO Gang Renouncement and Disassociation (GRAD)

The following are frequently asked questions and answers regarding Security Threat Groups (prison gangs), which should assist in giving some insight to an offender’s family and friends about the dangerss of getting involved with a Security Threat Group while incarcerated in TDCJ-CID.

What happens when an offender violates a rule within the prison?

Offenders who violate a written or posted rule are subject to disciplinary sanctions. Sanctions may include extra duty, loss of privileges, loss of class and/or goodtime, solitary confinement, or they may receive a monetary judgement in cases that the offender is found guilty of destroying state property. All disciplinary rules for which an offender may be punished must be in written form, must provide adequate notice of the conduct prohibited, and must be adequately distributed or posted.

Should I send money to an incarcerated offender?

All essential items (food, clothing, hygiene items, and other similar necessities) are provided to offenders. Offenders may purchase additional items from the unit commissary by using funds deposited into the offender's trust fund accounts. It is recommended that you DO NOT send funds to offenders you do not know. Unfortunately, offenders often establish "pen pal" relationships in order to solicit money from unsuspecting individuals. DO NOT send funds to any offender as a favor for offenders you do know. Any knowledge of extortion or extortion attempts should be reported to the warden or the TDCJ Office of Inspector General. Any offenders who are involved in extortion, as well as any individuals who assisted in the extortion shall be prosecuted.

Do offenders in prison have color televisions in their cells?

With a few exceptions due to unit design, offenders do not have televisions in their cells. There are, however, color televisions available for viewing by offenders who earn the privilege. Televisions are usually located in the dayrooms where sixty to ninety offenders may watch one set. Seating is generally on metal benches bolted to the floor. Security Staff are in charge of the remote controls and only the basic networks, sports, and educational channels are permitted. The televisions are purchased with profits from sales in the offender commissaries (in-prison stores where snack foods, toiletries and approved magazines and books may be purchased).

Are the prison units air conditioned?

All Texas prisons have a heating system, but in the summer only the prison hospital and psychiatric units have air conditioning. The other units have forced air systems that keep inside air moving and fresh air coming in.

How do offenders spend their day?

The day starts at 3:30 a.m. and breakfast is served at 4:30 a.m.. Offenders report to their work assignments at 6:00 a.m.. Every offender who is physically capable shall have a job in the prison system. Offenders are not paid for their work, but offenders may earn privileges as a result of good work habits. Offenders are also able to learn job skills that can help them find employment when they are released from prison.

Most offenders work in prison support jobs which include cooking, cleaning, laundry and maintenance. Offenders may also work in the TDCJ Agribusiness Department or for Texas Correctional Industries in the prison industries program

What happens if an offender refuses to work?

Offenders who refuse to work shall lose their privileges and shall be placed "cell restriction." Offenders placed on cell restriction shall remain in the cell 24 hours a day, with no trips to the day room, commissary, or recreation yard. Meals shall be eaten in the cell and personal property shall be taken away.

Does Texas have chain gangs?

The TDCJ does not have chain gangs. The TDCJ has two types of offenders that work outside the prison perimeter: field force and low risk offenders, commonly referred to as outside trusties. Low risk offenders perform jobs such as community work projects. While working outside the prison perimeter, these offenders are appropriately supervised by security staff.

What kind of dress code applies to offenders?

A white cotton pullover shirt tucked into white pants is worn on a daily basis. Shoes must be either state-issued or purchased from the commissary. Male offenders must be clean shaven and must keep their hair trimmed up the back of their neck and head. Hair must be neatly cut around the ears. Female offenders will not have extreme haircuts.

Are offenders allowed to make telephone calls?

There are two (2) options available for offenders to make telephone calls.

  1. Offenders who demonstrate good behavior can earn one 5-minute collect phone call every 90 days. Calls are monitored and shall be made only to approved individuals. These calls are made on the state owned unit telephones.
  2. The Offender Telephone System (OTS) allows eligible offenders to make paid telephone calls to friends and family listed on the offender's Visitors List.

For more information concerning OTS or to register, click on the link below. http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/offender_phone.htm

What is the process for requesting a hardship transfer?

A hardship transfer is usually considered when there is a medical condition which impacts an immediate family member’s ability to travel for offender visitation. Generally, transfer facility, state jail, intermediate sanction facility, substance abuse, pre-parole and pre-release offenders are not eligible for hardship transfer consideration. Requests for an inter-facility transfer from an offender’s family member shall be directed to the appropriate warden or to the assistant director for Classification and Records. Requests for a medical hardship transfer must pertain to an immediate family member of an offender and the family member must be on the offender’s Visitors List. These requests must contain documentation from the attending physician indicating the family member’s inability to travel long distances. Such documentation should be on the physician’s letterhead and signed by the attending physician. The assistant director for Classification and Records may grant an inter-facility transfer if the request meets the required criteria. Hardship transfer requests may be submitted to:

Assistant Director
Classification and Records
P.O. Box 99
Huntsville Texas
77342-0099

Attention: Hardship Transfer Any questions, please send to the address above or call (936) 437-6271.

What if the offender’s time calculations are not correct?

Issues dealing with time calculations concerning incarcerated offenders must be directed to the TDCJ-Classification and Records Department. Attn: Offender Time Management, P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, Texas, 77342-0099

Offenders may submit a Time Dispute Resolution form if the offenders believe their time is not correctly calculated.

How does an offender appeal a disciplinary case he/she received?

As stated in the TDCJ Offender Orientation Handbook, given to each offender upon entry into the prison system, offenders have the right to appeal any disciplinary decision made by the unit. This appeal is done by using the offender grievance procedure and submitting it to the warden. If the offender is not satisfied with the warden's decision, the offender may then file the next level of grievance for appeal purposes. The counsel substitute will assist offenders with an appeal if the offender requests assistance. Offenders are encouraged offenders to use informal measures to address concerns at the unit level, when applicable.

What if staff is treating the offender unfairly?

As stated in the TDCJ Offender Orientation Handbook, given to each offender upon entry into the prison system, offenders have the right to file grievances regarding their treatment at the facilities and units.. According to policy offender grievances must first be submitted to the warden. If the offender is not satisfied with the warden's decision, the offender may then file the next level of grievance stated in the TDCJ Offender Orientation Handbook.

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Page Updated: October 13, 2010

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