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Texas Department of Criminal Justice Offender Orientation Handbook 2004

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TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

OFFENDER ORIENTATION HANDBOOK
as
Approved by the
Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division

Printed
November, 2004
I-202 (rev.11/04)

Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Regional Offices

TDCJ-CID Region I
1225 Ave. G
Huntsville, Texas 77340

TDCJ-CID
Private Prisons
2505 Lake Rd, Ste #1
Huntsville, Texas 77340

TDCJ-CID Region II
P. O. Drawer 400
Tennessee Colony,
Texas 75861

TDCJ-CID Region III
400 Darrington Road
Rosharon, Texas
77583

DCJ-CID Region VI
616 West Howard Lane
ustin, Texas 78720

TDCJ-CID Region IV
HC02 Box 965
Beeville, Texas
78102

TDCJ-CID Region V
304 W. 6th St.
Plainview, Texas 79072

Facilities Within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Allred
2101 FM 369 North
Iowa Park, Tx. 76367

Daniel
938 South FM 1673
Snyder, Tx. 79549

Goodman
Route 1, Box 273
Jasper, Tx. 75951

Jordan
1992 Hilton Road
Pampa, Tx. 79065

Bartlett
1018 Arnold Dr.
Bartlett, Tx. 76511

Darrington
59 Darrington Road
Rosharon,Tx. 77583

Goree
Huntsville, Tx. 77344

Kegans
707 Top Street
Houston, Tx. 77002

Baten
1995 Hilton Road
Pampa, Tx. 79065

Dawson
P O. Box 650675
Dallas, Tx. 75265-0675

Gurney
P.O. Box 6400
Tennessee Colony, Tx. 75861

Kyle
701 South IH 35
Kyle, Tx. 78640

Beto
P. O. Box 128
Tennessee Colony, Tx. 75880

Diboll
1604 South First Street
Diboll, Tx. 75941

Halbert
P.O. Box 923
Burnet, Tx. 78611-0923

LeBlanc
3695 FM 3514
Beaumont, Tx. 77705

Boyd
Route 2, Box 500
Teague, Tx. 75860

Dominguez
6535 Cagnon Road
San Antonio, Tx. 78252

Hamilton
200 Lee Morrison Lane
Bryan, Tx 77807

Lewis
P.O. Box 9000
Woodville, Tx. 75990

Bradshaw
P.O. Box 9000
Henderson, Tx. 75653-9000

Duncan
1502 South First Street
Diboll, Tx. 75941

Havins
500 FM 45 East
Brownwood, Tx. 76801

Lindsey
1137 Old Post Oak Road
Jacksboro, Tx. 76458

Bridgeport
4000 North 10th Street
Bridgeport, Tx. 76426

Eastham
P.O. Box 16
Lovelady, Tx. 75851

Henley
7581 Hwy 321
Dayton, Tx. 77535

Lockhart
P.O. Box 1170
Lockhart, Tx. 78644

Briscoe
1459 W. Highway 85
Dilley, Tx. 78017-4601

Ellis
Huntsville, Tx. 77343

Hightower
902 FM 686
Dayton, Tx. 77535

Lopez
1203 El Cibolo Rd.
Edinburg, Tx. 78539

Byrd
P. O. Box 100
Huntsville, Tx. 77342-0100

Estelle
264 FM 3478
Huntsville, Tx. 77320-3322

Hilltop
1500 State School Road
Gatesville, Tx. 76598

Luther
1800 Luther Dr.
Navasota, Tx. 77869

Central
One Circle Drive
Sugarland, Tx. 77478

Estes
1100 Highway 1807
Venus, Tx. 76084

Hobby
742 FM 712
Marlin, Tx. 76661-4685

Lychner
2350 Atascocita Road
Humble, Tx. 77396

Clemens
11034 Hwy 36
Brazoria, Tx. 77422

Ferguson
12120 Savage Dr.
Midway, Tx. 75852-3654

Hodge
P.O. Box 999
Rusk, Tx. 75785

Lynaugh
1098 S. Highway 2037
Fort Stockton, Tx. 79735

Clements
9601 Spur 591
Amarillo, Tx. 79107-9606

Formby
970 County Rd. AA
Plainview, Tx. 79072

Holliday
295 IH 45N
Huntsville, Tx. 77340-4968

McConnell
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, Tx. 78102

Cleveland
P.O. Box 1678
Cleveland, Tx. 77328

Fort Stockton
1500 IH 10 East
Fort Stockton, Tx. 79735

Hospital Galveston
P. O. Box 48, Sub St. 1
Galveston, Tx. 77550

Michael
P O. Box 4500
Tennessee Colony, Tx. 75886

Coffield
Route 1, Box 150
Tennessee Colony, Tx. 75884

Garza East
HC02, Box 985
Beeville, Tx. 78102

Hughes
Route 2, Box 4400
Gatesville, Tx. 76597

Middleton
13055 FM 3522
Abilene, Tx. 79601

Cole
3801 Silo Road
Bonham, Tx. 75418

Garza West
HC02, Box 995
Beeville, Tx. 78102

Huntsville
815 12tth Street
Huntsville, Tx. 77342-0099

Montford
8602 Peach Street
Lubbock, Tx. 79404

Connally
899 FM 632
Kenedy, Tx. 78119

Gatesville
1401 State School Road
Gatesville, Tx. 76599-2999

Hutchins
1500 East Langdon Road
Dallas, Tx. 75241

B. Moore
8500 North FM 3053
Overton, Tx. 75684

Cotulla
HC62, Box 100
Cotulla, Tx. 78014

Gist
3295 FM 3514
Beaumont, Tx. 77705

Jester I, III, IV
Route 2
Richmond, Tx. 77469

C. Moore
1700 N. FM 87
Bonham, Tx. 75418

Dalhart
HCR 4, Box 4000
Dalhart, Tx. 79022

Glossbrenner
623 S. FM 1329
San Diego, Tx. 78384

Johnston
703 Airport Road
Winnsboro, Tx. 75494

Mountain View
2305 Ransom Rd.
Gatesville, Tx. 76528

Facilities Within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Murray
1916 N. Hwy 36 Bypass
Gatesville, Tx. 76528

Ramsey II
1200 FM 655
Rosharon, Tx. 77583

Skyview
P. O. Box 999
Rusk, Tx. 75785

Travis County
8101 FM 969
Austin, Tx. 78724

Neal
9055 Spur 591
Amarillo, Tx. 79107-9696

Roach
15845 FM 164
Childress, Tx. 79201

Smith
1313 County Rd 19
Lamesa, Tx. 79331

Tulia
4000 Hwy 86 West
Tulia, Tx. 79088

Ney
114 Private Road 4303
Hondo, Tx. 78861

Robertson
12071 FM 3522
Abilene, Tx. 79601

Stevenson
1525 FM 766
Cuero, Tx. 77954

Vance
Route 2
Richmond, Tx. 77469

Pack
2400 Wallace Pack
Navasota, Tx. 77869

Rudd
2004 Lamesa Highway
Borwnfield, Tx. 79316

Stiles
3060 FM 3514
Beaumont, Tx. 77705

Wallace
P.O. Box 2000
Colorado City, Tx. 79512

Plane
904 FM 686
Dayton, Tx. 77535

Sanchez
3901 State Jail Road
El Paso, Tx. 79938

Telford
P.O. Box 9200
New Boston, Tx. 75570

Ware
P.O. Box 2500
Colorado City, Tx. 79512

Polunsky
3872 FM 350
Livingston, Tx. 77351

Sayle
4176 FM 1800
Breckenridge, TX 76424

Terrell
1300 FM 655
Rosharon, Tx. 77583

Wheeler
4300 E. Fifth Street
Plainview, Tx. 79072

Powledge
Route 2, Box 2250
Palestine, Tx. 75882

Scott
Route 5, Box 1500
Angleton, Tx. 77515

Carol S. Young Medical
Facility Complex
Route 4, Box 1174
Dickinson, Tx. 77539

Willacy County
1695 South Buffalo Drive
Raymondville, Tx. 78580

Ramsey I
1100 FM 655
Rosharon, Tx. 77583

Segovia
1201 E. Cibolo Road
Edinburg, Tx. 78539

Torres
125 Private Road #4303
Hondo, Tx. 78861

Woodman
1210 Coryell Road
Gatesville, Tx. 76528
Wynne
Huntsville, Tx. 77349

ADOPTION OF ORIENTATION HANDBOOK
This handbook contains general information and rules adopted by the Director of the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions Division (TDCJ-CID).

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is to provide
public safety, promote positive change in offender behavior, reintegrate
offenders into society and assist victims of crime.

Board of Criminal Justice
The Board of Criminal Justice is made up of nine (9) unpaid citizens. They are appointed
by the Governor of Texas. The Board helps the Department to plan, budget and make
policy.

Management
The Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice appoints the Director
and Deputy Directors of the Correctional Institutions Division. These directors guide the
day-to-day operation and management of the TDCJ-CID.

GENERAL INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS HANDBOOK
This handbook is designed to provide the offender population with general information
along with a standard for acceptable behavior.
Offenders who do not conduct
themselves in an acceptable manner could be charged with a specific disciplinary
offense. The disciplinary offenses are listed in the TDCJ Disciplinary Rules and
Procedures for Offenders Handbook. The standards for acceptable behavior by
offenders listed in this handbook apply to all offenders. The conditions in administrative
segregation/special management or disciplinary status may vary from those of general
population offenders.
Upon entering the TDCJ, offenders will be provided with a current copy of the Offender
Orientation Handbook. Offenders currently incarcerated within the TDCJ will have
access to revised copies when revisions to the Handbook are made. Handbooks written
in Spanish will be given to offenders whose primary language is Spanish. Rules will be
explained to offenders who cannot read them and to offenders whose primary language
is neither English nor Spanish.
All offenders confined within a facility of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are
responsible for understanding and abiding by the rules, regulations and policies detailed
in the handbook as well as other policies and procedures posted on their facility of
assignment. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.
For purposes of this handbook, the terms “he”, “his” and “him” refer to all offenders, both
male and female.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Offender Access to Services and Standards for Behavior ................... 1
Reception and Diagnostic Process.................................................................. 1
Receiving and Screening.............................................................................. 1
Photographs and Fingerprints....................................................................... 1
Physical Examination ................................................................................... 1
Mental Health Screening .............................................................................. 1
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)............................................................ 2
Orientation................................................................................................... 2
Testing and Assessment .............................................................................. 2
Sociological I and II Interviews ...................................................................... 2
Segregative Classification............................................................................. 3
Institutional Offenders .................................................................................. 3
State Jail Offenders...................................................................................... 3
Transfer Offenders ....................................................................................... 4
SAFPF Offenders ........................................................................................ 4
Foreign Nationals......................................................................................... 4
Unit Classification............................................................................................ 5
Custody Levels............................................................................................ 5
Administrative Segregation or Special Management ........................... 5
General Population Level 5............................................................... 5
General Population Level 4............................................................... 5
General Population Level 3............................................................... 5
General Population Level 2............................................................... 5
General Population Level 1............................................................... 6
Committees ................................................................................................. 6
Unit Classification Committee ........................................................... 6
Administrative Segregation Committee/Special Management
Committee....................................................................................... 6
State Classification Committee ......................................................... 6
Security Precaution Designator Review Committee............................ 6
Inter-Unit Transfers ...................................................................................... 6
Good Conduct Time ..................................................................................... 7
Time Credit Dispute Resolution Process........................................................ 9
Individualized Treatment Plan....................................................................... 9
Collection of DNA Blood Samples ............................................................... 10
Standards of Behavior ................................................................................... 10
Personal Cleanliness and Grooming ........................................................... 10
Clothing and Necessities ............................................................................ 11
Clothing......................................................................................... 11
Towels .......................................................................................... 11
Linens ........................................................................................... 12
Exchange Procedures for Necessities Items .................................... 12
Living Areas .............................................................................................. 12
Dining Hall................................................................................................. 14
Shower Rules ............................................................................................ 15
Dayroom Rules .......................................................................................... 15
Recreation Yard Rules ............................................................................... 16
Commissary Rules ..................................................................................... 16
Hall Rules.................................................................................................. 17
Offender Property ...................................................................................... 17
Contraband ............................................................................................... 20
Tobacco Policy .......................................................................................... 21
Safety Regulations ..................................................................................... 21
General Rules ........................................................................................... 22

i

Safe Prison Programs.................................................................................... 24
Offender Protection.................................................................................... 24
Sexual Assaults......................................................................................... 24
Prevention..................................................................................... 24
If The Attack Has Just Happened.................................................... 25
Perpetrator.................................................................................... 25
General Appropriations Act 2002-2003 Biennium Conference Committee
Report on Senate Bill 1 .................................................................. 26
Security Threat Groups.................................................................................. 26
Programs and Services.................................................................................. 27
Education .................................................................................................. 27
Testing and Assessment ................................................................ 27
Counseling.................................................................................... 27
Adult Literacy, Basic Skills and GED Preparation ............................. 27
Special Education ......................................................................... 28
English as a Second Language (ESL) ............................................. 28
Reintegration Skills ........................................................................ 28
Cognitive Intervention..................................................................... 28
Career and Technology Education .................................................. 29
College Classes............................................................................. 29
Job Placement - Project RIO........................................................... 30
Libraries ........................................................................................ 31
School Rules ................................................................................. 31
Information on Education Programs ................................................ 32
Recreation and Non-Programmatic Activity.................................................. 32
Recreation and Non-Programmatic Activities ................................... 32
Out-Of-Cell Time Requirements for Non-Programmatic and Recreational
Activity .......................................................................................... 32
Offender Craft Shop and Piddling.................................................... 32
In-Cell Art ...................................................................................... 33
Health Services ......................................................................................... 33
Medical Services............................................................................ 33
Dental Services ............................................................................. 34
Pharmacy Services ........................................................................ 35
Psychiatric and Psychological Services ........................................... 35
Mentally Retarded Offender Program .............................................. 35
Complaints about Medical Staff....................................................... 36
Substance Abuse Treatment....................................................................... 36
Religious Services ..................................................................................... 37
State Counsel for Offenders ....................................................................... 37
Language Assistance................................................................................. 39
Correspondence Rules............................................................................... 40
Visitation ................................................................................................... 41
Telephone Calls......................................................................................... 41
Emergency Absences ................................................................................ 42
Emergency Absence...................................................................... 42
Emergency Absence Eligibility Requirements .................................. 43
Inmate Trust Fund...................................................................................... 44
ID Cards.................................................................................................... 46
Commissary .............................................................................................. 47
Voter Registration...................................................................................... 48
Offender Request To Official (I-60) Form ..................................................... 49
Administrative Segregation Plan ................................................................. 49
Institutional Lockdowns .............................................................................. 49
Impermissible Conduct............................................................................... 50

ii

Disciplinary Procedures and Rules................................................................ 50
General Procedures ................................................................................... 50
Solitary Confinement .................................................................................. 51
Counsel Substitute Program ....................................................................... 51
Appeal Process ......................................................................................... 52
Grievance Procedures for Offenders............................................................. 52
Parole Information ......................................................................................... 54
Parole Information...................................................................................... 54
The Parole Interview ................................................................................. 55
Parole Eligibility Requirements ................................................................... 56
th
70 Legislature Requirements ........................................................ 56
nd
72 Legislature Requirements........................................................ 57
rd
73 Legislature Requirements ........................................................ 58
th
74 Legislature Requirements ........................................................ 59
th
75 Legislature Requirements ........................................................ 60
Offenders with Detainers Pending .............................................................. 60
Parole and Mandatory Supervision Violators................................................ 60
Offenders who commit offenses while in custody ........................................ 60
Questions about Parole-related issues ........................................................ 61
Sex Offender Treatment Program Information............................................... 61
Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) and Evaluation............................ 61
Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators ........................................... 61
Sex Offender Treatment Program Information.............................................. 62
Offense Codes Requiring Registration......................................................... 62
Orchiectomy .............................................................................................. 63
TDCJ Crime Stoppers “Behind the Walls” ..................................................... 64
Chapter 2: Offender Visitation Rules.................................................................... 65
Introduction ..................................................................................................... 65
1.0 General Information.................................................................................... 65
Visitation Schedule ................................................................................... 65
Frequency and Length of Visits ................................................................. 66
Frequency of Contact Visits............................................................ 66
Eligibility Criteria for Contact Visits.................................................. 67
Number of Visitors Allowed ....................................................................... 67
2.0 Who Can Visit With Offenders ..................................................................... 67
Approved Visitors List............................................................................... 67
Visitors Approved for Contact Visits........................................................... 68
Visitor Notification..................................................................................... 69
3.0 Rules for Visits........................................................................................... 70
Visitor Identification .................................................................................. 70
Searches of Visitors and Vehicles.............................................................. 71
Contraband Items..................................................................................... 71
Supervision of Visits................................................................................. 72
Rules for Offenders .................................................................................. 72
Rules for Visitors ...................................................................................... 72
Denial of Visits/Visitors ............................................................................. 74
Termination of Visits in Progress ............................................................... 74
4.0 Visits for Special Offender Categories.......................................................... 75
MROP (Mentally Retarded Offender Program) and Psychiatric In-Patient
Offenders................................................................................................. 75
Psychiatric Out-Patient Offenders .............................................................. 75
Transient Status Offenders ....................................................................... 75
Safekeeping Status .................................................................................. 75
Pre-Hearing Detention.............................................................................. 75
Lockdown Status ...................................................................................... 76
Administrative Segregation/Special Management ....................................... 76
Death Row Offenders ............................................................................... 76
G5J5 Offenders ........................................................................................ 76
iii

5.0 Suspension of Visits................................................................................... 77
General Visits .......................................................................................... 77
Contact Visits .......................................................................................... 77
6.0 Special Visits ............................................................................................. 78
Three Hundred (300) Miles ....................................................................... 78
Spiritual Advisors...................................................................................... 78
Prospective Employers ............................................................................. 78
Critical/Serious Illness List ........................................................................ 78
Hospice Offenders.................................................................................... 79
Visits Between Offenders (Non-Legal) ....................................................... 79
Current/Former TDCJ Employees.............................................................. 80
Attorney Visits.......................................................................................... 81
Legal Visits Between Offenders ................................................................. 81
Chapter 3: Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules.......................................... 82
General Rules and Instructions Regarding General Correspondence .................. 82
Permissible Correspondents....................................................................... 82
Restricted Correspondents ......................................................................... 82
How to Correspond .................................................................................... 83
Publications ............................................................................................... 85
Special and Media Correspondence.................................................................. 85
Permissible Correspondence...................................................................... 85
Exceptions ................................................................................................ 85
Legal Correspondence..................................................................................... 85
Handling Offender Correspondence.................................................................. 86
Content Inspection of General Correspondence........................................... 86
Contraband in General Correspondence...................................................... 86
Contraband in Legal, Media, or Special Correspondence.............................. 87
Record of Legal, Special, or Media Correspondence.................................... 87
Content of Inspection of Publications........................................................... 87
Processing Incoming and Outgoing Offender Mail ........................................ 88
Forwarding of Mail ..................................................................................... 88
Mailrooms ................................................................................................. 89
Treatment Programs .................................................................................. 89
Review Procedures for Denied Items ................................................................ 89
Handling of Denied Items ........................................................................... 89
Correspondence Appeal Procedure............................................................. 89
Chapter 4: Offender Access to the Courts, Counsel and Public Officials Rules.. 91
Law Libraries................................................................................................. 91
Law Library Collections, Conditions, and Supplies........................................ 91
General Population Offender Access to the Law Library ............................... 92
Administration Segregation, Lockdown, G5, Medical Segregation, Temporary
Detention, Trusty Camp, Work Camp, and Death Row Offender Access to the
Law Library................................................................................................ 92
Offender Personal Legal Material .................................................................. 93
Storage and Access................................................................................... 93
Searches and Shakedowns of Offender Legal Materials ............................... 93
When and Where Legal Work May Be Performed .......................................... 93
Locations and Times .................................................................................. 93
Offenders Assisting Other Offenders on Legal Matters ................................. 93
Notary Public Services................................................................................... 94
Documents................................................................................................ 94
Scheduling ................................................................................................ 94
Attorney Visitation ......................................................................................... 94
Periods of Visitation ................................................................................... 94
Notice ....................................................................................................... 95
Identification.............................................................................................. 95
Designated Representative's Application to Visit.......................................... 95
Limits on Number, Persons, and Type of Visit.............................................. 96
iv

Rejection by Offender of Visitation Request................................................. 96
Procedures During Visit.............................................................................. 96
Rejection of Visitation Request or Termination of Visit.................................. 98
Suspension of Visitation Privileges .............................................................. 98
Attorney Visitation Review Procedure.......................................................... 98
Consular Officials....................................................................................... 99
Attorney/Offender Telephone Calls................................................................ 99
General Guidelines .................................................................................... 99
Telephone Call Approval .......................................................................... 100
Court Conference Calls................................................................................ 101

v

CHAPTER 1
OFFENDER ACCESS TO SERVICES AND
STANDARDS FOR BEHAVIOR
I.

RECEPTION AND DIAGNOSTIC PROCESS

All offenders in the TDCJ are received either at a transfer facility, a reception diagnostic
facility, a state jail intake facility or a SAFP intake facility. These facilities are equipped to
receive and process offenders admitted to the agency’s custody. Offenders who speak
little or no English will be identified and will receive the necessary type of language
assistance while in the Diagnostic Process and later when assigned to a unit.
A. Receiving and Screening
Offenders will be searched upon arriving at a TDCJ facility. A receipt will be
completed for each offender's money and property. Medical care will be given, if
considered urgent. Offenders will be housed according to security needs. State
clothing will be issued; haircuts and showers provided.
B. Photographs and Fingerprints
Each offender will go to the Photograph and Identification Department where he
will be:
1.
2.
3.
4.

photographed,
fingerprinted,
examined for any identifying scars, marks, or tattoos, and
interviewed to obtain basic information.

The fingerprints will be sent to the FBI and the Texas Department of Public
Safety (DPS). The Photograph and Identification process helps identify every
offender to make sure no one is admitted or released illegally, and creates the
state-issued identification card that each offender is required to carry.
C. Physical Examination
Offenders will be given a physical examination by medical and dental staff. The
medical and dental staff will ask each offender about his medical history. The
medical and dental staff will use the results of the examination to determine the
special needs, if any, of an offender. The special medical needs of an offender
will be taken into consideration during the classification process.
D. Mental Health Screening
Each offender will undergo an initial psychological screening. If during this
process it is determined there may be special needs, the offender will be referred
for further evaluation. (This process is not used on SAFP intake facilities.)

1

E. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
It is the intent of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to comply with the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Offenders are hereby advised of their
responsibility to report a disability.
ADA related complaints should be
addressed through the Offender Grievance Procedure.
ADA related
complaints could also be voiced on an I-60 to the Unit Warden.
F. Orientation
An orientation is provided to all new offenders and is provided in Spanish to
those offenders who require it. The orientation will cover the following:
1.

10.

Mail and visitation rules

2.

Policies, rules, and standards of
behavior
Programs

11.

3.

Educational services

12.

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Offender grievance procedures
Classification procedures
Disciplinary procedures
Food service
Offender records

13.

Recreation and leisure activities
Medical, dental and psychological
services
Access to courts, counsel and
public officials rules
Safe prisons program
Orchiectomy services
Other offender activities and programs

9.

Commissary and offender
accounts

14.
15.
16.

G. Testing and Assessment
All offenders will be tested to determine educational, psychological, and
substance abuse treatment needs, except on SAFP intake facilities.
H. Sociological I and II Interviews
During sociological interviews, offenders will be asked questions about their:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

criminal history
social history
institutional history
educational history
employment history
family history
military history
drug and/or alcohol histories
any other pertinent information.

Offenders will be interviewed to verify information in their records. Offenders
may be punished through the disciplinary process for giving false information
during interviews. A summary of all information collected on each offender will
be used to help in the classification process.
Sociology II interviews are not completed on SAFP intake facilities.

2

I.

Segregative Classification

A Segregative classification is assigned to every offender based on the offender's
age and previous incarceration. The Segregative classes are:
I
IA
IB
II
IIA
IIB
IIC
J.

First Offender
First Offender
First Offender
Second Offender
Second Offender
Second Offender
Multi-Offender

21 years of age or less
22-25 years of age
26 years of age or older
21 years of age or less
22-25 years of age
26 years of age or older
26 years of age or older

Institutional Offenders

The State Classification Committee (SCC) and designated staff of the
Classification and Records Office (CRO) will determine the first unit to which
each Institutional offender will be sent. Offenders do not have the right to choose
their unit of assignment. Offenders are assigned to units by the SCC after their
interviews and testing are completed.
Offenders spend the first few weeks going through the diagnostic process. Data
is collected on each offender. The SCC and CRO staff uses this data to place
offenders with similar characteristics on units or facilities together. The SCC and
CRO staff will make its decision based on:
1.
2.
3.
4.

all information collected,
the offender's safety needs,
the offender's security needs, and
the offender's treatment needs.

Based on 1-4 above, the SCC may also recommend the offender's:
1.
2.
3.

level of supervision (custody level),
housing assignment, and
job assignment.

K. State Jail Offenders
Under legislation that established the State Jail felony, state jail offenders are
housed in facilities closest to their county of conviction.
1.

Offenders convicted of a fourth degree (or state jail) felony and
sentenced by a court to serve a sentence of up to 24 months in
one of TDCJ State Jail facilities designated to serve the county
(or counties) in which their conviction occurred.

2

There are nine (9) designated state jail service regions served by
one or more state jail facilities; created to provide cost effective,
community based incarceration enabling offenders to connect to
services in their home communities.

3

L. Transfer Offenders
st

nd

rd

Transfer Offenders are convicted of 1 , 2 or 3 degree offenses and are
awaiting assignment to a permanent facility and subject to the classification
procedures as stated above. Offenders can be detained in a transfer facility for
up to two (2) years before being moved into a permanent facility.
M. SAFPF Offenders
Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF) offenders are normally
assigned to units closest to their county of residence in order to facilitate family
visits, family counseling, and continued contact with the offender’s community
supervision officer (CSO).
N. Foreign Nationals
If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you are entitled to have TDCJ notify your country’s
consular representatives here in the United States. A consular official from your
country may be able to help you obtain legal counsel, and may contact your
family and visit you in detention, among other things. If you want TDCJ to notify
your country’s consular officials, you can request this notification now by advising
an intake staff member or at any time in the future by contacting the classification
office on your unit.
If you are a non-U.S. citizen and are a citizen of one of the following countries
you MUST advise TDCJ immediately. It is mandatory that your country’s
consular representatives in the United States be notified that you have been
detained. After your consular officials are notified, they may call or visit you. You
are not required to accept their assistance, but they may be able to help you
obtain legal counsel and may contact your family and visit you in detention,
among other things.
Algeria
Antigua and Barbuda
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bahamas, The
Barbados
Belarus
Belize
Brunei
Bulgaria
China
Costa Rica
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Dominica
Fiji
Gambia,
Georgia
Ghana
Grenada

Guyana
Seychelles
Hong Kong
Sierra Leone
Hungary
Singapore
Jamaica
Slovakia
Kazakhstan
Tajikistan
Kiribati
Tazania
Kuwait
Tonga
Kyrgyzstan
Trinidad & Tobago
Malaysia
Tunisia
Malta
Turkmenistan
Mauritius
Tuvalu
Moldova
Ukraine
Nigeria
United Kingdom
Philippines
U.S.S.R.
Poland (non-permanent Residents Only) Uzbekistan
Romania
Zambia
The Russia
Zimbabwe
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

4

II.

UNIT CLASSIFICATION

A.

Custody Levels

On the unit of assignment, an offender is given a custody designation which
indicates several things. It tells where and with whom he can live, how much
supervision he will need, and what job he can be assigned to.
An offender's custody level depends on his current institutional behavior, his
previous institutional behavior, and his current offense and sentence length. If he
violates rules, he will be placed in a more restrictive custody. If he complies with
the rules, he will be assigned a less restrictive custody level.
Institutional Offender Custody Levels:

State Jail Offender Custody Levels:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

1.
2.
3.

Special Management
General Population Level 5 (J5)
General Population Level 4 (J4)

4.
5.

General Population Level 2 (J2)
General Population Level 1 (J1)

Administrative Segregation
General Population Level 5 (G5)
General Population Level 4 (G4)
General Population Level 3 (G3)
General Population Level 2 (G2)
General Population Level 1 (G1)

Administrative Segregation or Special Management refers to offenders who
must be separated from the general population because they are dangerous,
either to other offenders or staff, or they are in danger from other offenders.
Additionally, offenders who, according to the SCC, are members of security
threat groups designated by TDCJ may be given this custody level. These
offenders leave their cells, for the most part, only for showers and limited
recreation. (Offenders assigned to Administrative Segregation in expansion
cellblocks shower in their cells.)
General Population Level 5 (G5) or (J5) custody refers to offenders who have
assaultive or aggressive disciplinary records. G5 or J5 custody offenders must
live in cells. They may not work outside the security fence without direct, armed
supervision.
General Population Level 4 (G4) or (J4) custody means the offender must live
in a cell, with few exceptions, and may work outside the security fence under
direct armed supervision. J4 State Jail offenders may be housed in designated
dorms.
General Population Level 3 (G3) refers to Institutional offenders who may live in
dorms or cells inside the main building of the unit. G3 offenders are ineligible to
live in dorms outside the main building of a unit, inside the security fence. G3
offenders will be generally assigned to field force and secure jobs inside the
perimeter as designated by the Warden. They may work outside the security
fence under direct armed supervision. (State Jail offenders are not assigned to
level 3 custody.)
General Population Level 2 (G2) or (J2) custody refers to offenders who may
live in dorms or cells inside the security fence. They may work outside the
security fence under direct armed supervision.

5

General Population Level 1 (G1) or (J1) custody allows offenders to live in
dorms outside the security fence. They may work outside the security fence with
periodic unarmed supervision.
Note: Offenders in all of the above general population custody levels may also
be given a safekeeping status if they need an added level of protection from
other offenders.
B.

Committees

In TDCJ, a Classification Committee determines an offender’s custody.

C.

1.

Unit Classification Committee (UCC): responsible for
assigning an offender a custody level. This custody level
designates where offenders will live on the unit and what job(s)
are best for them. Offenders appear before this committee when
they arrive on a new unit. They also meet with the UCC when
routine classification decisions are needed.

2.

Administrative Segregation Committee/Special Management
Committee (ASC/SMC): responsible for the process of
reviewing offenders for placement in administrative segregation
or special management (for State Jail offenders) and routine
reviews of those offenders.

3.

State Classification Committee (SCC): a central administrative
classification committee that makes final decisions with regards
to agency-wide issues and unit classification committee
recommendations. During the reception and diagnostic process,
the SCC makes decisions concerning the initial assignment of an
offender to a unit.
The SCC also makes final decisions
regarding administrative segregation, safekeeping and offenders
approved for outside trusty status.

4.

Security Precaution Designator Review Committee (SPDRC):
The authority that determines the eligibility for removal of a
security precaution designator code from the offender’s record.
This committee is also the authority that determines if a security
precaution designator should remain in the offender’s record
after designated timeframes expire.

Inter-Unit Transfers

Inter-unit transfers are transfers from one unit to another. Offenders do not have
a right to choose their unit of assignment. Inter-Unit transfers are based on
departmental and offender needs. Offenders may not be transferred closer to
home for visitation reasons. Transfer requests follow a process. The Warden,
the Unit Classification Committee or the proper department head must first
recommend transfer requests. If approved at the unit level, the unit will then
contact the State Classification Committee.
Transfer requests for medical or educational reasons must be made to the
correct department. For example; the Education Department must review and
approve a transfer request to attend a four-year college program. If approved,
the department head forwards the request to the State Classification Committee

6

for its review. The State Classification Committee will not review transfer
requests directly from offenders.
Some offenders have problems/conflicts on their unit and want a transfer. These
offenders should contact the unit staff for help. If further review is needed, the
State Classification Committee will be contacted.
Hardship transfer requests may be considered to accommodate immediate family
members listed on the offender’s approved visitation list if medical documentation
can be obtained.
D.

Good Conduct Time

Note: Good conduct time does not apply to State Jail offenders. State Jail
Offenders are not assigned a time-earning status and are not eligible for good
conduct time credit or parole. Only the sentencing judge can shorten the length
of the original sentence.
Some offenders can shorten their time with the TDCJ by earning good conduct
time. By law, good conduct time applies only to an offender's eligibility for parole
or mandatory supervision release. Offenders released on parole or mandatory
supervision must serve the rest of their sentence day for day under the
supervision of a parole officer. For example, if an offender has been sentenced
to the TDCJ for 10 years and is paroled after serving three (3) calendar years, he
will be on parole for seven (7) calendar years.
Offenders can be granted good conduct time for jail time served under certain
conditions.
Good conduct time is awarded based on an offender's:
1.
2.
3.

offense date
compliance with all rules and regulations,
diligent participation in work, school, or treatment programs

Good conduct time is a privilege, not a right. Offenders must follow the rules in
order to receive good conduct time. Some or all of the good conduct time
awarded to an offender may be taken away for disciplinary infractions. Good
conduct time will not be given back to an offender once it has been taken away.
When offenders enter the TDCJ, they are assigned a time-earning status of Line
Class I. Offenders can work their way into a higher time-earning status or be
placed into a lower time-earning status, dependant upon their behavior. Each
time-earning status is linked with a set number of days of good conduct time that
can be earned each month. This rate is fixed by law. There are two (2) types of
time-earning statuses:
1.
2.

Line Class status (ranging from Line Class III to Line Class I),
and
State-Approved Trusty (SAT) status (ranging from SAT IV to
SAT II).

7

Newly received offenders will be assigned to Line Class I status.
Additionally, newly received offenders must wait six (6) months before they
are eligible to be reviewed for promotion in time-earning status.
Good conduct time is awarded based on the laws in effect when the crime was
committed, as described below.
Offenders who committed their crimes before September 1, 1987 are "Pre-70th
Legislature" offenders. These offenders are also known as "65th Legislature"
offenders. They are awarded good conduct time each month based on their
time-earning status.
"Pre-70th Legislature, 65th Legislature and Pre-65th Legislature” offenders can
also earn up to 15 extra days of good conduct time each month. These extra
credits are called "A", "B", and "C" credits. To receive these credits, offenders
must complete one or more programs in academic or vocational education or
complete an On-the-Job Training Program while in the TDCJ. These extra
credits are awarded from the time the program was completed. Offenders in Line
Class III status are not eligible to receive A, B, or C credits.
Offenders who committed their crime on or after September 1, 1987 are known
as "70th Legislature" offenders. They are awarded good conduct time each
month based on their time-earning status if they participate in assigned work or
school programs. For participating, these offenders also get an extra 15 days of
diligent participation credits each month. These offenders get no good conduct
time for each day they do not go to work, school or a required treatment program
when unexcused.
“70th Legislature” offenders who are assigned to
administrative segregation will not receive any of the 15 days diligent
participation good conduct time credits. They will receive only the good conduct
time based on their time earning status. Offenders who are excused from
participating for any reason receive good conduct time. This includes the extra
15 days.
"70th Legislature" offenders are not eligible to earn the "A", "B", or "C"
educational credits.
Two things affect an offender's eligibility for release on parole or mandatory
supervision. They are:
1.
2.

the type of crime the offender was convicted of, and
the laws in effect when the crime was committed.

Offenders returned to the TDCJ for parole or mandatory supervision violations,
whether those violations are for technical violations or new offenses, will not
receive credit for past good conduct time. They start earning new good conduct
time from the date of re-arrest. Violators back in the TDCJ will be assigned to
Line Class I status regardless of their previous status. An offender who starts a
new sentence without leaving the custody of TDCJ will retain his time-earning
status.
The laws dealing with good conduct time are very complicated. There are many
rules that determine how much good conduct time offenders can earn and how it
applies toward their sentences. Good conduct time, parole or mandatory
supervision statutes do not apply to State Jail offenders.

8

SAFPF offenders are under unique guidelines related to early release and/or
parole, and should check with unit administrators for assistance in understanding
which, if any, apply to their individual situation.
E.

Time Credit Dispute Resolution Process

The TDCJ has established a dispute resolution process for offenders who allege
their time credits are in error. Complaints regarding time credits cannot be
resolved through the Offender Grievance Process.
Institutional Offenders
Offenders must contact the Classification and Records Office (CRO) by
submitting an Offender Time Credit Dispute Resolution Form (CL-147) to the
CRO.
State Jail Offenders
Offenders must submit the CL-147 form to the Unit Intake Coordinator for
resolution.
Upon receipt of correspondence, the CRO or Intake Coordinator will investigate
the allegations. If a correction to time is made, the offender will be provided a
new time slip or a commitment data form after the correction. If the CRO finds no
error in the time-served credits, the offender will be provided a written statement
from the Custodian of Offender Records, certifying the credits to be correct
based upon documents received by TDCJ.
Offenders may not file a time-credit error in an application of a Writ of Habeas
Corpus until:
1.
2.

3.

F.

A final certification decision from the CRO has been received by
the offender; or,
More than 180 days has passed since offender filed the
complaint with the Custodian of Offender Records, and no
response has been received.
Offenders who are within 180 days of their presumptive parole
date, date of release to mandatory supervision, or date of
discharge may use either this internal time credit dispute
resolution procedure, or submit their application directly to the
court, if the Writ of Habeas Corpus is not otherwise barred.

Individualized Treatment Plan

The Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP) is a plan of treatment for an individual
offender. The plan outlines programmatic activities and services for an offender
and prioritizes his participation in recommended programs based on the
offender’s needs, program availability and applicable parole or discharge date.
An offender’s needs for programs are ranked and prioritized to assess the
immediacy for placement. Treatment department professionals develop the ITP,
interview the offender, assess all available information and record their
judgments concerning specific programming needs. Treatment department
professionals will be responsible for tracking and reviewing all offenders newly
assigned to TDCJ for ITP reviews within two weeks of the offender’s arrival on
the unit. Any conflicts or problems that may arise from ITP recommendations
concerning program or job scheduling will be referred to the UCC for resolution.

9

The ITP serves to establish institutional conditions required by statute for an
offender to be considered for release on parole as defined by Texas Government
Code, Section 508.152. Some of these programs are mandatory and nonattendance can result in disciplinary action, loss of good conduct time or negative
parole consideration.
G.

Collection of DNA Blood Samples

All offenders received by the TDCJ at a diagnostic and reception unit shall be
reviewed to determine if they are subject to DNA specimen collection. TDCJ is
required by law to collect a DNA blood sample from all offenders who are
st
nd
rd
received on or after 4-01-04 with a new 1 , 2 or 3 degree felony conviction.
Those offenders returning as a technical violator only may or may not be required
to submit to a DNA test, dependant upon criteria established by law.
Offenders received prior to 4-01-04 who have present or prior convictions for
Murder, Capital Murder, Aggravated Assault, Burglary of a Habitation and
offenses for which sex offender registration is required will also be required to
submit to a DNA test if a sample has not previously been obtained. This
determination will be based on the criteria established by law.
If an offender refuses to be tested, the Unit Health Administrator will inform the
Building Major and the Chief of Classification, who will instruct security staff to
charge the offender with the appropriate disciplinary offense for refusing to
submit to DNA specimen collection. The disciplinary report will be brought before
a major disciplinary hearing. If found guilty and if the offender has still not
provided the blood sample, the offender shall be assessed progressive
disciplinary sanctions for the level two offense. Cases may be filed at a rate of
one per month until compliance is achieved, unless an offender’s projected
release date is imminent and may be delayed through disciplinary action, in
which case another disciplinary report may be filed during the month.
III.

STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR

The standards of behavior outlined below apply to G1/J1, G2/J2, G3 and G4/J4 custody
general population offenders. The conditions in disciplinary status, administrative
segregation/special management, lockdown or G5/J5 custody may vary from the
following:
A.

Personal Cleanliness and Grooming
1.

Offenders will be given the opportunity to shower. Offenders will
maintain good personal hygiene.

2.

Offenders will brush their teeth daily.

3.

Male offenders must be clean-shaven. No beards, mustaches or
hair under the lip will be allowed.

4.

Male offenders must keep their hair trimmed up the back of their
neck and head. Hair must be neatly cut. Hair must be cut around
the ears. Sideburns will not extend below the middle of the ears.
No block style, afro, natural or shag haircuts will be permitted. No
fad or extreme hairstyles/haircuts are allowed. No mohawks, tails,
or designs cut into the hair are allowed.

10

B.

5.

Female offenders will not have extreme hairstyles. No mohawk,
"tailed" haircuts or shaved/partially-shaved heads will be allowed.
Female offenders may go to the beauty shop on their unit;
however, going to the beauty shop is a privilege.
Female
offenders may be restricted from going to the beauty shop as the
result of disciplinary action.

6.

Offenders' fingernails will be neatly trimmed. Fingernails will not
exceed more than one-eighth of an inch past the tip of the finger or
thumb. Fingernails will not be filed to a point, but will be rounded.

Clothing and Necessities

All clothing and necessities will be as clean and well kept as possible. Offenders
will not alter, damage, destroy or mark on any state-issued clothing or
necessities item. Offenders will not have any extra clothing or necessities in their
possession unless specifically authorized (e.g., medical).
1.

Clothing
a.
b.
c.
d.

2.

Offenders will be issued outer clothing, underwear,
socks and shoes/brogans.
Offenders will be issued enough clothing to keep them
warm during cold weather.
Offenders shall be provided the opportunity to have
three complete sets of clean clothing per week.
Offenders will wear clothing in the manner stated below
when leaving their living area.
1)

Pant legs will not be rolled up or tucked inside
socks or footwear. Pants will not be worn below
the waist level.

2)

Collars may not be tucked inside the shirt. Male
offenders will wear their shirttails tucked inside
their pants. Female offenders will wear their
shirttails as stated in their unit's policy.

3)

Male offenders will wear socks with state-issued
footwear. Female offenders will wear socks or
hose with state-issued shoes.

4)

Shoes will be worn completely covering the feet
and will be laced and tied. The type of shoes
offenders are allowed to wear and the locations
where the shoes are to be worn will be
controlled by unit policy and safety regulations.

Towels
a.
b.

Offenders shall be provided the opportunity to have a
clean shower towel at least three (3) times per week.
An offender on a unit that has a centralized shower will
receive a cell towel to use in his living area. An offender

11

c.
3.

Linens
a.

b.
c.

4.

Offenders will be issued a mattress and pillow or
mattress/pillow combo. Linen exchange will be
conducted weekly and shall include two sheets and one
pillowcase or if a mattress/pillow combo is used, two
sheets only.
Offenders will be issued a blanket(s) to use during cold
weather.
Each offender will trade his dirty sheets and pillowcase
for clean sheets and a pillowcase at least once a week.

Exchange Procedures for Necessities Items
a.
b.

c.

C.

on a unit which has a shower located on the pod will be
given a daily shower towel to keep in his living area; no
cell towel will be issued.
Cell towels must be traded in at least once a week.

Necessity items will be exchanged one-for-one, cleanfor-dirty.
During the exchange, offenders will be afforded the
opportunity to examine items for proper fit and damage.
If items do not fit properly or damage is found, the item
should be turned in for replacement.
Offenders will be held responsible for dirty items
exchanged. Returned items will be checked for
intentional damage.
Offenders found to have
intentionally damaged state property will be subject to
disciplinary action as outlined in the TDCJ Disciplinary
Rules and Procedures.

Living Areas
1.

Each offender will be assigned to a bunk in a cell or a dormitory.
Offenders must not change bunks without permission. Each
offender will be assigned a locker or a shelf for storing personal
property. No offender will use a bunk, shelf or locker not
assigned to him.

2.

Each offender must keep his living area neat, clean and free
from contraband. Beds will be made when not being used for
sleeping.

3.

All property must fit in a box provided that is approximately 1.75
cubic feet but shall not exceed 2.0 cubic feet. Some exceptions
(i.e., radio, typewriter, and fan) can be stored outside the box.

4.

An offender is not allowed to go into another offender's cell. An
offender will be considered in violation of this rule if:
a.

any part of his body enters the cell of another offender,
OR

12

b.

any object, held in any way by an offender, enters the
cell of another offender.

5.

Offenders will not hang towels, blankets, clothing, or other similar
items in their living area so that it blocks an officer's view of any
area. Items will not be placed, stored or hung in the windows, on
cubicle walls, or in front of vents.

6.

An offender must get permission from the officer on duty before
passing any item:
a.
b.
c.
d.

through the bars or windows of any dormitory or
cellblock area,
from cellblock to cellblock,
from dormitory to dormitory, or
from cell to cell.

7.

Each offender may have one mattress and one pillow or one
mattress/pillow combo, a cell towel if issued one pillowcase and
two sheets or if a mattress/pillow combo is used, two sheets
only.

8.

Offenders will not be allowed to sleep on the floor.

9.

Offenders will play their radios in a low volume or with the use of
headphones or earphones. The officer on duty will determine
when a radio is not being played at an appropriate volume.

10.

Offenders will not place homemade covers, shades, or other
similar items, on lights in living areas or over air vents to restrict
the exchange of air inside the living area.

11.

Offenders will not alter, disfigure, damage or destroy any state
property in their housing area, to include the bunk, ceiling, walls,
fixtures or other similar items.

12.

Offenders will report problems with cell, wing or dorm toilets,
sinks, electrical plugs, lights, or other similar items to the officer
on duty.

13.

Offenders will not be allowed to store open containers of food
that can spoil in their living areas. Opened containers of food
that will not spoil must be sealed or wrapped while being stored
in living areas.

14.

Offenders will not be loud or boisterous. Offenders will not use
vulgar or abusive language.

13

15.

When leaving his living area, each offender will:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.

D.

make sure his bed is made
turn off all electrical appliances, except the clock in a
clock radio
pick up all garbage and empty all garbage containers
dress properly
make sure he has his identification card with him, and
make sure property is stored appropriately.

16.

Offenders will not loiter in the hallway outside of the living areas.

17.

Offenders will not throw trash or other items into the hallway
outside their living area or out the window. Trash will be put in
trash cans.

18.

Offenders will not have items sticking out of their cells or windows.

Dining Hall
1.

Offenders will be provided with three (3) wholesome meals a day.

2.

Offenders will not talk loudly or cut in line.

3.

Meals will normally be served cafeteria style. No food may be
wasted or stolen. Offenders will not try to have more food placed
on their tray by offenders working on the serving line. The
offender workers have been told by officials how much food to
serve.

4.

An offender may go through the serving line once per meal.

5.

The officer on duty will direct offenders where to sit. Offenders
will not skip seats or save seats for other offenders.

6.

Offenders are allowed to talk with those offenders at the same
table as long as it is kept within normal conversational levels (as
interpreted by the supervising employee).

7.

Offenders are not allowed to pass anything from one table to
another.

8.

Offenders, who are not satisfied with the food, may talk to the
officer on duty.

9.

Offenders will be given 20 minutes to eat, from the time they
enter the dining room until they depart. Offenders who are
loitering, visiting, or engaging in other similar activities and not
eating will be told to leave the dining hall.

10.

Offenders will stay seated until ready to leave the dining hall.
Each offender will clean his eating area and turn in all trays,
cups, utensils and other similar items before leaving. No utensils

14

E.

F.

11.

will be taken from the dining hall. No food will be taken from the
dining hall, except as allowed by unit policy.

12.

Offenders who are denied access to the dining hall due to
disruptive behavior will be served a sack lunch.

Shower Rules
1.

Offenders normally will shower one (1) time each day; however,
paraplegic offenders may be allowed to shower whenever
necessary, as determined by Health Services.

2.

Offenders will not shower during normal working hours unless
authorized by a supervisor.

3.

Offenders will not loiter in the shower area.

4.

Offenders using centralized shower locations will not carry
towels or extra clothing from the shower area.

5.

Offenders will not save shower stalls for other offenders.

Dayroom Rules
1.

Television will be kept at a low volume.

2.

Offenders will choose television programs by majority vote of the
offenders watching television or through established unit
procedure.

3.

Offenders may talk at a low level as long as they do not disturb
those who are watching television.

4.

Loud talking, arguing, horseplay, slamming dominoes, and other
types of disturbances will not be allowed.

5.

Offenders will be seated while in the dayroom.

6.

Offenders will not save chairs for other offenders in the dayroom.

7.

Offenders must be properly dressed while in the dayroom (see
section III B.1.e). Female offenders must wear bras while in the
dayroom.

8.

Offenders will not wear caps, hats or headgear in the dayroom,
with the exception of headscarves worn by female offenders for
religious purposes.

9.

Offenders will not take blankets, pillows or linens into the
dayrooms.

10.

Offenders will not take radios, typewriters, fans, or other electric
devices into the dayrooms.

11.

Offenders will not take stingers, hot pots, or any other type of
heating element into the dayrooms.

15

12.

Offenders may have:
?
?
?
?
?
?
?

13.

G.

H.

One canned drink or cup of drink
One opened container of food, enough for self-consumption
(i.e., chips, cookies, candy, no canned food)
One newspaper, book, magazine, (no pornography)
One Bible
Board games
Writing materials, pen, pencil, (no stamps, no legal
materials)
Brush or comb

Rules concerning television viewing may be different in a
therapeutic community, including SOTP and IPTC, and are
determined by treatment staff.

Recreation Yard Rules
1.

Offenders will be properly dressed while going to or returning
from the recreation yard. Offenders may wear regulation T-shirts
in place of their outer shirts on the recreation yard, but must be
fully dressed while going to and coming from recreation. Female
offenders must wear bras while on the recreation yard.

2.

Offenders will not take linens, towels or blankets into the yard.

3.

Offenders will not come in contact with the fence.

4.

Offenders will not place clothing on the fence.

5.

Horseplay is prohibited.

6.

Physical contact not related to approved recreational activity is
against the rules.

7.

Offenders will immediately report any injury to an employee.

8.

Offenders will not damage or abuse recreational equipment.

9.

Offenders will not urinate anywhere other than in toilets provided
on the recreation yard or toilets in the building.

10.

Offenders will not carry food items or beverages to the recreation
yard.

Commissary Rules
1.

Offenders will not go to the commissary during their regular
working hours.

2.

Offenders will not talk in the commissary line.

3.

Any item bought from the commissary must be for personal use
only.

16

I.

J.

4.

Offenders must have enough money in their trust fund accounts
to cover the cost of all commissary items ordered.

5.

Commissary purchase slip (SO-7) must be filled out completely
before approaching the commissary window. DO NOT USE
RED INK.

6.

Merchandise is to be listed on the commissary purchase slip
(SO-7) in order of need or preference.

7.

Offenders will be charged a spend trip to the commissary
anytime the offender’s card is scanned.

8.

Offenders should check commissary items before leaving the
commissary window. No changes will be made after an offender
leaves the commissary window area.

9.

Offenders will not be allowed to return items to the commissary
unless they are defective.

10.

Offenders must take commissary items back to their assigned
living area immediately after leaving the commissary.

11.

Only one (1) offender is allowed at the commissary window at a
time. Offenders will carry their own commissary items; no
helpers or carriers will be allowed.

12.

Offenders will not be allowed to purchase more items than will fit
in the allotted storage space as per the Offender Property Policy.

Hall Rules
1.

Offenders will walk single file next to the wall.

2.

Offenders will be properly dressed while out of their housing
area.

3.

Offenders will not drink or eat in the hallway.

4.

Offenders will not throw trash or spit on the floor.

5.

Offenders will not speak loudly or engage in horseplay.

6.

Offenders will not loiter or run in the hallway or walkway.
Offenders will not sit against or lean on the wall in the hallway or
walkway.

Offender Property

TDCJ policy establishes what personal and state-issued property an offender
may possess, and obtain, while in custody – and how it will be stored. By
choosing to possess property while in the TDCJ, an offender consents to the
rules and regulations established regarding the acquisition, possession, storage
and disposition of that property. When an offender’s property is restricted, or left
behind due to his departure from the unit, it will be inventoried and stored in the
unit property room.

17

1.

Newly-received offenders are permitted to bring the following
items:
a.
b.

c.
d.
e.
f.
g.

h.
i.
j.

Substance Abuse Literature
Health Care Devices and supplies, medically prescribed
items will be evaluated by TDCJ Health Services staff,
contact lenses shall be allowed only until state-issued
eyeglasses are provided to the offender.
One wedding ring and one wrist watch (may be denied if
determined to be excessive in value or size)
Legal material (limited to official documents; no unused
stationery items)
Shower shoes – one pair
Photographs, except those of a sexually explicit nature
(Polaroid-type must have the bottom removed)
One pair of shoes only if state-issued footgear is unavailable
in the correct size; once a state issued pair is available, the
personal shoes must be eliminated
One religious text
Visitor address list and phone numbers
Female offender may retain seven (7) bras if they are white
in color and do not have an underwire
? Items of Identification (i.e. birth certificate, social security
card, driver’s license and similar items) will be placed in
offender’s central file and returned to the offender upon
release from TDCJ.
? Cash, money orders, cashiers or law enforcement
checks shall be deposited into the Offender Trust Fund
account, no personal checks accepted.
? An offender returning to TDCJ following a bench warrant
or emergency absence will not be permitted to return
with food or hygiene items; however, any other property
taken with the offender at the time of departure from
TDCJ may accompany him upon return if there is not
risk to security. Items requiring registration must be
supported by a TDCJ “Registered Property Receipt.”

2.

Upon arrival at TDCJ, and at times when an offender’s property
is taken or returned, inventory forms will be completed. Items not
allowed at intake will be mailed at the offender’s expense to
anyone he chooses within the designated time limits. If this is
not possible, the items will be destroyed or donated to charity.
Parcels shall not be sent cash on delivery (C.O.D.).

3.

Certain items must be registered and engraved (if possible). An
offender is responsible for keeping the registration papers as
proof of ownership. Items which must be registered are wedding
ring; wrist watch (other than one purchased at commissary);
shoes (other than state-issued); radio; electric fan; typewriter;
and hotpot. In addition, female offenders will receive registration
papers for a curling iron and hair dryer.

18

4.

Metal, fire-resistant, closable storage containers are provided for
storage of an offender’s property. An offender will have no less
than 1.75 cubic feet available but will not be authorized to utilize
more than 2.0 cubic feet of a container that is larger than the
maximum 2.0 cubic foot size.
Nothing other than cell or
dormitory fixtures may be placed on the walls, windows or doors
of an offender’s housing area. (NOTE: Upon approval by the
Warden, additional storage may be provided for legal material
needed for current litigation.)

5.

An offender may not participate in the inventorying of another
offender’s property and property transactions between offenders
are prohibited. Staff may only provide an offender with items as
authorized by agency policy.

6.

Amounts that an offender may spend in the commissary are
based on his classification, custody or disciplinary status.
Subject to approval by the Warden, an offender may order
authorized items from an outside vendor. However, no offender
may possess more property than he can store in designated
areas.

7.

Claims for lost or damaged offender property shall be pursued
through the Offender Grievance procedure. Loss or damage that
is determined to be the responsibility of the TDCJ shall generally
be paid at no more than $50 per item; no more than $500 dollars
total.

8.

An offender may have property restricted due to
classification, custody or disciplinary status. (NOTE: If
offender remains in a Level 3 segregated status for nine
consecutive months and fails to make arrangements for
‘restricted property’, it will be disposed of by the agency.)

9.

Upon departing a unit on a temporary basis or due to reassignment, an offender must choose wisely what property he
takes with him – as it must be placed into *one state-issued
mesh bag and fit into a two (2) cubic foot storage space. If
permanently reassigned to another unit, an offender will
generally receive the remaining property within 21 days following
arrival at the unit of assignment. (NOTE: Offenders authorized
additional legal storage may take one additional mesh bag of
legal material; if going out on bench warrant or to court, they may
take one mesh bag of legal material for each authorized legal
storage container.)

10.

If an offender departs due to parole or emergency absence,
property left behind will be stored for a maximum of thirty (30)
days; if out on bench warrant, property will be stored in the
Property Room for a maximum of six (6) months. If the offender
has not returned to TDCJ custody upon completion of these time
frames, and has not made arrangements for the disposition of
the stored property, it will be disposed of by the agency.

11.

No offender may send out a property item, by mail or visitor, with
the intent of having the item repaired and returned.

19

his
an
[9]
the

12.

When an offender departs his cell or bunk area, his property
must be stored in the following manner:
a.
b.

c.

K.

A photo and one each of hygiene items may be stored
on a shelf, if available.
Shoes, state-issued necessity items, non-combustible
items (e.g. typewriter, radio, fan, etc) shall be neatly
stored in the housing area as designated by unit
administration.
All remaining offender property must be stored in the
closeable container.

Contraband

Possession of contraband is a violation of TDCJ rules.
1.

Possession includes having an item on the body of an offender,
among his belongings or in his cell or immediate living area, no
matter who owns the item.

2.

Contraband is:
a.

b.
c.

d.
e.

f.

g.
3.

Any item not allowed when the offender came to the
TDCJ, not given or assigned to an offender by the TDCJ,
and not bought by an offender for his use from the
commissary
Any item altered from its original condition
Any item which, in the judgment of TDCJ personnel,
unreasonably hinders the safe and effective operation of
the facility
Items in excess of the amounts authorized or stored in
an unauthorized manner
Any item received or sent through the mail that is not
approved in accordance with the TDCJ Correspondence
Rules
Anything an offender is not supposed to have: such as,
but not limited to:
1)
Money
2)
Items used for gambling, such as dice and
playing cards
3)
Books, magazines or newspapers that are not
approved
4)
Clothes that are not approved
5)
Handcuffs or other items used for restraining
offenders, including keys
6)
Tobacco or tobacco related items.
Any item used to violate a TDCJ rule.

Any contraband found on TDCJ property may be taken and
disposed of according to procedures set forth by the TDCJ and
the State of Texas.

20

L.

Tobacco Policy

All facilities within the TDCJ are designated as tobacco free.
Offenders found in possession of tobacco products, paraphernalia or similar
products may be charged with a disciplinary offense.
M.

Safety Regulations
1.

Every effort will be made to provide a safe living and work
environment for offenders. It is the responsibility of each
offender to exercise care, cooperation and common sense while
performing their assigned job duties and daily activities.

2.

Offenders will immediately report all injuries to their appropriate
work supervisor or staff member.

3.

Offenders must immediately report all safety hazards to their
appropriate work supervisor or staff member, and must not
continue to work in any area or on any equipment that has been
deemed unsafe or improperly guarded by the work supervisor. If
an offender’s work supervisor or other staff member does not
agree that an unsafe condition exists, the offender may report
the situation to the Unit Risk Manager, either verbally or in
writing.

4.

Appropriate safety related personal protective equipment will be
provided to offenders where necessary. It is the responsibility of
each offender to use this personal protective equipment to
protect against physical injury and health hazards. Offenders
must wear safety goggles when performing operations such as:
grinding, filing, mowing, etc. Hearing protection must be worn in
all work areas designated with high noise levels. Work or safety
shoes must be worn while performing assigned job functions,
and safety shoes must be worn in all designated areas or job
functions.

5.

Offenders must perform only work that is assigned to them.
Operating machines or equipment or performing any operation
that has not been specifically assigned is strictly forbidden.

6.

Offenders must not remove safety guards from machinery or
equipment or operate machinery and equipment without required
safety guards in place. Offenders must not adjust, oil, clean,
repair or perform any maintenance on machinery or equipment
that is in motion.

7.

Offenders must not ride on the drawbars of farm vehicles and
must not ride on tractors, forklifts, or other vehicles unless an
authorized manufacturer installed seat is provided. Offenders
must not stand in moving vehicles and must not sit where their
legs hang over the sides of vehicles and trailers. Offenders must
not dismount any vehicle until it has come to a complete stop.

21

N.

8.

The fabrication or repair of personal offender items on State
equipment is prohibited, unless authorized in the Unit Craft
Shops.

9.

Any offender found in violation of these procedures or any other
posted unit specific safety or risk management policy is subject
to disciplinary action.

General Rules

Offenders shall make themselves aware of and follow all written rules and
posted signs.
1.

The possession or use of any tobacco products, paraphernalia,
or related products is prohibited.

2.

No loud or boisterous talking, no vulgar or abusive language will
be allowed.

3.

When talking to an employee or official, offenders will stand with
arms by their side and call them Mr., Ms., or Officer (Last Name)
or use their title. Offenders can identify the officer by the last
name on his nameplate that is worn as part of the uniform.
Offenders will show respect when talking with employees,
officials, visitors and other offenders. Offenders will answer "yes,
sir"; "no, sir"; "yes, ma'am"; or "no, ma'am".

4.

No fighting, scuffling, horseplay, or similar activities will be
allowed.

5.

Offenders will not litter.
trashcans.

6.

Offenders will not alter, disfigure, damage or destroy any state
property.

7.

Offenders will not have playing cards, dice or any other item that
can be used for gambling.

8.

Offenders will not tamper with handcuffs, restraints or any
security equipment.

9.

Offenders will not take posted information from bulletin boards.

10.

Offenders and their living areas may be searched at any time by
staff.

11.

Offenders are not allowed in unauthorized areas.

12.

Offenders will not be allowed in their work areas except during
their work hours, unless approved due to special circumstances.

13.

Offenders will not traffic and trade postage supplies for other
commissary items.

22

Trash and garbage will be placed in

14.

Offenders are expected to be dressed and ready when called for
work, school or other turnouts. There will be no tardiness
allowed by offenders.

15.

Offenders are allowed to carry the following items to their job
assignment:
? 1 authorized comb or brush
? 1 handkerchief (may not extend out of the pocket)
? Personal Identification card
All other items are prohibited in the workplace. In addition,
offenders will not be allowed to take any item from the workplace
back to the living area.

16.

Offenders will not belong to any group or organization that has
not been officially approved by the TDCJ or unit administration.

17.

Offenders shall not wear sunglasses indoors unless medically
prescribed.

18.

It is the intent of the TDCJ to have all offenders immediately
comply with lawful instructions or orders. An offender will obey
the staffs’ orders at all times, as long as the orders do not place
him or those around him in physical danger, or would cause him
to violate a TDCJ written rule or policy. In such cases, the written
policy almost always would supersede the direct order.

19.

An offender should be aware of how to handle situations in which
he perceives himself to be the object of sexual advances by staff
members. Any type of sexual advancement by any staff member
directed toward any offender is a strict violation of policy.
Similarly, it is a violation of the rules for offenders to direct
advances towards officers or staff. Officers or staff may not
solicit offenders in any way for any type of sexual favors. The
same applies towards offenders.
This includes any
conversation(s) that might lead to sexual involvement or
relationship of a personal nature. Personal correspondence with
a staff member is prohibited.
In the event that an offender feels they are being pressured for
sexual favors or to violate any institutional rule, the offender shall
refuse to do the prohibited act and either:
?
?
?
?
?
?
?

File a formal grievance
Contact a ranking officer
Contact Classification Staff
Contact the Unit Warden
Contact the Chaplain
Contact the Office of the Inspector General
Contact any staff member with whom he feels comfortable
with to let them know and request their help.
? Write a family member and urge them to call the
Ombudsman Office immediately.

23

IV.

SAFE PRISONS PROGRAM
A.

Offender Protection
TDCJ strives to maintain the safety and security of all offenders
incarcerated within the Agency. However, in some situations, measures
must be taken to achieve a greater degree of protection for certain
offenders.
If an offender is being pressured by another offender for money,
property, or sexual favors, the offender should immediately contact a
Correctional Officer, Classification staff, the Warden, the Chaplain, the
Office of the Inspector General, or any staff member with whom he feels
comfortable. It is imperative that one of these individuals be contacted
immediately so that they can help the offender be removed from a
potentially serious situation.

B.

Sexual Assaults
Rape and sexual abuse happen to females and males of all ages, from
infancy to the senior years. 98% of males who have raped boys report
they are heterosexual. Most males who assault men and women are
married or report having girlfriends. Sexual assault has nothing to do
with the victim’s present or future sexual orientation. Victims may be
either heterosexual or homosexual.
A survivor is not at fault for the rape even if she/he was in a secluded
area or had previous consensual sex with the attacker. If males victims
of sexual assault ejaculated or became sexually aroused, it does not
mean they were not raped or that they gave consent. These are normal,
involuntary physiological reactions. It is common for survivors of sexual
assault to have feelings of embarrassment, anger, guilt, panic
depression, and fear for several months or years after the attack. Other
common reactions include loss of appetite, nausea or stomach aches,
headaches, loss of memory and/or trouble concentrating and changes in
sleep patterns.
1.

Prevention
The only way rape can be prevented is when a potential rapist
chooses NOT to rape. However, YOU may avoid an attack by
keeping the following safety guidelines in mind:
? Position yourself in “Safe Zones” areas where you can see a
staff member and the staff member can see you. It you are
being pressured for sex, report it to any staff member
immediately.
? Be aware of situations that make you feel uncomfortable.
Trust your instincts. IF IT FEELS WRONG, LEAVE, GET
HELP, OR CALL OUT FOR A STAFF MEMBER.
? Don’t let your manners or pride get in the way of keeping
yourself safe. Don’t be afraid to say “NO” or “STOP IT
NOW.”
? Walk and stand with confidence. Many rapists choose
victims who look like they won’t fight back or are emotionally
weak.

24

? Avoid talking about sex and casual nudity. These things
may be considered a come on, or make another believe that
you have an interest in a sexual relationship.
? Do not accept commissary items or other gifts from other
offenders. Placing yourself in debt to another offender can
lead to the expectation of repaying the debt with sexual
favors.
2.

If The Attack Has Just Happened…
Get to a safe place. REPORT THE ATTACK TO A STAFF
MEMBER IMMEDIATELY. The longer you wait, the more difficult it
is to obtain the evidence necessary for a criminal and/or
administrative investigation. Request immediate medical attention;
you may have serious injuries that you are not aware of, and any
sexual contact can expose you to sexually transmitted diseases. Do
not shower, brush your teeth, use the restroom, or change your
clothes. You may destroy important evidence.
The person contacted will immediately take the offender to a safe
place. The offender will be examined by qualified medical personnel
and will receive treatment for any injuries while evidence is gathered.
An offender victim representative (chaplain, psychologist, sociologist,
case manager) may be requested at the time of the collection of
evidence to counsel and provide any other support.
If you have been attacked or witnessed an attack, you should report
the attack to any staff member, supervisor or the Unit Warden. You
may also report the incident to the Office of the Inspector General
Investigator assigned to your facility. All allegations regarding sexual
assault will be investigated immediately by OIG.
Later on, seek the support of a trusted friend, family member,
chaplain or the victim representative coordinator on your facility. The
days ahead can be traumatic and it helps to have people who care
about you to support you. Seek professional help. Mental Health
staff is available for crisis care 365 days a year to listen and offer
support.

3.

Perpetrator
All cases of sexual assault are investigated by the Office of the
Inspector General as a criminal investigation.
You may be
prosecuted for a criminal offense and if found guilty of a felony, any
additional prison time (5 – 99 years) will be stacked on top of your
current sentence in accordance with Texas law.
If you are convicted, your VICTIM will have an opportunity to write
a statement which can impact your SENTENCE LENGTH and can
affect your ability to parole.
Also, you will be required to
REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER upon release from prison.
YOU WILL BE ISSUED A DISCIPLINARY CASE if found guilty,
sanctions will be harsh. In addition, your classification level will be
reviewed and likely downgraded, which could mean a transfer to a
higher security prison or housing unit with significantly less

25

freedom of movement and limited privileges. If you have family,
this will affect your loved ones and their ability to visit you.
Engaging in HOMOSEXUAL conduct in prison significantly
increases your risk of HIV infection, along with exposing you to
other sexually transmitted diseases.
If you have trouble controlling your actions, seek help from mental
health staff and/or consider participating in programs designed to
control anger or reduce stress. To reduce immediate feelings of
anger or aggression, try talking to or writing a friend, meditate, do
breathing exercises to relax, or engage in some type of exercise.
4.

General Appropriations Act 2002-2003 Biennium Conference
Committee Report on Senate Bill 1.
May 2001
Safe Prisons Program. It is the intent of the Legislature that out
of funds appropriated above the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice (TDCJ) establish and maintains a Safe Prisons Program for
the purpose of preventing and limiting the number of sexual
assaults by offenders on offenders. Strategies to prevent sexual
assaults that may be used in the Safe Prisons Program include,
but are not limited to: use of protective custody; use of an
offender’s assault history in making cell assignments; use of an
offender’s likelihood of victimization in cell assignments; education
of correctional officers on the importance of preventing sexual
assault; education of new prisoners on the risks of sexual assault,
including prosecution; the use of surveillance cameras; and the
appointment of a Safe Prisons Program Coordinator TDCJ shall
report annually to the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor
the number of sexual assaults by offenders on offenders and the
actions taken on each assault. The Legislative Budget Board and
the Governor may establish additional reporting elements. The
Safe Prisons Program Coordinator reports directly to the TDCJ
Correctional Institutions Division Director.

V.

SECURITY THREAT GROUPS

Offenders who participate in gang related activities may be confirmed as a security threat
group member. Those confirmed as a security threat group member will be assigned to
administrative segregation. If placed in administrative segregation, you will be separated
from the general population and you will lose a number of privileges. Other restrictions
include: contact visits are not allowed; no participation in educational or vocational
classes; emergency absence requests are not considered; good time credits will not be
awarded; and movement is restricted. As a security threat group member, you could also
become a victim of security threat group related violence and may even place your
immediate family in danger.
If a confirmed security threat group member wishes to disassociate with their current
affiliation, the offender may request to be considered for the Gang Renouncement and
Disassociation (GRAD) Process. Upon approval, the offender must complete the GRAD
process before they are reviewed for release from administrative segregation and
returned to general population status.

26

VI.

PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
A.

Education

The Windham School District provides many educational programs and services
to eligible offenders within the TDCJ. One of the main goals of Windham is to
prepare offenders for release so they will not return to prison. Workplace skills
are included in all programs.
Classes include instruction in reading, writing, and math as well as college
courses on several units or facilities. The goal of all classes is to prepare
students for work both in prison industry and for jobs after release from
incarceration. The following programs and services are provided throughout the
system:
? Testing and Assessment
? Counseling
? Academic Programs
? Adult Basic Education (Literacy)
? GED Preparation
? Special Education
? English as a Second Language (ESL)
? Personal and Social Development Programs
? CHANGES
? Cognitive Intervention
? Parenting
? Perspectives and Solutions
? Career and Technology Education
(Vocational)
? College
? Job Placement – Project RIO
? Libraries
Most classes are held for three (3) hours per day, five (5) days per week. Not all
programs and services are available at every unit or facility location.
1.

Testing and Assessment

Offenders may take an educational achievement test (EA test) at an
intake facility or on the unit of assignment. They also may be tested
(aptitude and interest inventory) to identify the most appropriate job(s) or
career(s) for them. Periodically, students take an EA test to determine
educational progress. Also, the GED test is administered to eligible
offenders.
2.

Counseling

School counselors are available to help offenders decide which classes
to take. They are available to give advice about preparing for jobs and
careers after release. The school counselors also help students who
have problems that affect their school participation.
3.

Adult Literacy, Basic Skills and GED Preparation

Eligible offenders may enroll in academic programs. They can learn to
read, write and do math. Students learn job skills and life skills that will

27

help them get jobs when they are released. Students can also study for
and take the GED test. A GED is like a high school diploma and can
help to make the student eligible for many jobs and college entrance.
4.

Special Education

The Special Education program provides educational services to eligible
offenders with disabilities. Offenders may be evaluated for this program
by asking, or their teachers or principal may refer them. Disabilities that
affect learning may qualify a student for special education. These
include:
?
?
?
?
?
?

Learning disability
Emotional disturbance
Mental retardation
Orthopedic or other health impairment
Visual or hearing impairment
Speech impairment

The special education program has many services including special help
in academic and vocational classes, computer-assisted instruction,
speech therapy, Braille and large print materials, and sign language
interpreters.
5.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

The English as a Second Language program (ESL) is for offenders with
little or no English speaking, reading and writing abilities. ESL helps with
listening, speaking and beginning reading skills in English. Offenders
are tested in English to check their progress with English reading and
writing skills. After improving their English skills, students then attend
regular academic or vocational classes.
6.

Reintegration Skills

Reintegration programs offer life skills to prepare offenders for release.
CHANGES, the name of the prerelease program, stands for Changing
Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success. The CHANGES
program is offered to offenders within two (2) years of release. It
includes many topics that are important to being successful in the
freeworld.
?
?
?
?
?
?
?

Personal Development
Interpersonal Relations
Civic and Legal Responsibilities
Victim Awareness
Health and Wellness
Career/Employment
Re-entry into Society

7.

Cognitive Intervention

Cognitive Intervention is a class to help offenders make good decisions.
It will help offenders avoid trouble and keep them from coming back to
prison. The class includes many topics that would benefit offenders.
Topics include:

28

?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
8.

Self Control
Problem Solving
Thinking Errors
Thinking Skills
Choices and Consequences
Anger Management
Stress Management
Time Management
Goal Setting
Career and Technology Education

Windham offers training in numerous trade areas to eligible offenders.
Programs prepare students for jobs after release. Most of the programs
are 600 hours long. Students attend class six (6) hours per day, five (5)
days per week. Most units or facilities offer several trades, some of
which include:
? Automotive Trades
? Construction Trades
? Horticulture/Landscape trades

? Welding and Other Metal Trades
? Diesel Mechanics
? Computer Related Trades

Windham also coordinates On-the-Job Training (OJT) for TDCJ. The
OJT program provides employable skill training to those offenders who
are assigned jobs where an employable skill may be learned. Offenders
being trained are given work experiences that are suitable for similar
occupations in the freeworld.
The Apprenticeship Program offers offenders training in many crafts.
Each craft requires 2,000 to 8,000 hours of work background. Offenders
must have 144 hours of related classroom instruction per year. The U.S.
Department of Labor issues a Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship
to students who complete the program.
9.

College Classes

All college expenses incurred will either be paid by the offender at
registration or repaid by the offender upon release, per legislative
requirement effective September 1995.
Academic
The state will provide only the cost of an offender’s initial academic
course each semester (which will be reimbursed to the state by the
offender after release if not before.) Additional courses each semester
may be taken, but will be at the expense of the student. These costs will
be paid by the offender at registration from personal funds or by other
financial aid arrangements between the offender and the college or
university.
Academic courses are available on a wide variety of units in all areas of
the state. Senior college level courses are available on selected units
with limited major areas of study. Offenders housed on a unit that does
not offer the academic program for which they qualify may request a unit
transfer for participation by submitting the appropriate forms to the WSD

29

Counseling and Testing Office.
The TDCJ State Classification
Committee will make all decisions on unit assignments. For assistance
with an education transfer, the offender must contact the current unit
education department staff.
Vocational
The state will provide two college level vocational courses (which will be
reimbursed to the state by the offender after release if not before.)
Additional courses may be taken, on a space-available basis, but will be
at the expense of the student. These costs will be paid by the offender
at registration from personal funds or by other financial aid arrangements
between the offender and the college or university.
College vocational courses are available to offenders on a wide variety of
units. Offenders are assessed for aptitude and interest and placed on a
waiting list for the requested vocational course. Offenders with the least
amount of time remaining on his/her sentence receive priority placement
in the requested course. Offenders housed on a unit that does not offer
the vocational training course for which they qualify will be placed on the
WSD District Wide Waiting List. WSD Counseling and Testing Office will
arrange unit transfers for offender through the State Classification
Committee.
The State Classification Committee will make all
decisions on unit assignments.
Generally, an offender may
participate in two college-level vocation courses while incarcerated. Only
one college vocational course may be taken while the offender is outside
of 5 years of a projected release or maximum expiration date.
Minimum requirements for enrollment in college programs are:
? A verified high school diploma, GED or at least 3 hours of
transferable college credit from an accredited institution.
? Appropriate composite TABE score or a verified associate or higher
degree.
? Appropriate classification and disciplinary status.
? Appropriate release date for course completion.
? Appropriate medical classification if required for the course.
10.

Job Placement - Project RIO

Project Reintegration of Offenders (RIO) provides appropriate programs
that are structured to reduce recidivism and unemployment of exoffenders. This is accomplished by offering a linkage between Texas
Department of Criminal Justice offender training services while
incarcerated, to job placement and training programs after release,
through the Texas Workforce Commission.
Project RIO helps offenders get a job after release. The Project RIO
Specialist, located in the school, can assess work aptitudes and interest
to help offenders decide what kind of job to prepare for while in prison,
and what courses to take. The Project RIO Specialist will also help
gather the documents each person needs to get a job in society. The
Project RIO Specialist can also provide important tips about finding,
interviewing for, and keeping a job.

30

To be eligible for Project RIO services, the offender must be close to
release and meet all enrollment criteria.
11.

Libraries

The Windham School District maintains libraries to support its
educational programs and provide recreational reading opportunities for
eligible offenders. The libraries offer a wide variety of reading materials,
including reference books, library books, magazines and newspapers.
Offenders must follow established unit library rules and procedures
posted in the library. The rules and procedures will show the scheduled
library hours, the number of books that can be checked out, and the
length of time on the books. It is the responsibility of the offender to
make sure library books are returned to the library or put in a unit book
drop box on time. Reference books, magazines, and newspaper are to
remain in the library and cannot be removed.
Library books are state numbered property. Disciplinary action will be
taken for loss, theft, damage, or destruction of books, reference books
and magazines. Overdue library books are considered contraband.
12.

School Rules

The Windham School District has rules to help create an orderly and
positive atmosphere. A positive atmosphere helps people learn. The
following rules apply to all students in the school:
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?

Students will arrive for class on time.
Students will not leave the classroom or school without
permission.
Sleeping in class is not permitted.
Eating, horseplay and profanity are not permitted.
Students must be neatly groomed and properly dressed.
Cheating on any schoolwork or test is not permitted.
Students must do all their assigned work and take all required
tests.
Students are not permitted to bring personal property to the
school.
Excessive noise and other disruptive behaviors are not
appropriate.
Students shall not steal, damage or destroy school property.
Students must follow all the TDCJ, unit, and school rules.
Vocational students must read S.O.P. before operating power
equipment and read M.S.D.S. before handling chemicals.
Vocational students will wear eye protective gear when required.
Students are not allowed to work on personal projects in class.
Vocational students will check out tools according to established
checkout procedures.

Violation of any of these rules may result in disciplinary action and the
possible removal from school.

31

13.

Information on Education Programs

Contact the unit Principal or Windham Counselor for information on any
educational program or service. Enrollment in Windham School District
programs is based on Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP) priorities.
B.

Recreation and Non-Programmatic Activity

The TDCJ has developed guidelines for out-of-cell time which affords offenders the
opportunity to engage in non-programmatic and programmatic recreation activities.
Facilities and equipment are provided for eligible offenders to participate. Offenders on
recreation restriction as a result of disciplinary actions may not participate.
1.

Recreation and Non-Programmatic Activity

Non-programmatic recreation activities may include:
?
?
?
?
?

Television viewing
Dayroom games such as chess, checkers and dominoes
Team sports including basketball, softball and volleyball
Individual sports such as table tennis, handball, horseshoes and weight lifting
Basic in-cell craft activities
Programmatic recreation activities include:

? Intramural/games

?Craft

? Tournaments/League Play

?

2.

Out-of-cell time requirements
recreational activity.
a.

b.

c.

3.

shop participation where
available
Bodybuilding/ powerlifting
for

non-programmatic

and

G1/J1, G2/J2, and G3 Custody offenders will be allowed
a minimum of four (4) hours on weekdays, and seven (7)
hours on the weekends.
G4 Custody offenders will be allowed four (4) hours on
weekdays, and four (4) hours on weekends. J4 Custody
offenders will be allowed two (2) hours on weekdays,
and four (4) hours on weekends.
G5 Custody offenders will be allowed two (2) hours each
day. J5 Custody offenders will be allowed one (1) hour
each day.

Offender Craft Shop and Piddling
Note: State Jails do not have craft shops and piddling.
The use of the unit craft shop (commonly referred to as the piddling
shop) is a privilege and will be treated as such. (Piddling cards shall be
issued on a first–come first–served basis.) To participate in the craft
shop program, an offender must:
? Have a time-earning status of at least Line Class I,
? Be classified as G1, G2, or G3 custody,

32

? Be assigned to TDCJ at least six (6) months prior to submitting a
request for craft shop participation,
? Have a clear disciplinary record for the prior six (6) month period (no
major or minor disciplinary case convictions),
? Have a job assignment (except for offenders who are medically
unassigned), and
? Have sufficient funds on deposit with the Offender Trust Fund to
make initial purchase of supplies/materials as follows:
Required start-up funds:
?
?
?
?
?

Basic Arts:
Woodworking:
Leather working:
Jewelry:
Other crafts:

Minimum of $ 25.00
Minimum of $ 50.00
Minimum of $100.00
Minimum of $100.00
Minimum of $ 25.00

Offenders must satisfy the above criteria before submitting an I-60
request to participate in the unit craft shop program and be approved by
the Warden or his designee.
Advanced in-cell piddling programs exist at the Warden’s discretion.
Advanced in-cell offenders must meet the above rules in order to
participate in the craft shop program.
The Craft shop program is a privilege. The Warden may take away an
offender’s piddling privileges at any time.
4.

In-Cell Art

All offenders who are eligible for commissary purchases may purchase
basic art supplies from the commissary for use in their cells. Once
purchased, basic art items shall be considered personal property with the
appropriate restrictions applied regarding storage and use. The following
provisions also apply:
?
?
?

C.

The sale of any artwork from the in-cell basic art program is
prohibited.
Basic art items purchased by an offender for in-cell artwork shall
be used for recreational purposes only.
When an offender has abused the privileges extended with the incell basic art program, his privileges may be restricted in
accordance with TDCJ disciplinary rules and procedures.

Health Services

Health care is provided for offenders who have medical, dental, psychiatric and
psychological problems.
Also, physically handicapped offenders receive services
through the Physically Handicapped Offender Program.
1.

Medical Services

The health needs of each offender are assessed when he/she enters prison.
Basic medical services including emergency care, sick call and ongoing care for
chronic illness are offered at each unit. Licensed medical professionals provide
health care. Offenders who need special care may be sent to a unit, which

33

provides the specific service(s), needed. Offenders needing hospital care are
sent to the TDCJ Hospital at Galveston or to other hospitals which serve TDCJ.
Offenders who have trouble seeing, hearing, speaking or walking can get help
from Medical Services. Their problems are assessed and care is provided if
needed. All offenders may access the medical department by submitting a sick
call request slip or by direct request to a security officer or supervisor. In
accordance with state law, if a visit to a TDCJ facility health clinic meets offender
health care co-payment criteria, a $3.00 co-payment fee will be charged. Access
to health services will be provided regardless of the offenders’ ability to pay this
fee. Specific details on unit procedures will be provided at unit orientations and
will also be provided in writing. In the event of an emergency, offenders may
request a correctional officer or supervisor to contact the medical department on
their behalf. The medical department staff will provide direction as to disposition
based on their clinical judgment.
2.

Dental Services

All offenders may ask for dental care. Offenders can use the Sick Call Request
form to ask for an appointment. The Sick call request slip can be found in the
housing areas. The dentist decides who needs treatment and when treatment
should be given. The most pressing needs are treated first. Swelling, pain, or
infection is urgent. Filling a small cavity or just cleaning teeth is not urgent. An
offender with these problems may have to wait to be treated.
Offenders are given a toothbrush and tooth powder at the Reception and
Diagnostic Centers. When they get to their unit of assignment, they will be given
information about oral hygiene aids available. Offenders will get instructions on
how to keep their teeth and gums in healthy condition. Offenders must be able to
demonstrate that they can keep their teeth and gums healthy before receiving
dental care other than emergency or urgent dental care.
The type of dental care offered includes:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.

examination
X-ray
cleaning
dental care and health education
silver and tooth-colored fillings
stainless steel temporary crowns
pulling of teeth and oral surgery

Dental services NOT provided include:
a.
b.
c.

gold or porcelain crowns or bridges
braces
dentures (unless there is a severe medical condition
requiring them)

34

3.

Pharmacy Services

Medicine may be obtained at the pill window or the commissary. Prescriptions
may be picked up at the pill window after 24 hours. The offender will need his ID
card to get medicine at the pill window. Some prescriptions may take longer to
arrive.
The person at the pill window can answer questions about the
medication.
Offenders are allowed to carry some medications on their persons, as
determined by the prescribing doctor. The offender may be given the entire card
of medication to be locked up with his personal belongings.
Medication such as vitamins and some over-the-counter medicine can be
purchased in the commissary. The commissary officer can help offenders to
know what medicines are sold there.
4.

Psychiatric and Psychological Services

Psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and other trained professionals are available
to help with mental health issues. Offenders can use form I-60 to ask for mental
health services. For immediate assistance, offenders may contact a correctional
officer or supervisor who will notify the mental health or medical department.
An offender may be sent to a special Psychiatric Center unit if his
problems are severe. Trained staff can help an offender with these
problems to get well.
Mental Health Services provides the following:
? Evaluates offenders for potential mental health problems.
? Diagnoses mental illness and determines which method(s) of
treatment will be most effective and beneficial to offenders.
? Provides access to mental health services for offenders who send a
sick call request (SCR) or an I-60. Access to services will include
crisis intervention. Access to services may include “follow-up”
appointments.
? Provides treatment to mentally ill offenders. This may or may not
include medication.
? Ensures confidentiality, but recognizes its limits within the prison.
Mental Health Staff cannot:
?
?
?
?
5.

Approve, authorize or make telephone calls for offenders.
Change custody levels, line classes, etc.
Run the unit or judge unit operations or employees.
Tolerate threats. Offenders are responsible for their own behavior.
Mentally Retarded Offender Program

The Mentally Retarded Offender Program helps offenders with severe learning
problems. Test scores and other information help staff decide who needs this
special help. Offenders learn to read and do math. They learn to work and to
live with other people. Services include:

35

a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.

case management
basic school work
job training
psychological help
counseling
recreation and
work opportunities

Offenders who need this type of help are also assisted with finding these
services in the freeworld when they are released.
6.

Complaints about Medical Services

Any offender who feels that he/she did not receive medical care that is
necessary and appropriate should contact the treating professional at
their unit of assignment. If the offender is unsatisfied with the response
from the treating professional, each facility has an informal complaints
process in place. The offender should submit an I-60 and/or letter to the
facility based complaint coordinator, who is the facility Health
Administrator. If the offender continues to be dissatisfied with the
response from this process, the offender has the option of filing a
grievance (I-27) through the Offender Grievance Process.
*As of September 1, 2004, the Patient Liaison Program was removed as
an avenue for offenders to contact concerning their dissatisfaction with
medical services.
D.

Substance Abuse Treatment

The Substance Abuse Treatment Program provides assessment and chemical
dependency treatment service to offenders incarcerated in both state prisons and
state jails.
1.

Intensive treatment is provided on prison units located strategically
throughout the state.
Intensive treatment is facilitated by the
Therapeutic Communities that include cognitive and behavior therapy,
twelve step programs, and secular recovery programs. These are
available to assist offenders in living a sober and responsible lifestyle.
a.

There are two types of intensive therapeutic community programs.
(1)

(2)

2.

LeBlanc and Hamilton Units offer programs that are
approximately 6 months in duration. These are pre-release
programs designed to help chemically dependent offenders
with their recovery and reentry to the community. The
Parole Board determines which offenders attend these
programs.
There is also an In-Prison Therapeutic Community Program
for males at the Kyle Unit and for females at the Halbert
Unit. These use the same treatment principles as the prerelease programs. Offenders with a FI-5 vote from the
Parole Board may be placed in these programs.

Offenders in State Jail or State Prison units generally may attend selfhelp groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or
Secular Organization for Sobriety.

36

3.

State Jail units, in addition to self-help groups, may also offer substance
abuse-related peer education programs to eligible offenders. Unit
administration can help you determine what programs are available to
you.
Should you have further questions, you may write the Substance Abuse
Treatment Program at:

E.

Truck Mail:

Substance Abuse Treatment Program
West Hill Mall – Huntsville

First Class:

#2 Financial Plaza Suite 370
Huntsville, Texas 77340

Religious Services

Religious services and support are provided to all interested offenders. There is
at least one (1) chaplain assigned each unit. Chaplains provide general spiritual
support. Chaplains listen, advise and guide. They help offenders to stay in
touch with their families.
Unit Chaplains participate at Offender orientations and make available to each
incoming offender information about Chaplaincy.
Chaplains function as
members of the Warden’s Executive Management Team and the Post Trauma
Treatment Team, which provides important and essential resources to the
offender population.
At times, volunteers help Chaplains with their duties. Volunteer groups also come
into the prison to sing, preach, teach and to provide other help.
News about religious programs is posted on unit bulletin boards. Leaflets may
also be passed out to tell about programs. Sometimes offenders may hear about
a program or service from other offenders. All eligible offenders may attend the
unit services. If sick or in administrative segregation or solitary, offenders may
have a chaplain or volunteer visit.
F.

State Counsel for Offenders

State Counsel for Offenders (SCFO) can provide independent legal counsel to
indigent offenders incarcerated in TDCJ-CID. This service is only for offenders
who cannot afford to pay an attorney to assist them with their legal problems.
SCFO operates independently of TDCJ and all legal correspondence between an
offender and SCFO is confidential under the laws concerning attorney-client
privileges.
There are five legal sections within SCFO: Trial, Appellate, Civil Commitment,
Immigration and General Legal. These sections perform the following functions:
1.

The TRIAL Section represents indigent offenders who are indicted for
felonies allegedly committed while incarcerated within TDCJ-CID. Legal
assistants and investigators assist attorneys in this section. Investigators
will frequently visit with offenders first to gather information about the
alleged crime, interview witnesses and take photographs. Attorneys will
represent the offender in all court appearances, file all necessary
motions, obtain plea agreements, and try the case.

37

NOTE: Correspondence with SCFO employees about the case is
privileged and confidential. Any other communication between an
offender and other people (including other offenders) is NOT confidential
and can be used against the offender during a trial or other
administrative proceeding.
2.

The APPELLATE Section assists indigent offenders who need help with
appeals and writs. If the offender represented by a Trial Section attorney
is convicted of a crime, SCFO may pursue an appeal on behalf of the
offender. If the appellate section pursues the case, they will prepare
briefs and argue the case before the appropriate appellate courts.
Attorneys will also assist offenders who discover substantial errors in
their convictions. It is important for the offender to be very specific about
the error that was made in the case. Most errors will not result in a
reversal of the case or the right to a new trial. Attorneys may assist
offenders by researching whether there is a valid, provable legal reason
to file a writ of habeas corpus or a direct appeal to either set aside or
modify the conviction or sentence.
LEGAL ASSISTANTS, working under the direction of the APPELLATE
Section, investigate time credit issues to determine whether an offender
is receiving all their time credits. Offenders who feel TDCJ is improperly
computing their time credits should first use the Dispute Resolution
Process to resolve the error.*
The Dispute Resolution Process cannot resolve jail time credit problems
brought about by mistakes on the Judgment and Sentence that is holding
them in custody. Offenders who feel the judge failed to award enough
jail time credit on the judgment should skip the Dispute Resolution
Process.

3.

The CIVIL COMMITMENT Section represents indigent offenders facing
commitment under Chapter 841 of the Health and Safety Code,
commonly known as the Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) statute.
Attorneys, legal assistants and investigators work together to help
provide a defense to civil commitment. Attorneys will handle all parts of
the case, including discovery, depositions and trial. If an offender is
civilly committed, the Appellate Section will determine whether there are
any issues to appeal. Under some circumstances SCFO may continue
its representation of the offender in the appellate process.

4.

The IMMIGRATION Section assists indigent offenders who are docketed
to appear before the Immigration Judge as part of a removal proceeding
(formerly known as “deportation”.) SCFO will receive a notice if a TDCJCID offender is the subject of a removal proceeding and will visit the
offender upon the offender’s arrival at a Huntsville unit for the removal
hearing. If the attorney determines the offender has a defense to
removal, SCFO will represent the offender at the removal proceeding.
The Immigration section will also assist offenders interested in the
Prisoner Exchange Program. That program allows offenders to serve
the remainder of their sentences in their own country. Not all countries
participate in the program.

38

Any offender who has questions about an immigration issue may write
SCFO for assistance.
5.

The GENERAL LEGAL Section provides assistance for matters not
covered by one of the other sections. Attorneys in this section can assist
offenders with pending charge problems, detainers, and probation
revocation waivers. They can also provide answers to questions about
civil actions, powers of attorney, expunctions, divorces, termination of
parental rights and marriages by proxy. Basic information about all these
th
topics is included in the 9 Edition Legal Handbook. Offenders should
consult the Legal Handbook before writing SCFO for assistance.

How Offender Can Get Help
th

Offenders who want help with legal problems should first consult the 9 Edition of
the Legal Handbook. The Legal Handbook contains valuable information,
along with sample pleadings and letters, that can help answer many legal
questions. Offenders who need help using the Legal Handbook should ask the
Law Librarian. If the Legal Handbook does not answer the offender’s question,
the offender should write SCFO with the specific issue or problem they are
having by using an I-60. If the issue or problem cannot be adequately explained
on the I-60, the offender should write on regular paper, place the contents in an
envelope marked “Truck Mail” and send the letter to SCFO. It helps speed up
the process if the offender places the correct section (Trial, Appellate, Civil
Commitment, Immigration or General Legal) on the correspondence. If the
offender’s problem involves time credits and the Dispute Resolution Process was
not successful in resolving the issue (or was not used – see * above), the
offender should obtain a Jail Time Questionnaire form from the Law Librarian, fill
it out, and send it to SCFO.
Offenders must contact SCFO directly – the request for help cannot come from
friends or family members. ALL REQUESTS MUST HAVE THE OFFENDER’S
NAME AND TDCJ NUMBER. If that information is missing, SCFO cannot help
the offender.
SCFO CANNOT assist offenders with civil rights issues, disputes about TDCJ
policy or procedures, fee-generating cases, or parole decisions. For help with
th
those issues please see Chapter 1 of the 9 Legal Handbook.
G.

Language Assistance (Asistencia de Lenguaje)

La TDCJ provee asistencia de lenguaje en varios programas y àreas de servicio
para delincuentes quienes hablan solamente el español, o quienes estan muy
limitados en su habilidad de hablar el ingles. Esos servicios incluídos son:
The TDCJ provides language assistance in several program and service areas
for offenders who speak only Spanish or who are very limited in their ability to
speak English. Those services included are:
Grievance Procedure - Offenders who are involved in the grievance procedure
and need language assistance because they are having difficulty understanding
the Grievance response should contact a Spanish Staff Interpreter to request
language assistance.
Disciplinary Process - Offenders involved in the disciplinary process who need
language assistance will be provided such assistance as required. The counsel

39

substitute assists offenders in preparing for the hearing by gathering witness
statements, securing any relevant documentary evidence and other relevant
information as necessary. The counsel substitute will represent the offender
during the hearing.
Documents in Spanish - The TDCJ provides many documents and informational
notices in Spanish. If an offender needs a document or notice in Spanish, he
should contact a Spanish Staff Interpreter who will determine if the information is
already available in Spanish and get the offender a copy, if appropriate.
Law Library - Offenders in need of language assistance in the law library should
contact the Law Library Supervisor.
State Counsel for Offenders - Offenders who need language assistance to
communicate with a state counsel (attorney) or paralegal should contact the unit
law library and request language assistance.
Windham School District - The Windham School District offers English as a
Second language at a number of facilities for offenders who speak little or no
English.
H.

Correspondence Rules

Offenders may send and get mail while in the TDCJ. There are four types of
correspondence including general, special, legal and media correspondence.
The rules governing offender correspondence are found in Chapter 3 of this
handbook. Read them closely.
Offenders may send letters to as many people as they choose. Offenders must
go through the TDCJ to receive and send mail. Mail may not be smuggled in or
out of TDCJ units or facilities. All rules for sending and receiving mail must be
followed.
Offenders should tell their family and friends to address their letters with the
offender's name, number and unit address. Offenders may not get packages
from friends and family. Offenders may receive approved publications, such as
magazines, books or newspapers, from the publisher or store that sells them.
Offenders may receive writing paper from legitimate suppliers or vendors. Family
or friends may not send writing paper in packages. Offenders may not receive
cash on delivery (C.O.D.) items or packages with payment on approval from any
source. Offenders may not receive money, stamps, or other negotiable items in
the mail. Money can be placed into an offender's account using the process
described in sub-section L, of this chapter.
Offenders may buy stamps and writing paper in the commissary. Offenders with
less than $5.00 in their trust fund may request correspondence supplies. The
mailroom or law library provides this service. Rules for getting postage stamps
or paper are posted on each unit.
Each unit has a mailroom. TDCJ employees staff the mailroom. No offender
may handle the mail of another offender. An offender with questions about the
mail should see a mailroom supervisor.

40

I.

Visitation

It is the policy of the TDCJ to enable and encourage offenders, consistent with
security and classification restraints, to have visits with family members and
friends. Visitation within a TDCJ unit will be conducted in an accommodating
manner, in keeping with the need to maintain order, the safety of persons, and
the security of the unit. Offender visits may be subject to electronic monitoring by
investigators of the Office of the Inspector General.
Offender visits are
conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Offender Visitation Plan and
under the direction of the Warden.
While it is recognized that visitation is an integral component of the rehabilitation
process and every effort will be made to ensure that visits are conducted under
the least restrictive protocol available, offenders will not be assigned to a unit
solely for convenience of visitation privileges. While it is recognized that unit
assignments may create hardships for visitation, these assignments are based
on considerations other than offender or family convenience.
For general and contact visitation rules, refer to the Offender Visitation Rules in
Chapter 2 of this Handbook. For information on legal visits, refer to the Access
to Courts Rules in Chapter 4.
J.

Telephone Calls

It is the policy of the TDCJ to allow eligible offenders to make telephone calls.
An offender’s use of the telephone is an earned privilege based on a good
conduct and work record. It is not the department's policy to accept incoming
telephone calls for offenders, except under emergency circumstances as
determined by staff.
1.

To be eligible for telephone calls, offenders must:
a.
b.
c.

d.

be on their unit of assignment for 90 days (30 days for
State Jail offenders)
not have any disciplinary violations within the last 90
days (30 days for State Jail offenders)
be engaged in full-time work, school or treatment.
(Offenders whose medical condition keeps them from
working and who meet all other requirements will be
eligible),
have the person being called listed on their approved
visitor list.

Generally, offenders shall be Level 1, 2, or 3 custody. Level 4
custody offenders shall be allowed telephone calls if they are
SAT 3 or 4, with a year clear of major disciplinaries (State Jail
offenders must also have a year clear of major cases), and the
Warden has no security concerns regarding the call.
Offenders who are in other custody categories shall only be
eligible at the Warden’s discretion.
2.

All outgoing calls must be made collect with the following
limitations:

41

a.
b.

c.

Offenders shall be limited to one (1) phone call every 90
days (30 days for State Jail offenders)
All calls will be no longer than five (5) minutes long. If
the offender cannot reach someone at the number he
called, he may try another number.
Calls may be further restricted during high traffic periods,
such as Christmas holidays, where a three (3) minute
limit would allow more calls to be made.

3.

No offender will be on the phone at count time. No offender will
delay count because of a telephone call.

4.

Offenders making telephone calls will conduct their telephone
conversations in an acceptable manner. Offenders making
telephone calls will use understandable conversation. No code
language will be allowed. Loud, boisterous conversations will
not be permitted. Threats, obscenities or other abuses will
cause an offender to lose his telephone privileges. Security staff
will monitor all calls.

5.

Telephone calls may be subject to electronic monitoring by
investigators of the Office of the Inspector General.

6.

Offenders requesting telephone privileges shall submit an I-60 to
the Major or his designee. The following information must be
included:
?
?
?
?
?

Offender’s name and number
Housing and job assignment
Date of last phone call
Name and relation of the person to be called
Reason for the call

Note: Procedures may vary on SAFP facilities.
K.

Emergency Absences

An Emergency Absence is an approved leave of absence from prison for a day
under escort of TDCJ staff. They are granted for emergency reasons only.
An Emergency Absence is a privilege - not a right. It is granted to offenders
who are trustworthy, work hard and who are considered acceptable security risks
by TDCJ to be temporarily released to the general public and who meet the basic
criteria set forth by TDCJ.
1.

Emergency Absence
Emergency absences are granted to:
a.
b.

attend funerals, or visit a funeral home to view a
deceased immediate family member
visit critically ill immediate family members. “Immediate
family” is defined as an offender's parents, spouse,
children and siblings.

42

Offenders cannot request an emergency absence. Only doctors
or Funeral Home Directors on behalf of the offender’s family can
make requests for emergency absences. These absences are
granted for no longer than one (1) day.
2.

Emergency Absence Eligibility Requirements
To be considered for an emergency absence, an offender must
meet the current TDCJ established criteria listed below and be
approved by the State Classification Committee and other
parties concerned.
Eligibility Criteria – AD 04.56 Non-Medical Emergency Absence
Review Procedures
a.
b.

c.
d.

e.

Must be at least Line Class I G3 custody and have been
in the custody of the TDCJ for six (6) months;
State Jail offenders must be at least J2 custody and
have been in the custody of the TDCJ for six (6) months
or one-third (1/3) of sentence, whichever comes first;
Must be within 12 months of parole eligibility, if
applicable;
Must not have been convicted for any of the offenses
listed below (to include soliciting, attempting, conspiring,
or aiding others to engage, solicit, attempt or conspire to
commit any of the listed offenses); or have been
incarcerated in or sentenced to an adult correctional
facility for any felony offense during which violence was
used in the commission of the offense as identified by
TDCJ records;
(1)
Homicide
(Capital
Murder;
Murder;
Manslaughter; or any other homicide offense);
(2)
Kidnapping
(Aggravated
Kidnapping;
Kidnapping; unlawful restraint or any other
Kidnapping offense);
(3)
Sexual Offense (Rape; Sexual Assault; Sexual
Abuse; Aggravated Rape; Aggravated Sexual
Abuse; or any other Sexual Assault offense to
include Indecency with a Child);
(4)
Robbery (Robbery; Aggravated Robbery; or any
other Robbery offense);
(5)
Assault (Assault; Aggravated Assault; Injury to a
Child; Injury to an Elderly Person; or any other
Assault offense);
(6)
Escape (Any Escape offense from an adult
correctional facility); or
(7)
Any offense in which the offender used or
exhibited a deadly weapon during the
commission of the offense or during immediate
flight therefrom and where an affirmative finding
on use of a deadly weapon was made by the
trial court or jury;
Must not have had any disciplinary rule violations, which
resulted in major penalties within the past six (6) months,
or have a disciplinary history of assaults on staff;

43

f.
g.
h.
i.

L.

Must not have been convicted of an offense under
Section 42.072, Texas Penal code (Stalking).
Must not have an unresolved or pending felony or U.S.
Immigration detainer;
No out-of-state emergency absences;
An offender may be released on an emergency absence
not more than 2 times during a 12 month period.

Inmate Trust Fund

Offenders are required to surrender all money they have in their possession to
officials at the receiving location. The offender will be given a receipt showing
money relinquished.
Money found on an offender after the first day of
confinement will be confiscated as contraband and the offender will be charged
with a disciplinary violation.
The offender’s TDCJ number also serves as his Inmate Trust Fund account
number. The name on the account will be the same as that listed in the official
TDCJ records. An offender’s funds will be disbursed solely at his request.
Inmate Trust Fund reserves the right to correct any error.
There are several ways for family/friends to deposit money in an offender’s
account.
?

MONEY ORDERS OR CASHIER’S CHECKS made payable to “Inmate
Trust Fund for Offender Name and Number”
-Obtain deposit slips from offender or by sending an addressed, stamped
envelope to Inmate Trust Fund
-Send deposits and/or requests for deposit slips to Inmate Trust Fund,
P.O. Box 60, Huntsville, Texas 77342-0060

?

MONTHLY CHECKING ACCOUNT DEBIT (ACH)
-Complete an ACH authorization form (available on request from the
Inmate Trust Fund) and have a set amount automatically debited for a
personal checking account once each month for deposit to a specified
offender
-Attach a voided check on the account to be debited
th
th
-Select date, 5 or 15 , debit transaction will occur each month
-Submit form with voided check to Inmate Trust Fund, P.O. Box 60,
Huntsville, Texas 77342-0060
-Free service provided by TDCJ

?

WESTERN UNION QUICK COLLECT from anywhere in the United
States. All three Quick Collect products are subject to different fees,
send amounts, and other restrictions in certain states. Standard fee for
over-the-counter Quick Collect transaction at a Western Union location is
$9.95. Deposit will post to offender’s account within 24 hours.
Western Union Quick Collect
-Call Western Union at 1-800-325-6000, or visit www.westernunion.com
to find the nearest Western Union location
Western Union Quick Collect by Phone
-For credit card transactions-call Western Union at 1-800-634-3422
(Press 2 to send Q/C payment)
Western Union Quick Collect Online
-For Web transactions, visit www.westernunion.com

44

For each Quick Collect transaction the following information must be
provided:
Pay to:
TDCJ-Inmate Trust Fund
Code City and State:
TDCJ/TX
Account number with Facility:
Offender’s TDCJ number and offender’s
last name
Attention:
Offender’s last name and offender’s first name
?

Western Union Convenience Pay offered at select locations within the
state of Texas. Send up to $200 to an offender’s trust fund account for a
service fee of $3. Call 1-800-354-0005 to find a Convenience Pay agent
location. Retail location includes Kroger, HEB, Minyard’s, Sack ‘n Save,
Carnival and selected Western Union agent locations.

?

ACE, America’s Cash Express from anywhere in the United States.
Deposit funds to an offender’s trust fund account for a service fee of $3.
For the nearest ACE location, call 1-866-734-2306 or visit their web site at
www.acecashexpress.com.

?

Jpay allows you to send money to an offender for service fees ranging
from $1.95 to $8.95. Visit their web site at www.jpay.com or call 1-800574-jpay to send funds using Visa, Discover, or MasterCard credit/debit
card. Senders can make cash deposits at any MoneyGram location
nationwide using an Express Payment form. Senders may also make cash
deposits from their home after setting up a cash collection account with a
Jpay customer representative,

Do not send trust fund deposits to the offender’s facility of assignment and do not
send the offender’s personal mail or personal items (stationary, pictures, etc.) to
the Inmate Trust Fund.
The Inmate Trust Fund can respond to questions regarding deposit receipt, but
other information concerning the offender’s account activity can only be released
to the offender. Offenders receive monthly bank statements itemizing account
transactions.
Personal checks are not accepted and will be returned to the sender or
destroyed. Sending cash through the mail is not recommended. Money orders
and cashier checks of $500 or more, insurance checks and company checks
require two weeks to clear before the offender can use the funds. The Inmate
Trust Fund does not pay interest; therefore, the account should hold no more
than what is required to meet the offender’s immediate needs. Offenders with
excess funds are encouraged to open a savings account with a banking facility of
their choice.
The Inmate Trust Fund does not forward personal mail or other items sent with
money deposits. Packages for offenders received at Offender Trust Fund will be
refused and returned at the sender’s expense.
An Inmate Trust Fund Account is held under the authority of TDCJ. Anyone who
deposits or maintains funds in an Inmate Trust Fund Account thereby agrees to
be bound by agency policies concerning such funds which are in effect at the
time these funds are placed in the account or thereafter. These policies include
the forfeiture and disposition of the contents of such accounts. The agency may
decide what funds will be deposited, what funds may be withdrawn and to whom
these funds may be paid.

45

In general, offenders may not receive gifts or fees from other offenders.
A
deposit from one offender to another may be made only by transfer from one
Inmate Trust Fund (ITF) account to another and must have unit administrative
approval. This approval must be obtained even if the depositing offender has
made previous deposits to the receiving offender’s account.
Deposits from one offender to another, processed through an outside person or
bank, shall be considered a violation of the TDCJ “Trafficking and Trading Rules”
regardless of whether accepted for deposit or received by the ITF Department.
Suspected violations shall result in an investigation. Confirmed violations of
deposits between offenders may result in disciplinary action against any
offenders involved in any unauthorized transactions, whether depositors or
recipients. If an offender reports unauthorized transactions that are afterward
determined to be in violation of the stated policy and voluntarily signs a wavier for
forfeiture of the funds received, no disciplinary action will be taken.
Moreover, funds gained through extortion (by coercion, deception, or violence)
may be forfeited. If an offender is found guilty of extorting money that has been
deposited in his trust fund account, or has been received without authorization as
described above, the offender shall forfeit title to the funds.
M.

ID Cards

Normally, within two (2) to seven (7) days after an offender is received, he will be
issued an identification card.
The ID card will be used for commissary
purchases, dispensing of medication, meals served, access to authorized areas
within the unit and participation in various programs as well as other general
security requirements. Offenders are required to carry their ID card at all times.
It is the responsibility of every offender to immediately notify the security office,
Commissary Officer or Warden's office if his ID card is lost, stolen or damaged.
The ID card is property of the state and is furnished as identification for
offenders. The ID card may become the offender's property upon parole,
discharge or mandatory supervision, if needed for identification. Offenders will
give or show their ID cards when asked by an officer or staff.
Pursuant to A.D. 03.83 “TDCJ Offenders who Refuse To Comply with Grooming
Standards” ID cards will not be issued to offenders not complying with agency
grooming standards.
It is a violation of the TDCJ offender rules and regulations for any offender to:
1.

NOT be in possession of his ID card. If an offender does not have
his ID card with him, it will be considered a refusal or failure to
obey orders;

2.

willfully damage, change the appearance of the card, abuse or
destroy one's own or another offender's ID card. Such actions
shall be considered as damaging or destroying property belonging
to the state, or another offender;

3.

be in possession of any other offender's ID card. Offenders in
possession of another offender's ID card shall be considered
possessing contraband or unauthorized property;

46

4.

use or try to use another offender's ID card for any purpose.
Offenders who try to use another offender's ID card shall be
considered in possession of contraband or unauthorized
property, or stealing property belonging to the state or another
offender;

5.

use, try to use or conspire to use any counterfeit, fictitious,
altered, forged, lost, stolen or fraudulently obtained ID card for
any purpose, knowing the same to be counterfeit, fictitious,
altered, forged, lost, stolen or fraudulently obtained. Offenders
who commit these offenses shall be considered stealing property
belonging to the state, or another offender;

6.

receive or try to receive money, goods or any item of value by
use of another offender's ID card or by use of a counterfeit,
fictitious, altered, forged, lost, stolen or fraudulently obtained
identification card. Offenders who knowingly commit these
offenses shall be considered stealing property belonging to the
state or another offender, or

7.

give or loan an ID card to another offender so that offender can
obtain, or attempt to obtain, extra benefits through use of another
card. Offenders who loan or give their ID cards to another
offender shall be considered trafficking and trading
contraband/commodities.

Violations of these rules subject an offender to disciplinary proceedings and
penalties in accordance with the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.
N.

Commissary

Commissaries are stores within the prison where items not furnished by the state
may be purchased. The ID card given to offenders can be used to make
commissary purchases, as long as they have funds in the Inmate Trust Fund to
cover their purchases and they are not on commissary restriction as the result of
disciplinary action.
There are two (2) types of purchases that can be made at the Commissary regular and special.
Regular Purchases are those items purchased within a two (2) week period,
such as soft drinks, pastries, and food. Regular purchases are limited to $75.00
every two (2) weeks, with the following exceptions:
? G4/J4 custody offenders may spend $30.00 every two (2) weeks; however,
S3, S4 and State Jail offenders with one (1) year clear major disciplinary
record shall be allowed to make purchases up to $75 every two (2) weeks.
? G5/J5 custody offenders are allowed to spend $20.00 every two (2) weeks.
Administrative Segregation Offenders may make purchases according to the
following guidelines:
Level I
Level II

may purchase $60.00 every two (2) weeks.
may purchase one of each personal hygiene items
(toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, comb,
sunscreen, fan, tampons, and beachcombers), and a

47

Level III

maximum of $10.00 in correspondence supplies (stamps,
stamped envelopes, legal pad, writing tablets, envelopes,
pens, and pencils) every two (2) weeks.
may purchase a maximum of $10.00 in correspondence
supplies (stamps, stamped envelopes, legal pad, writing
tablets, envelopes, pens, and pencils) and one each of
personal hygiene items.

Death Row Offenders may make purchases according to the following
guidelines:
Level I may purchase $75.00 every two- (2) weeks.
Level II & III may purchase a maximum of $10 in correspondence
supplies, and one each of personal hygiene items.
Special Purchases are not limited by dollar amount, but limited in quantity to
one (1) of each item per offender. Availability of these items is at the Warden’s
discretion. The following items (available through the unit commissaries) are
classified as special purchase items.
Radios
Clock
Fan
Chess set
Calculators
Clothing items
Hair dryer
Print wheels
Shoes (no beachcombers)
Perm kits
Watch

Hotpot
Dominoes
Earbuds
Typewriter
Headphones
Curling iron
Storage locker
Start rite kit
Radio boosters
Multiplug power strips with surge Protectors

Note: Some of these items are not available on State Jails and SAFP’s due to the
absence of available electrical plugs.
The Commissary prices are set by the Manager IV for Commissary and Trust
Fund in conjunction with the Program Administrator for Commissary Warehouses
and can change at any time with proper notice. All items bought from the
Commissary must be for the offender's personal use. Any item bought from the
Commissary must be used for its intended purpose.
O.

Voter Registration

An offender may be eligible to vote. In order to vote, he must meet the following
criteria:
(1)
is 18 years of age or older;
(2)
is a United States citizen;
(3)
has not been determined mentally incompetent by a
final judgment of a court;
(4)
has not been finally convicted of a felony or, if so
convicted, has:
(a) fully discharged the person’s sentence,
including any term of incarceration, parole,
or supervision, or completed a period of
probation ordered by any court
(5)
is a resident of this state; and

48

(6)

is a registered voter.

You may obtain further information from the Registrar of Voters in your county or
from the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office.
P.

Offender Request To Official (I-60) Form

Offenders can ask for help by using the Offender Request to Official (I-60) form.
I-60 forms are available in living areas and in various other places on the unit.
An offender asking for help should briefly write his problem or request on side 1
of the I-60 and fill in his name, number, date of the request, unit of assignment,
living quarters and work assignment on the bottom. The offender should also
complete side two of the form by checking the appropriate box, if one applies,
and addressing it to the individual or department he is asking for help. If it is
unknown which individual or department the I-60 should be addressed to, the unit
Chief of Classification has been appointed as the point of personal contact for all
offenders and will provide assistance and/or advice as needed. The I-60 can be
sent through truck mail or placed in the appropriate box on the unit. A response,
an appointment or some action should be made to the I-60 as soon as possible
by the appropriate department or individual.
Q.

Administrative Segregation Plan

The purpose of the Administrative Segregation Plan is to provide uniform rules
and regulations for the use of Administrative Segregation/Special Management
within the TDCJ. Administrative Segregation/Special Management is a nonpunitive status involving separation of an offender from the general population for
the purpose of maintaining safety, security and order.
Administrative
Segregation/Special Management consists of the following categories:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Security Detention,
Pre-hearing Detention,
Protective Custody, and
Temporary Detention Between Consecutive Terms of Solitary
Confinement.

Offenders undergoing the reception and diagnostic process and those on a
transient unit assignment will not be treated as administrative segregation
offenders except to the extent provided for in the Plan. Specific information
regarding the conditions and procedures relating to Administrative
Segregation/Special Management can be obtained by reviewing the
Administrative Segregation Plan. A copy of the Administrative Segregation Plan
is available in the law library for review by offenders.
R.

Institutional Lockdowns

A lockdown of an institution, wing, cell block or dorm may be imposed by the
Warden when it is believed that such an action is necessary to suppress a major
disruption of the unit’s safety and security. As a general rule, offenders are
confined to their cell or dorm area and all routine processes and certain
privileges and rights are suspended until the lockdown is lifted. Privileges and
activities shall be restricted only to the degree necessary to protect the security
of the unit, other offenders, and the unit staff. The length of time an area is
locked down is determined by the continued behavior of the affected offenders.

49

S.

Impermissible Conduct

No offender shall have: any supervisory, administrative or disciplinary authority
over other offenders; receive special privileges (such as, but not limited to, being
exempt from searches, possessing special or altered clothing and so forth); or
obtain or have access to sensitive information about staff, the general public,
other offenders, or the business operations that would jeopardize security absent
a state or federal court order.
V.

DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES AND RULES
The Disciplinary Process is designed to modify offender behavior where
necessary.
A.

General Procedures
1.

Offenders in the TDCJ are required to obey all rules and
regulations either issued by TDCJ or those specific to their unit.
If an offender violates a rule, he may be punished through the
Disciplinary Process.
For more information, see the
Disciplinary Rules and Procedures for Offenders handbook
(GR106).

2.

Once a rule violation has been noted, if it is not settled
informally, the rule violation may be reported in the form of an
offense report.

3.

After an offense report has been written, the report will be given
a number and will be graded as major or minor. The offender will
be notified of the charges filed against him.

4.

A disciplinary hearing will be conducted to decide whether or not
the offender is guilty or not guilty and, if guilty, determine the
punishment. Punishment is progressive and may fall in the
following range depending on the seriousness of the offense:
a.
b.

c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
5.

Counsel and reprimand,
Loss of privileges,
1)
being able to recreate,
2)
buying things from the commissary (except legal
materials),
3)
watching movies and/or television,
4)
having access to personal property,
5)
having contact visits;
being restricted to his cell,
doing extra work,
being placed in solitary confinement,
being placed in a lower time-earning class,
permanent loss of good time.

An offender who intentionally damages or destroys state
property may be assessed monetary damages. Upon conviction
of this offense, TDCJ may seize the contents of the offender’s
trust fund account and award itself damages for the value of the
property damaged.

50

B.

6.

The disciplinary history may be provided to Parole, and may be
used in determining an offender’s Parole eligibility.

7.

For State Jail offenders, the disciplinary history may be part of
the report submitted to the court (judge), the community
supervision office, and the parole authority under whose
jurisdiction the offender is confined.

Solitary Confinement

Solitary confinement is a segregated housing status, which may be imposed as
the result of a major disciplinary hearing or a State Jail offender disciplinary
hearing. Solitary confinement is ordinarily used when all other levels of discipline
have been tried; where the safety of other offenders or staff is concerned; or
when the serious nature of the offense makes it necessary. Offenders in solitary
will be allowed out of their cell only one (1) time each day to shower. Offenders
may be placed in solitary for up to 15 days. Consecutive terms will be separated
by 72 hours.
C.

Counsel Substitute Program
1.

The purpose of the Counsel Substitute Program is to assist
offenders charged with an alleged rule infraction during the major
disciplinary process. It is the job of the Counsel Substitute to
ensure that all "due process" steps are followed when the
offender is brought before a major hearing.

2.

The Counsel Substitute does the following things for an offender
when the offender will go before a major hearing:
a.

b.

c.

d.

e.

3.

Ensures the offender understands the rights provided
through the disciplinary process when notified of pending
charges.
Reads the charge to the offender and makes certain the
disciplinary case and the rights provided in the
disciplinary process are understood.
The Counsel Substitute will assist the offender in
preparing for the hearing by gathering documentary
evidence, witness statements and other relevant
information as necessary. The Counsel Substitute will
represent the offender during the hearing.
The Counsel Substitute will present the offender’s case
at the hearing asking pertinent questions of the charging
officer and/or witnesses, as may be necessary
The Counsel Substitute will advise the offender of
appealable issues and assist in filing an appeal upon
request.

Offenders must be provided with Counsel Substitutes before a
major hearing when any of the following are met:
a.

The offender is mentally retarded as defined in the
Mentally Retarded Offender Plan (has an IQ of 73 or
below) or if the offender’s mental ability to understand
and respond to disciplinary charges and proceedings is
questionable;

51

b.

c.
d.
e.
f.

4.

The offender is confined to any form of segregation
before the disciplinary hearing;
The offender requests a counsel substitute; or
A witness requested by the accused offender is on a
different unit or facility.

Special Procedures for Psychiatric Patients
a.

D.

The offender’s educational achievement score is below
5.0 on reading or his literacy or understanding of English
is questionable;
The offender’s case is very complex;

When a psychiatric offender is charged with a disciplinary
infraction, psychiatric clearance must be obtained before
proceeding with the disciplinary.

Appeal Process

At the end of the disciplinary hearing, the disciplinary hearing officer will tell the
offender of his right to appeal the decision, with respect to guilt or the punishment
given, through the offender grievance procedure.
Three Basic Grounds for Appeal:
1.
2.
3.

one or more procedural rights were violated
insufficient evidence to find offender guilty
penalty imposed by the hearing officer was too severe

The disciplinary decision may be appealed by filing a grievance. If the offender is
not satisfied with the decision, he may then file a Step–2 grievance for appeal
purposes. The Counsel Substitute will assist offenders with an appeal if they
request assistance.
VI.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES FOR OFFENDERS
A.

Grievance forms are available from the law library, housing area, shift
supervisors, or by contacting the unit grievance office. After completely
filling out the form, place it in the grievance box yourself or give it to the
grievance investigator on your unit.

B.

An attempt to informally resolve your problem must be made before filing
a grievance. Informal resolution is defined as any attempt to solve the
issue at hand and must be noted on the Step 1 grievance form (I-127).
You have 15 days from the date of the alleged incident or occurrence of
the issue presented in which to complete the Step 1 grievance form and
forward it to the Unit Grievance Investigator (UGI). The Step 1 process
may take up to 40 days from the date the unit grievance office receives
the Step 1 form. If you are not satisfied with the Step 1 response, you
may appeal the Step 1 decision by filing a Step 2 (I-128). You have 15
days from the date of the Warden’s signature on the Step 1 form to
submit the Step 2 to the grievance investigator on the unit. The Step 2
process may take up to 35 days to provide you a written response.

C.

Present only one issue per grievance and do not repeatedly grieve
the same issue.

52

D.

Additional time may be required in order to conduct an investigation at
either Step 1 or Step 2 and in either case, you will be notified of the
extension in writing. Also, you may request that your grievance be
withdrawn at any time during the process and the unit grievance
investigator can help you with these procedures.

E.

Complete your grievance in dark ink or type if possible. If you need any
assistance filing a grievance or understanding a response, contact your
unit grievance investigator.

F.

The following issues are grievable through the Offender Grievance
Procedure
? The interpretation or application of TDCJ policies, rules, regulations,
and procedures;
? The actions of an employee or another offender, including denial of
access to the grievance procedure;
? Any reprisal for submitting grievance or exercising other Access to
Courts rights;
? The loss or damage of authorized offender property possessed by
persons in the physical custody of the Agency, for which the Agency
or its employees, through negligence, are the proximate cause of
any damage or loss;
? Any other matter within the authority of the TDCJ.

G.

You may not grieve:
? State or Federal Court decisions, laws and/or regulations;
? Parole decisions;
? Time-served credit disputes (these issues should be directed to the
Classification and Records, Time Section or for State Jail offenders,
to the Unit Chief of Classification or Intake Coordinator);
? Matters for which other appeal mechanisms exist;
? Any matter beyond the control of the Agency to correct.

H.

Grievances that do not meet the following established screening criteria
may be returned to you unprocessed; however, most grievances may be
corrected and resubmitted within 15 days from the date of the signature
on the returned grievance.
? Grievable time period has expired. (Step 1 grievances must be
submitted within 15 days from the date of incident and Step 2
Appeals must be submitted within 15 days from the date of the
signature on the Step 1.)
? Submission in excess of 1 every 7 days. (All grievances received in
the grievance office will be reviewed for emergencies; however, only
one grievance will be processed every seven days [with the
exception of disciplinary, specialty and emergency grievances.])
? Originals not submitted. (Carbon copies are not considered originals
even if they have an original signature. The original Step 1 and Step
2 forms (I-127 and I-128) must be submitted.)
? Inappropriate/excessive attachments.
(Your grievance must be
stated on one form and in the space provided. Attach only official
documents such as I-60’s, sick call requests, property papers, and
other similar documents that support your claim.)

53

? No documented attempt at informal resolution. (You are required to
attempt to resolve issues informally with a staff member prior to filing
a grievance. Remember, the attempt must be documented in the
space provided on the I-127 form.)
? Malicious use of vulgar, indecent, or physically threatening language
directed at an individual.
? The issue presented is not grievable. (Refer to Section G above).
? No remedy exists.
? The text is illegible/incomprehensible. (Write your grievance so that
it can be read and understood by anyone.)
? Inappropriate. (You may not ask for monetary damages or any form
of disciplinary action against staff.)
I.

VII.

Do not use a grievance form to comment on the effectiveness or
credibility of the grievance procedure; instead, submit a letter or
I-60 to the Administrator of the Offender Grievance Program.

PAROLE INFORMATION
A.

PAROLE INFORMATION

Parole is a privilege, not a right! Parole is the discretionary and conditional
release of an eligible offender from physical custody of a jail or prison if the
offender agrees to serve the remainder of his sentence under the supervision of
the Parole Division. Some requirements for an offender to be released on parole
are: (a) serves sufficient time as required by law [Tex. Gov’t. Code Ann.§
508.145 (West)]; (b) is not a risk to public safety; and (c) meets work, program
participation, and behavior standards. Offenders approved for parole are allowed
to leave the TDCJ and serve the remainder of their sentences under the
supervision of parole officers. Offenders who are approved for parole may be
released during their initial parole eligibility month/year (FI-1); may be released
during a specified month which is beyond their initial parole eligibility month/year
(FI-2); may be released to a Pre-Parole Transfer facility up to six months prior to
a specified month/year which is beyond their initial parole eligibility date (FI-4); or
may be transferred to an In-Prison Therapeutic Community (IPTC) for substance
abuse treatment up to 11 months (FI-5). The Board of Pardons and Paroles
(BPP) has also passed parole vote options that require rehabilitation treatment
programs for certain offenders prior to parole. Specific categories include FI-3R,
FI-6R, FI-7R, FI-9R, and FI-18R. The numerical identifier in the vote (3, 6, 9, and
18) reflects the number of months the offender must serve beyond a specified
release date, which will be set by the BPP. An offender approved for parole
under an FI-5 or any of the FI-R votes will be reevaluated by the BPP if he fails to
complete the treatment program successfully. Offenders who are not approved
for parole may be given new BPP review dates (Set-Off/Next Review Dates).
The review process will resume several months prior to the next review dates. If
the offender is incarcerated for an offense that occurred on or after 9-1-96, and is
not approved for parole release, the offender’s file will be reviewed by the BPP
for possible release to mandatory supervision (RMS) or denial of release to
mandatory supervision (DMS). Offenders who are denied release to mandatory
supervision (DMS) will be given a new BPP review date (Next Review Date). The
review process will begin several months prior to the next review date. Offenders
denied release to mandatory supervision (DMS) will receive annual BPP review
until receipt of approval for release on mandatory supervision (RMS) or upon
release on expiration of their sentence on their maximum expiration date.”
Offenders whose offenses occurred prior to 9-1-96, who are denied parole and
receive a serve-all from the BPP will be released to mandatory supervision on

54

their Projected Release Date (minimum expiration date). If the offender is
serving consecutive sentences, he may be approved for parole on a specific
cause number that is eligible for review (CU-FI) or the BPP may deny parole for a
specific cause number (CU-NR). Offenders who are denied parole and are given
serve-alls will be released to Mandatory Supervision (MS) on their Projected
Release Dates (minimum expiration dates). If an offender has no Projected
Release Date and is given a serve-all, he will serve his/her entire sentence in
calendar time and will be discharged from the TDCJ on his/her maximum
expiration date. Parole and Mandatory Supervision allow an offender to be
released from custody to the supervision of a Parole Division District Parole
Officer. Parole and Mandatory Supervision rules are the same. In order to
complete the required period of Parole or Mandatory Supervision, the releasee
must meet the requirements of supervision. In addition to the General Conditions
of parole and mandatory supervision, the BPP may also impose Special
Conditions requiring treatment and other program participation, travel and
contact restrictions, and restitution reimbursement, Electronic Monitoring may
also be imposed by the BPP. Discharge from Parole or Mandatory Supervision
occurs on the maximum expiration date of the offender’s sentence.
B.

THE PAROLE INTERVIEW

Offenders do not have to apply for parole or mandatory release consideration.
Offenders do not have to hire attorneys or parole consultants to represent them
in the parole process or to check on their parole status. All offenders will receive
initial parole interviews regardless of disciplinary status (good time lost/class
demotion); however, to be eligible for subsequent parole interviews offenders
must be classified in the same or higher time earning status assigned to them
when they entered TDCJ and must not have had any major disciplinaries in the
six-month period prior to the dates they are reviewed for parole which resulted in
loss of good time or reduction in class below entry level. During the parole
interview offenders are given the opportunity to present parole release plans and
employment plans. Release Plans to their family and friends are preferable due
to limited halfway house space available. The law [Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. §
508.181 (West 1997)] requires that offenders must reside in their Legal County of
Residence after release. Legal County of Residence is defined as the county
where the offender was living when he committed the present offense. If an
offender is incarcerated for multiple offenses, the legal county of residence is
determined by the residence at the time of the most recent present offense.
Offenders who are called to the unit parole office should bring the names,
complete addresses, including accurate zip codes and phone numbers of the
person(s) in the Legal County of Residence with whom they intend to reside
while on Parole or Mandatory Supervision. If the offender cannot provide
addresses in his/her Legal County of Residence, alternate addresses (including
out-of-state release plans) may be submitted and the BPP will decide whether or
not to allow the offender to be released to a non-county of residence. Out-ofstate plans must be accepted by the state to which placement has been
requested (via Interstate Compact Agreement). Since all parole plans are
verified by parole officers, it is important for them to be provided with complete
and accurate addresses and phone numbers (home, work, day, night, and
weekend phone numbers) so they can quickly verify each offender’s parole plan.
The BPP may require electronic monitoring as a condition of release. In the
event this condition is imposed, special equipment must be installed in the
residence. Prior to the offender’s release, the sponsor must sign an agreement
to remove all features from the phones (call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting,
etc). The BPP may require halfway house placement as a special condition of an
offender’s release.
When an offender has been interviewed for parole

55

consideration, a report is submitted to the BPP for a decision. When a decision is
reached, the offender is informed of the decision. Remember, offenders do not
have to apply for parole consideration. An offender DOES NOT have to be in
physical custody of TDCJ to be paroled. Texas law authorizes Parole in
Absentia (PIA). PIA is the parole release of TDCJ sentenced offenders from
other holding facilities, including jails, contract facilities, and federal/other state
prisons.
C.

PAROLE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
th

Offenders serving sentences for offenses that precede the 70 legislature should
contact their Unit Institutional Parole Officer in reference to specific eligibility
requirements.
The following is a listing of parole eligibility requirements (including 3g and NonMandatory Supervision offenses) separated by Legislatures.
1.

70th Legislature Requirements (Offense dates 9-1-87 to 831-92):[Article 42.18, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure
(TCCP)].

a.

Most offenders under this law become parole eligible
when their flat time served and good time credits
combine to equal one-fourth of their total sentences.
Fifteen years total flat time and good time credit is the
maximum requirement in this example. (Flat time served
+ good time credits = one-fourth of sentence = parole
eligibility.)

b.

Offenders convicted of certain aggravated crimes (i.e.,
3g offenses) must serve one-fourth of their sentences in
calendar time (flat time); minimum – two years;
maximum – 15 years. These 3g offenses are:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)

c.

Capital Murder
Aggravated Kidnapping
Aggravated Robbery
Aggravated Sexual Assault, or
“When it is shown that the defendant used or
exhibited a deadly weapon as defined in the
Penal Code, during the commission of a felony
offense or during the immediate flight there
from.”

Offenders under this law who have their parole denied
will be released to Mandatory Supervision on their
Projected Release Dates; however, offenders convicted
of certain offenses under this law do not have Projected
Release Dates (minimum expiration dates).
These
offenders must be released on parole, or on their
maximum expiration dates. Any good time earned by
these offenders’ counts toward parole eligibility only, and
does not apply to Projected Release Dates. An offender
may not be released to Mandatory Supervision if the
offender is serving a sentence for:

56

(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)

(8)
(9)
(10)
(11)
(12)

(13)

2.

Murder, 1st Degree [Penal Code Section 19.02]
Capital Murder [Section 19.03]
Aggravated Kidnapping, 1st or 2nd Degree
[Section 20.04]
Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree [Section 22.011]
Aggravated Assault, 2nd or 3rd Degree [Section
22.02]
Aggravated Sexual Assault, 1st Degree [Section
22.021]
Deadly Assault on Law Enforcement or
Corrections Officer or Court Participant, 1st
Degree [Section 22.03]
Injury to a Child or Elderly Individual, 1st Degree
[Section 22.04]
Arson, 1st Degree [Section 28.02]
Robbery, 2nd Degree [Section 29.02]
Aggravated Robbery, 1st Degree [Section 29.03]
Burglary, 1st Degree [Section 30.02 Subsection
(d) (3)]; (if armed, in possession of explosives,
or if threats or injuries to another occurred
during the commission of the burglary).
Any offense when the judgement for the offense
contains an affirmative finding of a deadly
weapon.

d.

Offenders serving consecutive (stacked) sentences must
become parole eligible on each of the sentences in the
series before they can be released on parole.

e.

Offenders convicted of certain sex offenses that were
committed on or after September 1, 1991 are required to
register with local law enforcement authorities. The
offenders will be informed at the time of release of the
legal requirement to register as a sex offender within
seven calendar days after release.

72nd Legislature Requirements (Offense dates 9-1-92 to 831-93); [House Bill 93 amending Article 42.18 (TCCP)].
a.

Same time requirements at 70th Legislature cases. (See
Section I.A)

b.

Same 3g offenses as 70th Legislature cases. (See
Section I-.B)

c.

Same Non-Mandatory Supervision offenses at 70th
Legislature cases. (See Section I.C)

d.

Changes From Prior Legislation: Capital Murder – Must
serve 35 years calendar time (flat time) to be parole
eligible and must receive two-thirds vote of the entire 18member Parole Board to be approved for parole.

57

3.

73rd Legislature Requirements (Offense dates 9-1-93
to 8-31-95); Senate Bill 1067 amending Article 42.18
(TCCP)].
a.

Same time requirements as 70th Legislature (See
Section I.A)

b.

Offenders convicted of certain Aggravated crimes (i.e.,
3g offenses) must serve one-half of their sentences in
calendar time (flat time); minimum –two years; maximum
30 years. These offenses are:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)

Capital Murder (note: must serve 35 years
calendar time)
Murder, 1st Degree [Section 19.02]
Indecency with a Child, 2nd Degree [Section
21.11 (a)(1)]
Aggravated Kidnapping
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Aggravated Robbery
“When it is shown that the defendant used or
exhibited a deadly weapon as defined in the
Penal Code, during the commission of a felony
offense or during the flight therefrom.”

c.

Offenders under this law who have their parole denied
will be released to Mandatory Supervision on their
Projected Release Dates. (See Section I.C)

d.

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN 73RD LEGISLATURE
(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

CAPITAL MURDER – Must serve 40 years of
calendar time (flat time) to be parole eligible;
must have two-thirds vote of the entire 18member Parole Board to be approved for parole.
DELETED as a Non-Mandatory Supervision
offense - Deadly Assault on Law Enforcement or
Corrections Officer or Court Participant [Section
22.03].
CHANGED as a Non-Mandatory offense – From
Aggravated Assault, 2nd or 3rd Degree, to
Aggravated Assault, 1st or 2nd Degree [Section
22.02]
DRUG FREE ZONES – Offenders convicted of
crimes committed in Drug Free Zones [Section
481.134 of the Health and Safety Code] are not
eligible for release on mandatory supervision.
They are not eligible for release on parole until
their actual time served equals five years,
without consideration of good conduct time, or
the maximum term of their sentences, whichever
is less.
USE OF CHILD IN COMMISSION OF
OFFENSE - Offenders convicted of crimes
involving the use of a child in the commission of
the offender [Section 481.140 of the Health and

58

Safety Code) are not eligible for release on
Mandatory Supervision
4.

74th Legislature Requirements (Offense dates 9-1-95 to 831-97)
a.

Same time requirements as 70th Legislature cases. (See
Section I.A)

b.

Same 3g offenses as 73rd Legislature cases, plus the
offense of Sexual Assault of a Child. (See Section III.B)

c.

Offenders under this law who have their parole denied, will
be released to Mandatory Supervision on their Projected
Release Dates. (See Section I-C, for offenses not eligible
for Mandatory Supervision, with the exception of Deadly
Assault on Law Enforcement or Correctional Officer or
Court Participant, which was deleted as a Non-Mandatory
Supervision offense by the 73rd Legislature.
Also,
Aggravated Assault offenses, 1st or 2nd degree, as
changed by the 73rd Legislature. Other exceptions to
release on Mandatory Supervision will be found in Parts f
and g of this section.)
d. Drug Free Zones and Use of Child in Commission of
Offense [See Section III, d (5)]
e. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN 74TH LEGISLATURE
(1)

Enhanced offenses resulting in life sentences for
the following offenses will require 35 calendar
years to be eligible for parole:
(a) Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to
Commit Sex Assault or Indecency with a
Child
(b) Aggravated Sexual Assault
(c) Aggravated Kidnapping (intent to violate or
abuse victim sexually).

(2)

f.

SEXUAL ASSAULT (of a child) – Offenders
convicted of Sexual Assault. [Section 22.011 (a)
(2) of the Texas Penal Code] became 3g
offenders during this legislative session and
must serve one-half of their sentences in
calendar time (flat time) to be parole eligible;
minimum-2 years; maximum 30 years.

Sentences for offenses occurring on or after 9-1-96 will not
be approved for release to Mandatory Supervision if a
Parole Panel determines that the release would endanger
the public. These are known as “Discretionary Mandatory
Supervision” or House Bill 1433 cases.

59

g.

5.

Sentences for offenses occurring on or after 9-1-96 will not
be considered for Mandatory Supervision or Discretionary
Mandatory Supervision if the offender has ever been
convicted of: Capital Murder, Aggravated Kidnapping,
Aggravated Sexual Assault (including Aggravated Sexual
Abuse and Aggravated Rape), Aggravated Robbery, any
offense with an affirmative finding of a deadly weapon,
st
nd
Murder 1 Degree, Sexual Assault 2 Degree (including
st
nd
Sexual Abuse and Rape), Aggravated Assault (1 and 2
st
st
Degree), Injury to a Child or Elderly 1 Degree, Arson 1
nd
Degree, Robbery 2 Degree, Drug Free Zone offense,
st
Injury to Disabled Individual, Burglary 1 Degree, Use of
Child in Commission of offense.

75th Legislature Requirements (Offense dates 9-1-97 to
present, Section 508.149 Texas Government Code); [House
Bill 432 amending Article 42.18 (TCCP); Texas Code of
Criminal Procedure changed 9-1-97 to Texas Government
Code].
a.

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN 75TH LEGISLATURE
(1)

(2)

D.

The following offenses are not eligible for
mandatory supervision if the offense occurs ON
nd
OR AFTER 5-23-97: Murder 2 Degree [Section
19.02 of the Texas Penal Code]; Indecency with
nd
rd
a Child 2 Degree, Indecency with a Child 3
Degree [Section 21.11 of the Texas Penal
Code].
Sentences for offenses occurring on or after 523-97 will not be considered for Discretionary
Mandatory Supervision if the offender has ever
nd
been convicted of Murder 2
Degree or
nd
rd
Indecency with a Child 2 or 3 Degree.

OFFENDERS WITH DETAINERS PENDING

All offenders with detainers should contact the Agency that placed the detainer
with TDCJ and attempt to have their detainers resolved. Offenders with
detainers who have been approved for parole, or scheduled for Mandatory
Supervision release, will be released to the Agency that placed the detainer with
TDCJ. Detainers are not ignored or forgotten by TDCJ or the Parole Division.
E.

PAROLE AND MANDATORY SUPERVISION VIOLATORS

Technical Parole Violators and Mandatory Supervision Violators will be reviewed
for parole when their time credits reflect they are legally eligible for parole review.
Parole or Mandatory Supervision violators with new convictions will be eligible for
parole consideration when they have accumulated sufficient time to become
eligible for parole.
F.

OFFENDERS WHO COMMIT OFFENSES WHILE IN CUSTODY

Offenders who commit felony offenses on or after July 1, 1994, while in the
custody of TDCJ, jails, contract facilities, transfer facilities, FCI, other state

60

prisons, and other similar facilities are not eligible for parole review until after
those charges are adjudicated and upon the offender meeting parole eligibility
requirements.
G.

QUESTIONS ABOUT PAROLE-RELATED ISSUES

To expedite responses, offenders who have questions about their parole
eligibility dates or any other parole/release matters should contact the Unit Parole
Officer or the Institutional Parole Office for assistance. Do not contact other
departments, as they are not trained in parole issues. Parole-related questions
should be sent on an offender request form (I-60) or letter to the Institutional
Parole Office and should clearly state the question on the I-60/letter. Appropriate
responses to these requests will be given as quickly as possible.
VIII.

SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAM INFORMATION
A.

The Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) and Evaluation

The Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) is located on three TDCJ facilities;
the Goree Unit in Huntsville, the Hightower Unit in Dayton, and the Hilltop Unit in
Gatesville. The SOTP administers psychological evaluations, and offers sex
offender rehabilitation services for both male and female offenders. Offenders
are eligible if they are G1, G2, or G3 custody and within 18 months of release.
The SOTP conducts psychological evaluations and offers treatment and
education for male and female offenders. Two programs are available. The
intensive treatment program is an 18 -month cognitive behavioral therapeutic
community program. A shorter three-month education program is also available
for low risk offenders. Offenders who are interested in receiving treatment
should send an I-60 to the Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division.
B.

Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators

In 1999, the Texas Legislature passed a law that provides for the civil
commitment of sexually violent predators. The law requires that an offender has
two or more convictions for one of the following sex offenses be referred for civil
commitment: aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, indecency with a child
by contact, aggravated kidnapping with the intent to commit a sex offense, or
burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit a sex offense. In addition, the
attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit one of these offenses is a qualifying
offense. Similar offenses committed in other states, under federal law or the
Uniform Code of Military Justice also qualify, as do adjudications of delinquency
in juvenile court for these types of offenses. In addition, a finding of not guilty by
reason of insanity (NGRI) for one of these offenses coupled with a conviction for
one of these offenses qualifies an offender, as does two findings of NGRI.
Successfully completed probations or deferred adjudications also count as final
convictions for purposes of civil commitment. The offender must be currently
serving a conviction for one of these offenses.
The Texas civil commitment process is based on outpatient treatment and
supervision. While most states that civilly commit sexually violent predators do
so in an institutional setting, Texas opted to manage this population in the
community. The Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment (hereinafter CSOT)
is responsible for case management and treatment services.
TDCJ staff identifies sex offenders who are within 16 months of their scheduled
release date, transfers the offender to the SOTP for an evaluation, and presents

61

the case to the Multidisciplinary Team (hereinafter MDT). The MDT is jointly
appointed by the Executive Director of TDCJ and the Commissioner of the Texas
Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR) and includes
representation for the TDCJ, CSOT, MHMR, and DPS. The team determines
whether the offender has been convicted of two qualifying offenses, whether they
think the offender is likely to commit a sexually violent offense after release or
discharge, and if so, recommends that the offender be seen by an expert. If the
expert determines that the offender has a behavioral abnormality that makes him
likely to commit a predatory act of sexual violence after release or discharge, the
case may be referred to the Special Prosecution Unit for consideration. If a
petition is filed, the offender will receive a copy. If the offender is indigent, State
Counsel for Offenders will be appointed to represent the offender.
C.

Sex Offender Registration Program Information

Sex offender registration is required in all 50 states. Offenders convicted of
certain sexual offenses on or after September 1, 1970, and who were still serving
that sentence in prison, on probation, parole or mandatory supervision as of
September 1, 1997, are required by law to register with local law enforcement
authorities. TDCJ will complete the registration paperwork at the time of your
release from prison and send it to the local law enforcement agency in the
community where you will live and to the Texas Department of Public Safety
(DPS). Within 7 days of your release, you must report to the local law
enforcement agency and verify the information. Failure to do so may result in a
new felony conviction.
TDCJ will also assess your level of risk to re-offend based upon a risk
assessment instrument approved by the Risk Assessment Review Committee.
The risk level is noted on the registration form. If you are noted as high risk and
were convicted of a sex offense on or after January 1, 2000, your neighbors will
receive a post card about you after you arrive in the community.
Information will also be printed in the newspaper on certain sex offenders and will
be available on the DPS website regardless of the offender’s risk level.
OFFENSE CODES REQUIRING REGISTRATION
Under Title 110A, Revised Statutes
Article 6252 - 13c.1
Adult and Juvenile Offenders
PENAL CODE

OFFENDER DESCRIPTION

Section 15.01
Section 15.02
Section 15.03
Section 20.02
Section 20.03

Conviction For Attempt, Conspiracy or Solicitation of an offense
listed below (excluding indecent exposure).

MONTH/YEAR
THE OFFENSE
BECAME
REGISTRABLE
09-01-1995

09-01-1991

Section 21.11

Unlawful Restraint, Kidnapping, or Aggravated Kidnapping and the
judge made an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim
was younger than 17 years of age. (including deferred adjudication)
Indecency with a child (excluding deferred adjudication)

Section 21.11

Indecency with a child (including deferred adjudication)

09-01-1993

Section 22.011

Sexual Assault (excluding deferred adjudication)

09-01-1991

Section 22.011

Sexual Assault (including deferred adjudication)

09-01-1993

62

09-01-1991

Section 22.021

Aggravated Sexual Assault (excluding deferred adjudication)

09-01-1991

Section 22.021

Aggravated Sexual Assault (including deferred adjudication)

09-01-1993

Section 25.02

Prohibited Sexual Conduct (Incest) (excluding deferred adjudication)

09-01-1991

Section 25.02

Prohibited Sexual Conduct (Incest) (including deferred adjudication)

09-01-1993

Section 21.08

Indecent Exposure (4th Conviction) (excluding deferred adjudication)

09-01-1991

Section 21.08

Indecent Exposure (4th Conviction) (including deferred adjudication)

09-01-1993

Section 21.08

Indecent Exposure (2nd Conviction) (including deferred adjudication)

09-01-1995

Section 43.05

Compelling Prostitution

Section 43.25

Sexual Performance by a Child (including deferred adjudication)

09-01-1993

Section 43.26

Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography (including deferred
adjudication)
Aggravated Kidnapping, if defendant committed offense with intent to
violate or abuse victim sexually
Burglary, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (d) of that
section and the defendant committed the offense with intent to
commit either of the following felony offenses: 21.11; 22.011; 22.021;
25.02; or 20.04(a)(4)
An adjudication of delinquent conduct based on a violation of one of
the offenses listed above, based on the date of enactment therein

09-01-1993

Section 20.04 (a)(4)
Section 30.02

Juvenile laws
Out of State
Convictions

09-01-93

Conviction under the laws of another state for an offense containing
elements that are substantially similar to the elements of any of the
above listed offenses and dates of enactment

Your parole officer will be able to answer questions concerning the Texas Sex
Offender Registration Program.
D.

Orchiectomy

The Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division coordinates offender requests
for an Orchiectomy, which is another term for surgical castration. An offender
may request this procedure if he has been convicted of (1) Indecency with a
Child, (2) Sexual Assault of a Child, or (3) Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
and has been previously convicted of one of those offenses. The offender must
be 21 years of age or older, submit his request in writing, and sign a statement
admitting that he is guilty of the offenses for which he has been convicted. The
offender will then be placed in the 18-month Sex Offender Treatment Program.
He will be required to complete the program before the surgery will be performed.
During the course of treatment, a psychiatrist and psychologist will evaluate the
offender to determine whether he is a suitable candidate for the procedure. They
will counsel the offender before he undergoes the procedure. In addition, a
monitor appointed by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners will consult
with the offender to ensure that medical professionals have provided adequate
information regarding surgical castration and that the offender is free from
coercion in his decision to have this procedure performed.
An offender can change his mind at any time before actually undergoing the
procedure and withdraw his request. However, once an offender has requested
the surgery but later decides not to proceed, he will no longer be eligible for the
surgery at any time in the future. The request, or completion, of surgical
castration has absolutely no influence on parole consideration, favorable or

63

09-01-1995
09-01-1995

09-01-1991
09-01-1993
09-01-1995
09-01-1995

otherwise. The Board of Pardons and Paroles cannot require that an offender
receive an Orchiectomy as a condition of release.
If interested, you should send an I-60 to the Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs
Division.
IX.

TDCJ CRIME STOPPERS “BEHIND THE WALLS”
TIP COMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURES
If an offender has information about a felony crime or wanted fugitive and this
information leads to the arrest, indictment and/or charges filed, he will be eligible
to collect a cash reward of “up to” $1,000.
HOW DO OFFENDERS REPORT INFORMATION TO CRIME STOPPERS?
WRITE TO:

TDCJ
CRIME STOPPERS
P. O. BOX 1855
HUNTSVILLE, TX 77342-1855

CALL:

1-800-832-8477

Offenders will not be required to write their name, TDCJ number or return
address on the outside of this sealed correspondence. Correspondence will not
be logged or inspected by TDCJ personnel. This correspondence will be treated
as “special correspondence.” Writing to the TDCJ Crime Stoppers Program
following the above instructions will assure informant anonymity.
WHAT TYPE OF INFORMATION IS REPORTED TO CRIME STOPPERS?
Information provided to TDCJ Crime Stoppers concerning a crime needs to be as specific
as possible to ensure that the appropriate investigative actions can be taken. Include a
physical description of the suspect (example: race, sex, age, date of birth, height, weight,
hair and eye color). Also, include the name of the suspect, nicknames or street names
used by the suspect, address, telephone number, employer, known hangouts and
acquaintances and the location of the suspect. Be sure to include types of weapons
and/or automobiles used by the suspect, and an explicit description of the date, time and
type of crime committed. If you do not give complete information, an Office of Inspector
General employee may contact you; however, the reason and purpose will remain
confidential.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The TDCJ Crime Stoppers Program will not be used to circumvent the grievance system
or to report problems that you may have with TDCJ or its operations that are not criminal
in nature.

64

CHAPTER 2
OFFENDER VISITATION RULES
INTRODUCTION
It is the policy of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to enable and encourage
offenders, consistent with security and classification restraints, to have visits with family members
and friends. Visiting in TDCJ institutions shall be conducted in an accommodating manner, in
keeping with the need to maintain order, the safety of persons and the security of the institution.
However, visitation is a privilege, and may be temporarily restricted for an offender or restricted
for a visitor if rule violations occur, or security concerns exist. Visitation may also be temporarily
discontinued during unit lockdowns and other serious incidents (e.g., escape, riot). Offender
visitation is managed under the direction of each Warden, and in accordance with the rules and
guidelines outlined below. All offender visits (except for attorney-client visits) are subject to be
electronically monitored. Unless otherwise noted, these rules and guidelines apply to both
general (non-contact) visits and contact visits.
DEFINITIONS:
General Visits:

Visits conducted inside the main building of the institution and during
which no physical contact between offenders and their visitors is possible
or allowed. General visits are usually held in a designated visiting area
where offenders and visitors are physically separated by a glass wall or
partition.

Contact Visits:

Visits usually conducted outside of the main building and within the
fenced perimeter and during which physical contact between an offender
and visitor is allowed. Embracing and kissing is permitted once at the
beginning and once at the end of each visit. Holding hands is permitted
during visitation, as long as the hands remain on top of the table in full
view of staff. During the visit, the offender and visitors are to be seated
at opposite sides of the table, with the exception of the offender’s small
children who may be held by the offender.
1.0 GENERAL INFORMATION

1.1

Offenders are not assigned to units solely for convenience of visitation privileges. While
it is recognized that unit assignments may create hardships for visitation, these
assignments are based on considerations other than offender or family convenience.

1.2

Each unit has a designated Family Liaison Officer to ensure that offenders’ relatives and
other persons are given assistance during visits with offenders and given aid in resolving
problems that may affect permitted contact with offenders. The Warden has ultimate
responsibility for resolving any visitation problems.

1.3

Copies of these Offender Visitation Rules are prominently displayed at locations in the
unit that are accessible to offenders and in areas accessible to visitors. Visitors shall be
provided with copies of these rules upon request.

1.4

Visitation Schedule:
Visitation hours are normally on Saturday and Sunday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.,
to include the noon hour. Visits are not allowed on holidays that fall during the week. For
reasons of security, visits for death-sentenced offenders are normally scheduled for

65

Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays between 5:30
p.m. and 9:30 p.m., except on State-approved holidays. Tuesdays (Mountain View) and
Wednesdays (Polunsky) between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., are reserved for
media visitation for death row offenders.
1.5

Frequency and Length of Visits:
Generally, all offenders shall be permitted to have one (1) visit for a two (2) hour period
each weekend, for a total of four (4) or five (5) visits per month, depending on the number
of weekends in the month, except for offenders assigned to the following areas:
?
?
?
?
?
?

Solitary Confinement
Lockdown Status
G5, J5 Custody
Administrative Segregation/Special Management
Intake Diagnostic Processing
Level II and III Death Row Segregation

The number of contact visits allowed each month will count toward this total number.
Except in unusual circumstances, an offender will not be scheduled for a contact visit and
a general (non-contact) visit on the same day or on the same weekend.
1.5.1.

Frequency of Contact Visits:
Based upon institutional behavior, and provided that eligibility criteria are met,
offenders in the following statuses and custody levels will be eligible for contact
visits, with the frequency as indicated below:

Custody Level
Level 1 –G1, J1, P1
Level 2 & 3 – G2, G3, J2, P2, P3
Level 4 (Institutional offenders SAT 3 & 4
with clear year and State Jail offenders with
clear year) – G4, J4, P4
All other Level 4’s – G4, P4, J4
Level 5 – G5, J5, P5
Level 5 (offenders on special penalty
cell restriction) – G5, J5, P5
Level 5 (GRAD offenders) – CG
Protective Custody Level 1 – 4A
Outside Trusty (OT), SAFP offenders (FT),
IPTC offenders (IT)
Medical (MD), Mental Health (MH),
MROP (II)

Frequency
1 contact visit per week
3 contact visits per month

2 contact visits per month
0 contact visits, 1 regular visit per week
0 contact visits, 2 regular visits per
month
0 contact visits, 1 regular visit per month
1 regular visit per week
3 contact visits per month
1 contact visit per week
(whatever computer recommended
custody allows)

1.5.2

All offenders in G1, G2, G3 or appropriate G4 or Protective Custody-Level I at
the Byrd, Jester I and private pre-release units shall be eligible to receive contact
visits each weekend, except in those individual cases where contact visits have
been suspended. If general (non-contact) visitation areas are constructed on
these units, then offenders at these units shall be eligible for contact visits in
accordance with the same rules and criteria as offenders at all other units.

1.5.3

Both outdoor and indoor contact visitation areas exist on TDCJ units. For
outdoor contact visits, covered "picnic type" tables or similar seating

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arrangements are recommended. The visiting area and tables shall be arranged
to allow for adequate supervision. Contact visits shall be held outdoors if
weather permits. The Warden or designee shall determine when inclement
weather conditions prohibit the use of outdoor contact visitation areas.
1.5.4

Eligibility Criteria for Contact Visits:
1.

Offenders are eligible for contact visits if they meet all of the following
criteria:
a.

b.
c.

d.

1.6

Must be assigned to G1/J1, G2/J2, G3 (G4 offenders may be
eligible if S3 or S4 with one [1] year clear of major disciplinary
convictions and J4 offenders may be eligible with one year clear
of major disciplinaries);
No administrative denial code (suspension of contact visits by
the UCC for reasons of safety or security);
Offenders assigned to transfer facilities must have been
incarcerated in TDCJ on a current TDCJ number for a minimum
of three (3) months from the current TDCJ receive date.
offenders assigned to State Jails must be incarcerated for a
minimum of 30 days from the TDCJ receive date.

2.

Offenders shall be able to receive contact visits when their eligibility is
reflected in the TDCJ mainframe computer records.

3.

Contact visits may be suspended as a disciplinary punishment if the
offender is found guilty of a disciplinary rule violation.

4.

Offenders newly-assigned to a unit shall be reviewed by the Unit
Classification Committee (UCC) to determine whether an offender should
be administratively denied from having contact visiting privileges.

Number of Visitors Allowed:
Each offender is allowed to have up to two (2) adult visitors per visit. Children under 16
years of age may visit without being counted in this number. The number of children
allowed per visit will be based on the amount of space available for visitation and on the
visitor's ability to manage and control the children. Two seats are provided for visitors at
each visitation station.
2.0 WHO CAN VISIT WITH OFFENDERS

2.1

Approved Visitors List:
During the reception and diagnostic process, each offender shall be asked to submit a list
of no more than ten (10) names of proposed visitors to the Warden or designee. Each
name submitted must include the physical address of the proposed visitor and the
visitor's relationship to the offender. An offender must request to have a visitor added to
the list. The visitor cannot request the addition. The offender is required to identify all
individuals on his proposed Visitors List who are on active probation, parole or mandatory
supervision release. Newly received offenders will be given sufficient time to obtain
visitors' addresses for inclusion on the initial Visitors List. (Offenders may only include
physical addresses for visitors; post office boxes are not permitted.)
2.1.1

Children under 16 years of age do not have to be included on an offender’s
Visitors List to be eligible to visit and will not be counted toward the number of

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visitors allowed per visit. Children under 16 years of age must be accompanied
by an adult (18 years old or older) who is listed on the offender's approved
Visitors List.

2.2

2.1.2

Persons with criminal records will not automatically be prevented from visiting.
The nature and extent of the criminal record and the time lapse since the criminal
activity will be taken into consideration.

2.1.3

If a proposed visitor is not approved for visitation, the reasons for the denial will
be given in writing to the offender. The offender or the visitor may appeal the
decision through the Director’s Review Committee.

2.1.4

Each offender will be given a copy of his approved Visitors List. The original will
remain in the offender’s facility file. The names and addresses of each offender’s
approved visitors will also be maintained on the computer.

2.1.5

Institutional offenders may make changes to their approved Visitors List once
every six (6) months. State Jail offenders may make changes to their approved
Visitors List every 60 days.

Visitors Approved for Contact Visits:
2.2.1

Contact visits are limited to the eligible offender’s immediate family and to the
significant other categories specified below. For purposes of this policy,
immediate family is defined as:
? Natural or adoptive mother and stepmother
? Natural or adoptive father and stepfather
? Natural or adoptive children, stepchildren or grandchildren (children under
the age of 16 years must be accompanied by an adult <18 or older> who is
approved for contact visits)
? Natural or adoptive siblings and stepsiblings.
? Spouse (common law or ceremonial). The person listed as an offender’s
spouse on the offender’s approved Visitors List shall be eligible for contact
visits. Any change of an offender’s spouse on the Visitors List must be
verifiable by the Warden or designee (i.e., proof of divorce must be provided
by the offender when a change in spouse is requested on the visiting list). A
copy of the marriage license or other acceptable legal documents shall be
used for verification. Acceptable documentation for establishing a commonlaw marriage status is a Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage. A
declaration of informal marriage shall be executed on a form prescribed by
the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the State Department of Health and provided
by the County Clerk. In absence of a Declaration and Registration of
Informal Marriage, both the offender and the common-law spouse (must be
sworn) may submit to the Warden affidavits declaring their marriage. The
offender may use an unsworn affidavit under penalty of perjury (§§132.001 –
132.003, VTCA Civil Practice and Remedies Code). However, the commonlaw spouse must provide an affidavit certified by the County Clerk or
notarized by a Notary Public. Any other form of registration acceptable to the
Bureau of Vital Statistics is considered acceptable proof of marriage. A copy
of the documents shall be placed in the offender’s unit file.
? Grandparents, and grandchildren
? Persons related by marriage (father-, mother-, daughter-, son-, brother-and
sister-in-law) if accompanied by an immediate family member. (Minor
children of the offender qualify as an accompanying family member.)
? Aunt or Uncle

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? Surrogate parent or special relationship. For purposes of this policy, a
surrogate parent is generally defined as a person with whom the offender
resided as a minor for a significant amount of time. For example, foster
parents or the guardian of an offender's minor child, to include the parent of
the child, are eligible if their relationship to the offender is verifiable by the
Warden. A person having a special relationship with the offender may be
eligible for contact visits if the special relationship is verified and approved by
the Warden. The Warden shall have the authority to assess the relationship
and determine if the proposed visitor qualifies as a surrogate parent or
special relationship. The Warden shall have the authority to decline approval
for a contact visit if he determines that the proposed visitor does not qualify
for the contact visit.
? Non-immediate family members. The Warden may approve non-immediate
family members for contact visits with offenders who, although eligible, are
not able to have contact visits with immediate family members, (e.g., the
offender has no immediate family, family members are located too far for
visitation, no immediate family members or visitors from other categories
have been approved for contact visitation, or other similar situations).

2.3

2.2.2

An offender convicted and sentenced for current or prior crimes involving sexual
offenses against children or offenses causing bodily injury to a child (age of child
victim was 17 or younger) is restricted from having contact visits with children
under the age of 16. This restriction is not intended to be used to prohibit family
participation in counseling groups as a part of the SOTP. These exceptions shall
only occur with the approval of the SOTP Clinical Director.)

2.2.3

Due to the physical structure of the visitation areas provided at outside trusty
camp facilities, all offenders assigned to outside trusty camps shall be permitted
to have contact visits with any and all persons listed on their approved Visitors
Lists.

2.2.4

All offenders assigned to the Byrd, Jester I and private pre-release facilities shall
also be permitted to have contact visits with any person listed on their approved
Visitors Lists. This policy may be modified with respect to these facilities in the
event that indoor visitation areas for general (non-contact) visits are constructed.

2.2.5

Offenders assigned to G1 custody will be allowed to have a contact visit with any
person on their approved Visitors List.

Visitor Notification:
2.3.1

When an offender receives his initial unit assignment or is transferred to a new
unit of assignment, the offender is responsible for notifying all persons on his
Visitors List as to the unit’s mailing address, visitation schedule (to include
frequency and length of visits, periods of visitation, and other similar information),
and number of visitors allowed per visit. The offender is also responsible for
notifying his approved visitors of his TDCJ number.

2.3.2

The offender is responsible for notifying approved visitors who are on active
probation, parole or mandatory supervision release that each time they visit they
may be required to bring with them written permission from the individual or
agency supervising such conditional release and obtain permission from the
respective Warden prior to being allowed to visit the offender.

2.3.3

When an offender’s visitation privileges are in any way restricted or suspended
(e.g., offender is placed into solitary confinement; offender’s contact visitation

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privileges are administratively suspended by UCC), the offender is responsible
for notifying the individuals on his Visitors List by mail as to the type and length of
the restriction or suspension. In cases where an offender’s general visitation
privileges have been restricted due to the offender’s placement in solitary
confinement, and where notification by mail is not possible before the visitors are
expected, the offender should notify the Warden or designee, who will attempt to
contact the visitors by telephone.
2.3.4

In the event of placement of the offender on the seriously/critically ill list, the unit
Manager of Health Services notifies the Warden or designee who shall make the
appropriate notifications to next of kin in accordance with AD-06.10, “Notification
Regarding Seriously/Critically Ill Offenders.”
3.0 RULES FOR VISITS

3.1

Visitor Identification:
3.1.1

Prior to entering the visiting area, all visitors 16 years of age and older are
required to properly identify themselves with acceptable identification which
includes a photograph and signature, (e.g., valid driver's license, Department of
Public Safety [DPS] identification card, employee identification card/badge, or
student identification card). If the visitor’s identification is questionable or not
acceptable, further verification will be required (such as birth certificate, passport,
credit card or some other official identification). Children under 16 years of age
may be required to provide identification such as a birth certificate or DPS
identification card.

3.1.2

Visitors must provide the following information prior to entering the unit:
a.
b.
c.

Name and TDCJ number of the offender to be visited
Visitor's relationship to the offender
Visitor's current address

3.1.3

Persons on active probation, parole or mandatory supervision release may be
required to provide written permission from the individual or agency supervising
such conditional release. They also may be required to obtain permission from
the Warden before being allowed to visit.

3.1.4

The officer in charge of visiting must verify all visitors have received approval
prior to allowing the visit. Questions regarding identity shall be referred
immediately to the Warden or designee.

3.1.5

A visitor shall be denied permission to visit and may have his name removed
from the offender’s Visitors List if:
a.
b.
c.
d.

The visitor is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The visitor refuses or fails to produce sufficient identification or falsifies
identifying information
The visitor refuses to be searched or refuses to allow his vehicle to be
searched
The visitor violates any TDCJ visitation rule

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3.2

3.3

Searches of Visitors and Vehicles:
3.2.1

All vehicles are subject to search prior to entering the grounds of the unit.
Visitors shall be searched prior to entering the visitation area. Any visitor
refusing the search procedure shall be required to leave the unit grounds.

3.2.2

All visitors shall leave in their vehicle any metal objects or material that is capable
of causing injury, abetting escape or otherwise causing a threat to the safety or
security of the facility. The Warden or designee has authority to make a final
determination whether an object is prohibited. All visitors shall be screened by a
metal detector prior to visiting an offender. Said screening shall be conducted
outside the perimeter fence. If no perimeter fence exists, the metal detector
screening shall be conducted prior to a visitor’s breaching the security of the
compound. All hand-carried items shall be searched. Note: During inclement
weather only, at those units which do not have a gatehouse or shelter in which to
screen visitors, staff may conduct the metal detector screening in a visitors’
waiting area inside the unit.

3.2.3

No internal body cavity searches of visitors shall be conducted. Pat or stripsearches of visitors shall only be conducted if the visitor agrees, in writing, to be
searched and the Warden or his designated representative on duty gives prior
approval for the search based on reasonable cause. Any and all searches shall
be conducted by officers of the same sex as the visitors being searched.
However, metal detector screening may be performed by either gender.

Contraband Items:
Visitors shall not possess or introduce into the grounds of any unit, any items defined
below as contraband or that could reasonably be determined to be used in furtherance of
a violation of TDCJ policy. The Warden or designee has authority to make a final
determination whether an item is prohibited. The following are defined as contraband:
? Any intoxicating beverages;
? Any controlled substance (as defined by Section 481.002, Texas Health and Safety
Code) and dangerous drugs (as defined by Section 483.001, Texas Health and
Safety Code) and not otherwise permitted by Article 38.11, Texas Penal Code;
? Any firearm or instrument customarily used or designed to be used as a dangerous
weapon or having explosive substance [The Texas Board of Criminal Justice rule
states, in part, that it is a criminal trespass for a person to enter or remain on the
property of the TDCJ with a deadly weapon on his person or in his vehicle.
Additionally, it is a felony under Section 46.035 of the Texas Penal Code for a person
licensed to carry a concealed handgun under Texas Government Code, Chapter 411,
Subchapter H, to carry a handgun on the premises of a correctional unit, regardless
of whether the handgun is concealed. A person who is licensed under Texas
Government Code, Chapter 411, Subchapter H, to carry a handgun, does not
trespass on TDCJ property with the handgun if the gun is secured in the locked trunk
of a vehicle or locked compartment if the vehicle does not have a trunk, before the
vehicle enters TDCJ property. (Board Rule § 151.21)];
? Any instrument that may be used as an aid in effecting or attempting to effect an
escape;
? Any article, instrument or substance specifically prohibited by the policies and rules of
the department; and
? Any item brought onto the grounds (e.g., tobacco) with the intent that it be delivered
to an offender.

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3.4

3.3.1

If contraband is found on the person or in the clothing of a visitor during a pat or
strip-search, or during a search of a visitor's vehicle, the contraband shall be
confiscated. Law enforcement authorities shall be contacted at the discretion of
the Warden or designated representative.

3.3.2

If law enforcement authorities indicate their intent to arrest the visitors, TDCJ
shall detain those persons until the arrival of law enforcement authorities (see
Section 20.02 [d] of the Texas Penal Code). The visitors shall be advised as to
why they are being detained.

3.3.3

Visitors who are found to be in possession (i.e., on their person, in their clothing
or in their vehicles) of contraband may be removed from an offender’s Visitor
List.

Supervision of Visits:
Each Warden shall establish procedures for ensuring that all visits are conducted in a
quiet and orderly manner.

3.5

3.6

3.4.1

Assigned staff shall constantly monitor for the passing of contraband (between
an offender and his visitors as well as between offenders).

3.4.2

Offenders shall be pat or strip-searched prior to entering the visitation area and
shall be strip-searched prior to departing the visitation area. Upon completion of
the strip-search, the offender shall immediately leave the visitation area and shall
not be given the opportunity to return to the visitation area or any part of it, to
include the offender restroom.

Rules for Offenders:
3.5.1

Offenders shall be required to wear TDCJ-issued pants, shirts and State-issued
or commissary purchased shoes during visits. Shirts must be tucked in at all
times (Female offenders shall follow dress requirements as established on their
unit).

3.5.2

Offenders shall not pass items to other offenders or to visitors.

3.5.3

Offenders shall not be loud or boisterous during visits in order to keep from
disturbing other offenders and visitors.

Rules for Visitors:
3.6.1

Dress Requirements:
a.
b.

c.

d.
e.

Shirt and shoes are mandatory.
Halter-tops, T-shirts (underwear type), tank tops, fishnet or see-through
fabrics are not allowed. Shirts and blouses with an open midriff are not
allowed.
Shorts or cutoffs are not allowed, except for pre-adolescent boys and
girls. (Generally, pre-adolescent means ten years old or less. However,
the Warden has the final discretion based on the physical maturity of the
child.)
Men and post-adolescent boys must wear long pants.
Women and post-adolescent girls may wear dresses, skirts (no shorter
than 3” above the middle of the knee while standing), capri pants (styles
of pants that are at least 3” below the middle of the knee while standing)

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f.

3.6.2

or long pants. (If a dress, pants or skirt appears to be too short, the duty
officer will be contacted for a decision.)
Shirts or other articles of clothing with pictures or language that may be
considered profane or offensive by current public standards shall not be
allowed.

Items Permitted for Visitors:
Visitors shall be permitted to bring into the unit a small wallet or change purse.
Effective August 1, 2001, the TDCJ no longer allows visitors to bring any paper
money onto a correctional facility. Visitors may bring coin money in an amount
not to exceed $20.00. Visitors who violate this rule may have their visit denied
and may be removed from the offender’s visitation list. Visitors with infants or
small children may bring no more than three (3) diapers, baby wipes, and two (2)
baby bottles (“sippy” cup for toddlers) into the unit. These items may be stored in
a clear plastic bag. Visitors will be allowed to purchase soft drinks and vending
machine snacks for offenders during general and contact visits, but the items
must be consumed during the visit.

3.6.3

Items Not Permitted for Visitors:
Visitors shall not be permitted to bring packages, mail, magazines, pagers, cell
phones, food items, purses, diaper bags, briefcases, cameras, baby strollers,
toys, dolls, photographs or photograph albums, or other non-authorized items
into the unit. Visitors shall not be permitted to bring items of any kind to
offenders. All such items shall be locked in visitors' vehicles prior to entering the
unit. Photographs of family members and other similar items can be mailed to
offenders at their unit of assignment. All photographs must be reviewed and
approved through established procedures. TDCJ units are designated as
"tobacco free.” Visitors shall not be permitted to bring cigarettes, cigarette
lighters, matches or any tobacco products (any product prepared for smoking,
chewing or dipping) into TDCJ units (Board Rule § 151.25).

3.6.4

Visitor Conduct:
a.

Visitors are prohibited from engaging in the following activities:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

b.

3.6.5

Loitering around the unit’s front gate or guard tower;
Walking along the perimeter road;
Photographing buildings, fences, or any other part of the unit;
Loud playing of radios; or
Yelling at offenders.

Visitors are required to keep accompanying children as orderly as
possible during the visit so that other offenders and visitors shall not be
disturbed. In the event that visitors are unable to control their children,
the visit shall be terminated and visitors and children shall be escorted
out of the front gate. Adult visitors are responsible for the supervision of
all children who accompany them.

Removal of Articles from the Unit:
No visitor shall take any article whatsoever from the grounds of the unit (e.g.,
gifts from offenders or offenders’ excess personal property items) without
authorization from the Warden or his designated representative.

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Offender Craft Items:
On those units which sell offender-made craft items, the purchase of such items
is allowed only during visitation hours (hours will be designated by each unit).
Purchase must be paid for in CASH only. Monies for payment of craft items may
be arranged in advance with the Duty Warden. Purchases are handled by
personnel inside the main building at the unit. Crafts designated as gifts for
visitors can be claimed by those visitors by presenting the appropriate personnel
with valid identification.
3.7

3.8

Denial of Visits/Visitors:
3.7.1

When there is reason to believe that a forthcoming visit or a particular visitor shall
compromise the safety and security of offenders, staff or the institution, the
Warden shall have the authority to cancel the visit or deny a particular individual
permission to visit on that day. In addition, the Warden may remove an
individual's name from an offender’s Visitors List when there is cause to believe
that the visitor shall compromise the security of the institution or the safety of
offenders or staff.

3.7.2

Offenders will be notified in writing of the denial of a visit/visitor either before (if
time permits) or immediately after the cancellation of the visit. Offenders will also
be given written notice upon removal of a visitor's name from the Visitors List.

3.7.3

An offender may appeal the decision to remove an individual's name from his
Visitors List to the Director’s Review Committee.

3.7.4

A visitor whose name has been removed from an offender’s Visitors List will be
notified of this fact by the Warden. The denied visitor will be notified in writing of
the specific reasons for his removal from the Visitors List except in those cases
when disclosure of the reasons to the individual would jeopardize institutional
security or the safety of any individual. Additionally, a denied visitor will be
notified of the right to appeal the decision to remove his name from an offender’s
Visitors List to the Director's Review Committee. The appeal must be submitted
within 14 days of the date on the written notice. If the appeal is denied, the
individual may submit another appeal after six (6) months of the denial.

Termination of Visits in Progress:
3.8.1

The Warden on duty shall have the authority to terminate an offender’s general
or contact visit while the visit is in progress if the offender violates established
TDCJ offender rules and regulations or if the offender’s visitors do not comply
with the rules and regulations established for visitors, to include failure to prevent
children from disturbing other persons in the visiting area.

3.8.2

Prior to termination of a visit, less severe alternatives will be attempted if
appropriate. This will include warnings to the offender or visitors of improper
conduct which, if not discontinued, will result in the visit being terminated and
may result in the visitor's name being removed from the offender’s Visitors List.

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4.0 VISITS FOR SPECIAL OFFENDER CATEGORIES
4.1

MROP (Mentally Retarded Offender Program) and Psychiatric In-Patient Offenders:
Determinations regarding visitation (general and contact visits) for offenders in an MROPSheltered Facility or a psychiatric in-patient facility shall be made on a case-by-case
basis by the offender’s program treatment team.
4.1.1

Eligibility for contact visits for these offenders is determined as follows:
a.

b.
c.

4.2

Assigned to a management level commensurate with G1/J1, G2/J2, or
G3 custody (and appropriate G4/J4), as determined by the treatment
team.
Meets eligibility criteria.
Review and approval by the program treatment team with a psychiatric
or rehabilitation aide supervisor or designee as a member. If the
psychiatric or rehabilitation aide supervisor or designee is unable to
attend, he may submit recommendations in writing to the treatment team
as to whether or not the offender should be eligible to receive contact
visits in light of security concerns.

4.1.2

The frequency of contact visits for these offenders will be determined based upon
the same custody status levels as general population offenders. Visitation for all
psychiatric in-patient facilities may be scheduled for any day of the week, at the
discretion of the program treatment team and the unit administration.

4.1.3

Unit Health Services staff are responsible for providing the Warden with a list of
names/TDCJ numbers of psychiatric in-patient offenders who are precluded from
visitation as a result of their illness.

Psychiatric Out-Patient Offenders:
Psychiatric outpatients are eligible for general and contact visits in accordance with the
same criteria and procedures as all other general population offenders.

4.3

Transient Status Offenders:
Offenders in transient status or housing (except those undergoing diagnostic and
reception processing) are eligible for general visits in the same manner as all other
general population offenders. Contact visitation for these offenders is allowed in
accordance with the criteria and procedures outlined in these rules and at the discretion
of the Warden.

4.4

Safekeeping Status:
Offenders in safekeeping status are eligible for general and contact visits in accordance
with the same criteria and procedures as all other general population offenders.

4.5

Pre-Hearing Detention:
Offenders in pre-hearing detention are not allowed to have contact visits while in that
status, irrespective of custody level or time-earning status. However, these offenders are
allowed to have general visits in accordance with the same criteria and procedures as
general population offenders.

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4.6

Lockdown Status:
Offenders on lockdown status may be precluded from visitation in accordance with policy
related to lockdowns and the facility’s progressive release lockdown schedule. However,
visits by an offender’s attorney shall be permitted (except as prohibited in the TDCJ
Attorney Visitation Rules).

4.7

Administrative Segregation/Special Management:
4.7.1

General Visits:
Offenders in Administrative Segregation/Special Management (Security
Detention and Protective Custody) are allowed general visits in accordance with
the Administrative Segregation Plan.
Level I

One (1)-two (2) hour non-contact visit each week

Level II

Two (2)-two (2) hour non-contact visits each month

Level III

One (1)-two (2) hour non-contact visit each month

Special security procedures may be utilized during visitation periods to ensure
the safety and security of all offenders, offender visitors, staff and the security of
the institution.
4.7.2

Contact Visits
Offenders in Administrative Segregation – Security Detention are not eligible for
contact visits. Offenders in Administrative Segregation – Protective Custody
Level I (only) are eligible for contact visits with the same criteria and frequency as
G2/J2, and G3 custody general population offenders.
Eligible Protective
Custody-Level I offenders may have their contact visits scheduled during the
week with prior approval from the Warden. However, those who do so shall not
have a general or contact visit on the following weekend.

4.8

Death Row Offenders:
Offenders on Death Row are allowed one general visit per week for a two (2) hour period.
Visiting hours for death-sentenced offenders are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., except on State-approved
holidays. Tuesdays (Mountain View) and Wednesdays (Polunsky) between the hours of
1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. are reserved for the media (e.g., TV, newspapers) to visit deathsentenced offenders. Special security procedures (e.g., security cages) may be utilized
during the visitation periods to ensure the safety and security of offenders, offender
visitors, staff, as well as the security of the institution.

4.9

G5/J5 Offenders:
4.9.1

G5 offenders are allowed two (2) non-contact visits each month. G5/J5 offenders
who are on special penalty cell restriction are allowed only one (1) non-contact
visit each month. All visits will be limited to two (2) hours in duration. Due to the
physical configuration of the expansion cellblock facilities (the separate cellblock
facilities at the Estelle, Lewis, Smith, Allred, and Clements Units designed to
house G5 and Administrative Segregation offenders), assigned offenders in
these facilities only shall have scheduled visits during the week. Generally, all
visits should be scheduled one (1) week in advance. Visitation times will be 8:00

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a.m. through 5:00 p.m., seven (7) days per week. Individuals on an offender’s
approved Visitors List are responsible for scheduling dates and time of visits.
4.9.2

G5 offenders participating in the Gang Renunciation and Disassociation (GRAD)
process at the Ramsey I Unit are allowed one (1) two (2) hour non-contact visit
each week. The G5 offenders participating in the GRAD process are only
allowed visits on the weekends.
5.0 SUSPENSION OF VISITS

5.1

General Visits:
Loss of general visitation privileges cannot be imposed as a result of conviction for a
disciplinary violation. However, general visitation privileges shall be suspended while
offenders are in solitary confinement for serious rule violations. Visitation privileges may
be suspended for offenders on lockdown status.

5.2

Contact Visits:
Because contact visitation is a privilege granted to offenders based on meritorious
institutional behavior, contact visitation is subject to suspension through the unit
disciplinary process as a result of institutional rule violations. Contact visitation privileges
may also be administratively suspended or denied for reasons of safety and security.
5.2.1

Contact Visitation Suspensions Resulting from Disciplinary Convictions:
Minor Disciplinary Hearings: Offenders who are eligible for contact visits and
who are found guilty of minor disciplinary violations by a Minor Hearing Officer
may have their contact visitation privileges suspended for a minimum of one (1)
visit and a maximum of two (2) months from the date of conviction. Offenders
whose contact visitation privileges are suspended will continue to be eligible for a
general visit each weekend as outlined in these rules.
Major Disciplinary Hearings: Offenders who are eligible for contact visits and who
are found guilty of disciplinary violations by a Disciplinary Hearing Officer,
through the major disciplinary hearing process, may have their contact visitation
privileges suspended for a minimum of one (1) visit and a maximum of four (4)
months from the date of conviction. Offenders whose contact visitation privileges
are suspended shall continue to be eligible for a general visit each weekend as
outlined in these rules.

5.2.2

Administrative Suspension of Contact Visits through Use of the Administrative
Denial Code:
Contact visitation privileges may be administratively suspended by the UCC upon
determination that contact visits for the offender would be detrimental to the
safety or security of other offenders, staff or the institution. Upon the UCC's
recommendation, the suspension shall be lifted and the offender shall be eligible
for contact visits so long as he meets all other eligibility criteria. This procedure
(5.2.2) does not apply to MROP offenders at an MROP Sheltered Facility or to
psychiatric in-patient offenders. Supervision of contact visits for these offenders
are by recommendation from their program treatment team.

77

6.0 SPECIAL VISITS
The Warden or designee may permit special visits (contact or non-contact) or authorize
special conditions of visits outside of the ordinary course of established visitation rules.
Offenders or visitors wanting to have a special visit shall submit requests in writing to the
Warden. The Warden or designee shall review the request and notify the offender of his
denial or approval of the special visit. In those circumstances when the offender has had
no prior notice of the special visit (e.g., family travels over 300 miles to see the offender
without telling the offender of their visit), the Warden shall have the authority to approve
or deny the request based on his assessment of the individual circumstances of the
request. The Warden has sole discretionary authority to grant or deny requests for
special visits, to include, but not limited to, the circumstances outlined below.
6.1

Three Hundred (300) Miles:
Permission for visits of a maximum of four (4) hours may be obtained through the
Warden or designee for those visitors whose residence is three hundred (300) or more
miles (as indicated by the Texas State Mileage Guide) in distance (one way) from the
offender’s unit of assignment. A total of eight (8) hours visiting with a maximum of four
(4) hours per day on two (2) consecutive days may be permitted. Such visits may be
scheduled during weekdays by special arrangement. Only one special extended visit
may be held each month. Permission for an extended visit due to distance traveled shall
not normally be granted if the visitor has visited more than once in the past month.

6.2

Spiritual Advisors:
Permission for visits with spiritual advisors who are not listed on the offender’s approved
Visitors List may be obtained from the Warden. Spiritual advisors must satisfactorily
identify themselves as such in order to obtain permission to visit (guidelines for
ministerial/spiritual visits for offenders on death row are outlined in the Death Row Plan).

6.3

Prospective Employers:
Permission for visits with prospective employers who are not listed on the offender’s
approved Visitors List may be obtained from the Warden. Prospective employers must
satisfactorily identify themselves as such in order to obtain permission to visit.

6.4

Critical/Serious Illness List:
“Seriously ill” or “critically ill” are medical conditions determined by a licensed physician.
Critically ill is the gravest condition, when death is an acute concern. Seriously ill is also
a grave condition, but there is usually more of a possibility that the patient may recover
than there is with the critically ill status. The determination of the status of an offender is
to be made by a physician only and not based on the assumptions of correctional staff.
1.

Offenders on TDCJ units
Offenders who are placed on the critical or serious illness list by a licensed
physician, to include those offender patients listed as non-ambulatory, may be
precluded from visitation if physically unable to visit during the regularly
scheduled visitation period.
The presiding physician shall make the
determination regarding the offender’s ability to receive visitors. However, the
Warden may provide alternative means for visiting for those offenders on a caseby-case basis (e.g., rescheduling a visit during the weekday by special
arrangement).

78

2.

Free-World Hospitals
If the offender is in a free-world hospital, usually visitation does not take place.
However, in exceptional circumstances, family visitation will take place as
considered appropriate by the Warden, Chaplain, and free-world hospital
administration. Factors taken into consideration will include the seriousness of
the illness (as determined by the presiding physician), security needs, and the
hospital’s physical structure or location.

3.

Hospital Galveston
Critically or seriously ill offenders are allowed visits seven (7) days a week at
Hospital Galveston. The determination of whether an offender is seriously or
critically ill is determined by the presiding physician.

6.5

Hospice Offenders:
All visits shall be coordinated through the Chaplaincy Department and shall meet
the approval of both security and Health Services. Visitation may occur seven
(7) days a week, generally between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The
Warden shall have final authority over visitation within the Hospice Program.
6.5.1

Visitation in the Infirmary
a.
b.

c.
d.

6.5.2

Visiting in the General Visitation Area
a.
b.
c.

6.6

Visitors entering the infirmary must be immediate family or those
on the offender’s approved visiting list.
Visiting children must be immediate family as defined by TDCJ
Visitation Plan. Children 16 years of age and younger shall visit
in the regular visitation area. Only persons 17 years of age and
older shall be permitted to go to the infirmary to visit.
Only up to four (4) adult visitors at one time shall be permitted to
visit an offender in the infirmary.
Exceptions can be made due to the deterioration of the
offender’s health and at the Warden’s discretion.

Offenders, whose health condition permits, may receive visits in
the existing visitation area.
Offenders receiving visits in the existing visiting area may visit
with anyone on their approved visiting list.
All other visitation issues shall be in accordance with existing
visitation policy.

Visits Between Offenders (Non-Legal):
Permission for special, non-legal visits between offenders may be granted under the
conditions outlined below. Final approval from the State Classification Committee (SCC)
must be obtained in those cases where the offenders are assigned to different units and
approval of the visit necessitates a temporary unit transfer.
6.6.1

Eligibility Criteria:
Offenders must meet the following criteria in order to be approved for a visit.
a.

The offenders must be assigned to a permanent unit.

79

b.
c.

d.
e.
f.
6.6.2

Approval Process:
a.

b.

6.7

The offenders must be related by blood or marriage.
Both offenders must have been in the TDCJ for a minimum of six (6)
months and have demonstrated satisfactory institutional adjustment (i.e.,
no major disciplinary cases for six [6] months and no pending disciplinary
cases).
Each offender must be listed on the approved Visitors List of the other
offender.
The offenders must not have had a non-legal visit with another offender
within the last twelve (12) months.
Visits will not be permitted between Institutional and State Jail offenders.

An offender must submit a written request to his Warden to obtain
approval for a visit with another offender. If approved, the Warden shall
forward the request to the Warden of the offender to be visited via e-mail.
If both Wardens approve the visit, the request shall be submitted to the
SCC via e-mail for review. If approved, the SCC shall schedule the visit
and notify the Wardens involved. If the visit is denied, the SCC shall
return the request to the unit via e-mail. Offenders may appeal such
denials through the Offender Grievance Procedures.

Current/Former TDCJ Employees:
For purposes of the TDCJ Visitation Plan, “employee” (current or former) shall mean
anyone employed (currently or previously) by the TDCJ, or anyone currently or previously
employed by an agent of TDCJ (private prison vendor, Windham School District, UTMB,
Texas Tech or other similar entity).
6.7.1

Eligibility Criteria for Visitation
Current/former employees are not allowed to be placed on an offender’s visiting
list unless:
a
b

c

6.7.2

The relationship was established prior to the offender’s incarceration;
and
While employed with the TDCJ, the current/former employee reported
the relationship to Agency officials in accordance with PD-21, “Employee
General Rules of Conduct”; and
The current/former employee is a spouse, child, sister/brother,
aunt/uncle,
step-parent,
step-child,
sister-in-law/brother-in-law,
mother/father, mother-in-law/father-in-law, daughter-in-law/son-in-law,
adopted child or parent, or grandmother/grandfather of the offender.

If a former employee does not meet all of the above three (3) criteria, the former
employee shall not be allowed to visit for 24 months after the employee’s date of
separation from employment with the Agency. After expiration of the 24-month
period, the former employee may be reviewed for visitation privileges by the
Director’s Review Committee. The offender must submit an RO-1 and RO-2
form to request that the former employee be added. Documented security
concerns (i.e., the former employee delivered or attempted to deliver contraband
to the offender while still an employee or had sexual contact with the offender
while employed) may cause disapproval of the request. If the former employee is
approved, the visitor may be added to the list immediately, even if the offender is
not eligible for a list change.

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6.7.3

General Guidelines
a.

b.

c.

6.8

Former employees may correspond with offenders in accordance with
the TDCJ Correspondence Rules. Only current employees who are
approved on the offender’s visitation list are authorized to send personal
correspondence to the offender.
Former employees are not precluded from participation in an Agencyapproved volunteer program. However, former employees shall not be
allowed to participate in an Agency-approved volunteer program at any
unit where an offender is housed when a relationship exists between the
offender and the former employee.
Any consideration for an exception to the above must be submitted
through the Warden to the appropriate Division Director or designee for
approval.

Attorney Visits:
Rules for offender visits with attorneys shall be governed by the Attorney Visitation Rules
established in the Offender Access to the Courts, Counsel and Public Officials Rules.
Cellular phones shall not be allowed on the unit. Computer laptops and personal digital
assistants are permitted although these electronic devices may not be used to
communicate with a third party during the visit.

6.9

Legal Visits Between Offenders:
In accordance with the Offender Access to the Courts, Counsel and Public Officials Rules
(referred to as the Access to Courts Rules), offenders shall be permitted to assist or
advise each other on all legal matters. Guidelines and procedures for legal visits
between offenders are outlined in the Access to Courts Rules.

81

CHAPTER 3
UNIFORM OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE RULES
I.

General Rules and Instructions Regarding Correspondence
A.

Permissible Correspondents
An offender may correspond with as many persons as he or she chooses, except
as restricted by this policy (Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules).

B.

Restricted Correspondents
1.

Other Offenders
Offenders may not correspond with other offenders unless:
a.

b.

c.
d.

2.

The offenders are immediate family members (parents,
step-parents, grandparents, children, step-children,
spouses, common law spouses, and siblings);
The offenders have a child together, as proven through a
birth certificate and the parental rights have not been
terminated;
The offenders are co-parties in a currently active legal
matter; or
The offender is providing a relevant witness affidavit in a
currently active legal matter.

Negative Mailing List
Offenders shall be denied permission to correspond with persons
on their negative mailing list. Persons on that list may be:
a.

b.
c.

Minors whose parents or guardians object in writing to
the correspondence, except an offender’s own child or
step-child (unless the child or step-child is the offender’s
victim as described in subsection 3 of “Restricted
Correspondents”);
Individuals who request in writing that further
correspondence not be sent to them by the offender; and
Individuals who have attempted to send contraband into
the institution or otherwise committed a serious violation
of the correspondence rules, as determined by the
Warden. A person who commits a serious violation of
the Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules may be
prohibited from any further correspondence with a
particular offender and may be placed on a negative
mailing list of persons with whom that particular offender
may not correspond. Within 72 hours of such addition to
a negative mailing list, a notice, accompanied by a
statement of the reason therefore, shall be sent to the
disallowed person and to the offender. Within the same
time period, the disallowed person and the offender shall

82

also be notified of how to appeal and the procedure for
appeal.
3.

Victims
Pursuant to AD-04.82, Section 38.111 of the Texas Penal Code,
and Section 498.0042 of the Texas Government Code, the TDCJ
prohibits unauthorized contact with a victim or a member of a
victim’s family by offenders who are confined in the TDCJ
Correctional Institutions (CI) Division if:
a.
b.
c.

The offender is currently serving time for committing a
crime against that victim;
The victim was younger than 17 years of age at the time
of the offense; and
Written authorization for the contact was not obtained
prior to the initiation of the contact.

Offenders making unauthorized contact with victims shall be
charged with a major disciplinary offense and, if the charge is
sustained, shall forfeit all or any part of accrued good conduct
time if the offender is not a State Jail offender. A State Jail
offender shall be assessed a major disciplinary penalty if the
charge is sustained. An offender may also be subject to criminal
charges for improper contact with a victim.
C.

How to Correspond
There is no restriction placed upon the length of incoming or outgoing
correspondence. All offender mail must be sent and received through
duly authorized channels. Offenders must not smuggle letters in or out
of the institution.
1.

Authorized Channels
Offenders may only send First Class or Certified or Priority
United States mail through the offender mail system.

2.

C.O.D. Mail
No Cash on Delivery (C.O.D.) mail shall be accepted for any
offender and no offender shall be authorized to send C.O.D.
Unauthorized items arriving by mail shall be returned to the
sender at the expense of the offender if ordered by said offender,
unless the offender is without funds, in which case the mail shall
be returned at the sender’s expense. Offenders will be notified
when C.O.D. mail is returned to the sender.

3.

Packages
All outgoing packages may not be sealed for mailing until
inspected by TDCJ. Packages must be free of contraband or
material which constitutes a threat to security or which cannot be
lawfully sent through the mail. Inspection of this mail shall be
done in the presence of the offender; if cleared for mailing, the
item shall be sealed and placed in the mail by the sender in the

83

presence of the inspector. These rules shall not apply to
outgoing packages to special, legal, and media correspondents,
which shall be governed by the rules relating to such
correspondence.
Packages may not be sent to offenders by individuals. TDCJ will
permit the delivery of packages of stationery from legitimate
stationery vendors (a stationery vendor need not register in
advance with the TDCJ in order to be a "legitimate" vendor),
subject to its right of inspection. Packages of publications may
be sent to offenders by publishers or publication suppliers,
including bookstores. Special provisions are made for packages
to be received from suppliers for craft shop operations. All
incoming packages shall be subject to inspection. Offenders will
be notified when unauthorized packages are returned.
4.

Return Address and Outgoing Correspondence
Offenders must put their commitment name, TDCJ number, unit
name, and current address on each outgoing envelope or
package. Offenders having a legal name other than their
commitment name may also place that name in the return
address. No other information may be made part of the return
address.
Offenders may not embellish their outgoing envelopes with
illustrations or written messages other than the return address,
the name and address of the intended recipient, and a notation
that the envelope contains legal, special, or media mail.
Mailroom officials shall refuse for mailing, after consultation with
the MSCP, any outgoing correspondence from an offender that
they reasonably believe will be deemed nonmailable by the
United States Postal Service pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section
1716. This includes envelopes or packages having obnoxious
odors or containing liquids or powders.

5.

Stationery
Any type of stationery, whether bought at the commissary,
mailed from approved sources as described in these Rules, and
stationery authorized for issuance to indigent offenders may be
used in correspondence. Offenders may not use homemade
envelopes to correspond.

6.

Indigent Postage
Postage and stationery for mail from indigent offenders may be
secured through the Warden’s representative. Postage and
stationery must be made available to indigent offenders,
including those in administrative segregation, at regular intervals.
Postage and stationery will be furnished to an indigent offender
for correspondence to any special correspondent listed in these
Rules and to any attorney or legal aid society. An indigent
offender may use indigent postage to send five (5) one-ounce
domestic letters per week to general correspondents and five (5)

84

items to legal or special correspondents. Upon request to the
Warden’s representative and for good cause shown, an offender
may send extra letters to general, legal, or special,
correspondents using indigent postage.
Funds expended by TDCJ for postage and stationery within the
first 60 days that an offender is indigent may be recouped by
TDCJ from funds later deposited in the offender’s Trust Fund
Account.
D.

Publications
An offender may receive publications in the mail only from the publisher
or publication supplier, including bookstores.
Offenders ordering
publications must forward their payments for subscription to individual
publications with their orders. Offenders shall not receive publications of
any kind on a trial basis with payment postponed. Persons desiring to
give publications directly to individual offenders may have them mailed
directly to the offender only from the publisher or publications supplier,
including bookstores. Publications received by offenders may be in
languages other than English.

II.

Special and Media Correspondence
A.

Permissible Correspondence
Offenders may write sealed and uninspected letters directly to special
and media correspondents. All incoming correspondence from any
special or media correspondent may be opened and inspected only for
contraband, except under the special circumstances noted in these
Rules. The inspection shall be in the offender’s presence. All incoming
special correspondence envelopes shall be prominently stamped as
received by TDCJ or cancelled so that franked government envelopes
cannot be reused.

B.

Exceptions
In individual cases, where reasonable suspicion exists to believe these
correspondence rules or the law is being violated, incoming or outgoing
special or media correspondence may be opened and inspected for
contraband and content upon obtaining written permission of the Director
of the CI Division or his designee. Such inspection shall be in the
presence of the offender.

III.

Legal Correspondence
Offenders may write sealed and uninspected letters directly to legal
correspondents.
No correspondence from an offender to any legal
correspondent may be opened or read. All incoming correspondence from any
legal correspondent may be opened and inspected for contraband only. The
inspection shall be in the offender’s presence. No correspondence to an
offender from any legal correspondent may be read.

85

IV.

Handling Offender Correspondence
A.

Content Inspection of General Correspondence
All general correspondence shall be subject to the right of inspection and
rejection by the unit mailroom officers. All outgoing or incoming letters to
and from offenders and enclosures such as clipping, photographs or the
like shall be disapproved for mailing or receipt only if the content falls as
a whole or in significant part into any of the categories listed below:
1.

Contains threats of physical harm against any person or place or
threats of criminal activity;

2.

Threatens blackmail or extortion;

3.

Concerns sending contraband in or out of the institutions;

4.

Concerns plans to escape or unauthorized entry;

5.

Concerns plans for activities in violation of institutional rules;

6.

Concerns plans for future criminal activity;

7.

Uses code and its contents are not understood by the reader;

8.

Solicits gifts of goods or money under false pretenses or for
payment to other offenders;

9.

Contains a graphic presentation of sexual behavior that is in
violation of the law;

10.

Contains a sexually explicit image;

11.

Contains information, which if communicated would create a
clear and present danger of violence or physical harm to a
human being; or

12.

Contains records or documentation held by TDCJ which are not
listed in the attachment to the TDCJ Open Records Act Manual
Chapter 2.

The offender and the sender or addressee will be provided a written
statement of the disapproval and a statement of the reason therefore
within 72 hours of the receipt of said correspondence. This notice will be
given on Correspondence Denial Forms. The offender will be given a
sufficiently detailed description of the rejected correspondence to permit
effective utilization of the appeal procedures. The offender, sender, or
addressee may appeal the mailroom officer’s decision through the
procedures outlined in these Rules.
B.

Contraband in General Correspondence
If contraband is found in an incoming letter or publication, the contraband
should be removed from the letter or publication, if possible. If the
contraband cannot be removed from the letter or publication, the letter

86

shall not be delivered to the offender. A rejection as contraband is
subject to the appeal procedures outlined in these Rules.
C.

Contraband in Legal, Media, or Special Correspondence
If an enclosure constituting contraband is found, the contraband shall not
be delivered to the offender. A written notice of the rejection and a
statement of the reasons therefore shall be sent to the offender and the
correspondent within 72 hours of the rejection. The offender shall be
given a sufficiently detailed description of the rejected contraband to
permit effective utilization of the appeal procedures. At the same time
the correspondent and the offender shall be notified of how to and the
procedure for appeal.

D.

Record of Legal, Special, and Media Correspondence
The mailroom shall keep a record showing the source and destination of
all incoming and outgoing legal, special, and media correspondence.

E.

Content Inspection of Publications
All publications are subject to inspection by the MSCP in Huntsville and
by unit staff. The MSCP has the authority to accept or reject a
publication for content, subject to review by the DRC. Publications shall
not be rejected solely because they advocate the legitimate use of prison
grievance procedures or urge offenders to contact public representatives
about prison conditions or because they contain criticism of prison
authorities.
1.

Rejection Due to Content
A publication may be rejected if:
a.
b.
c.

d.

e.

f.

It contains contraband;
It contains information regarding the manufacture of
explosives, weapons, or drugs;
It contains material that a reasonable person would
construe as written solely for the purpose of
communicating information designed to achieve the
breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such
as strikes or riots;
A specific determination has been made that the
publication is detrimental to offenders’ rehabilitation
because it would encourage homosexual or deviant
criminal sexual behavior;
It contains material on the setting up and operation of
criminal schemes or how to avoid detection of criminal
schemes by lawful authorities charged with the
responsibility for detecting such illegal activity; or
It contains sexually explicit images. Publications will not
be prohibited solely because they display naked or
partially covered buttocks. Subject to review by the
MSCP and on a case-by-case basis, publications
constituting educational, medical/scientific, or artistic
materials, including, but not limited to, anatomy medical
reference books, general practitioner reference books

87

and/or guides, National Geographic, or artistic reference
material depicting historical, modern, and/or post
modern era art, may be permitted.
The subsection regarding sexually explicit images will become operative
one (1) year after the effective date of this Board Policy.
2.

Notice
If a publication is rejected, the offender, the editor and/or the
publisher will be provided a written notice of the disapproval and
a statement of the reason therefore within 72 hours of receipt of
said publication on a Publication Denial Form. Within the same
time period, the offender, the editor and/or the publisher shall be
notified of how to and the procedure for appeal. The offender
will be given a sufficiently detailed description of the rejected
publication to permit effective utilization of the appeal
procedures. The offender, the editor, or the publisher may
appeal the rejection of the publication through procedures
provided by these Rules.

3.

List of Disapproved Publications
A list of publications disapproved for receipt by offenders during
the last two (2) months shall be conspicuously posted in
appropriate places on each institution. The list shall be updated
every month.

F.

Processing Incoming and Outgoing Offender Mail
All mail will be processed, including delivery, pick-up, or notifications, by
TDCJ employees or private facility staff only and during waking hours
whenever possible. No offender is to handle another offender’s mail,
either incoming or outgoing.
All incoming mail, except packages, will be delivered within 24 hours of
receipt, except on weekends or holidays. Incoming packages will be
delivered within 48 hours of receipt, except on weekends or holidays.
The hours of weekends and holidays shall not be used in computing the
24 or 48 hour period.
All outgoing mail, except packages, will be delivered to a United States
Postal Service employee within 24 hours, except on weekends or
holidays. Outgoing packages will be delivered to a United States Postal
Service employee within 48 hours, except on weekends or holidays. The
hours of weekends and holidays shall not be used in computing the 24 or
48 hour period.

G.

Forwarding of Mail
Mail received must be forwarded to an offender immediately in the event
the offender has left the unit for any reason and a forwarding address is
available. Newspapers will be forwarded by truck mail for seven (7) days
and other subscriptions will be forwarded by truck mail for 45 days after
an offender is transferred between TDCJ institutions if truck mail is
available between the two (2) institutions.

88

H.

Mailrooms
All unit mailrooms will be open and provide mail service Monday through
Friday, except on holidays recognized by the United States Postal
Service.

I.

Treatment Programs
The Substance Abuse Treatment Program, the Sex Offender Treatment
Program, and other treatment programs or therapeutic communities, as
approved by the Director of the CI Division and the Director of the
Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division and maintained by the
MSCP, may have more restrictive content-based requirements for
general correspondence and publications, as long as those more
restrictive requirements are directed at the treatment goals and needs of
the treatment program or therapeutic community.

V.

Review Procedures for Denied Items
A.

Handling of Denied Items
Any incoming or outgoing correspondence or publications that are
rejected shall not be destroyed, but shall remain with the mailroom officer
subject to examination and review by those involved in the administration
of appeal procedures outlined herein. Upon completion of the appeal
procedures, if the correspondence or publication is denied, the offender
may request that it continue to be held in the custody of the mailroom
officer for use in any legal proceeding contemplated by the offender, or
that it be disposed of in one (1) of the following manners unless security
concerns mandate the offender not have a choice in the disposition:

B.

1.

Mail the publication or correspondence to any person at the
offender’s expense; or

2.

Destroy the publication or correspondence, only with the
offender’s written permission.

Correspondence Appeal Procedure
Any offender or other correspondent, or editor or publisher of a
publication may appeal the rejection of any correspondence or
publication. An offender or a correspondent may appeal the placement
of the correspondent on the offender’s negative mailing list. An offender
or a correspondent may apply to the DRC for reconsideration of the
negative mailing list placement after the passage of six (6) months.
1.

How to Appeal
A written notice of appeal must be sent to the DRC within two (2)
weeks of notification of rejection. Upon receipt of notification, the
correspondence or publication in question shall be sent to the
DRC.

89

2.

Final Decision
The DRC shall render its decision within two (2) weeks after
receiving the appeal, and will issue written notification of the
decision to the parties involved within 48 hours.

90

Chapter 4
OFFENDER ACCESS TO THE COURTS, COUNSEL, AND PUBLIC
OFFICIALS RULES
I.

Law Libraries
A.

Law Library Collections, Conditions, and Supplies
1.

Law Book Collections: Each unit required to maintain a full law
library shall, at a minimum, include the following materials or
their equivalent:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.
i.

j.
k.
l.
m.
n.
o.
p.

q.
r.
s.

t.
u.
v.
w.
x.
y.
z.

Federal Reporter 2d
Federal Reporter 3d
Federal Supplement
Federal Supplement 2d
Supreme Court Reporter
Supreme Court Digest
Southwestern Reporter 2d, Texas Cases
Southwestern Reporter 3d, Texas Cases
United States Code Annotated, following volumes only:
1)
Title 18
2)
Title 28 §2201-2254
3)
Title 28 Rules of Appellate Procedure
4)
Title 28 Rules of Civil Procedure
5)
Title 42 §1771-2010
Vernon’s Texas Annotated Statutes and Codes (includes
Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure)
Vernon’s Texas Rules Annotated
Wright’s Federal Practice and Procedure, Criminal only
Texas Practice Series Evidence, Volumes 1 through 2
Corpus Juris Secundum, Criminal only
Texas Digest
Pamphlets:
1)
Federal Civil Procedure Code and Rules
2)
Federal Criminal Code and Rules
3)
Texas Criminal Procedures Code and Rules
4)
Texas Rules of Courts, State and Federal
One (1) Legal Research Guide or Manual
United States Constitution (contained within Black’s Law
Dictionary)
Local Rules of the United States District Courts for the
Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Districts of
Texas
Black’s Law Dictionary
Federal and State Postconviction Remedies and Relief –
Habeas Corpus
Shepard’s Citations: Texas, Federal, and U.S.
Texas Penal Code Annotated
Texas Legal Dictionary
Offender Handbook , English and Spanish
TDCJ Offender Legal Handbook

91

aa.
bb.

Court-provided forms
Rules of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, 37
Texas Administrative Code §141 et seq.

Published volumes (or their equivalent) of case decisions are
maintained by copyright date. Unit law libraries shall maintain
Federal Reporters for the previous 25 years; Federal
Supplements for the previous 20 years; Supreme Court
Reporters for the previous 30 years; Southwestern Reporters for
the previous 20 years. Removed case law shall be made
available for offender review through a central lending library.

B.

C.

2.

Law Library Conditions: The room designated by the Warden as
the law library shall be of sufficient size to accommodate the law
book collection and to provide adequate workspace for the
number of offenders permitted to attend the law library at one
time.

3.

Law Library Supplies: Each unit shall make available to all
indigent offenders writing instruments, paper, carbon paper,
postage, and envelopes necessary and appropriate for the
processing of legal matters in accordance with AD-07.90,
“Correspondence Supplies and Postage Supplies for Offenders.”

General Population Offender Access to the Law Library
1.

Schedule: Each unit shall have a posted schedule for law library
attendance, which shall, at a minimum, assure offenders who
wish to use the law library the opportunity for ten (10) hours of
access per week.
The schedule shall take into account
offenders’ work assignments and other programmatic activities
offered at the unit. The schedule shall assure that at least one
(1) law library period occurs on the weekend.

2.

Extra Time for Law Library Use: Any offender who demonstrates
the need for extra time for law library use should submit an I-60
form (Inmate Request to Official) to the unit’s Access to Courts
Supervisor. Except for good cause, such requests shall be
granted for use of the law library during the period an offender is
not involved in programmatic activities.

3.

Misconduct During Law Library Periods: An offender who has
been found guilty of a major disciplinary offense related to
stealing or damaging law library books or materials may be
denied physical access to the law library for a period not to
exceed 30 days. During such period the offender shall be
provided access to law books in accordance with the rules
regarding segregated offenders.

Administrative Segregation, Lockdown, G5, Medical Segregation,
Temporary Detention, Trusty Camp, Work Camp, and Death Row
Offender Access to the Law Library
1.

Legal Research Material: Offenders in any of the above
categories shall not be afforded direct access to the law library.
They shall be allowed to request and receive up to three (3)

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items of legal research materials per day, delivered on three (3)
alternating days per week (e.g., M-W-F) from the unit’s law
library collection for use in their cells.
2.

II.

Legal Visits: Offenders may request a legal visit for the purpose
of conferring with another offender on legal matters by sending
an I-60 form to the unit’s Access to Courts Supervisor.

Offenders’ Personal Legal Material
A.

Storage and Access
Offenders may store their personal legal materials in their cells or
dormitories in accordance with AD-03.72, “Offender Property,” and the
Access to Courts Policy Manual.

B.

III.

Searches and Shakedowns of Offender Legal Materials
1.

General Procedures: The personal legal materials (including
pleadings, transcripts, books, notes, drafts, and correspondence
to and from attorneys, courts and public officials) belonging to an
offender are confidential. They may not be read by staff as part
of a search or shakedown. They may be physically inspected in
accordance with AD-03.72 to see that no physical contraband
(such as weapons or drugs) is secreted in them.

2.

Search of Written Materials: An offender's personal legal
materials may only be searched for written contraband if there is
a reasonable suspicion that written contraband is included in
them. This must be documented in writing prior to search, using
the I-185, “Notice of Confiscation of Written or Printed Material
During Search for Written Contraband,” and I-186, “Authorization
to Search Legal Material for Written Contraband,” forms, and
performed in accordance with the procedures contained within
the Access to Courts Policy Manual.

When and Where Legal Work May Be Performed
A.

B.

Locations and Times
1.

Locations: Offenders may perform legal work in the unit’s law
library, in their cells, or in other areas designated by the Warden.
Offenders may not perform legal work in the dayroom, but may
possess their legal documents in the dayroom while awaiting
departure from or upon return to the housing area.

2.

Times: Offenders may perform legal work in their cells or in
other areas designated by the unit during their off-work periods.
Offenders may perform legal work in the law library in
accordance with the unit’s law library schedule.

Offenders Assisting Other Offenders on Legal Matters
1.

Assistance Permitted: Offenders shall be permitted to assist or
advise each other on legal matters in accordance with these and
other Agency rules and regulations.

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IV.

2.

Misconduct Related to Legal Work: The direct or indirect offer,
request, or receipt of a payment, benefit, or reward in exchange
for legal assistance shall be a disciplinary violation.

3.

Law Library Periods: Offenders who wish to confer with each
other in the unit law library must first obtain the verbal permission
of the officer in charge, unless unit policy permits such
assistance without prior permission. Offenders shall be required
to confer quietly so as not to disturb other offenders.

4.

Legal Visits: Offenders who wish to confer with each other
regarding legal matters, but are unable to do so without special
arrangements, shall submit an I-60 form to the unit’s Access to
Courts Supervisor. The reason for any denial of a request to
confer shall be recorded on the I-60 form.

Notary Public Services
A.

Documents
Under both federal law (28 U.S.C. § 1746) and State law (Texas Civil
Practice and Remedies Code § 132.001-132.003), offenders
incarcerated in Texas may use an unsworn declaration under penalty of
perjury in place of a written declaration, verification, certification, oath, or
affidavit sworn before a Notary Public. Documents for which notarization
is requested by an attorney and documents destined for another state or
country requiring notary public service shall continue to require notary
public service.

B.

Scheduling
Offenders may request notary public service by submitting an I-60
request form to the Access to Courts Supervisor. Offenders requesting
notary public service must explain in their request why an unsworn
declaration will not be legally sufficient. Requests shall be acted upon
(denied or provided) within 72 hours of the receipt of the request.

V.

Attorney Visitation
A.

Periods of Visitation
Except as limited by these Rules, an offender may have a visit from an
attorney or designated representative, Monday through Friday, excluding
State and Federal holidays, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., including
lunch and dinner hours, for any length of time.
If it would not
unreasonably disrupt work schedules or threaten prison security, the
Warden may permit the visit to extend past 5:00 p.m. On Saturdays,
Sundays, and State and Federal holidays, attorneys or designated
representatives may visit subject to the rules governing non-attorney
visits. At the Warden’s discretion, an attorney seeking to visit an
offender on Death Row on a non-business day may be permitted to do
so if the attorney offers a reasonable explanation, without violating the
attorney-client or work product privileges, why the visit must occur before
the first business day following the date of the requested visit.

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B.

Notice
By 3:30 p.m. of the business day immediately preceding the date that an
attorney or designated representative wishes to visit an offender, the
attorney must give the name of each visitor and his profession, the name
of each offender to be visited, and an estimated arrival time to the
Warden of the unit to which each offender is assigned. The attorney
must also give the estimated time at which he or his designated
representative would like to visit each offender in the case of multiple
offenders assigned to the same unit. After the attorney or designated
representative has arrived at the unit and provided proper identification,
the Warden shall produce the offender for the visit without unreasonable
delay.

C.

D.

Identification
1.

Attorneys: Attorneys must satisfactorily identify themselves to
the Warden and complete and sign a copy of the “Attorney
Application to Visit TDCJ Offender” form (I-163). An attorney bar
card and either a driver’s license or some other official
identification that includes a photograph and the name of the
attorney are satisfactory identification for an attorney. Any other
individuals accompanying an attorney must have the attorney
complete
the
“Attorney
Authorization
for
Approved
Representative to Visit TDCJ Offender” form (I-166) before the
visit is considered and official identification shall be required.

2.

Designated Representatives: Once written authorization to serve
as an attorney’s designated representative has been filed with
TDCJ and approved, upon arrival at the unit and before the visit,
the representative must present satisfactory identification to the
Warden and provide a copy of the “Attorney Authorization for
Approved Representative to Visit TDCJ Offender” form (I-166).
Either the representative’s driver’s license or some other official
identification that includes a photograph and the name of the
representative shall constitute satisfactory identification. If the
attorney has already provided the unit with the I-166 form, the
representative need not provide an additional copy.

Designated Representative’s Application to Visit
For TDCJ approval to serve as an attorney’s designated representative,
the proposed representative (unless accompanying the licensed
attorney) must submit to the Warden of the TDCJ unit to be visited, at
least one (1) week before the first requested visit to TDCJ as that
attorney’s representative, a completed and signed copy of the
“Application to Visit TDCJ Offender as Attorney’s Representative” (I164).
Upon receipt of the completed I-164 form, the unit shall send a copy to
the TDCJ Access to Courts, Counsel, and Public Officials Department
located in Huntsville, Texas. TDCJ shall maintain the confidentiality of all
information provided on all such completed applications. If the answer to
any question leads TDCJ to reasonably believe that a visit by the
representative may pose a legitimate threat to security, TDCJ may ask
such additional questions of the representative as are reasonably

95

calculated to lead to the discovery of information that would prove the
existence or extent of such security threat. If it is determined that such
security threat exists, the application may be denied and a written
response detailing the reason for denial shall be provided to the
sponsoring attorney.
If the attorney’s designated representative has previously completed the
I-164 form in the last 12-month period (this form must be re-submitted
annually) and submitted it to any TDCJ unit for the same attorney, it
need not be re-submitted before a visit to either the unit first visited, or
any other TDCJ unit.
E.

Limits on Number, Persons, and Type of Visit
Offenders are not limited in the number or length of visits by attorneys.
One (1) or more attorneys may visit one (1) or more offenders at the
same time, subject to reasonable regulation of the time, place, and
number of participants and subject to the Warden’s determination
whether such a visit would threaten security. The attorney may visit with
other offenders on the same day at the same unit, subject to the same
considerations listed above.
Attorney visits shall be non-contact, unless the unit’s configuration
provides only contact visitation or in the case of an expert visiting as a
designated representative. Before the contact visit by an expert is
granted, the expert must provide a statement to the Warden that a
contact visit is necessary for the validity of the examination or test and
also provide a detailed list of the items the expert will need to conduct
the examination or test. Only the expert, the offender’s attorney, and the
offender may participate in an attorney-initiated expert contact visit.

F.

Rejection by Offender of Visitation Request
Immediately after an attorney who has been approved for a visit with an
offender arrives at the unit in which the offender resides and completes
the “Attorney Application to Visit TDCJ Offender,” or when appropriate,
the “Attorney Authorization for Approved Representative to Visit” form,
the Warden shall notify the offender of the requested visit. If the offender
objects to such a visit, the Warden shall deny the attorney or the
designated representative the right to visit with the offender, provided
that immediately after the offender’s objection is communicated to the
Warden, the offender (or two witnesses in case the offender refuses to
sign) signs and swears to a completed copy of the “Refusal to Visit
Attorney or Attorney Representative” form. Immediately after completion
of the form, a copy of the completed and signed form shall be given to
the offender refusing the visit and to the attorney whose visit was
refused.

G.

Procedures During Visit
1.

Privacy: Unless requested to do otherwise by either the attorney
or the offender, the Warden shall respect the privacy of the visit
and maintain a sufficient distance from the visiting offender and
attorney or designated representative to preserve the privacy of
communications between them. This rule does not limit the

96

ability of the Warden to maintain visual surveillance during the
visit or to terminate the visit in case of a threat to security.
2.

Items Permitted with Attorney or Designated Representative:
Attorneys may bring briefcases, attaché cases, computer
laptops, and personal digital assistants into the visiting area;
however, electronic devices may not be used to communicate
with a third party during the visit. Attorneys or designated
representatives may also bring a tape recorder into the visitation
area to be used only for taking notes of the interview with the
offender and for recording the conversation between the attorney
or designated representative and the offender, but for no other
purpose.
With prior approval, video equipment may be used to conduct a
deposition. Before, during, and after the deposition, a deposed
offender shall adhere to the TDCJ clothing standards as outlined
in the TDCJ Offender Handbook. The video camera shall be in a
fixed place and be in operation only during the deposition.
Attorneys and designated representatives are prohibited from
bringing portable telephones, wireless communication devices,
or other electronic equipment not noted in TDCJ rules and
regulations into the unit. The Warden may open and inspect any
item (e.g., briefcases, attaché cases, and tape recorders), but
only in the attorney’s or designated representative’s presence
and only for the purpose of detecting contraband. The Warden
may also search the attorney or designated representative for
weapons and contraband.

3.

Items Permitted with Offender: Offenders may only bring
pertinent legal documents, writing paper, and a writing utensil
into the visiting area. Those documents may be inspected by the
Warden, but only in the offender’s presence and only for the
purpose of detecting contraband.

4.

Exchange of Items: The area used for the attorney-offender visit
shall have a pass-through slot available for the attorney or
designated representative and an offender to directly and
confidentially exchange documents.
The exchange of
voluminous legal documents may require the assistance of staff.

5.

Rejection of Contraband Articles: If an item constituting
contraband as defined in the TDCJ rules and regulations is found
in an inspection, the Warden shall reject the contraband, shall
immediately give each attorney and offender who participated in
the exchange a written statement of the reason for the rejection,
and may terminate the visit if such action is reasonable in
relation to the seriousness of the violation as determined by the
nature of the contraband. Any such offender or attorney may
appeal the rejection through the procedure outlined in these
Rules.

6.

Removal of Items: An attorney may remove from the unit any
document received from an offender. An offender may remove

97

from the visitation area any document received from an attorney
unless the item is deemed contraband.
7.

H.

Writing Utensils: If writing utensils and paper are not available in
the visiting area for use by offenders, an attorney is permitted to
transmit these items to the offender. After completion of the visit,
staff shall return the writing utensils and unused paper to the
attorney, but the offender shall be permitted to choose whether
to retain all paper used during the visit or to give it to the
attorney.

Rejection of Visitation Request or Termination of Visit
The Warden may deny an attorney or designated representative the right
to visit with any offender or terminate such a visit immediately if that visit
would cause a legitimate threat to security, but only for as long as such a
threat exists and only if no lesser action would alleviate the threat. The
attorney or designated representative may not waive any threat
perceived by the Warden. If a decision denying an attorney’s request to
visit an offender or an attorney’s request to have a designated
representative visit the offender is made later than 4:00 p.m. of the day
preceding the date of the requested visit, the Warden shall immediately
attempt to notify the attorney and offender of the denial. Within 24 hours
after denying an attorney’s request to visit with an offender, a request by
an attorney to have a designated representative visit the offender, or
terminating such a visit, the Warden shall send to the offender and the
attorney a written explanation of all reasons for said denial or
termination, the reasons for the rejection or termination, notification of
the right to appeal, and an explanation of the procedure for appeal. The
Warden shall also provide a copy of the denial documentation to the
Access to Courts Department in Huntsville.

I.

Suspension of Visitation Privileges
A Regional Director may prohibit any attorney or designated
representative who commits a serious violation of visitation regulations
from any further visits with any offender or impose restrictive conditions
regarding future visits that are reasonably appropriate to the violation.
Within 72 hours after an attorney or designated representative is
prohibited from or restricted in further visits, the Warden shall send to the
attorney and to the offender being visited at the time of the violation a
notice containing the following information:

J.

1.

Notification of the visitation prohibition, its duration, any
restrictions regarding future visits, and the reasons for the
prohibition or restriction, and

2.

Notification that both the attorney and the offender have the right
to appeal and an explanation of the procedure for appeal.
Attorney visitation rights shall not be suspended or restricted
except as provided by these rules.

Attorney Visitation Review Procedure
Any TDCJ visitation prohibition or restriction may be appealed either by
an attorney whose visitation privileges have been suspended or

98

restricted or by an offender with whom such an attorney either cannot
visit or must visit under authorized restrictions. If a TDCJ visitation
prohibition or restriction has been imposed on a designated
representative, the appeal must be filed by the sponsoring attorney. Any
such person wishing to appeal must send to the Director’s Review
Committee written notice of appeal within two weeks after receiving the
notice or statement required by the rule pursuant to which the
suspension or restriction was imposed. Upon receipt of an appeal
notice, the Director’s Review Committee shall obtain all documents and
other tangible objects on which the prohibition or restrictions were based.
The Director’s Review Committee shall render its decision within two (2)
weeks after receiving the appeal and shall notify each affected attorney
and offender in writing of that decision within 48 hours after the decision
is rendered.
K.

Consular Officials
Consular officials are afforded the same rights and privileges as
attorneys, except that consular officials may be permitted to meet with
groups of their foreign national offenders with the permission of the
appropriate Regional Director after consideration of security concerns.

VI.

Attorney/Offender Telephone Calls
A.

General Guidelines
1.

Attorneys are not permitted to use an attorney/offender
telephone call to provide contact between the offender and any
other person.

2.

Attorneys may not send faxes to, nor receive faxes from,
offenders.

3.

The request for telephone contact shall be made in writing by the
offender’s attorney, and shall provide the unit with at least 24
hours notice.
Consideration of requests by offenders for
telephone contact with their attorneys should be predicated upon
critical
circumstances
(e.g.,
the
offender
receives
correspondence from the courts with a deadline necessitating
immediate contact with the attorney) and must also be in writing
by sending an I-60 to the unit’s Access to Courts Supervisor.

4.

Time/distance factors may be considered in a request for an
attorney/offender telephone call. If the scheduled date for court
appearance or hearing precludes a personal visit or
correspondence, the request for telephone contact should be
approved. Requests for telephone contact with offenders shall
only be considered for approval during weekdays between 8:00
a.m. and 5:00 p.m. unless the requesting attorney presents
compelling circumstances.

5.

Frequency and duration of attorney/offender telephone
conversations shall be decided on a case-by-case basis
determined by need.

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B.

6.

Even if the attorney’s written request for telephone contact with
an offender is approved, only collect calls from the offender to
the attorney may be made. Payment by the offender or third
party billing shall not be approved. A specific time may be
arranged for the telephone call either on the same day as the
request or on a day that is convenient for all parties.

7.

The rules regarding Attorney/Offender Telephone calls do not
apply to State Counsel for Offenders attorneys.

8.

The stipulations regarding time limits and eligibility requirements
contained in AD-03.90, “Offender Access to Telephones,” do not
apply to attorney/offender telephone calls.

9.

Except as authorized by warrant or court order, telephone calls
to attorneys pursuant to these rules shall not be monitored or
recorded.

Telephone Call Approval
1.

Attorney requests for telephone contact with an offender shall be
directed in writing to the Warden. The attorney may create his
own form or letter or may use the form provided by TDCJ (I-162),
but the form or letter must contain the following:
a.
b.
c.
d.

e.

f.
g.
h.

The name and number of the offender;
The attorney’s full name, address, bar card number,
telephone number, and fax number;
An affirmation of an existing attorney-client relationship
with the offender;
An acknowledgment that the telephone call may not be
used
to
accomplish
any
non-attorney-client
communication;
The general reason (e.g., impending court deadline) the
call could not be precluded by a personal visit or
correspondence;
Permission for the offender to return the call collect (only
collect calls shall be approved);
A date/time for the return telephone call convenient to
the TDCJ unit and the attorney; and
The attorney’s signature.

2.

The employee receiving the request shall verify the attorney’s
identity by requesting a faxed copy of the attorney’s bar card and
driver’s license. Upon verification of the attorney’s identity, the
State Bar Association shall be contacted by telephoning (800)
204-2222 or checking the Texas State Bar internet database at
http://www.texasbar.com/members/onlinetools to ensure the
attorney is in good standing. When questions arise, inquiries
should be coordinated with the Access to Courts Department in
Huntsville.

3.

Approvals for attorney/offender telephone calls must be made by
an employee with rank of Major or higher.

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4.

VII.

Denial of an attorney/offender telephone call must be made by a
Warden. The reasons for denial must be given to the attorney in
writing with a copy sent to the Access to Courts Department in
Huntsville.

Court Conference Calls

A judge may request that a court hearing be conducted via a telephone conference call or
video conference rather than bench warrant the offender to his or her courtroom. For an
offender to participate in a conference call court hearing, TDCJ will require the judge to
send a court order or a letter signed by the judge, on official letterhead, for the offender to
participate in a telephone or video conference, with the details necessary for a telephone
or video conference. The court order or letter must state the offender’s name, number,
date, time, and collect telephone number where the call can be facilitated in the case of a
telephone conference call. In the case of a video conference, the court order or letter
must provide appropriate information so that the video conference may be facilitated. No
collect telephone number need be provided if the court initiates the telephone call. The
Agency will verify the order or letter and facilitate the call using a speakerphone or a
regular handset phone if a telephone conference has been requested. Attorney-client
confidentiality does not apply to court hearings.

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