, Texas Board Of Pardons And Paroles – Index Of Terms

Texas Board Of Pardons And Paroles – Index Of Terms

TDCJ: Important Terms to Know

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) exists “…to provide public safety, promote positive change in offender behavior, reintegrate offenders into society, and assist victims of crime.” If you fall into any of these categories: whether a defendant charged with a crime, an inmate convicted of a crime, the victim of a crime or a family member of any of these, you will have questions about TDCJ and how it operates. Below is a non-exhaustive list of important terms you may need to know when learning about TDCJ. If you need help with your case or have questions about TDCJ and the Texas board of pardons and paroles, please contact Cofer Luster Law Firm, PC to talk to an experienced criminal justice lawyer.

“3G” Offense – The offenses listed in Article 42A.054 (formerly listed in 42.12, Section 3G)of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Examples of “3G” offenses are murder, capital murder, indecency with a child, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, use of a child in the commission of certain drug offenses under the Health & Safety Code, committing certain drug offenses within a drug-free zone (if it is shown that the defendant has been previously convicted of certain drug offenses for which punishment was enhanced pursuant to the Health & Safety Code), sexual assault, use of a deadly weapon, and any offense with an affirmative weapon finding.

Administrative Segregation – A non-punitive, maximum custody status involving separation of an offender from the general population within the prison institution for the purpose of maintaining safety, security, and order among general population offenders, correctional personnel, and the public.

Admissions – Bench warrant returns from prior fiscal years and transfers among the agency.

Classification Committee – In TDCJ, a classification committee determines an offender’s custody based on the Texas board of pardons and paroles guidelines.

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

Administrative Segregation Committee (ACS) – Responsible for the process of reviewing offenders for placement in administrative segregation and routine reviews of those offenders.

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 intake 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 requests for protection.

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.

Collection of DNA Blood SamplesTexas Government code §411.148 – requires all TDCJ offenders or offenders incarcerated in a facility under contract with TDCJ to submit a DNA specimen unless such has previously been collected. An offender who refuses to provide a DNA specimen may be charged with Disciplinary Code 24.3, “Refusal to Submit to a DNA Specimen Collection,” and subject to the loss of good time. If the offender continues to refuse, the TDCJ is authorized to use force in accordance with the TDCJ Use of Force Plan to compel the offender to submit to a DNA specimen collection.

Community Supervision – Placement of an offender under supervision for a specified length of time, as ordered by a court, with court-imposed rules and conditions. Community supervision (formerly called adult probation) may be ordered for misdemeanor or felony offenses and is generally imposed in lieu of a jail or prison sentence.

County of Conviction – The county that correlates with the offense of record.

Custody Levels (for Prison Offenders) –

Prison Offender Custody Levels State Jail Offender Custody Levels
1. Administrative Segregation 1. Administrative Segregation (SR)
Refers to offenders who shall be separated from the general population because they are dangerous, either to other offenders or staff, or they are in danger from other offenders. Offenders who, according to the Security Threat Group Management Office (STGMO), 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.
2. General Population Level 5 (G5) 2. General Population Level 5 (J5)
Refers to offenders who have assaultive or aggressive disciplinary records. G5 or J5 custody offenders shall live in cells. They may not work outside the security fence without direct, armed supervision.Means the offender shall live in a cell, with few exceptions, and may work outside the security fence under direct armed supervision.
3. General Population Level 4 (G4) 3. General Population Level 4 (J4)
Means the offender shall 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.
4. General Population Level 3 (G3) N/A
Refers to prison 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 shall 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 as this custody is reserved for offenders serving sentences of 50 years or greater.)
5. General Population Level 2 (G2) 4. General Population Level 2 (J2)
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.
6. General Population Level 1 (G1) 5. General Population Level 1 (J1)
Allows offenders to live in dorms outside the security fence. Offenders living in trusty camps shall be classified OT custody. They may work outside the security fence with periodic unarmed supervision.

*NOTE: Offenders in general population custody levels may also be given a safekeeping status (P2 – P5) if they need an added level of protection from other offenders.

Departures – Deaths, transfers among the agency, and bench warrant releases that did not return during the fiscal year.

Diligent Participation Credits for State Jail Offenders –

Direct Supervision – Offenders who are legally on community supervision and who work or reside in the jurisdiction in which they are being supervised and receive a minimum of one face-to-face contact with a Community Supervision Officer (CSO) every three months. Direct supervision begins at the time of initial face-to-face contact with an eligible CSO.

Discharge Releases – Prison offenders who are released from TDCJ either by full expiration of their sentence or by court order.

Discretionary Mandatory Supervision (DMS) – A type of release from prison provided by law for restricted categories of offenders. Offenders with offenses committed on or after September 1, 1996 who are released from prison under Mandatory Supervision contingent upon approval by a Board of Pardons and Paroles panel vote (see Mandatory Supervision).

G/J1 – 3 and OT – Offenders in these custodies have a good disciplinary history; have served a specified portion of their sentence (varies by custody level); and do not have any security precaution designators. Some levels within these custodies (G1/J1/OT) do not allow current or prior convictions for intentional homicide and sexual offenses, or any pattern of freeworld violence. Offenders in programs that require G1-G2 or OT custody prior to enrollment are included in this category.

G/J4 – Offenders in this custody have two or more non-assaultive disciplinary convictions resulting in major penalties within the past six months; one disciplinary conviction resulting in a major penalty for offender or staff assault without a weapon within the past 12 months; Line Class II or III time-earning status (prison offenders only) if the offender is not assaultive or aggressive in nature; or placement of a security precaution designator for escape (ES), staff assault (SA), or hostage (HS).

G/J5 – Offenders in this custody have one or more disciplinary convictions for an assault with a weapon on staff or offenders within the past 24 months; two or more disciplinary convictions resulting in a major penalty for offender or staff assault without a weapon within the past 12 months; one or more disciplinary convictions resulting in major penalties for extortion or sexual abuse with the past 24 months; primarily Line Class I, II, or III time- earning status (prison offenders only) if the offender is assaultive or aggressive in nature; or escaped from a TDCJ secure adult correctional facility within the past five years.

Good Conduct Time –

Indirect Supervision – Level of community supervision that requires the offender to report in person but does not require face-to-face contact.

Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP) – 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 shall 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 shall be referred to the UCC for resolution.

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 §508.152. The ITP is provided to the Board of Pardons and Paroles during the parole review process. Some of these programs are mandatory and non-attendance can result in disciplinary action, loss of good conduct time or negative parole consideration.

Intelligence Quotient Score (IQ) – The individual’s score obtained from a group- administered IQ test. For treatment purposes, additional tests are used to identify mentally impaired offenders.

Intermediate Sanction Facilities (ISF) – A secure facility used as an alternative to incarceration for offenders who violate the conditions of their community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, but whose supervision was not revoked. ISFs are utilized by Community Supervision and Corrections Departments (CSCD) for community supervision offenders and by the Parole Division (PD) for parolees and mandatory supervision offenders. Incarceration is generally 60 to 90 days and may include substance abuse treatment.

Inter-Unit Transfers – 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. Transfer requests follow a process. The warden, the Unit Classification Committee or the proper department head shall first recommend transfer requests. If approved at the unit level, the unit shall then contact the State Classification Committee for final approval.

Transfer requests for medical or educational reasons shall be made to the appropriate department. For example, the Education Department shall 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 for its review. The State Classification Committee shall 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 shall 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. The request shall come from the offender’s immediate family member.

Mandatory Supervision (MS) – A type of release from prison provided by law for restricted categories of offenders. Eligible offenders are released on MS when their calendar time served added to their good time credit equals the length of their prison sentence. Under the law in effect until August 31, 1996, release to mandatory supervision of the Texas board of pardons and paroles was automatic for most offenders, with no requirement of release approval from the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Offenders who committed their offense after August 31, 1996 must receive approval from the Board of Pardons and Parole.

New Receives – Offenders admitted to a TDCJ facility for the first time on an offense, or are repeat offenders who were not under parole or mandatory supervision at the time of their new conviction.

Offense of Record – The offense for which an offender is incarcerated. If an offender is incarcerated for multiple offenses, the offense of record is the offense that requires the offender to be incarcerated for the longest period of time.

Parole – The conditional release of an offender from prison, by a Board of Pardons and Paroles decision, to serve the remainder of his or her sentence under supervision in the community.

Parole-in-Absentia (PIA) – Offenders released to parole or mandatory supervision from either county jails, out of state facilities, or in federal penal institutions.

Parole/DMS/MS Revocations – Offenders returned to TDCJ for a violation of Texas parole board’s guidelines or mandatory supervision. Revocations can be for a new offense or for technical reasons.

New Offense – Violation of supervision by the conviction of or pending charges of felony or misdemeanor offenses and possible technical violations.

Technical – Violation of one or more conditions of release, not including commission of a new offense.

Parole Out of State Receives for Revocation Processing – Offenders being supervised out of state who are returned to the TDCJ parole and then considered for revocation are based on parole and pardon board’s decision. Revocations can be for a new offense or for technical reasons.

New Offense – Violation of supervision by the conviction of or pending charges of felony or misdemeanor offenses and possible technical violations.

Technical – Violation of one or more conditions of release, not including commission of a new offense.

Prison Offenders – Offenders with capital, first, second, or third degree felony convictions.Receives – Offenders arriving at TDCJ during the fiscal year as a new offender or for revocation processing.

Releases – Offenders leaving TDCJ due to the discharge of their sentence or to another form of supervision.

Releases to Parole Supervision – Includes releases via parole, discretionary mandatory supervision, and mandatory supervision.

Residential Reentry Center – A residential facility with focus on reintegration of offenders back into the community after a period of incarceration.

Safekeeping – Offenders who require separate housing for reasons that include, but are not limited to, vulnerability, threats to their safety, and potential for victimization.

State Jail Offenders – Offenders convicted of state jail felony offenses. An individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony offense may be confined in a state jail facility for a term of no more than two years or less than 30 days. There is no parole or mandatory supervision release from state jail; however, a judge can grant early release under certain circumstances to include diligent participation in offender programs.

Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF or SAFP) Offenders – Offenders who are sentenced by a judge as a condition of community supervision or sent by the Board of Pardons and Paroles as a modification of parole supervision to an intensive six-month therapeutic community program (nine-month program for offenders with special needs).

Time credit Dispute Resolution Process – The TDCJ has established a dispute resolution process for offenders who alleged their time credits are in error. Complaints regarding time credits cannot be resolved through the offender grievance process.

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