Like other states in the United States of America, the State of Texas has a Department of Criminal Justice, commonly termed TDCJ, located in Huntsville, Texas. TDCJ is the second largest state prison system within the United States. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, Texas 77342-0099. It also has an office located in the Price Daniel Sr. Building in downtown Austin. The office can be contacted by phone at (936) 295-6371.
As a government institution responsible for the state’s peace and order, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is in charge of the statewide management of inmates, offenders in prisons, as well as both state and private correctional facilities. The TDCJ is also in control of funding and community supervision, formerly known as adult probation, including the release of offenders from correctional facilities through parole or mandatory supervision.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is supervised by nine board members under the Texas Board of Criminal Justice or the TBCJ. The nine members are chosen through appointment by the governor. They are primarily responsible for the TDCJ’s overall function, which is confinement, supervision, and rehabilitation of the convicts. The board members have the power to hire the executive director of the TDCJ. They also serve as the policy making body of the department, responsible for the establishment of rules and regulations. The TDCJ is further divided into departments answerable to the board members, such as the Office of Inspector General, Investigations Department, Internal Audit Division, and the office of State Counsel for offenders. All other information regarding the Texas Board of Criminal Justice can be accessed online at http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/index.html.
Since the TDCJ is responsible for the overall management process for the protection of public welfare, it is also responsible for supplying information needed by the family or relatives of offenders in correctional facilities. The Texas Government Code created a program designed to bridge public and the government officials regarding the public’s inquiries about the agency, offenders, or staff.
The TDCJ Ombudsman Program strives to grant the public timely responses to their queries. The Ombudsman acts as a liaison between the TDCJ and the general public. Although it cannot alter decisions made by authorities like the office of inspector general or the board of criminal justice, the TDCJ Ombudsman can be a helpful contact in case questions arise from the offenders and offenders’ family and friends. Policies and procedures are carefully communicated to the general public by the Ombudsman. Although it cannot handle disputes outside TDCJ, it still has the power to facilitate problem resolution and make appropriate referrals to agency staff when the situation calls for it. Any inquiries must be in writing and properly addressed to the Ombudsman Coordinator at P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, Texas 77342- 0099. The office can be reached through phone number (936) 437-4927 or fax number (936) 437-8067. You may also email the Ombudsman Coordinator at [email protected]. For issues related to parole supervision, you may contact TDCJ Parole Division Ombudsman at P.O. Box 13401, Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711. Call or fax them through numbers (512) 406-5795 or (512) 406-5858. Other divisions and departments of TDCJ, including their services and programs, are listed online through http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/divisions/index.html.
For the convenience and safety of the general public, the State of Texas offers an online service for the offender’s family, relatives, and significant others to locate and access limited information about the offender. You may visit this Texas Criminal Justice Offender Search through https://offender.tdcj.texas.gov/OffenderSearch/index.jsp