Thursday, February 18, 2016

18 Texas Correctional Officers Disciplined in Inmate Death



by Terri Langford, The Texas Tribune
February 18, 2016
Editor's note: This story has been updated.

Texas prison officials have recommended the firing of a supervisor at the Clements Unit and disciplinary actions against 17 others for failing to conduct required checks on a cell where an inmate was severely beaten. The inmate later died. 
 
"Our preliminary review has identified areas where policies, unrelated to the homicide, were not being properly followed by certain correctional staff at the prison," said Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. 
 
Of the 18 Clements Unit correctional officers disciplined, one — Major Rowdy Boggs — has been recommended for dismissal, Clark said. The remaining 17 have been disciplined including suspensions without pay and letters of reprimand, he said. The 3,700-inmate Clements Unit is outside Amarillo.
 
Clark declined to say how long the assigned cell of inmates Alton Rodgers and Joe Greggs remained unopened and searched before the 31-year-old Rodgers was found unresponsive on Jan. 18. Rodgers, who suffered a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain, died the following day. Clark said a criminal investigation of the case is pending.
 
TDCJ requires correctional officers to check on inmates every 30 minutes. Twice a day, inmates are required to come to the door of their cells and show their IDs to officers in what is known as a "bed book check."  At least once a month, officers are to enter each cell and search it. 
"They were not appropriately doing those checks," Clark said.
 
A source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to The Texas Tribune that the once-a-month cell search was not conducted and that the correctional officers being disciplined had covered up that fact. It is not known if the bed book checks were not completed.  Clark said the prison system has started a serious incident review to take a closer look at the events surrounding Rodgers' homicide. 
"There was a level of complacency regarding cell checks that was unacceptable," he said.
 
 

 The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/02/18/18-tdcj-correctional-officers-disciplined-after-in/
 

45 comments:

  1. It all starts at the top. The sergeants and lieutenants know to make the rosters and rotate officers regularly but they do not in most cases complacency sets in that's why it's important to rotate your officers by policy. That's why I say it starts at the top. That Damn Buddy System will get you every time!

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    1. Rotation has no bearing on whether a person does their job or not.

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    2. Rotation has it's place, certainly. However, there is also much to be said for having Officers regularly work a post, so that they know which inmates are the ones prone to make trouble, and which ones are prone to give up intel.

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    3. Also..if you put a different officer every day ,the paperwork ends up a mess and half dont know post orders...been there...

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  2. Speaking of the buddy system, what do you do when almost the entire shift are buddies from a central region,sticking together and covering for each other. Even inviting family and friends to come to work for this organization because "you can get a check for sleeping". This is,eventually, going to get us all in hot water but we as supervisors have no say in who the agency hires.

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    1. You were promoted to supervisor, NOT because of your knowledge of policies and procedures. NOT because of your fantastic moral compass, and DEFINITELY NOT because you are so good at paperwork. You were promoted because some dicksucking Warden, Major, or Captain thought he could get you to suck his dick and do his every bidding......without question.

      You are the entry level buddy system program. BUT.....if you dont meet up to their "buddy" standards......then they WILL find a way to get rid of you.

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  3. Speaking of the buddy system, what do you do when almost the entire shift are buddies from a central region,sticking together and covering for each other. Even inviting family and friends to come to work for this organization because "you can get a check for sleeping". This is,eventually, going to get us all in hot water but we as supervisors have no say in who the agency hires.

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  4. I believe rotation may be the problem if they were not changed out every single day they might have gotten to know that there was a problem there and would have done something about it

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  5. I was an officer for 3 years and can say that with all the security checks, sick calls, counts, chow, etc coupled with the shortage of officers in several units, it's damn near impossible to get everything done. I was in ad seg and it was a miracle if we could even get all the rec done in a day while still feeding and doing counts. It's ridiculous to expect 2 people on a pod of 84 to get everything done by themselves. If rec isn't done, you get hell. If checks aren't done, you get hell. If anything isn't done, you get hell. Pay your officers a decent wage and maybe your turnover won't be so ridiculous. Texas has the 2nd lowest paid CO's in the nation. You pay crap and you get crap.

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    1. Your are right on, they need more offices on shift and stop taking these short cuts to save money, you also risk officers lives, not just inmates safety. Especially at night, they really narrow down the staff, like the inates don't notice that.

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    2. Very true. Being short handed is no fun for anyone. Not the bosses or the offenders. Judges keep locking these people up with no safe place to keep them. I worked correction for years we would 15-20 new boots every 6-8 weeks and loose 17-18. For what you have to do. Your pay needs to be tripled. But that won't happen. You get what you pay for

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  6. Its not like that at all, i use to work in the building where this all took place. Its just officers being lazy, oh and with the bed books we did then every 12 hours, not once a month.

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    1. The article said bed book was completed twice a day. Cell searches were required once month

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  7. That's sad I use to work for tdcj and let me tell you it was fun but alot of bullshit. I've met solid people there and between the skeleton crews, a stinky stab vest that isn't stab resistant, and 12 hours takes a toll. I met captain bogs and that's a solid ass captain. I dont believe he deserve any form of punishment. He backs up staff 100 percent. The clements unit is ruff you get mentally tired of trying to do your job and the shortage of officers doesn't help. Believe me we sometimes had to woek the pod with one officer it was a crap. Tdcj needs to blame the inmates first before the officers, may God be on the side

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  8. I worked for Tdcj for 16 years in Huntville, there are tons of bosses that are just lazy and don't do their jobs. Period.A raise in pay would help.not just anybody can do the job, it's a tough job. TDCJ is so desperate they hire just anyone , just a living breathing body .Its sad .

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    1. Your so right. It does take a certain kind of person with the right mind set. I don't blame anyone but the state of Texas , the number of offenders is high. And staff is always very short. Of Texas would go in clean house, raise the pay, and hire people that want to work. They might be able to keep staffed.

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  9. Complacency is a problem if the officers are not moved around. Who's to say, the officers if they worked that pod/wing/ dorm whatever... Had lots of issues with the offender that died and another offender said he was going to handle business and the officers gave him the blessings. Then... Yes of course complacency is a problem. When you have buddies that work together on a constant you have things happen. I am not saying that this offender that died was a problem. I'm just saying that when you work with offenders... Most are con artists and know how to hustle the game to get what they want. If complacency was a problem at this unit, I can see this happening. I have worked for the Texas prison system in security and then moved on into medical at the prison system. YES they are short handed and yes they hire people just to be a warm body to fill a post. There are lots of reasons this could have happened. Shortage of staff, complacency, lazy individuals. I don't remember reading how long it was before they found this offender and tried to get medical help. There are a lot of senerios that could have played a part in all of this. Without reading all of the statements that accompanied this tragedy we do not know as a public.
    Texas needs to pay their state employees more money so that you can get people that are willing to work but can also deal with the mental stress that happens behind those walls. It is very disturbing to some that go to work there and so to counter act the stress they try to cope. Lots of people cope in different ways.... Some yell and scream at the offenders some play the head games back with offenders and some choose to ignore. Not trying to make excuses by no means but you do not know what it is like unless you have had those gates slam behind you and you spend 8-12 hrs with the worst of the worst people that have been shunned by society.

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  10. No matter what anyone says on here tdcj fucks all its staff over and you all know it. 2000 a month to sweat take bullshit from your rank and be cussed out daily by the inmates is not worth it. Get real guys tdcj needs a change.

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    1. 3200 dollars a month it's a great job

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    2. Do u work there then u have no opinion

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    3. 3200 dollars a month I can almost bet you are a Good Boy,that has family at TDC or you were a one trick pony that got recognized for something you did once. You never WORKED the trenches. And earned your money. Right now you are selling out you fellow officers in Gray. TDCJ is in bad shape and you know it.

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  11. I retired after twenty years service I worked a 2250 unit lazy inmate friendly officers is a major problem also promoting people with no experience because their spouse is a captain it is an administration problem which will never be fixed

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  12. I worked at the Clements Unit for a little over 6 years. I watched High security get built. I was there when one of our own was killed by an offender. Seen assaults and been gassed too many times to keep count. The people that work there are damn good people. But like EVERY place there are also some lazy people. The problem has always been pay for our officers. And I also believe hiring standards and training. Raise your standards and pay, get better employees for the most part. Having the 2nd lowest pay and the 2nd highest inmate pop in the United States is rediculous.

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    1. the Legislature sets pay, and benefits. Unless and until the Legislature is willing to pay for quality, and to require higher standards, as well as allow dismissal of underperforming staff, you will continue to have problems such as this. Was employed at various units over my 25 yr career, at locations about as widely separated as you can get, and knew lots of quality employees and supervisors, but also knew of lots who were wearing the wrong uniform but who we were unable to get rid of because of "progressive discipline" rules and staff shortages.

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  13. I currently work for TDCJ, and the pay is an issue. Granted there may be days that you don't have a lot of problems and you can make it through fairly easy. Being short staffed, overworked, underpaid, and seeing some of the savage things you see really tend to affect people. Also not being seen or considered law enforcement but dealing with these criminals daily 12 hours can be hectic. They're demanding, rude, feel that society owes them something., and that we should jump at their every need. They cuss at you call you things that no human should be called, and want to play the martyr when it comes to tough situations. They masturbate when females are walking their beats right in front of you with no respect or dignity. They saying it's the females fault because she chooses to work there. They want to take no responsibility for any of their actions. Granted there may be some lazy bosses out there however you're dealing with sick individuals. How can a human being beat someone to the point of death and sit in that that same room and say nothing. I pray for the family who lost the a family member. No one deserves to die that way. I also pray for the Officersame lives who are forever changed by this job.

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  14. Never generalize a work enviroment. Dont pass judgment,youre my brother if were working together. Work ethics in any job. I place the blame on no one but the offender that assaulted the other one. Whats wrong with tdcjid. Whats wrong with placing the ble on the inmate...Cry me a ricer

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  15. Never generalize a work enviroment. Dont pass judgment,youre my brother if were working together. Work ethics in any job. I place the blame on no one but the offender that assaulted the other one. Whats wrong with tdcjid. Whats wrong with placing the blame on the inmate...Cry me a river

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  16. You know whats neat about the pay raise the gave the cos in tx is shortly after that they redid the staffing plan and reduced the amout of staff required to run the prison "safely" to the point where on the unit i was a supervisor we couldnt adequately respond to an incident like an inmate on inmate fight that i escorted an offender who was aggressive by myself without a camera...is it possible to do all your stuff in a shift yes but its dam hard and only happens if you have a "normal" day but it can be done and as far as the pay vs stress its not worth it ur cussed at u sometimes have litteral crap thrown at you the inmates masterbate at staff with little to no reprocusions and then if u get assaulted you run the risk of losing your job because it had to be something you dod wrong and nothing to due with the murder qho attacked you theres alot thats wrong with the system and its because too many people (i.e. politicians , judges) who have no clue on how a prison environment is are influences how the system operates plus the turn over rate is so high that u have people with 6 mounths training the new guys

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  17. You know whats neat about the pay raise the gave the cos in tx is shortly after that they redid the staffing plan and reduced the amout of staff required to run the prison "safely" to the point where on the unit i was a supervisor we couldnt adequately respond to an incident like an inmate on inmate fight that i escorted an offender who was aggressive by myself without a camera...is it possible to do all your stuff in a shift yes but its dam hard and only happens if you have a "normal" day but it can be done and as far as the pay vs stress its not worth it ur cussed at u sometimes have litteral crap thrown at you the inmates masterbate at staff with little to no reprocusions and then if u get assaulted you run the risk of losing your job because it had to be something you dod wrong and nothing to due with the murder qho attacked you theres alot thats wrong with the system and its because too many people (i.e. politicians , judges) who have no clue on how a prison environment is are influences how the system operates plus the turn over rate is so high that u have people with 6 mounths training the new guys

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  18. I used to work at a private run facility reaching the rank of Lieutenant. I supported the C/Os that was under my supervision to the fullest. Administration did not like my commitment to my staff. I supervised shifts that were so shorthanded that the two Sergeants and myself had to work C/O positions, Leaving No One To Answer Calls for assistance. When something did occur, you had to shut down certain areas of the unit to respond.Administration didn't care as long as they were able to get in their vehicles and go home at five. If you think you were underpaid working for the state, try working for CCA.I had lazy officers who constantly neglected their duties and were written up with no action taken. The Wardens favorite saying was" everybody need their job". My favorite saying was " if they need their job, they would do what they're supposed to do to keep it". I commend all C/Os for what you go through with low pay, dealing with lazy and dirty co-workers, and an administration who only cares about staying out of federal court by not supporting tear staff and throwing them under the bus. They always speak of loyalty and integrity when they have absolutely no clue to what it means.If the incident was the result of complacency and laziness, then disciplinary and accountability should start with the Major and stop using the C/O as scapegoats aka Bradshaw State Jail.

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  19. I used to work at a private run facility reaching the rank of Lieutenant. I supported the C/Os that was under my supervision to the fullest. Administration did not like my commitment to my staff. I supervised shifts that were so shorthanded that the two Sergeants and myself had to work C/O positions, Leaving No One To Answer Calls for assistance. When something did occur, you had to shut down certain areas of the unit to respond.Administration didn't care as long as they were able to get in their vehicles and go home at five. If you think you were underpaid working for the state, try working for CCA.I had lazy officers who constantly neglected their duties and were written up with no action taken. The Wardens favorite saying was" everybody need their job". My favorite saying was " if they need their job, they would do what they're supposed to do to keep it". I commend all C/Os for what you go through with low pay, dealing with lazy and dirty co-workers, and an administration who only cares about staying out of federal court by not supporting tear staff and throwing them under the bus. They always speak of loyalty and integrity when they have absolutely no clue to what it means.If the incident was the result of complacency and laziness, then disciplinary and accountability should start with the Major and stop using the C/O as scapegoats aka Bradshaw State Jail.

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  20. I was promoted because I worked hard to learn policy and procedure, gained the trust and respect of my co-workers Mr. Whoever you are. I don't now, nor have I ever kissed up to anyone sir. I am a honest, hardworking person who had the common sense to treat people with respect and understanding. If you were referring to me, the only part of your statement that pertains to me is when you don't go along with all the wrong doing, hanging out with them, and covering they do, they find a way to get rid of you.I spoke up when an officer was treated unjust, that's why I'm no longer there.

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  21. I was promoted because I worked hard to learn policy and procedure, gained the trust and respect of my co-workers Mr. Whoever you are. I don't now, nor have I ever kissed up to anyone sir. I am a honest, hardworking person who had the common sense to treat people with respect and understanding. If you were referring to me, the only part of your statement that pertains to me is when you don't go along with all the wrong doing, hanging out with them, and covering they do, they find a way to get rid of you.I spoke up when an officer was treated unjust, that's why I'm no longer there.

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  22. Parallelism: TDCJ is hiring construction workers to build EXTRA LARGE Mansions. Under their (TDCJ) standards, these mansions should make Sadam Husseins palaces look like shithouses.
    They are gonna pay you $4/hr. Give you the lowest quality material to build these mansions (mud/tape/straw). And supply you with tools Jesus used in his time. Can you do the job? Well....any person who can add 1+1 knows that its not possible. Its NEVER been possible! It WILL never be possible!
    DOUBLE THEIR PAY (Yes, they earn it)!
    GET QUALITY MATERIALS (Common Sense system for dealing with offenders, NOT some douchebag punk who has never walked a farm).
    GET THE BEST TOOLS (protect your employees instead of inmates)!
    IF YOU DONT FIX IT RIGHT, IT WILL NEVER WORK RIGHT!!!

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  23. Every TDCJ Units suffers from the Same issue...Low Moral...Cause by Work Conditions and Bad Supervision.
    Supervisors do not do routine rounds, they have people sign paper work for them and in return they play favorites. People are hand selected to get promoted on the Good Old Boy system. Officers take short cuts because they don't have time to do the Job correctly. Officers who perform proper roster aka...Bedbook Checks slow down the count procedures, which takes longer to complete properly and in return they get bitched at because that in turn delays count clearing faster and that delays meals, school, work turn out etc.....People who rock the Boat are harassed until they quit or get fired. Everyone knows it happens..Region V Director Knows it happens but makes excuses for the Units. Senator Craig Estes knows it happens....As long as TDCJ keeps covering up what goes on they will never be able to correct their problems that causes the Low Moral. Raising Pay is not gonna get rid of the Short cutting, it will not get rid of their poor supervisors

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  24. A Senior Warden in Region V on another 2250 Unit told Officers..." You don't need to worry about if Supervisors are or are not doing their jobs. You don't need to worry about if other Officers are or are not doing their jobs. The only person you need to worry about doing their job is you. If you want the Man's money, you need to just mind your own business."

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  25. Have you tried calling Senator Whitmire. He's the one who locked the whole prison system down when the inmate on deathrow got ahold of a cell phone and called and threatened him. He may care enough to investigate what you're saying. The Wardens think their untouchable and above what's right.

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    1. How could it be proved? You think a Senior Warden would ever admit Harassing Staff? They would drum up charges against you first. Senator Whitmire only cared when his family was threatened.

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  26. Have you tried calling Senator Whitmire. He's the one who locked the whole prison system down when the inmate on deathrow got ahold of a cell phone and called and threatened him. He may care enough to investigate what you're saying. The Wardens think their untouchable and above what's right.

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  28. It is definitely the good old boys system with plenty of sexual harassment from both parties that is tolerated and if you walk to walk and talk the talk you get the jobs what are you male or female

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  29. I work for tdcj, 14 years now, the problem in tdcj are those in gray,the supervisors and COs partying together,sleeping together, buddy system.....those of us that are ther e to do a job are seen as trouble makers
    I do not for one second care what I am seen as, I will report the dirty officer. I have been cussed at by the young tattood officer than an offender. Respect the offender and they will respect you....Firm, Fair and Consistent!!!!

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