Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

Texas

I. Texas Workforce Commission

Contact:
101 E. 15th St., Room 618
Austin, TX 78777
512-463-0735
512-475-2321 fax
Web Site: www.twc.state.tx.us

Information about State Department of Labor resources may be of interest to:
• potential employers looking for incentives to hire individuals with criminal histories;
• service providers and individuals with criminal histories who are looking for assistance in finding employment; and
• researchers and policy makers looking at current programs to ascertain what programs are effective and serve their intended purpose.

A. Federal Bonding Program
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but fail to get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.

Contact:
Project RIO, Texas Workforce Commission
1117 Trinity St. - Rm 202T
Austin, TX 78778
512-463-0834
512-936-3090 fax
Web Site: www.twc.state.tx.us

B. Tax Credits
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit to reduce the federal tax liability of private for profit employers to be used as an incentive for employers to hire individuals from eight different targeted groups: TANF recipients, veterans, ex-felons, high risk youth, summer youth, Food Stamp recipients, SSI recipients, and vocational rehabilitation referrals.

Contact:
Texas Workforce Commission
Room 332T
101 E.15th St.
Austin, TX 78778
512-463-9926
512-463-8819 fax
Web Site: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/wotc/wotc.html

C. Unemployment Insurance Office
Unemployment compensation is a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. In order to be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must demonstrate that they have worked, usually measured by amount of wages and/or weeks of work, and must be able and available for work.

The unemployment compensation program is based upon federal law, but administered by states under state law.

Forms and information may be obtained at any local One-Stop Center and via the Internet at the above web site. (Also see Section VII of this site “Local Service Providers.”) Contact: Austin: 512-340-4300 Dallas: 214-252-1200 El Paso: 915-832-6400 Fort Worth: 817-420-1600 Houston: 713-982-7400 McAllen: 956-984-4700 San Antonio: 210-258-6600 Others: 800-939-6631 TDD: 800-735-2989 Web Site: www.twc.state.tx.us/

Contact:
Web Site: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/uiclaim.html

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II. Criminal Record Repository

This is the agency individuals may contact to obtain a copy of their state rap sheet. The criminal record repository can also tell the individual who else is legally entitled to have access to his or her record.

Individuals must write a letter stating that the reason for the request. The letter must be accompanied by a full set of fingerprints and a check or money order for $15. Requests take four to six weeks to be processed.

Contact:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Fingerprint and Records Bureau
5805 N. Lamar Blvd., Building G
Austin, TX 78752
512-424-3125
Web Site: www.txdps.state.tx.us

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III. State Attorney General

Employers and service providers may obtain information from the state attorney general regarding occupational bars, the licensing of individuals with criminal records in certain jobs, and whether the state has laws that limit what employers may ask job applicants or protections against employment discrimination based on a criminal record.

Contact:
Office of the Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
300 W. 15th St.
Austin, TX 78701
512-463-2100
512-494-8017 fax
Web Site: www.oag.state.tx.us

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IV. State Department of Corrections

Prison Industry Program

Texas Correctional Industries’ objectives are to provide work program participants with marketable job skills through a coordinated program of job skills training, documentation of work history, and access to resources provided by Project RIO and the Texas Workforce Commission. The program consists of 42 factories employing over 6,500 prisoners. Products manufactured include textiles, furniture, chemicals, plastics, garments, printing, and metal-fabrication.

Contact:
Texas Correctional Industries
P.O. Box 4013
Huntsville, TX 77342
936-437-6048
936-437-6040 fax
E-Mail: tci@tdcj.state.tx.us
Web Site: www.tci.tdcj.state.tx.us

Project RIO

Project RIO is administered by the Texas Workforce Commission in collaboration with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), the Windham School District and the Texas Youth Commission (TYC). The project provides a link between education, training and employment during incarceration with employment, training and education after release. Services are offered to program participants pre-and post-release. An individualized treatment plan is developed to identify a career path for the prisoner and to guide placement decisions. Prior to release, a comprehensive evaluation is conducted to assess the needs of the prisoner and assist in the selection and placement in Windham, College, TDCJ and TYC programs. The evaluation process is a multi-step approach that includes information gathering, goal-setting, program placement and self-assessment. Project RIO staff encourage participants to take advantage of educational and vocational services and assist offenders in obtaining documents necessary for employment. Unit or facility staff also provide placement services to give prisoners practical work experience in their areas of training. After release, TWC Project RIO staff provide participants with individualized workforce development services including job preparation and job search assistance. RIO participants attend structured job search workshops that focus on basic skills such as completing a work application, preparing a resume and performing in a mock interview. The most important aspect of the TWC Project RIO program is securing employment as soon as possible after release. Project RIO staff ensure that potential employers are aware of and take advantage of special incentives for hiring applicants with a criminal record, including certifying employees for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program.

Contact:
Project RIO Staff
Texas Workforce Commission
101 E. 15th St., Room 506T
Austin, TX 78778
800-453-8140
Web Site: www.tdcj.state.tx.us

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Contact:
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
209 W. 14th St.
Austin, TX 78770
512-463-9988
Web Site: www.tdcj.state.tx.us

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V. Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles oversees the discretionary release of eligible inmates sentenced to state imprisonment and determines the conditions of release.

Contact:
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
209 W. 14th St., Suite 500
Austin, TX 78701
512-463-1679
512-463-8120 fax

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice supervises offenders released from prison who are serving out their sentences in the community. The Division also performs some pre-release functions by investigating the parole plans proposed by inmates and by tracking parole eligible cases and submitting them for timely consideration by the Board of Pardons and Paroles. In addition, the Parole Division supervises inmates in two pre-release programs, the Pre-Parole Transfer Program and the Work Program. Participants in these programs remain in secure facilities, but are able to participate in special programs.

Contact:
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Parole Division
8610 Shoal Creek Blvd.
P.O. Box 13401, Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
512-406-5250
Web Site: www.tdcj.state.tx.us/parole/parole-home.htm

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VI. Legal Assistance

Free or low-cost legal resources, both in civil and criminal law, are helpful to individuals with criminal histories in learning about relevant state laws governing the expungement or sealing of criminal histories or addressing other legal issues resulting from having a criminal history.

A. State Public Defender

Counsel for indigent defendants are appointed by judges during arraignment proceedings. Five counties utilize the public defender system: Colorado County 979-732-9425 Dallas County 214-653-3550 El Paso County 915-546-8185 Webb County 956-721-2200 Wichita County 940-766-8199

Contact:

B. Legal Services

A referral directory of legal services offices and other advocacy agencies that assist low-income Texans on non-criminal matters is available through Texas Lawyers Care.

Contact:
Texas Lawyers Care
P.O. Box 12487
Austin, TX 78711
512-463-1463 ext 2155
Web Site: www.lsnt.org/referral/

C. State Bar Association

Contact:
The State Bar of Texas
1414 Colorado
Austin, TX 78701
512-463-1463
512-463-1475 fax
Web Site: www.texasbar.com

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VII. Local Service Providers

Community agencies are available to assist individuals with criminal records find employment. This information will inform individuals with criminal records about government agencies and community-based organizations that assist with employment, education or vocational training. Researchers and policy makers may find this information useful in identifying agencies and service providers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.

One-Stop Centers

A list of one-stop centers and affiliate agencies that offer employment and training services is available at the following web site: www.servicelocator.org. A directory of Texas One-Stop Centers is available at the following web site: www.twc.state.tx.us

Contact:
Web Site: www.servicelocator.org

Goodwill Industries of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana

Goodwill Industries provides training, skill development and work opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

Contact:
Goodwill Industries of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana
460 Wall St.
Beaumont, TX 77701
409-838-9911
409-832-1822 fax
Web Site: www.goodwillbmt.org

Goodwill Industries of Dallas

Goodwill Industries provides training, skill development and work opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

Contact:
Goodwill Industries of Dallas
2800 North Hampton Rd.
Dallas, TX 75112
214-638-2800
214-638-7926 fax
E-Mail: give@goodwilldallas.org
Web Site: www.goodwilldallas.org

MASS (Mothers [Fathers]) for the Advancement of Social Systems, Inc.

Mothers [Fathers] for the Advancement of Social Systems, Inc. (MASS Inc.) is a non-profit organization that provides support services for individuals released from Texas State Prison. Services include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals in securing housing, employment, counseling, and any necessary support that eases re-entry transition. Another important mission of MASS is to help free innocent individuals who are imprisoned. Offices in Dallas, Fort Worth and D.C.

Contact:
MASS Inc.
3737 Atlanta Street
Dallas, TX 75215
214-421-0303
214-824-6891 fax
E-Mail: jabrown@massjab.org
Web Site: massjab.org

HoustonWorks USA

HoustonWorks USA is the largest operator of workforce centers in the Houston and greater Harris County region. These centers provide local access to job search services and programs for adults 18 years and older. Three youth centers have been established within the Fifth Ward, Third Ward, and East End communities to address the unique job search concerns of youth between the ages of 14 and 25. Training is available in career fields such as healthcare, business, computers and education. Additional information about HoustonWorks USA is available by calling 713-655-WORK.

Contact:
HoustonWorks USA
600 Jefferson, Suite 900
Houston, TX 77002
713-654-1919
Web Site: www.houstonworks.com

The Association of X-Offenders, Inc.

The Association of X-Offenders, Inc. (TAX) provides self-help support group, information, referrals, mentoring, and religious ministry.

Contact:
Association of X-Offenders, Inc.
219 East William Joel Bryan Parkway
P.O. Box 3785
Bryan, TX 77805
979-775-9200
979-775-9200 fax
E-Mail: tax@offenders.org
Web Site: www.xoffenders.org

Exodus Ministries, Inc.

Exodus Ministries, Inc. provides aftercare and transitional services to people with criminal records by providing a place to live, employment training and placement, life skills and transportation.

Contact:
Exodus Ministries, Inc.
4630 Munger Ave., #10
Dallas, TX 75204
214-827-3772
Web Site: www.exodusministry.4t.com

Goodwill Industries of Houston

Goodwill Industries of Houston offers assistance to individuals with criminal records who are referred to them by the Texas Rehabilitation Commission or Texas Workforce Commission. Instruction in soft skills, such as resume writing, interview techniques, and workplace responsibilities is given. Basic computer skills as well as basic accounting and finance techniques are taught. Job training for employment at Jiffy Lube is also available.

Contact:
Goodwill Industries of Houston
2030 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77098
713-699-6311
713-529-5302 fax
Web Site: www.goodwillhouston.org

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Rentry Guide

TCJC provides a comprehensive guide to adult reentry resources throughout Texas, but does not provide direct services. Lists community organizations that provide housing, employment and community health services, among others.

Contact:
Web Site: www.criminaljusticecoalition.org/tools_for_re_entry/adult_services

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