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PUSH NEWS 24 COMMUNITY : December 30th, 2023

Senior wardens and agency leadership gathered at Carolina Creek for the 2023 Senior Warden Leadership Forum

Senior Warden Adam R. Gonzales Named Warden of the Year

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is proud to announce that Senior Warden Adam R. Gonzales of the William P. Clements Unit has been selected as the 2023 Warden of the Year.

Each year, regional directors nominate wardens who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, mentorship, vision, and statistical performance. The nominations undergo a rigorous review process by the Correctional Institutions Division (CID) deputy division directors and the CID director for final approval.

According to Lonnie “L.E.” Townsend, Region V director, Warden Gonzales consistently displayed an ambitious drive to incorporate new and innovative approaches in correctional facility operations.

“Under his leadership, the Clements Unit became the first unit in TDCJ to implement an Earned Incentive Housing Area. This unique housing area rewards inmates with outstanding behavior and provides motivation for others to strive for positive change,” Townsend said.

“Furthermore, Warden Gonzales encourages his staff to adapt successful programs from various facilities across the state and country to meet the specific needs of the incarcerated population at the Clements Unit. By combining traditional correctional tactics with modern understanding and theories, he aims to promote public safety, facilitate positive inmate behavior change, support inmate reintegration into society, and assist victims of crime.”

Executive Director Bryan Collier added, “Warden Gonzalez is one of many outstanding wardens serving TDCJ, and he is worthy of the honor he has received. His commitment to fostering a safe and innovative environment that promotes rehabilitation sets a standard for excellence within our agency.”

Gonzales is a 25-year veteran of the TDCJ. He began his career as a correctional officer and promoted through the ranks by serving the agency in the capacities of sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, and assistant warden of several facilities. Gonzales received his Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice with honors from Ashworth University in 2017.

“I was truly honored and overwhelmed with emotions on being announced as the 2023 Warden of the Year,” Gonzalez said. “As I was presented the award, I could only think of the countless staff who made this acknowledgement happen. I was grateful to my lovely wife for supporting me in my career and the mentors who invested in me over the years.”



PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL: December 30th, 2023

TDCJ Launches Tuition Reimbursement Program to Enhance Employee Education Opportunities

On Friday, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) unanimously approved the launch of EmpowerEDU, a tuition reimbursement program aimed at supporting Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) employees in their pursuit of higher education.

Under the newly established program, eligible TDCJ employees will have the opportunity to be reimbursed for tuition expenses incurred while pursuing relevant courses at accredited institutions of higher education. This program is designed to aid employees in enhancing their job-related skills, work-related capabilities, and overall competency, thereby positioning them to excel in their current roles and adapt to evolving technological, legal, and procedural advancements.

“Our workforce is the backbone of this agency, and investing in their education and professional development is vital,” TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier said. “Through the EmpowerEDU Tuition Reimbursement Program, we aim to empower our employees to not only excel in their current roles, but also to prepare for future challenges and opportunities.”

To apply for the tuition reimbursement program, applicants must be a full-time TDCJ employee with at least three continuous years (36 months) of service, a satisfactory annual job performance evaluation and not be on disciplinary probation or be a return-to-work retiree. A review committee consisting of agency administrators will evaluate each application based on the eligibility, course relevance, and potential improvement in job-related skills.

“Our goal is to establish ourselves as the No. 1 employer in Texas. We believe in investing in our employees and providing opportunities for growth and development,” Collier said. “This program will not only help our staff advance their education, but also enhance their professional skills and knowledge, ultimately benefiting TDCJ and the communities we serve.”

Employees seeking reimbursement must submit their request within 20 days of receiving their final grades and successfully completing the course. Reimbursement is capped at $5,000 per fiscal year for tuition, books, and mandatory fees. Reimbursement spots are limited.