Chaplains Speak on Parity
Here we host the the chaplains themselves. We will be adding vignettes and concerns and worries. But through it all, we hope to highlight the experience & education of chaplains and provide a forum for expression. We love our service to TDCJ, but chaplains themselves have been left far behind with respect to economic freedom and a real career paths compared to the other professions within TDCJ, especially with respect to minimum qualifications.
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TDCJ Chaplains Who Endorse Parity - See Stories Below
Rev. Ernest Alexander, Chaplain, Gatesville Unit; A.A.
800 hrs CPE, 3+ years TDCJ, 17+ years exp.
Rev. Bob Ayers, Chaplain, Glossbrenner Unit;
1+ years TDCJ, 12+ years ministry exp.
Rev. "Joe" A.C. Camero, Chaplain, Dominguez State Jail;
800 hrs CPE, 5 years TDCJ, 27 years ministry exp.
Rev. Charles Bailey, Chaplain, Travis State Jail; B.A., M.S.,
Ret. USAF Colonel, 1,200 hrs CPE, 3+ years TDCJ,
22+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Sylvester Ballard, Chaplain, Retrieve Unit; B.A., M.Div,
800 hrs CPE, 4+ years TDCJ, 26+ years ministry exp.
Rev. George Bell, Chaplain, Stiles Unit; B.A., M.Div.,
800 hrs CPE, 7+ years TDCJ, 27+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Douglas Brown, Chaplain, Dalhart Unit; B.A., M.Div
800 hrs CPE, 5+ years TDCJ, 15 years ministry exp.
Rev. Ernest Brown, Chaplain, Tulia Unit; B.A.
800 hrs CPE, 2+ years CPE, 18+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Fred D. Broussard, Chaplain, Central Unit; A.A., B.S.,
4+ yearts TDCJ, 16+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Robert Burton, Chaplain, Hilltop Unit; B.A., M.Div.,
800 hrs CPE, 3+ years TDCJ, 20+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Susan Densman, Chaplain, Texas City; B.A., 1/2 Masters,
5+ years TDCJ, 10+ years ministry exp.
Dr. Vance Drum, Chaplain, Eastham Unit; B.A., M.T.S., D.Min.
800 hrs CPE, 16+ years TDCJ, 20 years ministry exp., Published
President American Protestant Correctional Chaplain's Association
Imam Eugene Farooq, Chaplain, Ramsey 3; Certified Islamic Studies
17+ years TDCJ, 28+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Karon Featherston, Chaplain, Murral Unit;
12+ TDCJ, 13+ years ministry exp.
Rev. David Goad, Chaplain, Clements Unit; B.A., M.Div., D.Min.
800 hrs CPE, 6+ years TDCJ, 40+ years ministry exp.
Dr. Benny Hindmon, Chaplain, Wynne Unit; B.A., M.Div., D.Min.
Rev. Mike Hubbard, Chaplain, Garza West Unit
Rev. Cecil James, Chaplain, Segovia Unit; B.A.
2+ years TDCJ, 15+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Robert Kibbe, Chaplain, Jester Unit; B.A., M.Div.
10+ years TDCJ, 20+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Willard Kiper, Chaplain, Baten ISF; B.A.
800 hrs CPE, 5+ years TDCJ, 14+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Paul Klein, Chaplain, Robertson Unit; B.S.
1,600 hrs CPE, 7+ years TDCJ, 25+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Chris Kutin, Chaplain, Clements; B.A., M.Div.
800 hrs CPE, ______
Rev. Leonard Lee, Chaplain, Torres Unit; B.A., Th.M., D.Min.
1,600 hrs CPE, 4+ years TDCJ, 36+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Samuel Longoria, Chaplain, Clemens Unit; B.A.
7+ years TDCJ
Rev. Ernest Lucio, Chaplain, Dolph Briscoe Unit; A.A., B.A.
800 hrs CPE, 4+ years TDCJ, 22+ years ministry exp.
Dr. M.G. Maness, Chaplain, Lewis Unit; B.A., M.Div., D.Min.,
1,600 hrs CPE, 7+ years TDCJ, 23+ years ministry exp., Published
Rev. Glenn Mitchell, Chaplain, Robertson Unit;
800 hrs CPE, 9+ years TDCJ, 36+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Llyod Morris, Chaplain, Ramsey 3; B.A., M.Div.
1,600 hrs CPE, 11+ years TDCJ, 30+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Wallace Nelson, Chaplain, Mountain View Unit; B.A., M.Div.
800 hrs CPE, 7+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Hugh Panky, Chaplain, Montford Unit; B.A., M.Div.
1,200 hrs CPE, 6+ years TDCJ, 16+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Ted Podson, Chaplain, Clements; B.A., M.A
800 hrs CPE, 6+ years TDCJ, 26+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Paul Polk, Chaplain, Hightower Unit; B.A., M.Div.
10+ years TDCJ, 23+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Charles Raley, Chaplain, Kegans Unit; B.A., M.Div., M.A.
800 hrs CPE, 10+ years TDCJ, 30+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Paul Ransberger, Chaplain, Daniel Unit;
5+ months TDCJ, 25+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Edward Riley, Chaplain, Wallace Unit; B.A., M.Div.
800 hrs CPE, 6+ years TDCJ, 27+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Gerald Saffel, Chaplain, Ferguson Unit; B.A., M.Div.
13+ years TDCJ, 20+ years ministry exp., Cert. Police Officer
Dr. Timothy Simmons, Chaplain, Ramsey 1 Unit; B.A, M.Div., D.Min, Ph.D.
1,600 hrs CPE w/ Supervisory, 10+ years TDCJ, 23+ years ministry exp.
Rev. William Snidow, Chaplain, Powledge Unit; A.A., B.A.
400 hrs CPE, 1 year TDCJ, 25 years ministry exp.
Rev. Helen Spalding, Chaplain, Lopez Unit; B.A., M.Div.
800 hrs CPE, 1 year TDCJ, 19+ years ministry, Retired Navy Chaplain
Rev. Duane Spikes, Chaplain, Smith Unit; B.A., M.Div.,
1,600 hours CPE, 13+ years TDCJ, 31+ ministry years, exp., Published
Rev. Gary Thibodaux, Chaplain, Michael Unit; B.S.
800 hrs CPE, __+ years TDCJ, 20+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Jackie Thomison, Chaplain, Halbert Unit; B.S.
800 hrs CPE, 5+ years TDCJ, 19+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Daniel Valenzuela, Chaplain, Smith Unit; Deaconate Training
6+ months TDCJ, 8+ years ministry exp.
Rev. Joe Vitela, Chaplain, Ellis Unit
Rev. Alton Whittaker, Chaplain, Darrington Unit; B.S.
3+ years TDCJ, 30+ years ministry experience
Dr. Raymond Woodruff, Chaplain, Dominguez Unit; B.A., M.Div., D.Min.
1,600 hrs CPE, 9+ years TDCJ, 34+ years ministry experience
Rev. Jack Yates, Chaplain, Joe Ney Unit; B.A., M.Div., M.A.
5+ years TDCJ, 10+ years ministry exp.
Click Lighthouse to Expand
M.G. Maness, Chaplain, Lewis Unit, Woodville;
B.A., M.Div., D.Min., 4 Units CPE, 7+ years TDCJ:
Humbling: a 19 year old w/ 1 year exp. & HS/GED Can Qualify to Enter TDCJ as a Programmer II & Make the Same as a 10+ Year TDCJ Veteran Chaplain
When I entered over 7 years ago it was required to have an M.Div. and 1,600
hours of clinical to jump to the next pay group within one year. Prior to even pursuing
TDCJ chaplaincy, former Chief of Chaplains Emmett Solomon encouraged me to get
Clinical Pastoral Education; so I spent a year in San Angelo, Texas,
gaining the 1,600 hours prior to making a TDCJ application. Since coming to
the Lewis Unit 7 years ago, I have earned an accredited D.Min. and put the final
touches on three books that I had completed prior to TDCJ.
When I came to the Lewis Unit, it was a 1,000 bed minimum/medium custody facility, and I had a full time secretary. Now it has over 2,000 beds, including a 660 bed High Security facility. The secretarial help was cut several years ago.
I have not been able to afford to go to my own denominational gatherings or subscribe to more than one professional journal. It is rather humbling to admit, but I have spent more on my computer than I have on my own vehicle as another personal investment in the development of my own skills for ministry and chaplaincy.
I love my work, but I sure do not have the resources to do the quality of work I once did. Certainly, I and the volunteers are meeting some the challenges. Given my qualifications and experience, I long for some of the kind of economic freedom that others in TDCJ, others who have considerably less qualifications for their respective fields. I love my profession. Though I can probably get another job somewhere else, like many wardens, majors and lieutenants--I have invested too much into the TDCJ and into the chaplaincy service, am truly involved with my own professional specialty. Plus I am not getting any younger and have roots to preserve.
When I first found out about what our chief of chaplains actually made, I was awestruck. Then when I finally looked on the bulletin board to discover the professional inequity, my heart sank. To my own amazement, a potential 19 year old with a High School Diploma or GED and one year of experience in programming will qualify to enter TDCJ at TWO (2) pay groups above an entry level chaplain and qualify to enter at the same pay group that I and many chaplains have been for 7+ years (chaplains with multiple degrees and some with 15+ years experience).
When I think that if that same teenager will just wait till he/she is 20 years old, he or she will qualify to enter TDCJ as a Programmer III, making the exact same salary as the Chief/Top/Senior Chaplain for the largest penitentiary in the world. That is a shameful neglect of the chaplaincy department within TDCJ.
No particular fault can be placed at any single place, for the chaplaincy budget is so small compared to others, the chaplains themselves are among the least confrontational and this has been going on for 25+ years without re-classification. So at this point, even the best efforts at the divisional level can only begin with small increments. So then, it is likewise clear--without legislative action--no significant redress will happen in our life time. The degree of redress needed now will only take a concerted effort by many parties. The only real solution is to look at Parity for Chaplains within TDCJ. Chaplains are under paid and the Chaplaincy Department is under funded. Enly equity with other professions will truly empower the Chaplaincy to grow and access human history's greatest resource--the power of Religion to Change a Person.
Duane Spikes, Chaplain, TDCJ Smith Unit,
B.A., M.Div., 1,600 hours CPE, Published, 13+ years TDCJ
"Cost of Living & our 25-30% Decrease in Salary"
On Sept 1, I will finish 13 years in TDCJ. About a year or so ago,
some official government statistics came to me at home, showing the
increase in the cost of living over the previous ten years. Just
out of curiosity (I almost wish I hadn't done this!), I decided to see
what my own salary would be if a cost of living adjustment only had been
Taking my beginning salary (with no hazardous duty pay--$7/month--wow!), I added in a hypothetical increase each year to match the cost of living. After 10 years only, not the full 12 I had been in, my salary would have been over $10,000 more than what we are getting now. Or, to put it another way, our pay scale has, in terms of purchasing power, actually gone down by about 25-30 % in the last ten years.
There are five TDCJ chaplains employed today who were, at one time, my volunteers. I encouraged each one to consider TDCJ when they expressed interest. Could I encourage others to consider the same direction today? I'm not sure how I can, with integrity.
Chaplain Duane Spikes has a B.A. Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana; M.Div., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth; 1,600 hours CPE: one unit at the Institute of Religion, Texas Medical Center, Houston; One unit at the Pastoral Care Center, Dallas, Texas (not precisely CPE--under the auspices of the American Association of Pastoral Care--but similar), two units at Children's Medical Center, Dallas. He as been a of three different churches (eleven years); a Baptist Student Union Director at Louisiana Tech University (three years); an Associate Pastor (four years); an Industrial Chaplain (one year); and a TDCJ Prison Chaplain (thirteen years). He as been published in The Deacon, Home Life, Proclaim and Informs. He was a US Navy line officer from 1963-66.
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