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Old 11-29-2004, 07:36 PM
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Default Hamilton Unit as a Pre Release Facility-Texas Prison

July 2004
TDCJ Website
(BRYAN) – The arrival of the first occupants of the Hamilton Unit on July 31 will engage a unique, holistic approach that is designed to prepare offenders for a successful reintegration into society. That will be the mission set out by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) as it reopens the facility as a therapeutic center for those who are lacking the skills they will need upon return to the free world.

Built specifically for TDCJ in late 1995, the Hamilton Unit was transferred to the Texas Youth Commission in 1996 for that agency’s use. The facility returned to TDCJ in March 2003 and, for the past year, has undergone modifications for its new role as a treatment unit. These pre-release services are currently offered at the Beto Unit but will be transferred to Hamilton. This approach is expected to provide a dual benefit for the State – better facilities for the rehabilitation and reentry mission, and 600 additional spaces at Beto for offenders who require greater security.

"It is our mission and hope for the Hamilton Unit that we will be able to provide these offenders with the necessary skills and instill, in them, the attitude they need to become useful, self-sufficient members of their communities," said Gary L. Johnson, TDCJ Executive Director. "This facility design is ideal for our mission, and we appreciate the support of our neighbors here in Bryan and the surrounding area."

Johnson and other officials, including Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Christina Melton Crain and State Representative Fred Brown of Bryan, formally dedicated the facility Wednesday afternoon. A reception and tour followed the ceremonies, led by Hamilton Unit Warden Eduardo Carmona and his staff.

Offenders who are assigned to Hamilton will be nearing their release date. They will have been identified as having substance abuse problems and, in most cases, lacking life skills, education needs and vocational training. The core six-month program provides counseling and training in both classroom and one-on-one settings

"The holistic approach to the Hamilton Unit pre-release program addresses the individualized needs of each offender," said Madeline Ortiz, Director of TDCJ’s Rehabilitation and Reentry Programs Division. "They will get exactly what they need to help them succeed when they rejoin society."

The Hamilton Unit has a capacity of 1166 beds in a dormitory-style setting, with adjacent classrooms and training facilities. At full staffing, approximately 250 TDCJ employees will be assigned to the unit. Approximately 80 of that number will be security officers who were previously assigned to the unit during the TYC period. The unit is named for J.W. Hamilton, who served as the sheriff of Brazos County from 1946 to 1978.
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