TDCJ Chaplaincy
Cost Savings—Gargantuan

Chaplaincy Cost-Savings — Gargantuan — when

Compared to ANY Other Program or Service

No matter how one looks at TDCJ Chaplaincy, it shines bright from every standpoint.  One of the preponderant items that is usually a benchmark for success is that of "Cost-Savings." 

First of all, every really professional Chaplain would prefer that everyone look at the Chaplaincy Services "CONTRIBUTIONS" to the agencies' mission critical functions.  That what we know best.  That is what we take enormous pride in—making contributions to the lives of others and to the institution as a whole.  That is almost the total subject of the previous Chaplaincy Professional Equity Proposal – the large number and very broad spectrum of contributions and huge, almost imponderable number of responsibilities that Correctional Chaplains negotiate.  So, as always, we would first like to be granted Equality, full Professional Equity in compensation and logistical support based upon "contributions" made.

However, even though contributions are huge, even gargantuan, those contributions have been obfuscated in recent years.  Even so in the recent years since the previous proposal went public.  Worse still, a kind of unethical posturing has taken place to make the work of Chaplaincy Professional Equity all the harder.

Therefore, in addition to the huge contributions and because of the negative posturing and further discoveries of improprieties, we offer this proposal.  This proposal looks at what we consider the lesser to two goods:  the lesser being cost-savings, the greater being the inestimable contributions.  When one looks at the raw cost-savings, TDCJ Chaplaincy is demonstrably cost-effective, with very credible claims to recovery of its entire operating costs 3x over.  There is little comparison between Chaplaincy and ANY other in TDCJ.  Chaplain utilization of religious volunteers, but not exclusively.  Professional Equity becomes all the more persuasive.

In the following sections, we examine the cost-savings of Chaplaincy Services.  Bear in mind that what you see here has been going on for 30+ years.  As one current example, here is a raw comparison between TDCJ Chaplaincy and the TDCJ Windham Prison School.  Fuller data and a larger continuity will be given later.  But as a snap shot of just one example, a comparison between TDCJ Chaplaincy Services and Windham Prison School will indicate a huge disparity, especially since most Chaplains have attained Masters degrees.  Such degrees are part of the ubiquitous national standard.

Is there anything relevant to Chaplain Professional Equity with respect to Windham Prison School funding?  Yes, and Yes again, if "bang for one's buck" means anything in Texas.  Yes, and Yes again, if "Equal Pay for Equal Work" means anything to ANYONE.  Given any standard for productivity, TDCJ Chaplains across the state are among the most productive, especially with respect to their facilitation, leadership and coordination of volunteers. 

The irony of all of the following, is that as TDCJ has grown, there has been an effort to – at least on paper – for everyone to take credit for what chaplains do.  That is, religious volunteerism has ALWAYS been an integral part of prison chaplaincy.  But of late, the documents are bold to assert how much cost-saving to the state the volunteerism is, but NEVER indicate that about 90% of TDCJ volunteerism is through its Chaplaincy services.  And no significant report (public or above the division level) has been made about the following in the history of TDCJ Chaplaincy.

For instance, two TDCJ Volunteer Coordination Committee Reports for FY1999 and FY2000, there is the attempt to report on volunteerism within TDCJ.  Every part of TDCJ Programs and Services and every other part of TDCJ is mentioned.  It is noted in the front of the FY2000 Report, in large type this very remarkable statement, essentially the sum of the entire report:

"In Fiscal Year 2000, the Texas Department of Criminal Justices received benefits from the time and talents of approximately 21,382 approved volunteers.  Agency departments and divisions reported 119,195 volunteer visits were made to TDCJ facilities with 501,386 volunteer hours served.  These services represent $7,435,554.30 in benefits to the State of Texas."[1]

Indeed, what an extraordinary contribution!  In the 64 page document, there are literally hundreds of programs extolled and delineated.  However, on closer examination, the entire report is more a summary of the many human service programs (funded and volunteer) through the agency, with little actual numbers of volunteers.

When you come to the Chaplaincy section, we find a substantial overview and then one very small paragraph, titled "2000 Statistical Report." 

"105,746 religious services were held during 2000 fiscal year with a total offender attendance of over 3.8 million.  Approved volunteers served 469,011 hours in 111,247 visits, and special volunteers from over 750 prison ministry organizations/church congregations throughout the state served 73,531 hours in 21,140 visits."

Now this is a truly remarkable statement.  In 64 pages, including Windham School, Parole, Victim Services, Substance Abuse, Sex Abuse, State Jail and Community Justice Assistance Division – in all TDCJ, Chaplaincy volunteers saved the state $8,045,897.80 dollars for FY2000 when it, which is over a million dollars above Chaplaincy's budget for that year.  Here is how report 's "Aggregate TDCJ Volunteer Statistics" looks if one places "chaplaincy" in it.


FY2000 Aggregate Report with TDCJ-ID Chaplaincy Added


Report Sums


Total of Volunteers for Fiscal Year


not mentioned

Total Visits – Approved Volunteers



Total Visits – Special Volunteers



Special Volunteer Program Hours Served



Special Volunteer Program Contacts


not mentioned

Approved Volunteer Program Hours Served



Approved Volunteer Contacts


not mentioned

Grand Total of Offender Contacts


not mentioned

V     Added for Effect from Previous Paragraph     V[3]
with corrections made, combining the "Approved" & "Special" Volunteer Hours times $14.83

Combined "Approved" & "Special" Vol. Hours



TOTAL Cost-Saving for State of Texas



So, in TDCJ's aggregate 64 page report of the entire agency,
Chaplains supervised, managed, solicited, lead, served and honored 90% of all volunteers.  In this one area alone, Chaplaincy recovered it's entire operating cost.  Said in another way, Chaplains helped facilitate an additional $3,000,000 OVER the entire Chaplaincy Budget for FY2000.

Why does this need to be kept a secret?  What about the other contributions?


The above is astounding all by itself. 

There are other work measures that merit further notice.  And the "chaplains" that accomplish them merit Professional Equity – Equality.  Since the following eclipses the work of  986 teachers – a basic chaplain OUGHT to make what the AVERAGE teacher makes based upon Fair Labor Practices alone.  Not to mention the huge cost-savings to be encountered later.

The above four were compiled from the aggregate monthly reports for FY 2000 and FY 2001 from reporting chaplains from TDCJ prison units across the state.  About 155 TDCJ Chaplains are reporting with zero clerical help and about a dozen administrators in Huntsville.  Compare that to the that Windham Prison School's work measures.  Chaplains merit equity. 

The following is from the TDCJ Programs and Services Division's Bi-Monthly Reports to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (the reports mentioned in the appendix) with respect to Windham.

These are extraordinary statistics in themselves.  A lot of work is being done. 

In addition to ALL of the other demonstrable contributions to TDCJ's mission critical functions outlined in the Chaplain Equity Proposal, the figures above and below indicate how Chaplaincy is the most cost-effective program in TDCJ and how that "cost-effectiveness" alone justifies EQUALITY, in this case literally contribution to the fiscal bottom line.  While every Chaplain values education, look at the following. 

The editor of this chart admits no expertise in interpreting the WSD Annual Performance Report.  Some knowledge is required of the difference between the school years and fiscal years and the differences between how the actual contact hours are culled from qualified teachers as opposed to those in other areas.  Maybe the total "contact hours" are exclusively from qualified teachers.  The editor just could not determine.  Anyway, these are substantial numbers.

However and clearly, Chaplains contribute in a manner far superior than any other public report has eluded.  Given the national standards for Chaplain competencies and that most TDCJ Chaplains exceed them, given further that many of those Chaplains have credentials exceeding those of Teachers, as highly qualified and deserving as they are, Chaplains and the Chaplaincy Services deserve compensation and logistical support.  Given the numbers above, an average Chaplain ought to make what an average Teacher makes, especially since their level of responsibility is exponentially higher by several powers.

When Victim Services is added to this picture, and the Director of Victim Services is on a higher scale the Director of Chaplains, by several pay groups, this becomes all the more disconcerting.  The numbers don't match.

Neither the number match with the respect to the InnerChange Freedom Initiative, where their Faith-Based Program Administrators are leading in a decisively "Christian" program, but they have never been trained in religion by any kind of national standard.  We have it on good authority that the Tommie Dorset makes nearly the same as a Windham School Principal and the that the several leads under him are on a scale equal to the average teacher.  However, no information could be ascertained at the time of this document's construction.  Open Records requests for InnerChange data and salaries has been denied and the Texas Attorney General's Office is investigating three months after the requests were made.

Instructive is that the 77th Legislature approved $1,500,000 million dollars to help expand the InnerChange Freedom Initiative.  Which, though certainly not clear, does say something about support for a program.  And Chaplains are by far more qualified than the administrators of that program, and their numbers are not any less.  And it is argued that such support also argues for Equity for Chaplains, since many Chaplains administrate larger "religious" programs than that of the InnerChange, and so are therefore deserving of Equal treatment, at least equal compensation (for they have far superior qualifications and experience then the InnerChange leaders).

Let the New Millennium Include

Equality for Chaplains

The following needs consideration.

Measure the Cost-Savings and Budget Costs PER dollar spent for Contribution to Mission Critical Functions: 
Compare TDCJ Chaplains’ Direct Work Measures:
          Direct Contribution to Reduction in Recidivism
          Direct Budget Impact in Donations of Literature Consumables
          Direct Contribution in documented reduction of offender disciplinaries
          Direct Contribution in documented reduction of health care costs
Compare TDCJ Chaplains with Dollars spent with Windham Prison School
          Compare GARGANTUAN budget with a miniscule budget
                   That is:  cost per Chaplain is ZERO in comparison with
                   HIGH cost of Teachers and Teacher Administration

          Compare GARGANTUAN Work Measure Productivity of Chaplains
                   versus RELATIVELY Low Productivity when seen in

Measure by Equality in Education, Training and Responsibilities –
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Compare TDCJ Chaplains to Windham Prison Teachers
Compare TDCJ Chaplains to TDCJ and Texas Employed Engineers
Compare TDCJ Chaplains to TDCJ Lawyer and Texas Employed Lawyers

The following data on national Chaplaincy Services side by side with TDCJ Chaplaincy Contributions highlights an EXTRAORDINARY service to the wonderful State of Texas – contributions that have been kept nearly a secret by the TDCJ Programs and Services Division and the other agencies employing state Chaplains.[4]  When we compare budget allocations, pay group levels, budget allocations among the services, especially Windham Prison School, the comparisons reveal some astounding facts.

ü    ASTOUNDING are the facts of Chaplaincy cost-saving

ü    ASTOUNDING are the facts of Chaplaincy "ACTUAL" contributions

ü    ASTOUNDING are the facts of Chaplaincy "COMPLETE" cost recovery

ü    ASTOUNDING is the fact that the Chaplaincy services provide gargantuan contributions in work measures per chaplain, eclipsing Windham Prison School many times over for less than 1/10th the budget allocations

ü    ASTOUNDING is the fact that the above facts are nearly a secret


EVERY Chaplain values every Teacher and knows that every offender NEEDS to learn how to read and write.  Furthermore, EVERY Chaplain knows that NO ONE is better at teaching these skills than Certified Teachers.  Most of all, Chaplains believe Teachers are getting a fair wage.  It is time for Chaplains to be given equal treatment, treatment that is given to other TDCJ and other Texas employees.  Equality.

All the above underscores and is "part" of the TOTAL claim that highly educated and trained Chaplains deserve to EQUALITY.  More than that though, a true EQUALITY also compensates with a fair wage AND with fair logistical support.  The COST-SAVINGS alone justifies equality without any further argument.  Some have attempted to obfuscate and even minimize the total chaplaincy contribution in the last ten years, and that "obfuscation" itself needs further investigation and is another reason for granting "Equality" in the redressing of unfair labor practices. 

With the data and statistics indicating a huge, even GARGANUAN imbalance—EQUALITY and even redress should be all the more compelling.  When one adds to the above sentences that ALL of what Chaplains have been accomplishing have been HIDDEN and that what they accomplish WITHOUT REAL logistical support:  then there is an even more compelling STATE interest to grant Equality and Logistical support for Chaplains not only to better manage their own current gargantuan contribution more efficiently, but also to facilitate an even greater contribution.

One fact looms very high.  Even with Three Times the Current Budget, the TDCJ Chaplaincy Services very, very, very demonstrably

Chaplaincy Services
Recover Their
Entire Operating Costs!

Why then would anyone NOT want Equality for State Chaplains?

Especially "why" when such total cost recovery is so easy to see?

Especially "why" when the contributions are so huge, and the contributions are to

       THE MOST CHERISHED values of Texas citizens?

35 years ago this was not so. 

This is a matter of HONOR. 

As well as a matter of the Value of Religion in General.

[1] The emphasis is theirs.  And if both the "Approved" and "Special" Volunteer hours are added (why not), then the savings is even greater.  And Chaplaincy even shines brighter.  We note this on the next page.  And report also footnotes that the dollar savings is "Based on the 1999 National Average Hourly Value of Volunteer Time of $14.83 from The Independent Sector.

[2] Emphasis mine.

[3] Actually there appears to be a mistake.  In the front, it only calculated the "Approved" volunteer hours at $14,83.  If one combines the total "Approved" and "Special" volunteer hours, a more accurate and fuller savings is calculated.

[4] Namely, MHMR & TYC.