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Jail Standards, Juvenile Justice Agencies Select New Directors

By Laura Nicholes
TAC Legislative Staff

Texas Commission on Jail Standards
On Aug. 2 the Texas Commission on Jail Standards Board unanimously appointed Brandon Wood as incoming executive director, effective Oct. 1, 2012, when current Director Adan Munoz retires.
Wood began working with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards in 1999 as a facilities planner, assisting counties in identifying jail population trends, preparing needs analyses and developing and reviewing construction plans. Wood has served as the agency’s assistant director since August 2007.
Throughout his tenure with the agency he has assisted with administrative oversight and operations, facilitated communications with local officials to find solutions for minimum jail standards, interacted with the Governor’s Office, Legislative Budget Board and state officials regarding the functional aspects, goals and responsibilities of the Commission and the impact on counties.
Texas Juvenile Justice Department
On Aug. 24 the Texas Juvenile Justice Department Board appointed Michael Griffiths as the agency’s new executive director, effective Sept. 10.
Before retiring in 2010, Griffiths served 15 years as the director of Juvenile Services in Dallas County. Prior to that, he was the chief juvenile probation officer in Nueces County and the assistant director in Montgomery County.
Griffiths has served on the governor’s State Juvenile Justice Task Force, is an adjunct instructor at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville and has a lengthy career working with the juvenile justice and mental health systems, alternative education programs, commissioners courts, law enforcement and community resources. He brings to the agency a working knowledge of the dynamics and complexities involved at the local level as well as with legislative policy.
Griffiths spoke to county officials at the TAC Pre-Legislative Conference in August and acknowledged the agency has a long way to go to meet legislative directives and local/state programming needs.
“[The agency] will be transparent as we move forward,” Griffiths said.

An additional $154 million in state funds (about $77 million for each fiscal year in the next biennium) would assist counties tremendously in offsetting the costs of this significant unfunded mandate. The additional funding request must still work its way through the rigorous legislative appropriations process in the upcoming legislative session. TAC legislative staff will provide further updates about its progress as it becomes available.