President Vance Drum’s Member Letter Number 6 – December 2015


  I usually don’t forward news articles, but this one is significant for us at ACA.  Brad Livingston received the ACA’s highest award, the E. R. Cass, in 2015 I believe, and is chair of the ACA Standards Committee.  Under his leadership Texas received ACA’s Golden Eagle award, with all 109 of our prisons and central offices being ACA-accredited.  He served as our Executive Director (Commissioner, #1 leader) since 2004—longest of any Texas Executive Director in my memory. He led us through prison culture transformation with an emphasis on treatment.  During his tenure, our recidivism rate fell to 21%, down from 84% in 1989 (after three years out), closed three prisons, and our prison population has begun to decline.  Forgive me:  I think a lot of him, and we will miss him.


The Houston Chronicle

By Mike Ward, 4:20 pm, Friday, April 15, 2016  

AUSTIN — Brad Livingston, the executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice who has led the nation’s largest state corrections agency through a transition over 12 years to emphasize treatment and rehabilitation programs, announced Friday he will retire in August.

Livingston, who started his state career as a budget analyst, was named to head the 38,000-employee, 147,000-convict system in July 2005, after joining the prisons and parole agency eight years earlier as deputy director of financial services.

During his tenure, the agency has gone from a primary emphasis on punishment ramped up by the Texas Legislature during the 1990s to a stronger focus on treatment and rehabilitation programs  designed to cut recidivism.

Livingston’s tenure also included the closure of three state prisons, the first shuttered by the state in more than a century.

No replacement has been named, officials said.

“While this role has its challenges, I had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented criminal justice staff in the nation,” Livingston said in a statement announcing his retirement. “These are the unsung heroes who perform demanding, often dangerous, and always critical functions for the state of Texas.”

Dale Wainwright, chairman of the agency’s nine-member governing board, said “there’s hardly an area within the TDCJ that has not been affected by (Livingston’s) leadership.

“He never backed away from a challenge but addressed them head on,” Wainwright said. “His legacy reflecting exemplary service to the people of the state will be felt for many years to come.”

Without elaborating, Wainwright said he expects Livingston’s replacement to be named soon.

The agency, which operates the largest state prison system in the nation, has an operating budget of more than $3 billion  and is responsible for more than 87,000 individuals released from prison on parole or mandatory supervision. It also oversees adult probation departments that provide direct supervision to 245,000 individuals on community supervision, plus the 147,000 convicts in 109 state prisons.