Polish Delegation Tours Texas Correctional System

The Polish delegate met with CMIT staff.
The Polish delegation met with CMIT staff.

The Correctional Management Institute of Texas (CMIT) co-hosted a biennial visit by a delegation from the Polish Central Board of Prison Services to learn about state and local correctional facilities in Texas.

“It is an incredible honor to again host and facilitate a delegation of correctional professionals from the Polish Prison Services,” said Doug Dretke, Executive Director of CMIT. “Through our continuing relationship we are able to provide professional development opportunities for prison and jail officials to share best practices from our different systems and to understand and learn new ideas and approaches to similar challenges.”

The delegation toured jails and prisons throughout Texas.
The delegation toured jails and prisons throughout Texas.
The 10-day visit, which included programs and facilities at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and several Sheriff’s Offices across the state, featured service dog training, prison-run industries and correctional officer training. The program was co-sponsored by the TDCJ.

Poland has a unified correctional system under the Minister of Justice, which enforces both custodial sentences and pre-trial detention. The delegation include Col Wiktor Glowiak, Director of the State and Training Office at the Central Board of Prison Services; Lt.-Col. Marek Cieslik, Deputy Director of Logistics, Investment Office at the Central Board of Prison Service; Col. Miroslaw Dudar, Regional Director of the Prison Service in Bialystok, Lt. Col. Bodan Kornatowski, Director (Senior Warden) of the Remand Prison Warsaw-Mokotow; Maj. Roman Paszko, Director (Senior Warden) of the Remand Prison in Hajnowka; Cpt. Tomasz Waclawek, Press Spokesman of the Regional Inspectorate of Prison Services in Cracow; and Second Lieut. Agnieszka Derengowska, Junior Psychologist of the Remand Prison in Gdansk.

A Polish delegate tested SWAT equipment in Travis County.
A Polish delegate tested SWAT equipment in Travis County.
In addition to meeting with top officials from CMIT and TDCJ, the delegation traveled the state to tour the TDCJ’s Crain, Dominquez, Hughes, Huntsville, Ramsey, Terrell and Wynne Units as well as jail facilities operated by the Travis County and the Limestone County Sheriffs’ Offices. Each programs showcased some of their specialties or areas of interest to the delegation.

The tours includes three dog training programs. At the Pawsite Approach Assistance Dog Program at the Dominquez Unit in San Antonio, inmates train dogs to serve the blind. At the Patriot Paws Program in the Crain Unit in Coryell, inmates prepare service dogs for returning veterans who may suffer from physical or mental issues. Finally, the group attended a canine demonstration at the Ramsey Unit.

TDCJ tours included facilities and industries.
TDCJ tours included facilities and industries.
The delegation also explored many industries and businesses run through the state prison system. At the Wynne Unit , agricultural business include crops, pest control, security horses and swine operations, while the manufacturing and logistics operations offers a computer recovery facility, license plate plant, mattress factory, sign and plastics facility, graphics facility, mechanical department, food service warehouse and freight terminal. The delegation also visited the furniture factory at the Ramsey Unit and the agriculture business at the Terrell Unit.

The TDCJ also provided an overview of the training programs available for correctional officers, and the Polish officials sat in on a defensive tactics training class.

Polish delegates participated in training at TDCJ.
Polish delegates participated in training at TDCJ.
Finally, the group visited several counties to learn about programs and operations at the local level. In Travis County, they participated in the “Travis County Vision Summit,” a conference hosted by Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton that was aimed at developing new ideas for reentry programs for offenders after their release from jails and prison. The group also got a hands-on view of the county’s SWAT equipment, which would be used in the event of an emergency. In Limestone County, the delegation toured the new county jail facility, which is less than three years old, and represents a modern correctional institution. Limestone County Sheriff Dennis D. Wilson is among a group of American delegates that visited the Polish Prison Services under the exchange program in the past.

“The Polish Prison Services has a sharp focus on leadership development of their staff, reentry and reintegration for their offender population, and efficiency and effectiveness in prison and jail operations,” said Dretke. “Much of their visit focused on these critical areas providing them an opportunity to see and learn about the very similar efforts within our prisons and jails in the state of Texas.”

The delegation also was treated to Texas culture, with traditional meals and tours, along with an outing to Fort Parker in Limestone County and a Bearkat football game.

Member of The Texas State University System