Cell Block Boom: The Impact of Texas Prison Expansion

In recent years, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has emerged as the largest state agency and, with approximately 40,000 jobs, probably the largest employer of any type in Texas. Most of its employees are correctional officers guarding 144,000 felony offenders – the result of the Texas prison building growth industry. In the midst of massive prison expansion nationwide, Texas has overshadowed its peer jurisdictions at times. What are the implications of this rapid expansion? Several ramifications of the Texas prison-building boom merit the public’s increased awareness and may be of particular interest to the Texas business community.