Prison System: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division- Prisons, Region V
Status: Active, opened in 1991; ACA accredited since 2002
Offender Gender: Male
Security Level: G1, G2, G4, parole offenders
Distinguishing Feature: The T.L. Roach Unit is unique among Texas prisons because it contains the state’s only remaining work camp. That is not to say that it contains the only prison where inmates still work in agriculture, because many of the state’s current prisons are also prison farms. However, a work camp differs from a regular prison farm. A work camp replicates the same discipline levels as the military and may also be referred to as a boot camp.
Employees: 289 total employees; 199 security
The Roach Unit has two components: a general prison for various types of minimum and medium security offenders and a boot camp that provides an alternative to incarceration for offenders meeting certain specific qualifications. The regular prison is similar to men’s facilities across the State of Texas, while the work camp functions very similarly to military basic training.
The Roach Unit houses primarily minimum and low-medium security offenders, parole violators, and boot camp participants. While many of the offenders are incarcerated for violent crimes like armed robbery, the prison does not have a reputation for excessive violence among the inmates or by the guards. The inmates in the boot camp program must be between the ages of 18 and 26, cannot have committed a serious violent crime, and cannot be recidivist adult offenders. They may, however, have extensive criminal records as juvenile offenders.
The Roach Unit is subdivided into smaller units or housing blocks, where inmates are separated according to security level. The living conditions at the Roach Unit are reported to be as good as, if not better than, conditions at most men’s prisons in Texas, though the Roach Unit does have a reputation for rioting. Inmates are expected to work while they are at the prison and are usually started doing some type of field work. From there, inmates may be able to work themselves into other prison jobs. The boot camp is located down the road from the main prison and the inmates are housed in a large warehouse-type dormitory. As soon as the inmates arrive at the prison, the boot camp begins. Inmates disembark from the bus and then run down the road to the boot camp. From that point on, the inmates are expected to comply with all of their orders and are put through vigorous physical exercise. Much like military boot camp, the goal is to tear them down and then rebuild them.
There is a wide variety of prison programming available at the prison, both for inmates in the general population and for inmates in special populations. The education opportunities include: adult basic education, GED, special education, Title I, Changes/ Pre-Release programming, English as a Second Language, and cognitive intervention. It offers career and technology training in the following areas: construction carpentry, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, landscape design, construction, and maintenance. It offers the boot camp program known as the Special Alternative Incarceration Program, adult education programming, peer education, reentry planning, chaplaincy services, crime stoppers, community tours, and the GO KIDS Initiative. The inmates at the Roach Unit provide services to the local community including: city and county agencies, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the local food bank. Volunteer initiatives inside the prison include: literacy/education, substance abuse education, life skills, arts/crafts, support groups, religious/ faith based studies and activities.
The Roach Unit is involved in substantial agricultural and manufacturing production. Its agricultural production focuses on: security horses, security pack canines, unit food bank garden, scent-specific canines, human remains detection canines, and contract farming operations. The prison also operates a soap and detergent factory and the Childress Distribution Center.
The Roach Unit opened in 1991, when boot camps were the current fad in correctional justice. The goal of a boot camp is to reduce recidivism rates while lower costs and diverting prisoners from an overcrowded prison population. However, while the boot camp approach can be successful, it has to incorporate a longer camp and more intensive programming than boot camps like the one at the Roach Unit include. Furthermore, because boot camp offenders are generally first-time, non-violent offenders, diverting them from the prison population into the boot camps does little to address the underlying prison overcrowding issue, which is exacerbated by an overabundance of prisoners serving lengthy sentences. Because of these issues, the use of boot camps has not resulted in a drop in recidivism rates and they have largely been abandoned throughout the criminal justice system. Only one public prison in Texas still operates under the boot camp model; despite being outdated, there are no current plans to shut the boot camp at the Roach Unit.
There are not any nationally known inmates at the Roach Unit.
Purchase Commissary Items for an Inmate Friends and family can purchase up to $60 in commissary items every quarter for offenders through this program. They can choose from up to 100 of the top selling items in the commissary, and the on-line amount purchased does not reduce an offender’s ability to spend money from their inmate trust fund accounts on commissary items.
Warden or Supervisor: Terry Tucker Daily Inmate Count: 1884 Security Level(s): Low
Inmate Name and Inmate ID
Roach Unit (RH)
15845 FM 164
Childress, TX 79201
Fax Number: 940-937-6050
15845 FM 164
Childress, TX 79201