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2019 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Alamo Man Receives Inaugural Judge Carroll Wilburn, Jr. Award at Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award Ceremony

From left to right: TBCJ Chairman Dale Wainwright, Judge Mary Bramblett, Stephen Harris, Texas State Representative James White, and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier.

(AUSTIN) – Stephen Harris of Alamo, Texas was presented the inaugural Judge Carroll Wilburn, Jr. Award during the Governor’s 2019 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today.

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Dale Wainwright and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier during a ceremony in Austin.

“Volunteering is a responsibility that these recipients have embraced wholeheartedly and for that we are extremely grateful,” said Wainwright.

“These volunteers dedicate themselves each day to helping others succeed,” said Collier. “For many years to come, the impact of that invaluable time and effort invested will be felt across the state of Texas.”

Mr. Harris began volunteering with the Hidalgo County Veteran’s Court program shortly after its inception in August 2011. A short time later, he was asked if he would like to mentor some of the participants. He has mentored and supported program participants and has provided transportation to and from the Veteran’s Court. Graduation Day is perhaps the most telling aspect of his influence on the program and its participants. Many speak about how the program has changed their lives and they thank the staff but the person who is recognized most often is Mr. Harris. For these reasons, Stephen Harris was selected for the inaugural Judge Carroll Wilburn, Jr. Award.

Judge Carroll Wilburn, Jr. began his career in public service as an Assistant County attorney and the Assistant District Attorney for Chambers County, Texas. He served as the D.A. from 1977 until 1983. In 1983 he served as the judge for the 344th District Court, a position he held until his retirement in 2012. Over the years, he served as a member of the faculty at Advanced Criminal Law Certification Courses, the Texas College for the Judiciary and as a guest lecturer at the South Texas College of Law. He was also the governor’s Chairman of the Criminal Procedure Revision Committee and Treasurer of the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. In 1993 and 2001, Judge Wilburn was appointed as a member of the Judicial Advisory Council (JAC) to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and the Community Justice Assistance Division. As a member of the JAC, he served as the Secretary, Chair of the Legislative Subcommittee and the liaison to the Probation Advisory Committee. Judge Wilburn was a tireless advocate for the improvement of the criminal justice system in Texas and, in particular, an failing ally to community corrections.

Mr. Harris is one of 16 individuals and 6 organizations from across the state recognized for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation. They donate many hours of their personal time every year with the goal of changing the lives of convicted offenders, and aiding and comforting their victims.

In FY2018, there were 21,728 volunteers who provided a total of 399,705 hours of service.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jeremy Desel, TDCJ Director of Communications, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at jeremy.desel@tdcj.texas.gov – For high resolution photos of award recipients, contact Jeff Linderman at jeff.linderman@tdcj.texas.gov.