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2019-2020 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Spring-Based Program Receives Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

(AUSTIN) – 7More of Spring, Texas was presented the Reentry and Integration Division Award during the Governor’s 2020-2021 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards program today. Accepting the award were Deborah and Joshua Walker.

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Patrick O’Daniel and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier during an online ceremony.

“These volunteers give their time and talents to help others throughout Texas,” said O’Daniel. “They selflessly serve because they feel a responsibility to help others.”

“These volunteers dedicate themselves daily to helping others succeed,” said Collier. “In the coming years, the scope of the precious time and effort that they invested will be evident across the State of Texas.”

Since 2016, 7More has connected with more than 20,000 men and women at the prison gate when they’ve been released. Their mission begins with a human connection at the Huntsville bus station as the inmates walk out from behind the prison gates. 7More is there to greet them with an encouraging word, a hot meal and hygiene products. Volunteers Deb and Josh Walker have created an initiative called “The Exchange” to help remove the stigma associated with being in prison. 7More offers individuals the chance to exchange the bag that they’re give upon release with a new, neutral bag to carry their belongings home. During the pandemic, they offered support by providing hot meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas to all those at the Huntsville bus station. 7More also provided the opportunity for each releasee to pick out gifts for family members and have them wrapped on site to take home. They also interacted with the Reentry and Integration Division management on providing additional snacks for the long ride home on the bus. Their ministry is all about supporting reintegration and reducing recidivism for a safer and more just society.

7More is one of 6 organizations and 16 individuals 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 FY2020, there were 19,589 volunteers who provided a total of 220,502 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.