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2019-2020 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Houston Group Receives Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

(AUSTIN) – Bridges to Life Self Study Program of Houston, Texas was presented the Most Innovative Award during the Governor’s 2020-2021 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards program today.

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Patrick O’Daniel and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier during an online ceremony. Accepting the award were Jim Buffington and John Sage of Bridges to Life.

“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.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone including those who are incarcerated and their loved ones. At the Lindsey State Jail, the lifeblood of a chaplain’s service to the inmates are the programs and the lifeblood of the programs are the volunteers who come to the unit to facilitate them. The pandemic significantly affected this but thanks to the foresight and the ingenuity of the Bridges to Life (BTL) staff, an innovative plan was created that would allow the inmates to avail themselves of the BTL program. Calling it the Bridges to Life Self Study Program, books and workbooks were sent to the Lindsey State Jail. More than 100 inmates signed up and were given the opportunity to utilize the workbook and extra curriculum activities required.

Bridges to Life Self Study Program 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 served a total of 220,502 hours.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jeremy Desel, TDCJ Director of Communications, at (936) 437-6052 or by e-mail at