Components of Texas’s Criminal Justice System

Criminal justice systems consist of three major components: law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional facilities.

Law Enforcement Agencies

Texas has over 1,900 state, county, city, ISD, university, and transit district law enforcement agencies.

State law enforcement agencies include, but are not limited to, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Texas Attorney General, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, and Criminal Investigations Division – Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

For the purposes of our discussion, we are going to focus on only one of these state law enforcement agencies: the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).  TDCJ is overseen by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, which is a nine-member board appointed by the governor.

TDCJ has four goals: (1) to provide public safety; (2) to promote positive change in offender behavior; (3) to reintegrate offenders into society; and (4) to assist victims of crimes.

TDCJ consists of seven divisions, four of which are focused on overseeing the supervision of offenders in various TDCJ-operated and privately-operated state correctional facilities.

TDCJ Divisions that Oversee the Supervision of Offenders

  • Community Justice Assistance Division
  • Correctional Institutions Division
  • Private Facility Contract Monitoring/Oversight Division
  • Parole Division

Other TDCJ Divisions

  • Rehabilitation Programs Division
  • Reentry and Integration Division
  • Victim Services Division


Texas has nearly 3,000 state, county, and local courts, many of which have jurisdiction over certain criminal offenses.

Correctional Facilities

Texas has a variety of agencies that detain and supervise offenders, including state facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, privately operated facilities, and parole confinement facilities.

TDCJ state facilities include prisons, state jails, transfer facilities, medical facilities, pre-release facilities, substance abuse felony punishment facilities, psychiatric facilities, geriatric facilities, and the mentally challenged offender program.

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