In Memory of Corrections Officer III Tracey Adams
Texas Loses Another Corrections Officer
Since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic, we have learned that certain occupations have a higher risk for contracting the virus. Law enforcement and first responders have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus. Throughout 2020, Americans lost more than 440 law enforcement officers to the virus. The hardest-hit state in the country was Texas.
In Texas, they have lost more corrections officers than in any time in history. On Saturday, March 6, 2021, Corrections Officer III Tracy Adams died due to complications from the virus.
Officer Adams is the 43rd corrections officer in the state of Texas to die from the pandemic coronavirus.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Texas, as with all Americans, has been mourning significant losses due to COVID19. Texas, as a state, has over 100 correctional facilities for adults. The suffering within the state of Texas has been great as the virus has ravaged the Texas prison system. This does not only include inmates but also employees, families, and their communities.
The TDCJ, as it is today, was formed in 1989. This change was due to both the prisons’ reputation and a case that came about in 1979. Today the TDCJ headquarters are located in Huntsville, Texas. The department has more than 37,000 employees staffing the Texas prison system. Texas has more than 218,500 prisoners, which equates to 1050 adult prisoners for every 100,000 citizens in the state.
Mark W. Stiles Unit
Officer Adams’ most recent assignment was at the Mark W. Stiles Unit. The Stiles Unit is a men’s prison located in Jefferson County, Texas. The Unit opened in 1993, and it houses additional medical facilities to assist prisoners who suffer from HIV or other infectious diseases. The prison offers a hospice center for patients in the final stages of HIV. The prison holds nearly 3000 prisoners.
Stiles is a maximum-security prison but holds prisoners from G1 level to G5. Officer Adams, as you can see, was able to supervise prisoners up to level three. Prisoners are encouraged to participate in educational programs, substance abuse treatment, or counseling. The facility works with the community to find release options for prisoners. Adams was a correctional officer cadet, having spent only two months as an officer. She was just weeks away from graduating from officer training.
Friend, Franshanette Marshall, commented on how the loss impacts her. “I just look at it like it’s not really true. She’s going to be missed. She’s already missed. We feel the absence right now because she passed away two days before my sister’s birthday. It was very hard. I was like her number one hype person. I would call and check on her every day, make sure she’s not giving up, encouraging her to graduation day. It’s just very hurtful now. I feel like I wish I would have talked her out of going.”
Words recently spoken between Marshall and Adams were foreboding. “She looked at me and said, ‘You’re not supposed to cry when somebody passes away. You rejoice. When I go, you rejoice in me. I don’t want y’all doing all that crying.’ I try to keep that in my head.”
David Yebra, Director of Training and Leadership Technology, spoke of the drive and inspiration that came from knowing Adams. “Officer Adams was very determined and driven to succeed. Starting a new career can be difficult, but she took on that challenge head-on and full steam. Our hope is that her family finds comfort in this difficult time knowing she chose to serve.”
Brian Collier, Executive Director of the TDCJ, spoke of the loss. “Tracey Adams was beginning a new career with the TDCJ family. She dedicated herself completely to that service, and for that, we are grateful. Once you join the TDCJ family, you are a part of that family, and we are in this together. We hold the Adams family in our prayers this day. Know that Ms. Adams will be missed and remembered.”