In Memory of Corrections Officer V Jose A. Hernandez
Tragically, the state of Texas has been hit harder by the COVID19 pandemic than any other state. Officials are coming forward almost daily to announce the loss of a sworn law enforcement officer to the virus or other violence. On Monday, September 13, 2021, Texas authorities announced the loss of Corrections Officer V Jose Hernandez, age 47. Hernandez died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 on the job. It is considered a line of duty death.
Officer Hernandez likely contracted the virus while working at the Torres Correctional Facility. The COVID19 virus has swept through these facilities rampantly. Over 45 Texas correctional officers have died due to the disease. Texas has more prison and correctional facilities, over 100 than any other state. The communities surrounding these facilities also experience increased COVID19 infections and deaths each time the virus sweeps through local prisons.
Hernandez enjoyed his life working in civil service. He was a sworn officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or TDCJ for more than 11 years.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Corrections Officer Hernandez had spent eleven years serving the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). The TDCJ is responsible for all criminal justice for adults in Texas; it is the primary law enforcement agency in the state. The department manages all Texas prisons, both state-owned and private, jails, community supervision, and parole. Texas runs the most extensive prison system in the United States.
The TDCJ, as it is today, was formed in 1989. This was due to both the reputation of the prisons 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.
Torres Correctional Facility
Hernandez was last assigned to the Torres Correctional Facility. The Torres Unit is a medium-security prison that can hold up to 1,384 male prisoners. It is considered a large prison facility. The Torres Unit is secured with fences topped with razor wire. In addition, the facility has several security towers to watch over the grounds.
The Torres Correctional Facility offers an abundance of employment opportunities for inmates. The institution has a food garden option, maintenance training, laundry services, and a print shop. In addition, inmates can work outside the facility and even participate in local food banks to learn to enjoy civil service acts. Counseling and educations opportunities are also available to those inmates who wish to participate.
Corrections Officer V Jose A. Hernandez leaves behind three children. Children have suffered significantly due to losses from this pandemic. More than 130,000 children in the US have been left without a primary caregiver. Honor guards from surrounding law enforcement offices will pull together to help the Hernandez family and the residents near Torres to share their gratitude for the sacrifice made by Officer Hernandez.
TDCJ Executive Director Brian Collier shared sympathies with the family of Officer Hernandez and his coworkers. “The TDCJ family extends its thoughts and prayers to the family of Officer Hernandez. He dedicated over a decade of his life to serving the TDCJ, and we are grateful for his service. He will be sincerely missed by his friends and coworkers.”
Torres Unit Senior Warden Kevin Belt shared insight into the employee. “Officer Hernandez was a stellar and dedicated employee of TDCJ who always volunteered to take extra shifts or to help a coworker whenever needed. He was a hero, and his service to the agency will not be forgotten.”