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Mountain View Unit Renamed Patrick L. ODaniel Unit in Recognition of Former Board Chair

09 Jan 2024, Jail News, by

TBCJ approves renaming Gatesville’s Mountain View Unit to the Patrick L. O’Daniel Unit in recognition of O’Daniel’s contributions.

Mountain View Unit Renamed Patrick L. ODaniel Unit in Recognition of Former Board Chair - Inmate Lookup

Former board chairman Patrick L. O’Daniel has been honored by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, which renamed a Gatesville prison, previously known as the Mountain View Unit, in recognition of his service.

From January 2020 to 2023, O’Daniel served as chair, appointed by the governor to lead the nine-member board overseeing the criminal justice department.

A recent board press release announcing the naming emphasized that under O’Daniel’s leadership, corrections officers and prison educators received salary raises, and inmates experienced changes in educational and rehabilitation programs.

According to current Chair Eric Nichols, O’Daniel’s impact will endure beyond his time on the board.

Nichols recommended renaming the Mountain View Unit during the board’s December meeting, emphasizing the numerous programs within the facility that directly stem from O’Daniel’s efforts to positively influence incarcerated individuals.

These initiatives include STRIVE (Strength Through Empowerment, Vision, Independence, and Restoration). According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, “STRIVE delivers reentry support services through gender-responsive, trauma-informed programming, career skill development, employment and community support referrals, and post-release supervision for participants who have not discharged their sentence.”

The renaming proposal received unanimous approval at the board’s December meeting in Huntsville, as per the press release.

O’Daniel, an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin with bachelor’s and law degrees, served on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice from March 2017 to 2023.

The press release highlighted his crucial involvement in the agency’s response to the global pandemic, which led to historic salary increases for correctional officers and the establishment of the Office of the Independent Ombudsman.

Additionally, under O’Daniel’s leadership, the Windham School District, which serves prison units, underwent improvements, including enhanced access to prison libraries, the implementation of a technology plan supporting classroom instruction and digital literacy, and salary adjustments for teachers.

Established in 1962 as a boys’ school, the facility became part of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in 1975. Presently, the O’Daniel Unit accommodates general custody, security detention, and death row female inmates, as outlined in the press release.

Accommodating a maximum of 644 inmates, the facility delivers faith-based programming, educational opportunities, agricultural operations, and a braille facility.

Nichols described the renaming as a fitting tribute to O’Daniel’s contributions, expressing the TBCJ and TDCJ’s deep appreciation for his loyal service, integrity, and tenacity in the press release.

Finally, the agency plans to announce a renaming ceremony for the Patrick L. O’Daniel Unit at a later date.