In recognition of former Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) Chairman Oliver J. Bell’s history of outstanding service to the state of Texas and the criminal justice system, the TBCJ has renamed the TDCJ Correctional Institutions Division’s Cleveland Unit to the Oliver J. Bell Unit. The name change passed by a unanimous vote taken at the December TBCJ meeting in Austin.
Photo: Oliver J. Bell, his wife, Stacee, and daughter, Annette, stand alongside a portrait that was painted by one of the prisoners at the Oliver J. Bell Unit in Cleveland
In his address to the board, current Chairman Dale Wainwright commented on the former chairman’s tenure with the agency and his reaction to the proposed name change: “The prior chair of this board, Oliver Bell, served well on the board for more than a decade and, as chairman, for more than seven years on the board. It is our honor to propose renaming a TDCJ facility in honor of Mr. Bell’s service as chair. I had the privilege of contacting Mr. Bell about this honor the board was very interested in bestowing on him and he was thrilled.”
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and former U.S. Army Ranger, Bell was appointed to the TBCJ and the Board of Trustees of Windham School District in 2004 by Governor Rick Perry. He worked on the Education, Human Resources, Victim Services, Business and Financial Operations and Health Care committees, and served as board secretary and vice-chairman before assuming the chairman’s duties in 2008.
In 2014, during the final year of Bell’s chairmanship, TDCJ was honored to accept the American Correctional Association’s (ACA) prestigious Golden Eagle Award in recognition of the full accreditation for all operations in every agency facility.
Bell is well known for visiting TDCJ facilities throughout the state, where he would meet with staff and discuss ways to improve their workplace. His commitment to building strong, healthy work environments extends to his business career as founder and chief executive officer of Oliver J. Bell Incorporated, a Houston-based human resources and labor relations consultancy firm. Read more.