Brandon Watts continues to be a true advocate for the spirit of the compact. He is helpful to the field in Texas, all ICOTS offices in the 50 states and three territories, and he is a hero for many. Below is a letter from a family member that shows how his daily work impacts so many:
Good Morning Miss Tina and Miss Heather,
I’m emailing the both of you because over the previous months, I’d say since February, I’ve been in contact with Brandon Watts. I want to let you both know that he has been phenomenal - absolutely going above and beyond for my situation.
Let me begin by explaining that I have a cousin who has been incarcerated within the Wisconsin Prison system since 2012. He was released on August 7th and is now residing with me here in Houston, TX.
My cousin, has no one else to reside with to assist him in getting back on his feet after a mistake made when he was younger. I contacted Brandon Watts directly knowing he is in the position that oversees the interstate compact for individuals with the last name “D”. I reached out directly to him after looking up information online regarding interstate compact. He advised me that the best thing that I could do to begin the facilitation process and to gain understanding of my cousin’s reason for living with me would be best understood by everyone if I wrote a letter of recommendation as well as share letters of recommendation on my own character from individuals I personally know. I took Brandon’s advice, reaching out to my cousin’s social worker and Parole Officer in Wisconsin so that they could understand who I am and why it is important for my cousin to live with me for a fresh, new start. – This was all the way back in February.
As we became closer to the time that Justin, my cousin, could actually apply for Interstate compact, which is 90 days out from his release date, we ran into some hang-ups within the system. The social worker was unsure of how to submit the paperwork on her end, was unable or unaware of how to attach my character reference letters as well as my recommendation letter with the interstate compact documents. It was a delayed process that I persistently had to move forward via phone calls and emails. I was not informed that anything had been submitted, nor was my cousin, although everything was paid for and he was under the understanding all paperwork was submitted. To no avail, I received no updates, no information and the clock was dwindling down and preparation was needing to be made for this big change for all of us involved. Of course, my cousin and I were both wondering what was going on with this Interstate Compact since neither of us heard where it stood – whether it was approved, denied or what.
So I called to follow up with Brandon Watts, remembering he was someone very understanding and professional that I had spoken with earlier this year regarding my cousin’s case/situation. He informed me at that time that yes, the paperwork was submitted but he had to reject it due to an error on the submitter’s end, because they checked the wrong box on the form for the interstate compact submission. The social worker was unaware what she had submitted incorrectly and in some way Brandon and her communicated – him walking her through step-by-step of how to properly resubmit this form so that this interstate compact could be reviewed, the investigation could begin and Texas could determine if me and my home were a good place for Justin to reside.
Without, Brandon Watts’ dedication, compassion, professionalism, advice and heart – I am absolutely certain that my cousin would not have been able to have the start that he has with me now.
He is working – head strong and doing so well after adjusting and slowly becoming re-acclimated to society.
Thank you for having such a wonderful employee – Brandon Watts is a breath of fresh air within a system that is not the smoothest to navigate.
I know this email is quite lengthy yet I’ve limited what I could possibly say in summary of what a blessing Brandon is to the community and your organization.
Submitted by: Offender’s Cousin / Texas