Jesus in a Mullet

Del Hendrixson's uncertain journey from convict to Dallas gang guru

"We promised each other that if we got out we would devote ourselves to helping others," Hendrixson says. Chagra, serving a 19-year sentence, was diagnosed with cancer in prison. "She never got out. She died in there." As Hendrixson tells the story, the tone of her voice conveys the implicit message that drives her: Bajito Onda is the only thing that has kept her from sharing Chagra's fate.

"Del will swallow you up," Hallman says. "She wants you to live and breathe Bajito Onda because she does--and that will scare some people off." That same intensity is what makes Hendrixson effective and what allows Bajito Onda to survive, because of and in spite of her. As Hendrixson puts it, describing the way she works with convicts, "I'm pretty awesome if I do say so myself." And she does, without hesitation.

Beth Gilbert has brought her management expertise to bear at Bajito Onda. "When I first came, my goal was to keep $100 in the bank," she says. "And that was hard."
Beth Gilbert has brought her management expertise to bear at Bajito Onda. "When I first came, my goal was to keep $100 in the bank," she says. "And that was hard."
Vicki Hallman, regional director for the TDCJ Parole Division and a Bajito Onda board member, has developed a reputation for fairness among parolees. "Ask anybody on the street--they know to come see Ms. Hallman," she says.
Vicki Hallman, regional director for the TDCJ Parole Division and a Bajito Onda board member, has developed a reputation for fairness among parolees. "Ask anybody on the street--they know to come see Ms. Hallman," she says.

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