Friday, August 29, 2008

Pre-Gustav prisoner evacuations at TYC, TDCJ

The Austin Statesman's Mike Ward reported three hours ago that:
Texas Youth Commission officials early today started removing incarcerated youths from the Al Price youth lockup in Beaumont, and state prison officials said they plan to start evacuating adult felons from two Beaumont prisons early Saturday.
On moving the prisoners, despite the hassle and expense, I say better safe than sorry if there's a chance of a Category 4 hurricane touching down there. Here's a picture from a state jail unit in Beaumont after the much-smaller Hurricane Rita in 2005:

Sometimes the weather can provide interesting opportunities to learn something unexpected about the system. After Hurricane Rita damaged several prisons and jails, a couple of Texas counties for a while found themselves in the position of being unable to arrest low-level offenders for several months because of weather-induced overcrowding. In Gregg County, the jail actually had extra space but was renting it out for immigration detention, so they chose to turn away arrestees instead. For the most part, officers gave out citations instead instead of processing defendants through the jail.

Because these counties went several months with radically reduced numbers of arrests, I suggested at the time that their crime data should be examined to determine if there was a resulting increase or decrease; that never happened, though a Gregg County commissioner later told me he didn't think there'd been a noticeable difference, which was also the conclusion reached by officials in Chambers County.

While one certainly hopes there's no damage necessitating similar outcomes because of Gustav, I'd still like to see some neutral and credible researcher go back and analyze crime data for those counties during the months after Hurricane Rita. I'd like to know whether their inability to jail low-level offenders tangibly, measurably harmed public safety.

RELATED: Texas Prison Bidness has been raising questions about treatment of immigration detainees held by private prison companies during the last round of evacuations in the run-up to Hurricane Dolly.


Anonymous said...

We have proof by demonstration in Iowa (during the recent floods) that it is a good idea to evacuate a jail in a timely fashion. I hope the jail administrators will learn from observing other jails screw ups that they should make and practice an evacuation plan.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget New Orleans Parish where youth were skattered and men almost drowned in jail with katrina.

Unknown said...

For information on the treatment of federal prisoners in Beaumont see a Houston Press article by Chris Vogel: "A Prison Cover-up During Hurricane Rita"

Anonymous said...


The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is participating in conference calls with the Governor's Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and making preparations for Hurricane Gustav.

VISITATION for Saturday, August 30th and Sunday August 31st will be CANCELED at the following TDCJ Units:

Stiles Unit in Beaumont
LeBlanc Unit in Beaumont
Gist Unit in Beaumont
Beto Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas
Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas
Gurney Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas
Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas
Powledge Unit in Palestine, Texas

VISITATION for Sunday, August 31st will be CANCELED at the following TDCJ Units:

Hightower Unit in Dayton
Plane State Jail in Dayton
Henley Unit in Dayton

EVACUATION is in progress for the following TDCJ Units:

Gist Unit in Beaumont
LeBlanc Unit in Beaumont

Family members wishing to seek information on offenders incarcerated in these or other potentially affected TDCJ units may call a 24-hour TDCJ Hotline.

The TDCJ 24-hour Hotline Number is: 936-437-6127

Updated information will appear on the TDCJ website as additional information becomes available.

TIFA, Inc.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that Walters did an excellent job organizing and staying on top of the evacuation of Al Price.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that, are you referring to a personal experience you have had with him, or just fantasizing?

Anonymous said...

Ole anonymous strikes again! Old Salty

Anonymous said...

Is that ol'e, anonymous strikes again?

Anonymous said...

What's your problem with Walters?

Did he have to take you out of a position that you were not qualified for?

Anonymous said...

If TYC had more people like Walters, it would not be such a discrace. He's a leader and youth and decent staff respect him.

Anonymous said...

I think Walters does a good job at what he knows how to do. However, what he knows how to do is limited since it only deals with corrections. He doesn't know beans about education, and he let's his male appendage think for his real brains too much of the time.

By the way, they don't really seem to have a plan for how and when the youth and employees will come back to Al Price. But, the evacuation did go well.

(OK, back to weathering the storm.)

Anonymous said...

I guess Al Price was successful in evacuvating youth if you call not losing a youth successful. Haven't seen anyone mention how the youth were out of control and rocking the TDCJ buses before they even pulled out of campus. And how they behaved once they got to their new facility. And is there a plan on how to return the youth to the facility. And how many staff actually went with the youth considering how the agency treated them after Rita. Seems to me someone is covering up the real story and once again staff and youth are not being taken care of!

Anonymous said...

My husband said not to say anything about this evacuation and just to live and let live. However I disagree 100% with that idea. I have never in my life went through an evacuation so "f" up in all of my life. This was the most poorly disorganized evacuation I witnessed. Someone needs to be held accountable for all of the b.s . that we went through when we arrived in Huntsville, TX. However no one wants to accept responsibility for all of the chaos that went on. I contacted Mason Quarterman (Ombudsman) in Huntsvilee only just to get a sympathy statement. I don't think so. Someone needs to be held accountable for all of this and if it means starting at the top than so be it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the other places they went, but they have behaved fairly well in Crockett.

Anonymous said...

I think it has already been stated by more than one blogger that the fan chipmunk 7:07 is just covering for or someone's back gate. In all the evacs that TYC has done, they have rocked the bus, torn them up, acted the fool along and at the way. For all the talk, TYC has no plan other than react instead of respond. A disgrace by any other name is still a disgrace. Its name is TYC. The chip man is just another off the former block albeit a really bad one)of bad wood.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE spare me your blubbering and whining about Walters. You cannot name one thing the man has done wrong other than throw unsubstantiated BS on this blog.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Y'all, sorry I let the Walters sucks comments go, I wasn't paying attention to this string until now and have deleted it. As you know, the rule is (though it's only episodically enforced) no trash talking about people unrelated to the topic of the post, particularly no trashing by name of mid-level employees who aren't named in the original article.

That said, the complainer was just a troll. Don't feed trolls! More people reacted to that idiot's 2 words than probably paid attention to the loser in weeks. Don't give trolls what they want. One person cannot derail a comment string, it requires the consent and contribution of other commenters. Play nice, folks!

Thanks, GFB

Anonymous said...

Get ready for the Ike evacuations!

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