Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ike Evacuations

The weather has become a bigger story than usual for the Texas justice system in 2008. Some private prisons - especially the tent city down in Raymondville created to house immigration detainees - haven't yet gotten over damage from Hurricane Dolly, Texas Prison Bidness reports. Even so, Hurricane Ike may follow Dolly and hit land by this weekend on the Texas Gulf Coast. All accounts depict the storm's path as highly erratic. Ike enters the Gulf of Mexico leaving jail-related debacles among other catastrophers in its Caribbean wake. In the Turks and Caicos, "The prison also suffered significant damages, resulting in crammed conditions." Eighty people died in Cuba, so the roof torn off a prison there was likely the least of their worries. (In a minor postive note in the wake of Cuba's tragedy, President Bush is considering whether to temporarily lift the decades-long embargo against the storm-wracked island nation.) In Haiti, where 47 died in Ike-related flooding, "At the local jail, emaciated inmates waited for food to stave off starvation." Check out this sad news story from Al Jazeera depicting Ike-related flooding at a Haitian prison and devastation in the surrounding town:

A check of hurricane-related reporting so far finds the Houston Chronicle mentioning yesterday that "The state prison system moved 12 female dialysis patients from the Carole S. Young Medical Facility Complex in Dickinson to the Estelle Unit in Huntsville. The system also is staging nearly 60 inmate transport buses in the Beeville area should the evacuation of South Texas facilities become necessary."

Already, said the Chron, "More than 1,300 inmates from Cuero's medium-security Stevenson Unit in South Texas were moved to prisons in Beeville and Kenedy, and 597 were moved from the Glossbrenner Unit for felony substance abusers in San Diego, also in South Texas, to a lockup in Dilley." Beyond that, according to The Back Gate, a prison guards' web site,
"At this point, TDCJ states they are just watching the storm closely, and will make evacuation deteminations if need be later this week."

Aransas County has evacuated its jail. In Corpus Christi, "The Nueces County Sheriff's Department also began initial preparations, which could include evacuating some of the county's inmates from the North Padre Island Drive annex."

Those are the only notices I've seen so far about Ike-related jail and prison evacuations. Let me know in the comments what else you're hearing and as the week goes on I'll add updates the end of this post.

UPDATE: According to the Huntsville Item:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials are evacuating four TDCJ units located in areas likely to be affected by Hurricane Ike

The Terrell and Clemens units in Brazoria County and the Carole S. Young Medical Facility Complex in Galveston County began evacuations early today, while TDC’'s Hospital Galveston medical facility will begin evacuations early this afternoon.

Inmates are being transferred to TDCJ units in the Gatesville, Huntsville and Palestine areas.

Weekend visitation will be canceled at the following TDCJ prison units, although it is advised that visitors contact the unit prior to traveling to ensure visitation has not been canceled at other TDCJ facilities not listed below.

Beto Unit in Tennessee Colony
Briscoe Unit in Dilley
Byrd Unit in Huntsville
Central Unit in Sugar Land
Clemens Unit in Brazoria
Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony
Connally Unit in Kenedy
Darrington Unit in Rosharon
Eastham Unit in Lovelady
Ellis Unit in Huntsville
Estelle Unit in Huntsville
Ferguson Unit in Midway
Gatesville Unit in Gatesville
Goree Unit in Huntsville
Hamilton Unit in Bryan
Hightower Unit in Dayton
Hilltop Unit in Gatesville
Hobby Unit in Marlin
Hodge Unit in Rusk
Hospital Galveston in Galveston
Huntsville Unit in Huntsville
Jester I Unit in Richmond
Jester III Unit in Richmond
Jester IV Unit in Richmond
LeBlanc Unit in Beaumont
Lewis Unit in Woodville
Luther Unit in Navasota
Lynaugh Unit in Fort Stockton
McConnell Unit in Beeville
Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony

NUTHER UPDATE: As of 10 a.m. Thursday morning, 1,000 inmates at the Galveston jail still hadn't been evacuated, though the Sheriff promised they'd "take care of it."

SEE ALSO: From the Palestine Herald, "TDCJ relocating coastal prisoners."


Anonymous said...

Thanks for covering this, I reposted this on to Houston Indymedia

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Anonymous said...

This post really help people to see how to prevent and organize better for natural disasters like Ike. Good post.

Anonymous said...

The hurricane season is coming soon, are they ready for them this time??

Compro Oro said...

What a pity. Hate natural disasters

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