Jester I Unit, an adult prison in Richmond, will close in 2020

Texas Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, announced two adult prisons in the state will close in 2020. (Courtesy Pexels)
Texas Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, announced two adult prisons in the state will close in 2020. (Courtesy Pexels)

Texas Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, announced two adult prisons in the state will close in 2020. (Courtesy Pexels)

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is closing the Jester I Unit, located at 1 N. Jester Road, Richmond, according to a Feb. 20 statement by state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston.

Citing a dwindling adult prison population statewide, Whitmire also announced the state will be closing the Garza East Unit in Beeville.


Jeremy Desel, the communications director at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said in a video statement the prisons will close during 2020. Desel said the two closures together will save Texas taxpayers $20 million annually.

The Jester I Unit is situated just west of the Grand Parkway off Harlem Road near the Aliana and Harvest Green developments.

Whitmore, who chairs the Senate committee on Criminal Justice, is a proponent of criminal justice reform as well as diversion and rehabilitation programs.



“I applaud the hard work of the leadership at TDCJ for never backing down on the goal of reducing incarceration rates and recidivism while never compromising public safety,” Whitmire said in the Feb. 20 statement.

All current employees at the prisons will be offered jobs at nearby units, according to Whitmire’s statement. He said this will not only prevent the loss of jobs but also help with understaffing issues at other facilities.

According to the Whitmire statement, the state has closed 10 adult prisons in the last nine years, and since its peak in 2011, the state inmate population has decreased from 157,000 to 140,000.

“Texas was at the forefront of criminal justice reform last decade and with sustained funding for treatment and prevention programs and a continued focus on additional reforms, Texas will continue to show the nation what it means to be tough, but smart on crime,” Whitmire said in the statement.

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By Claire Shoop

Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.


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