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.

By Claire Shoop

Reporter, Sugar Land/Missouri City

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.



MOST RECENT

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Lumin Lash, a eyebrow extension and beauty services business, opened in Missouri City on July 15. (Courtesy Lumin Lash)
Eyelash extension business Lumin Lash opens in Missouri City

Lumin Lash offers a variety of services including eyelash extensions, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, microblading and permanent makeup.

Missouri City City Council approved a zoning change that will allow for a new residential and commercial development at Hwy. 6 and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road. (Courtesy city of Missouri City/The Dinerstein Companies)
Missouri City City Council approves zoning change to allow for new single-family rental neighborhood

The residential area will be managed and leased like an apartment complex but consist of single-family homes. Find out more about the development coming to Missouri City.

Memorial Hermann has locations throughout the Greater Houston area, including Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. (Courtesy Memorial Hermann)
Memorial Hermann visiting policies change as COVID-19 cases rise

As of July 21, Memorial Hermann has changed its visitor policy in light of a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Greater Houston area.

Houston unemployment is above state and national levels, while home sales in the region continue to be strong, according to a July 21 economic update from the Greater Houston Partnership. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Unemployment, strong housing sales mark 2021 Houston economy, Greater Houston Partnership says

While Houston job recovery lags due to the pandemic, area home sales are strong, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

Melvin Barahona opened Chunk's Burger on April 1. (Courtesy Chunk's Burger)
Family-owned Chunk's Burger now open on Dulles Avenue in Stafford

Melvin Barahona opened Chunk's Burger on April 1.

FBISD officials shared updated health and safety protocols during the July 19 board of trustees meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Fort Bend ISD presents health, wellness plans for the 2021-22 school year

What are your thoughts on the district's updated COVID-19 protocols? Don't forget: The 2021-22 school year begins Aug. 11.

The Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center will host a back-to-school vaccine clinic for eligible children ages 0-18. (Courtesy Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center)
Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center to host free immunization event for children July 29

The Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center will host a back-to-school vaccine clinic for eligible children ages 0-18. Parents or guardians must accompany the child and bring immunization records to the appointment.

The restaurant serves a variety of Indian appetizers, entrees and sweets. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
A1 Choice Indian Cuisine opens in Cy-Fair; Torchy's Richmond taco shop coming this week and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area, including a Ross Dress For Less store opening in Cy-Fair.

With cases, testing positivity and hospitalizations on the rise, health care experts say a fourth wave of the coronavirus is starting in Houston. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The fourth wave: Medical Center officials talk masks, vaccines as delta variant cases pick up

The key difference between this wave and those that preceded it is who is at risk, experts say, citing data showing almost all new coronavirus deaths are affecting the unvaccinated.

The restaurant held a soft family and friends opening earlier this week. (Photo by Laura Aebi/Community Impact Newspaper)
Torchy's to open new Richmond location this week

The restaurant, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is known for its unique tacos, spicy queso, daily drink specials and Lil' Nookies.

The annual fundraiser supports the local restaurant economy while raising contributions for the Houston Food Bank. (Courtesy Pexels)
See these Sugar Land, Missouri City restaurants planning to participate in Houston Restaurant Weeks 2021

The annual fundraiser supports the local restaurant economy while raising contributions for the Houston Food Bank.