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Most Dangerous Prison in Texas

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Most Dangerous Prison in Texas

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Most Dangerous Prison in Texas

The recent media frenzy surrounding convicted sex offender and former spokesman Jared Fogle captured the attention of the nation. Many found it hard to believe that a trusted and familiar media personality could cause sexual harm to minors and young children. As a result of his actions, Fogle was sentenced to 15 years behind bars and lifetime monitored supervision upon his release.

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The story took another turn when, on January 29, 2016, Fogle was assaulted in the prison yard by another inmate. Though he survived the assault, Fogle suffered several injuries. Though physical assaults are not uncommon in prison, they may be more likely to occur in certain institutions. It is certainly true that some correctional institutions have a higher rate of violence than others.

The Truth About Dangerous Prisons

Some correctional institutions develop a reputation for danger and violence. In many cases, these facilities are used to incarcerate people who have been convicted of violent crimes: assault, murder and rape. While some minimum security prisons are intended to house people convicted of non-violent offenses, the most violent offenders are usually sent to so-called “supermax” facilities that feature extra security and discipline.

Many of the offenders in these facilities are serving life sentences. This leads some to feel that they have nothing to do lose by committing violence. Also, many inmates in these prisons have gang affiliations and engage in violence to defend their turf. High-profile inmates, such as sports stars and celebrities, are at a heightened risk for violence because inmates may hope to gain fame and respect for assaulting them.

Infamous Institutions

Although many prisons in Texas have become infamous, a few stand out above the rest:

  • Ellis Unit: Located in Huntsville, Texas, this notorious prison was once the site of the Texas men’s death row. However, after a prisoner murdered the warden and the prison farm manager in 1981 and a subsequent mass escape attempt, the death row was moved.
  • Polunsky Unit: A truly tough institution, the Polunsky Unit is a supermax facility located in Livingston. This facility has been rated as one of the worst in the country and, since its opening, it has been used exclusively to house inmates who are designated as troublesome and violent.
  • Reeves County Detention Complex: Located in Pecos, Texas, this facility developed a grim reputation after prison management was accused of allowing deplorable conditions in the complex. Although this facility is designed to house only non-violent illegal aliens, problems arose when a man who had seizures was denied appropriate medical treatment. The inmate eventually died in the prison, setting off a massive riot.
  • Huntsville Unit: This famous prison has been open since the 1840’s and once was home to Wild West outlaws and Native American warrior inmates. Although the Texas men’s death row is now located at the Polunsky unit, executions take place at the Huntsville Unit. In a single 40-year stretch in the early 20th century, over 300 inmates were put to death on the Huntsville electric chair, nicknamed “Old Sparky”.
Prison Violence Facts

It’s tough to say which prison is the most dangerous in Texas. However, it’s true that violence is more likely to occur in maximum security prisons. This can be caused by the type of inmates housed in the facility or the conditions in which the inmates are kept. Celebrities, gang members and sex offenders may be more likely to be victims of violence because they are more likely to be targeted for retribution or for renown.

Just because inmates are housed in cells for 23 hours a day and denied many privileges, violence is still a reality. Violent inmates in Texas prisons can fashion effective weapons from crude materials and attacks may occur in any location. Riots are one of the most dangerous forms or prison violence and some riots in Texas prisons have lasted for days and resulted in multiple deaths.

When someone is charged with a crime in Texas, they can be sure that they don’t want to end up inside of a dangerous supermax facility. Hiring a defense attorney is the most reliable strategy for preventing this outcome. A defense attorney may be able to have charges dropped or negotiate with the court for a sentence that reduces or avoids time behind bars.

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