Inside the Harris County Jail

The Chronicle’s Chris Moran finds inmates on the move at 1200 Baker St.:

They were working, waiting in line for the dentist, moving to other floors to appointments (medical, dietician, counseling, therapy) getting processed for release or shuffling off to a court appearance. In fact, my guess is I saw fewer inmates inside cells than on the move.

As a result, it seemed as though nearly as many uniformed detention officers, sheriff’s deputies and mental health and medical professionals were moving and monitoring as well.

The concrete halls amplify and echo sound, so any time someone raised his voice it startled me a bit. And the rattling of leg irons always sounded as if it were coming from just a few feet behind me even if the inmates were far away.


Most of what is on the walls consists of stern, institutional messages, such “Keep Your Feet Off of the Wall.” But in the dental clinic, there are at least a dozen depictions of Elvis, including a classic velvet painting.

Photos: Manhattan Construction Group (top); Harris County (bottom)

10 Comment

  • “medical, dietician, counseling, therapy”

    Really? This isn’t prison. It’s an upscale old folks home.

  • I bet if they freed all the minor drug offenders, there wouldn’t be any need for talk of building a new jail on the EastEnd.

  • There was a really powerful series recently on NPR that said that a lot of overcrowding at county jails was due to excessive bail. Non-bail solutions, like ankle monitors or even having the defendant phone in regularly, were not implemented because of heavy lobbying by the bail bonds industry. As a consequence, poor defendants–particularly those without a family “safety net”–ended up locked up for months before their hearing, regardless of how small the crime or how low the bail.

    I wonder if that is the case in Harris County.

  • Really? This isn’t prison. It’s an upscale old folks home.


    To paraphrase a former first lady things sometimes work out well for the down-and-out and some will pull a small heist here or there just to have a warm bed and a meal on a consistent basis. And have their teeth checked. A sad reflection on the reality of our society.

  • as the saying goes, ‘build it and they will come’…it’s about moving as many fine-paying people through the building as possible. it runs a 24/7 schedule. it’s not a pleasant place to be, no matter what some misguided folks may think. the sheriff’s department loves it, because they get a financial cut and they run the joint. if we built another one, they’d see it was kept filled to above capacity too.

  • Yeah d, I believe that’s true.
    I also was intruiged by that NPR story, RWB.
    “SURE” things to add to Death and Taxes: sneaky, clever Psycopaths.

  • …it’s not a pleasant place to be, no matter what some misguided folks may think.

    It’s part of the problem. And it may not be pleasant but for some it’s better than what they have which is a cardboard box in an alley.

    As for the exessive bail, that is part of the problem as well and a scandal, really, but then as has been pointed out, some like it that way. Not only the bail bondsmen who pick up real estate and cars and all sorts of goodies but the “law and disorder” crowd that believes minorities need to be kept in their place. Preferably in prison.

    The world is really not a nice place at times.

  • hello my name roberto n I am deaf person so. How I get picture when I was in jail. In 2004 to 2005 something then I move to huntsvilly tdcj I want two of picutre. Because I want show my kids. And tell story what happen in past I want them learn lesson. Not be alike me u know

  • Good Gracious Luck and God’s-speed to you, Roberto.

  • in may 2005 roberto h canales he is deaf person and age is 19. One of officer cop is down hurt bad and roberto hit him very very bad and there 5 detpention guys jump on him. Make him go hole for 15 days he is very mute cant talk and he was on drugs cocaine. He had problem his mood. Roberto h canales go to prison tdcj for hurt officer down and sell drugs in 5 years