Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at 11:45 a.m.
Texas is evacuating several Houston-area prisons due to flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey.
Photo by Doogie Roux
Even prisoners are fleeing Harvey.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced late Monday night it would start evacuating prisoners from its Vance and Jester III units. The two prisons — well technically, Jester III is a “prison farm” — share a plot of land west of Sugar Land, in an area hit by historic flooding.
On Sunday and Monday, officials issued mandatory and voluntary evacuations for swaths of Fort Bend County and Sugar Land near the Brazos River, which is set to reach record-high levels. At its closest point, the property housing Vance and Jester III is less than a mile from its banks.
The Department of Criminal Justice estimates about around 1,400 prisoners in Vance and Jester will be affected by the evacuation. It says prisoners will “be sent to facilities in South Texas” but doesn’t specify which ones. Jason Clark, a spokesman for the agency, didn’t return requests for comment.
It isn’t the first time Harvey has sent prison officials scrambling. On Saturday, 4,500 prisoners had to be moved from the Stringfellow, Ramsey and Terrell units, which share a plot of land near Angleton in Brazoria County.
The Department of Criminal Justice has set up an emergency center in Huntsville and says its bringing in extra food, water and staff. Any family members seeking