05-11 prison-01

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Gurney Unit in Tennessee Colony.

TDCJ to idle local prison unit

By PennyLynn Webb

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has decided to idle the Gurney Unit in Tennessee Colony and the Neal Unit in Amarillo.

According to Jeremy Desel, Director of Communication for the prison system, this is not a permanent closure and will have no impact on the staff.

He said inmates and employees will be reassigned to other units with the immediate area.

Desel said the reason for the idling of these units, and recent closures of others, is that TDCJ is at its lowest capacity since 1995.

The COVID-19 pandemic is one attribution to the low population numbers. While release practices have continued, intake has been slow, with courts either closed and slow to prosecute while working to develop new health and safety practices.

Desel said there was no current timetable for the length of idling for the Gurney Unit.

The Gurney Unit opened in December of 1993 and is co-located with the Coffield, Michael, Powledge and Beto units.There are 2,128 beds for inmates and 256 officers on staff.

All officers will be absorbed at co-located units.

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