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Central Unit Prison Closed


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Will be interesting to see what becomes of the property.

The lock-up is locked up. Throw away the key, this one ain’t getting out.Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Unit in Sugar Land closed Thursday, becoming the first prison Texas has shut without opening a replacement in 130 years. It was also the first time in 112 years the prison has been without inmates. The last 92 inmates were moved out of the hoosegow three weeks ago.

Nearly 1,000 inmates and the 300-person staff have been relocated to other nearby prisons, including the Jester Unit in Richmond and the Darrington Unit in Rosharon, TDCJ spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said.

"It was a very smooth process," Lyons said. "Some assigned to the soap and detergent factory were brought back daily to help close it."

The prison once covered 5,400 acres but dwindled to a 326-acre campus at the former Imperial Sugar-owned land near Highways 6 and 90A. The 112-year-old Central Unit property was handed over to the state’s General Land Office. Sugar Land officials are reportedly interested in buying it, but the decision to sell is up to the three-member School Land Board, which runs the investments of state’s Permanent University Fund.

Closing the facility is expected to save the state about $12.4 million a year, Lyons said.


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