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Houston Jails & Prisons, Super Neighborhoods, & Houston Greeters: Houston Matters for Wed., Dec. 18, 2013

One way to judge the quality of a society is to look at how it treats its prisoners. If we were to do that here in Houston, what would we see? It’s a question that perhaps is best answered in two stages – first, by examining how inmates are processed through jail (and what will […]

One way to judge the quality of a society is to look at how it treats its prisoners. If we were to do that here in Houston, what would we see? It’s a question that perhaps is best answered in two stages – first, by examining how inmates are processed through jail (and what will eventually be a joint processing center for the county and the city). Then, there’s the experience in the Texas prison system itself, and corrections facilities throughout the state.

Last month, Harris County voters narrowly approved spending some 70 million dollars in bonds on an inmate processing center which the county and the city of Houston will share. On this edition of Houston Matters, we’ll learn about the center, and the process by which inmates come through the Harris County Jail, as we talk with Chief Fred Brown, Commander of Jail Operations at Harris County.

Then, we’ll expand our discussion to corrections facilities throughout the rest of the state. We’ll talk with a former inmate and prison advocate, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, and with a criminologist who directs the Teen and Police Service Academy, about the prison experience today across Texas.

Also this hour: Houston is made up of dozens of neighborhoods. That much you’ve probably gathered. But there are also what are known as “superneighborhoods” – nearly ninety of them, made up of residents who act as liaisons between their community and the city of Houston. They were created during Mayor Lee Brown’s tenure as a way to better connect residents with city officials. We’ll talk with representatives of a couple of these superneighborhoods about what they do.

And: new to town? Need someone to show you around? Enter Houston Greeters, a non-profit with dozens of volunteers ready to show off Houston’s attractions. Houston Matters’ Maggie Martin will have a report.

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