Houston Working On Getting Rid Of City Jails

The city of Houston and Harris County are moving forward on a plan to consolidate their jails. City council members got an update on the “joint processing center.”

Picture of police officer addressing Houston City Council
HPD Lt. Pat Dougherty briefs city council members on the planned joint processing center.
The goal is for the shared jail and processing center to save both the city and the county money by eliminating the city’s jails and have a one-stop shop for all inmate bookings in the county.

Houston police Lt. Pat Dougherty said that will also help the public.

“All bonds, city, county, everything can be done in one place,” he said. “The prisoner is there. It will speed up the process of getting the citizen out of jail, speed up the process for the family member trying to do the bonding.”

Harris County voters narrowly approved $70 million in bonds for the center’s construction in 2013. The city is contributing $30 million. Since then, city and county officials have drafted an interlocal agreement for the facility.

“The savings versus our current operations are over $4 million a year when we put this operation together,” the city’s chief development officer, Andy Icken, said.

The new facility would be next to the Baker Street jail downtown.

If the City Council and the Harris County Commissioners Court approve the contract next month, the groundbreaking is scheduled for late October. It’s set to open in 2017.


Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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