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Houston City Council Approves Funding For New Jail

The vote is the first step toward a new jail for both Houston and Harris County, which will lead to the closure of the city’s jails.

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The Houston City Council unanimously approved a contract with Harris County for a joint processing center.

The facility next to the county jail on Baker Street will serve as a one-stop shop for jail bookings, bondings and even the municipal court. Mayor Annise Parker said this has been decades in the making.

“A big piece of this is formally being able to shut down the last remaining big city jail in the state of Texas and to have a more efficient operation, where we don’t end up booking a prisoner into our jail, then taking him out and rebooking him into the county,” Parker said.

The city will be spending a total of $30 million for design and construction, but it is estimated to save more than $4 million per year in the long run.

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Inmates at the Harris County Jail

That’s what Councilmember Jack Christie likes about it.

“You get more efficient parks, you get more efficient libraries, you get more efficient police and the future crime lab,” Christie said. “It saves the taxpayers money with this beautiful cooperation between the city and the county.”

Harris County will contribute $70 million to the project. The county commissioners court has yet to approve its portion of the funding.

The groundbreaking is planned for next month.

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Florian Martin

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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