Lawmakers in Texas on Tuesday defended the lack of air-conditioning in state prisons after a report linked 19 inmate deaths to extreme heat. A study released by the University of Texas Law School’s Human Rights Clinic warned that the stateRead More
Name: Windham School District
Associated Educational Institution: Itself
Associated Prison: 89 Separate Prisons
P.O. Box 40 804 Bldg. B, FM 2821 West
Huntsville, TX 77320
Phone Number: (936) 291-5300
Fax Number: (936) 291-5300
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org, Contact Forms Available on Website
Point of Contact: Not Publicly Available
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Texas Prison School District – A Chance for Change
Texas is not well known for its treatment of the prison population. But the Texas Board of Corrections has developed one of the few school districts that solely serves prison populations. Known as the Windham School District, the Texas institution boasts one of the largest prison education systems in the country.
If a Texas state prisoner dies or is executed, relatives or friends can pick up the body. If they don’t, he or she is buried in the largest prison graveyard in the United States – the Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas. Such burials occur around 100 times each year.
Named after an assistant warden at the Huntsville Unit who helped clean and restore the 22-acre graveyard in the 1960s, the cemetery is still associated with the prison unit known as “The Walls” for its 19th century brick walls. The warden or assistant warden from the facility attends each funeral.
A prisoner’s body may be unclaimed for a number of reasons. There may be no surviving friends or relatives, but a more likely explanation is that the friends or relatives are too poor to afford the burial expenses.
“I think everyone assumes if you are in a prison cemetery you’re somehow the worst of the worst,” said Indiana State University assistant professor of criminology Franklin T. Wilson, who is writing a book about the Byrd cemetery. “But it’s more of a reflection of your socioeconomic status. This is more of a case of if you’re buried there, you’re poor.”
By Kristina Hall
Texas is a big state. And within this big state with a big heart is the Windham School District, which provides academic and vocational education to eligible offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC).
The Windham School District strongly believes that prison education is the key to reducing recidivism. The District extends that belief by providing appropriate educational programming and services that meet the needs of the eligible offender population incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. TDJC believes that education helps offenders become responsible and productive members of their own communities as well as society as a whole.
By educating prisoners, the Windham School District hopes to:
•Reduce the cost of confinement and imprisonment;
•Increase the success of inmates maintaining employment upon release; and
•Provide an incentive for offenders to behave in positive ways during imprisonment.
Interestingly enough, of the 90-correctional facilities that the Windham School District serves within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, most of the literacy program participants attend 15 hours per week and the vocational training participants attend up to 30 hours per week. This statement shows that inmate participants are excited and willing to learn to better themselves, not only while incarcerated, but upon release, too.