Five stories that have North Texas talking: Prisons are closing in Texas; this growing Denton high school’s edging closer to nearby gas sites; remembering a legendary Houston boot maker; and more.
Texas is set to close its fourth prison this year by Sept. 1. Once the facility shutters, Texas will have closed eight prisons in six years, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The recent closures come in response to the state’s tight budget and declining inmate population. Since Texas closed its first prison in Sugar Land in 2011, the state's inmate population has dropped from 156,000 to 146,000 now. Lawmakers expect the closures will save about $49.5 million.
“It's unclear whether the trend of shuttering facilities will continue since lawmakers didn't approve proposals this year to reduce drug offense penalties and to keep 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system instead of going to adult prisons,” according to the Associated Press. “Criminal justice reform advocates said these measures would help the prison population continue to decline.”
The four units the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will close this year are the Ware Unit in Colorado City, the Bridgeport Pre-Parole Transfer Facility, the West Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility in Brownfield and the Bartlett State Jail. [The Dallas Morning News, The Associated Press]
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- The expansion of Denton’s Guyer High School means its 3,000 students will share the campus with the nearby aging gas wells, tanks and pipelines. [Denton Record-Chronicle]
- The acting director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has called it quits, just weeks into the job. It’s the TABC’s sixth high-level departure since April. [The Texas Tribune]
- Nobody made cowboys boots like Rocky Carroll of Houston. The late craftsman made boots for seven presidents, Pope John Paul II and everybody in between. [The New York Times]
- In one week, lawmakers head back to Austin for a special session of the 85th Legislature. There are 19 items on the agenda — if this one bill passes. [Texas Station Collaborative]