Goree Unit

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Thomas Goree Unit
GoreeUnitHuntsvilleTX.jpg
Location Huntsville, Texas
Coordinates 30°40′23″N 95°31′02″W / 30.6731500°N 095.5171333°W / 30.6731500; -095.5171333
Status Operational
Security class G1-G3, Administrative Segregation, Outside Trusty, Transient
Capacity Unit: 1000 Trusty Camp: 321
Opened 1907
Managed by TDCJ Correctional Institutions Division
Warden Kelly Strong
Street address 7405 Hwy 75 South
City Huntsville
County Walker County
State TX
ZIP code 77344
Country US
Website www.tdcj.state.tx.us/unit_directory../gr.html
Aerial photograph of the Goree Unit, January 23, 1995, U.S. Geological Survey
Topographical map of the Goree Unit, July 1, 1976, U.S. Geological Survey

The Thomas Goree Unit (GR) is a Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison, located in Huntsville, Texas, 4 miles (6.4 km) miles south of downtown Huntsville on Texas State Highway 75 South. The Goree Unit is located within Region I.[1]

History[edit]

The unit was named after Major Thomas J. Goree, who, in the late 19th century, served as a prison superintendent.[2] The unit was first established in 1907,[1] and it opened in 1911 as the Goree State Farm for Women, a women's prison. The facility had separate portions for White and African-American women. White and Hispanic women worked in the garment factory, while Black women worked in the fields.[3]

In the 1930s Goree included the main building, separate sets of dormitories for black and white prisoners, an orchard, a cannery, a barn, crop fields, a hen house, and a cemetery for prisoners who had not been taken by surviving relatives. The dormitories had bars bolted onto the windows. During that decade, 150 prisoners resided at Goree. The Goree All Girl String Band, a group of prisoners from the unit, performed in the 1940s.[4]

Goree, within a short driving distance from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice headquarters, had been rebuilt and expanded during the administrations of O. B. Ellis and George Beto. Robert Perkinson, author of Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire, said that Goree's main building "showcases a bygone nod to rehabilitation."[5] The main building has dormitories which face gardens. Instead of bars, the residential rooms use decorative latticework. A visitor stated that Goree appeared "more or less like a college dormitory."[5]

In the 1980s the state moved women prisoners to facilities in Gatesville.[3] In 1982 Goree was converted into a men's prison. The prison authorities placed wire mesh on the dormitory windows. Prisoners are not permitted to be in the gardens. The prison gained a single perimeter fence with concertina wire; previously the area was unfenced.[5]

Notable inmates[edit]

Male:

Female:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Goree Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on September 29, 2011.
  2. ^ "1995 Annual Report." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on July 21, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "The Goree State Farm for Women." Texas State Library & Archives Commission. Retrieved on July 18, 2010.
  4. ^ Hollandsworth, Skip. "O Sister, Where Art Thou?" Texas Monthly. May 2003. 1. Retrieved on October 20, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
  6. ^ Perkinson, Robert. Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire. First Edition. Metropolitan Books, 2010. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-8050-8069-8.
  7. ^ "Strip-teaser Candy Barr given parole." The Press-Courier. Saturday March 25, 1963. Page 20. Retrieved from Google News (1 of 10) on October 20, 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°40′26″N 95°30′55″W / 30.67389°N 95.51528°W / 30.67389; -95.51528