Memorial Unit

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Memorial Unit (Formerly Darrington)
Location59 Darrington Road
Rosharon, Texas postal address 77583
Coordinates29°23′58″N 95°29′27″W / 29.3995500°N 095.4907500°W / 29.3995500; -095.4907500
StatusOperational
Security classG1-G5, Administrative Segregation, Outside Trusty, Transient
CapacityUnit: 1,610 Trusty Camp: 321
Opened1933
Former nameDarrington Unit
Managed byTDCJ Correctional Institutions Division
WardenBridgette Hayes
CountyBrazoria County
CountryUSA
Websitehttps://www.tdcj.texas.gov/unit_directory/da.html
Aerial photograph, U.S. Geological Survey – January 25, 1995
Topographic map, U.S. Geological Survey – July 1, 1984

The Memorial Unit (DA), known as the Darrington Unit until 2021, is a Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) men's prison located in Brazoria County, Texas,[1] with a Rosharon, Texas postal address;[2] it is not inside the Rosharon census-designated place.[3] Most of the unit is in an unincorporated area, while a portion is in the city limits of Sandy Point.[1]

The unit is along Farm to Market Road 521, 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Rosharon,[2] and about 30 miles (48 km) south of Downtown Houston.[4] The prison has about 6,770 acres (2,740 ha) of land. The prison has the Region III Administrative Office of the Windham School District.[2]

History[edit]

The prison opened in 1917. It sits on land that was owned by the Mexican government until 1824. In the 1830s and 1840s, the land housed a plantation owned by John Darrington of Alabama. Slaves picked cotton and sugar cane there. Darrington did not live on the site, but the name Darrington Plantation stuck even after subsequent owners bought the land. The state of Texas kept the name of the plantation when they opened the prison, designating it the Darrington Unit.[5]

The song "Wasn't That a Mighty Storm" was first recorded by John A. Lomax in 1934 at Darrington, sung by "Sin-Killer" Griffin who claimed authorship.[6] In 1935 Darrington housed African American prisoners.[7]

In 1963, before racial desegregation occurred, the facility housed white second offenders.[8] In the late 1980s, Darrington housed a lot of leaders of prison gangs. In 1986 and 1987 a 12-foot (3.7 m) high gunwalk was built, overseeing 13 recreation yards; the walk allows prison guards to easily shoot and kill raging prisoners.[9]

In 2017 a judge ordered the installation of air conditioning.[4]

In January 2021, State Representative James White, chair of the Texas House Committee on Corrections, asked the Texas Board of Criminal Justice to rename the Darrington Unit and two other Texas prisons because the names were associated with slavery or convict leasing. White referred to John Darrington as a "plantation mega owner".[10] Later in the year, TDCJ changed the name of the prison to the Memorial Unit in honor of the agency's deceased employees.[5]

Operations[edit]

The Texas Legislature designated portions of Angleton ISD that by September 1, 1995 had not been annexed by Alvin Community College as in the Brazosport College zone.[11] As Darrington Unit is not in the maps of Alvin CC, it is in the Brazosport College zone.[12] There was a section of H.B. No. 2744,[13] filed on March 6, 2007,[14] which would have changed the boundary between Alvin CC and Brazosport CC to put the Darrington Unit in the Alvin CC service boundary.

Notable prisoners[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Brazoria County, TX" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. p. 8 (PDF p. 9/67). Retrieved 2023-01-10. Darrington State Prison Farm
  2. ^ a b c "Darrington Unit Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on May 9, 2010.
  3. ^ "2010 CENSUS – CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Rosharon CDP, TX." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on January 21, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Heat is part of life at Texas prisons, but federal judge orders one to cool it". 20 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b "TDCJ to rename three facilities". Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  6. ^ Hinckley, D. (2008-09-12). "Singing up a 'Mighty Storm' in Galveston". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
  7. ^ Trulson, Chad R., James W. Marquart, and Ben M. Crouch. First Available Cell: Desegregation of the Texas Prison System. University of Texas Press, 2009. 81. Retrieved from Google Books on July 16, 2010. ISBN 0-292-71983-3, ISBN 978-0-292-71983-5.
  8. ^ Trulson, Chad R., James W. Marquart, and Ben M. Crouch. First Available Cell: Desegregation of the Texas Prison System. University of Texas Press, 2009. 82. Retrieved from Google Books on July 16, 2010. ISBN 0-292-71983-3, ISBN 978-0-292-71983-5.
  9. ^ Toth, John. "Prison guards will `shoot to kill' inmates to stop deadly violence of gangs" (). Houston Chronicle. Sunday September 21, 1986. Section 3, Page 1. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  10. ^ McCullough, Jolie (January 29, 2021). "Texas Republican asks state to rename several of the state's prisons honoring slave owners". The Texas Tribune.
  11. ^ Texas Education Code Sec. 130.170. BRAZOSPORT COLLEGE DISTRICT SERVICE AREA.: "(2) the Angleton Independent School District, except the part annexed by the Alvin Community College District before September 1, 1995."
  12. ^ The Taxation Map and College Zone map of Alvin Community College do not show Darrington Unit, and based upon Texas Education Code Sec. 130.170. it would be in the Brazosport College zone.
  13. ^ "H.B. No. 2744." Texas Legislature. Retrieved on March 11, 2011. "(3) the territory located in Brazoria County, situated to the west of the Alvin Community College District boundary as it existed on January 1, 2003, extending west to the eastern border of Fort Bend County, and south to County Roads 49, 34, and 255, including the City of Rosharon and the Darrington and Ramsey Units of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice."
  14. ^ "Bill: HB 2744." Texas Legislature. Retrieved on March 11, 2011.
  15. ^ "Graham, David Christopher" (Archive). Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on December 28, 2015.

External links[edit]