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State Prison vs. Jail

Lawyer in Houston to Help Avoid Jail or Prison Sentences

Many people use the terms jail and prison interchangeably, as though all convicted offenders are shipped to a singular location to serve their sentences. However, there are actually stark differences between jail and prisons.

In fact, there are actually three types of correctional facilities in Texas: county jails, state jails, and prisons. Generally, a misdemeanor conviction result in incarceration in a county jail, a state jail felony conviction will lead to incarceration in a state jail, and a conviction for a third-degree felony or higher results in a prison sentence.

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Houston, TX

Make no mistake, whatever differences there might be in regards to amenities neither prisons nor jails are places that will be luxurious places to stay. This is true regardless of whether the facility is privately or publicly operated. As a criminal defense attorney in Houston, Matt Horak fights to keep his clients from a sentence that would require the client to spend any amount of time locked up in one of these spaces.

Horak Law represents people from communities in and around Harris County, including Missouri City, Conroe, The Woodlands, Galveston, League City, Pasadena, Sugar Land, Pearland, Richmond-Rosenberg, and Spring. You can receive a complete review of your case to help understand your legal options as soon as you call our firm at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 to set up a free, confidential consultation.


Texas State Prisons and Jails Information Center


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County Jails in Texas

A county jail is typically for holding several offenders who will only be there temporarily. This includes people who were recently arrested or alleged offenders who may be unable to post bail, but it also includes those who were convicted of misdemeanors and received sentences of less than one year.

A county jail typically allows the offenders incarcerated there to have more visits with friends or family members, but there is often less for inmates to do and there are far fewer amenities in regards to food and drink or recreation. Thus, the county jail typically has the reputation of being very boring as well as very cold.

Some of the county jails in the greater Houston area include:

Harris County Jails

1200 Baker Street
Houston, TX
(713) 755-6044

701 North San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 755-8430

1307 Baker Street
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 755-2400

Montgomery County Jail
1 Criminal Justice Drive
Conroe, TX 77301
(936) 760-5870

Fort Bend County Jail
1410 Ransom Road
Richmond, TX 77469
(281) 341-4735

Waller County Jail
701 Calvit Street
Hempstead, TX 77445
(979) 826-8282

Liberty County Jail
2400 Beaumont Avenue
Liberty, TX 77575
(936) 336-9395

Galveston County Jail
5700 Avenue H
Galveston, TX 77551
(409) 766-2315

Brazoria County Jail
3602 County Road 45
Angleton, TX 77515
(979) 864-2338


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State Jails in Texas

Unlike county jails where inmates may still be awaiting trial or arraignment, everybody in a state jail is there because they were convicted of a crime and sentenced to be there. A state jail is essentially a minimum security prison for people convicted of non-violent crimes.

A state jail felony is more or less a felony of the fourth degree. A conviction for one of these crimes will result in a sentence of up to two years. It is important to understand that inmates in state jails must serve their sentences day for day without good time or parole.

This is an important distinction because an alleged offender’s attorney could argue for a reduction in charges to a misdemeanor through a 12.44 reduction or possibly even ask to be sentenced as a third-degree felony offender in order to possibly end up serving less time.

The following state jails house male offenders in Harris County:

Joe Kegans State Jail (HM)
707 Top Street
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 224-6584

Pam Lychner State Jail (AJ)
2350 Atascocita Road
Humble, TX 77396
(281) 454-5036

These state jails house female offenders in Liberty County:

Lucile Plane State Jail (LJ)
904 FM 686
Dayton, TX 77535
(936) 258-2476

Dempsie Henley State Jail (LT)
7581 Highway 321
Dayton, TX 77535
(936) 258-2476


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Texas Prisons

State prisons in Texas have much higher levels of security than county or state jails, but they also offer many more services for their inmates. Services in Texas prisons may include a better selection at the commissary as well as libraries, substance abuse and educational classes, and recreation areas.

Not all prisons in Texas are operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. In 1987, Senate Bill 251 authorized private prisons in an effort to manage overcrowded prisons at a lower cost. Many private prisons are for-profit facilities that can be more dangerous than their state-run counterparts, and the privately operated prisons often have worse conditions as well.

Publicly operated prisons in the greater Houston area include:

Clemens Unit (CN)
11034 Hwy 36
Brazoria, TX 77422
(979) 798-2188

Darrington Unit (DA)
59 Darrington Road
Rosharon, TX 77583
(281) 595-3465

L.V. Hightower Unit (HI)
902 FM 686
Dayton, TX 77535
(936) 258-8013

Beauford H. Jester III Unit (J3)
3 Jester Road
Richmond, TX 77406
(281) 277-7000

W. F. Ramsey Unit (R1)
1100 FM 655
Rosharon, TX 77583
(281) 595-3491

Wayne Scott Unit (RV)
6999 Retrieve
Angleton, TX 77515
(979) 849-9306

A.M. "Mac" Stringfellow Unit (R2)
1200 FM 655
Rosharon, TX 77583
(281) 595-3413

C.T. Terrell Unit (R3)
1300 FM 655
Rosharon, TX 77583
(281) 595-3481

Carol S. Vance Unit (J2)
2 Jester Road
Richmond, TX 77406
(281) 277-3030

There is one privately operated prison in the Houston area:

Cleveland Correctional Center (CV)
901 East Fifth Street
Cleveland, TX 77328
(281) 592-9559


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Texas Prison and Jail Resources

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) — Visit the website of the state government agency responsible for managing inmates in state prisons, state jails, and private correctional facilities. You can find various types of information, including a directory of all TDCJ units, search for offenders, and view different divisions and departments.

Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) Inmate Information — This section of the HCSO website contains links to information about inmate visitation, inmate phone calls, and ways to pay fines or court costs. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions, court, and case information, and search for people in jail.


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Find a Lawyer in Houston to Help Avoid Jail or Prison Sentences

Whether you are facing the possibility of being sentenced to incarceration in a county jail, a state jail, or prison, it is in your best interest to have experienced legal representation. Matt Horak is a criminal defense attorney in Houston, TX, who fights to get the best possible outcomes with the fewest penalties for every client he represents.

Horak Law serves all of Harris County as well as communities in many surrounding areas such as Brazoria County, Waller County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Galveston County, and Montgomery County. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call our firm right now at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 to schedule a free initial consultation.


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Our Office in The Woodlands
1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
Our Office in Houston
5300 Memorial Dr #750 A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 225-8000
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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014