Old prison may be closed for land use

SUGAR LAND, TX The Central Unit prison opened in April 1909. It now holds 975 inmates.

Sugar Land Mayor Dave Wallace said the city and state are conducting a joint study of whether the Texas Department of Criminal Justice should close down the 325-acre facility and sell the land to the city.

"Let's just say that a prison is not the highest and best use for that land right now," Wallace said.

The prison adjoins the Sugar Land Regional Airport, one of the busiest airports in the Houston area. The airport is confined on three sides with little room for expansion. Prison inmates grow crops just a few dozen yards from a busy runway used by everyone from corporate jets to weekend pilots.

The inmates would be moved to other facilities if the prison is closed. State officials could possibly use the money from the sale of the land to expand existing facilities or build new ones.

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