The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is starting to repopulate prisons evacuated due to flooding caused by Harvey.
Last Tuesday, the state agency announced that it had moved almost 6,000 inmates from five units in Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties. A couple days later, TDCJ released a video update on where those inmates had been moved.
“Those offenders have been placed on other locations throughout the state,” says TDCJ Director Brian Collier. “I believe 19 units have offenders from those locations. We have also evacuated a half-way house in Corpus Christi, a treatment facility in Victoria, a halfway house in Houston, Texas, Beaumont Texas, as well as another treatment facility in Beaumont, Texas.”
About 1,400 inmates were returned to the all-male Jester 3 and Vance Units in Richmond on Monday. The other three prisons, which house about 4,500 people, are still evacuated.
The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Wednesday on emergency relief funding for victims of Hurricane Harvey. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made the announcement yesterday at Houston’s NRG Center, which is now serving as an emergency shelter.
McCarthy, a California Republican, said this would be the first aid package.
“I also want to make the point, it won’t be the only relief package we vote on,” he said. “What we want to do is make sure FEMA has the money going forward as the cities and the counties assess the damage.”
Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, along with much of the Houston Congressional Delegation, joined McCarthy for the announcement. Cruz said this $ 7.9 billion disaster relief package was just a down payment on a much larger effort.
“The Texas congressional delegation is unified. John Cornyn and I in the Senate and the entire delegation in the House are standing together,” Cruz said. “We are going to see very significant federal relief coming to this state.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has estimated the total damage from Harvey could cost as much as $180 billion.
Beaumont has found a temporary workaround to restore water service to the city. It lost its water supply on August 31 after flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey knocked out the city’s primary and backup water pumps.
At a press conference Monday, Beaumont mayor Becky Ames called the workaround “miraculous”.
“Our water pumping is completely underwater and our great employees, along with industry, have done a workaround that will last us until we can get our pumps – until the river recedes – and we can get our pumps back in operation,” Ames said.
Companies like Tiger Industries and Exxon Mobil helped get six pumps into place at the end of last week that are refilling the city’s water plant. The city also has three distribution points for bottled water today. A boil water notice from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is still in effect for Beaumont and many other areas throughout Southeast Texas.