It appears that Coronavirus is running rampant through a local prison. KJAS News has learned that the number of confirmed positive cases of the virus at the Glen Ray Goodman Prison Unit on Highway 190 just east of Jasper has dramatically increased. In just 4 days the numbers jumped from 10 to 198 – which is nearly half of the inmate population of 433 prisoners.

In fact, the Goodman Unit has the most active cases of all the prison facilities across the state. The second highest is the Wallace Pack Unit in Grimes County which, as of Monday, had a total of 186 inmates and 22 employees infected with the virus.

Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) website said on Thursday that 15 Goodman Unit inmates had recovered from the virus, and also that there were 3 active cases of the illness involving employees. As of Monday, those numbers had not changed.

The numbers listed on the TDCJ website were confirmed on Monday by TDCJ Spokesman Jeremy Desel. He said that the jump in the numbers at the Goodman Unit is “Not a significant increase”, compared to the number of inmates housed there and the number of Coronavirus tests that have been administered.

TDCJ said that as of Monday, the Goodman Unit remained on lockdown status, with 283 inmates under medical restriction and 72 inmates under medical isolation.

Jasper County Judge Mark Allen said on Monday that he was very alarmed by the numbers at the Goodman Unit, and he also pointed out that the State of Texas does not count prison numbers along with each county’s numbers. Regardless, he said that it is very important for local officials as well as the general public to know up-to-date accurate Coronavirus numbers in prison facilities.

Judge Allen said that he is also concerned that Goodman Unit employees who may have been exposed to the illness while on the job are routinely out in public among other people, such as grocery shopping and other common activities.

Meanwhile, 25 miles to the west is the Gib Lewis Unit on Highway 190, just east of Woodville. The TDCJ website had no change in the numbers since Thursday. It showed no active cases among the 1,803 inmates, while 1 inmate had already recovered from the illness. The website also said that there have been no cases among the Lewis Unit employees.

Additionally, the TDCJ website says that the Lewis Unit is not on lockdown, and has no inmates under medical restriction or medical isolation. Those numbers were also confirmed by Desel.

Across the state, as of Monday, June 29th, the TDCJ website says:

~ 117,465 inmates have been tested for Coronavirus

~ 8,180 active cases

~ 6,780 recoveries

~ 106 inmates have died

~ 79 deaths presumed as a result of Coronavirus

~ 27 deaths with cause pending


Broadcast journalist & on-air personality - Rayburn Broadcasting Company - KJAS 107.3 FM in Jasper, TX and KFAH 99.1 FM in Pineland, TX