Campus and Community

Criminal Justice Students Visit State Penitentiary

huntsville

Terry Pelz, adjunct instructor for the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) College of Public Service, organized a field trip to the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville “Walls” Unit on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017.

Pelz, a former warden with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), chaperoned seven students from his F2F 4301-Criminal Justice Administration and Online 3312-Prisons in America course.

“This high-impact experience gives students the opportunity to relate to what they are studying in the curriculum.”

The tour, led by the prison’s Security Threat Group and Operational Review lieutenant, walked students through the state’s historic “prison within a prison”—a reportedly haunted Texas historic landmark—as well as prison cell blocks, recreation yard, craft shop and execution chamber.

“The ultimate goal was for students to visit the death house and the execution chamber,” Pelz said.

Students were captivated, Pelz remarked, when the lieutenant offered insight on the prison’s execution day security procedures—noting that same room as the location of 545 inmate executions by lethal injection since 1982.