12:26 PM

Criminal Justice Students Visit Texas Execution Chamber

Group PhotoTerry Pelz, University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) adjunct lecturer for the Department of Criminal Justice in the College of Public Service, organized a field trip to the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville "Walls" unit on Thursday, Oct. 27,.

Pelz, a former warden with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, chaperoned 18 students from his online 2203-Correctional System (Course 2203) and Prisons in America (Course 3312) classes.

The students met the James Jones, senior warden of the Huntsville unit, who personally conducted the tour. They toured the historic prison within a prison — a reportedly haunted Texas historic landmark, inmate cell blocks, the inmate recreation yard and the chapel.

"The ultimate goal was to visit the death house and the execution chamber," said Pelz. "Warden Jones explained execution day security procedures. Students were captivated by the experience of being in a room where 528 inmates have been executed thus far, since 1982.

"This kind of experience gives students the opportunity to relate to what they are studying in the curriculum."