Explore Texas Prisons With New Data App

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Texas houses roughly 160,000 inmates in more than 100 state prison units, a sprawling network of secure buildings from Edinburg to Dalhart that few outsiders see or understand.  

Now you can explore them all.  

The Tribune's latest data application, one of our most ambitious, includes records and visualizations on each of these facilities and the inmates inside them, including names, crimes, sentences and more.  

You don't need to know an inmate's name to learn from the data. The app contains charts and graphs that break down the inmates by ethnicity, gender and age, among other variables. Users can also see visualizations of the average sentence lengths statewide and in specific prisons.

One chart in the app, for instance, shows that the most common sentence length is from 10 to 20 years: 

Inside the app are landing pages for each of the prisons that contain maps, satellite photos and details about the most common convictions and inmate population.

Select the Allred Unit near Wichita Falls, for example, and you'll see that more than 3,600 inmates are housed there — and that the most common criminal conviction is burglary of a habitation. Most of the inmates there are serving sentences of longer than 20 years (more than 200 of which for murder).

You can then drill down into inmates' personal pages and learn about their convictions, sentences, hometowns — even their height, weight and gender. (Some of this information is available on the state's prisoner locator, but the system is slow, complicated and often unreliable). 

The oldest inmate, Corban Henry Wyatt, 91, entered the prison system eight years ago on a sexual assault conviction. Among the youngest is Alfonso Hernandez, 16, who was convicted in 2008 of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and sentenced as an adult.

The app also contains landing pages for each crime type — more than 900 in all. There you'll see a list of inmates, sorted by the lengths of their terms. They pages also include visualizations allowing users to see to see the average sentences given for each offense. 

Explore the app and let us know what you think. And explore all of our data applications here.

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