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Texas Department of Criminal Justice Hospital

Megan Seaholm General Entry

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Hospital is in Galveston and is affiliated with the University of Texas Medical Branch. It is the only prison hospital located on the campus of a major university medical center and provides TDCJH patients with sophisticated diagnostic and treatment services. The Sixty-fifth Texas Legislature authorized the construction of the TDCJH in 1977 and originally named it the Texas Department of Corrections Hospital. The eight-story, $40 million facility opened in June 1983. It provided acute medical and surgical care and obstetrics and gynecology services for the 1994 TDCJ inmate population of over 75,000 persons. TDCJH is connected to the John Sealy Hospital by a corridor from the TDCJH third floor. In the fall of 1992 TDCJH could accommodate 136 inpatients in semiprivate rooms. Its facilities included a minor operating room, a pharmacy, a radiology suite, physical and occupational therapy areas, a clinical laboratory, and an outpatient department that conducts twenty-seven specialty and subspecialty clinics each week. Approximately 100 outpatients arrive each day on TDCJ buses and are received in the security inspection area on the ground floor of the hospital. For several years before the establishment of the TDCJ Hospital, John Sealy Hospital provided tertiary care for inmates of the Texas prison system. In 1935 a 200-bed hospital was added to the Walls Unit of the Huntsville prison complex. This hospital could not provide the level of care required, and it was converted to infirmary status after a 1981 ruling by federal judge William Wayne Justice. The TDCJ Hospital has a dual administration. The executive director of the hospital is accountable to the University of Texas Medical Branch Vice President for Hospital Affairs and, in turn, supervises a staff of 200 employees including nurses, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists, and housekeepers. The TDCJ Hospital warden supervises 200 corrections officers who maintain security. The security officers live in a nearby three-acre housing complex. Medical personnel and security personnel work together to insure that neither quality care nor security is compromised.


  • Health and Medicine
  • Hospitals, Clinics, and Medical Centers
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Prisons and Correctional Facilities

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Megan Seaholm, “Texas Department of Criminal Justice Hospital,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 23, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: