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Houston Parolees Transferred To Horizon City Halfway House

By ABC-7 Reporter Veronique Masterson

HORIZON CITY — Nearly 200 parolees were evacuated from a Houston halfway-house after Hurricane Ike hit theGulf Coast.

About 170 of them werere-located tothe Avalon Correctional Center inHorizon City andsaid they are being treated more like prisoners than parolees.

Their home facility inHouston provides housing and transitional services for about 500 minimum security offenders, officials said. There, they are allowed to leave the facility for work.

Some parolees said they have not been allowed to leave the facility at Horizon City during their stay. A spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said the paroleeshave no reason to leave because they are not from El Paso and do not have jobslocally.

Although televisions and courtyards are available for their use, some of the Houston parolees ABC-7 spoke with are not comfortable with the restrictions. “We believe we’ve had inhumane treatment and our civil rights violated, kidnapped and held at gunpoint against our will,” said one parolee.

“We shouldn’t be locked up the way they got us locked up,” said another. “They’re walking around, they’ve got armed guards, we’re around barbed wire fence. We have to do what regular inmates have to. We’re not inmates.”

Officialsat the facility tell ABC-7they are workingon gettingthe men back to Houston, but do not know how long that will take.

One parolee sees it another way. “It bugs me that I’m stuck, but as far as the living conditions, it’s a lot better.”

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