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photo of Eastham buildingEastham “Old Camp” lives on as training site for TDCJ security supervisors

At the junction of Prison Road 2 and Prison Road 2A at the Eastham Unit near Lovelady sits “Old Camp,” the original 1917 structure that once housed the likes of Clyde Barrow and other notorious outlaws.

Replaced in the 1960s by the present-day complex, the old red-brick structure now painted ghostly white sat idle until about three years ago when the upstairs where prison employees once lived was fitted with four cells, a day room, and a few offices for use in the training of security supervisors.

Captain speaking to group of COs
Captain Cliff Prestwood explains a training scenario before it is played out during training for newly-promoted sergeants at the old Eastham Unit near Lovelady.

Photo by David Nunnelee

“From a security standpoint, that’s where we do all our scenario training for our sergeant academies,” said Correctional Training & Development Director Michael Upshaw. “I’m excited that we have it because we are getting some use out of it.”

The old building is also utilized as part of the training department’s sergeant retreats and lieutenant command schools. The agency’s emergency response team built an obstacle course outside the building for physical training.

Upshaw said the setting and rich past of the original Eastham facility brings some spice to the supervisor training sessions. The unit’s history, in fact, is told as part of the curriculum.
“It’s interesting and exciting for somebody in our field to go out there,” he said. “It’s an historical marker in itself.”

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