Houston Federal Detention Center


Houston Federal Detention Center

Houston Federal Detention Center

Houston Federal Detention Center is an administrative security prison located in Houston of Harris County, Texas.  The facility houses male offenders, as well as female offenders.  Currently, the prison holds 860 inmates in total.  The facility holds offenders of all security levels and was designed to hold a maximum of 1,118 prisoners.  FDC Houston, opened in October of 1999, is an 11 story building that takes up approximately 300,000 square feet.  The detention center has 7 floors, where the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth floor were designed for housing.  Each of these floors was built to house 248 prisoners.  The Special Housing Unit is located on the seventh floor of the facility.  

Numerous services and programs are offered to the inmates.  Programs include mental health counseling, drug counseling, recreational activities, work assignments, religious services, medical care, re-entry programs, and educational courses.  Female offenders are offered programs such as The Life Connections and Threshold Programs.  In addition to the education and work opportunities offered at the prison, the institution has 2 active community service projects that offenders are encouraged to participate in.  For community service, the female prisoners can work with local Eagle Scouts to crochet blankets for the local Senior Assisted Living Home, crochet hats for neonatal infants, and make teddy bears for the children's hospitals.  The other community service project involves prisoners collecting soda can pull tabs for the local Ronald McDonald house. Offenders are also encouraged to maintain healthy and work on their physical well-being.  In order to do so, the facilities equips the prisoners with pedometers and scales to weigh themselves, along with Body Mass Index machines throughout the housing units.  

In March of 2008, a fist fight between just 2 inmates turned into larger ordeal.  As a result of the fist fight, 3 employees and 8 prisoners were inflicted with injuries.  Luckily, all damage caused was just minor injuries.  Also in 2008, during the month of April FDC Houston prisoner Joel Lopez was accused of plotting a scheme to kidnap and use a murder-for-hire on US District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa.  It is believed that Lopez wanted to seek revenge on Hinojosa after Hinojosa sentenced Lopez to a life sentence in prison after a drug conviction in February of 2006.  Lopez believed that the death of Hinojosa would help revoke his life sentence.  To carry out his plan, Lopez contacted a fellow inmate who had ties to the Latin Kings street gang.  Because the gang-affiliated inmate was soon to be released, Lopez offered to pay the fellow prisoner $2 million to murder Hinojosa and another woman who owed money to Lopez due to a drug debt.  Lopez told the inmate to contact his wife for the money and gave away his wife's contact information.  Aracely Lopez-Gonzalez, the wife of Joel Lopez, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and even testified against her husband.  Lopez received another life sentence and was transferred to Pollock United States Penitentiary.  Also as a result, Lopez-Gonzalez received a 9 year sentence at FCI Danbury.

Visiting Hours at Houston Federal Detention Center:

  • Visiting at Houston Federal Detention Center is conducted on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, weekends, and federal holidays:
    • Mondays & Thursdays
      • 8:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.
      • 12:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.
      • 5:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.
    • Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, & Holidays
      • 8:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.
      • 12:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.
  • However, each housing unit has specific times where inmates are allowed visitors.  There is a visiting rotation for the housing units.  A visitor may not visit an inmate if it is not during the inmate's housing unit's visiting session.
  • Offenders are usually permitted 1 visit per visiting session and cannot have more than 4 visitors at once.
  • The following items are the only items permitted in the visiting room:
    • Photo identification
    • Money
    • Life supporting medications
    • Personal keys
    • Basic infant needs carried in 1 gallon clear zip lock bag:
      • 1 pacifier
      • 2 diapers
      • 5 baby wipes
      • 1 clear baby bottle with contents
      • 1 baby blanket
  • As the visiting area begins to crowd, visits will be terminated.  Visits will be terminated in the same order they began.
  • Prisoners who are housed in the Special Housing Unit are permitted visits, but these visits are non-contact only.  They will occur over video and will not last longer than 1 hour.  The only visitors permitted in the non-contact visiting room are visitors who are 18 years of age and older.

Physical Address:

Houston Federal Detention Center
1200 Texas Avenue
Houston, Texas 77002



Inmate Mailing Address:

Inmate Name, ID Number
Houston Federal Detention Center
P.O. Box 526255
Houston, Texas 77052