Frequently Asked Questions for Families

Why is the family required to call Carnes Funeral Home first?

Carnes Funeral Home has been designated by the State of Texas as it's sole agent for mortuary and burial services for TDCJ inmates.

We've just found out that a death has occured or is about to occur, what should we do?

Contact us immediately. We will coordinate all necessary steps.

Why is an autopsy being performed?

TDCJ will provide an autopsy at no cost to the family. An autopsy is not required for all TDCJ cases. However, there are some exceptions. Speak to the chaplain or warden from the unit the inmate was assigned.

How long does it take for the autopsy to be performed?

Autopsies are usually performed Monday through Friday. It may take up to a week to complete the autopsy and release the body for burial however, most are completed in a matter of a few days.

Who will pay for the funeral and burial?

If a family chooses to allow TDCJ to handle burial, TDCJ will provide transportation to Huntsville, embalming, clothing, casket, outer burial container, cemetery space at Capt Joe Byrd cemetery, cemetery opening and closing, standard headstone, viewing of the body, and a graveside service.

If the family chooses to claim the deceased and use a private funeral home, the family is responsible for all expenses.

How does the family arrange for burial at Capt. Joe Byrd Cemetery in Huntsville?

Contact the TDCJ coordinator with Carnes Funeral Home.

Where will TDCJ provided visitation be held?

Visitation is held at Grace Baptist Church, 248 TX Hwy 19, Huntsville, TX 77340.

Is the family required to provide clothing for burial in Huntsville?

Clothing will be provided if the family does not provide them.

Is the family required to use the prisoner cemetery in Huntsville?

If TDCJ provides burial services, burial and services will be held at Capt Joe Byrd cemetery. If the family chooses to pay for private services, the cemetery is optional.

How does the family claim the personal items belonging to an inmate?

Contact the warden or chaplain at the unit the inmate was assigned.

How do we obtain certified copies of the death certificate?

See this link -

How long does it take to receive certified copies of the death certificate?

Certified copies of the death certificate will generally be available with 1-2 weeks for cases that do not involve an autopsy. Cases that involve an autopsy may take from several weeks to several months based on the length of time required to obtain final autopsy findings.

How do we change an error on the death certificate?

All death certificate amendments are handled through TDCJ Death Records. Call 936.439.1341 for more information.

How do we obtain a copy of the autopsy report?

Facilities performing autopsies on TDCJ inmates send autopsy reports directly to TDCJ Death Records. Carnes neither performs autopsies nor orders that autopsies be performed. For instructions on obtaining a copy of an autopsy report, call TDCJ Death Records. Their number is 936.439.1341.

See also FAQ for Funeral Homes