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It has three state correctional facilities and a federal high-security prison in unincorporated areas of the county.
Together they have a maximum capacity for nearly 9,000 prisoners.
In the county, the population was spread out with 25.90% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 29.30% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 13.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median income for a household in the county was ,706, and the median income for a family was ,290.
Males had a median income of ,719 versus ,924 for females. About 14.60% of families and 17.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.60% of those under age 18 and 11.80% of those age 65 or over.
8.3% were of American, 7.2% French, 6.2% German, 5.8% English and 5.3% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 92,880 households out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.40% were married couples living together, 16.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families.
The County Commissioners Court, considered the administrative arm of the state government, is made up of a county judge and four commissioners.
In 2015 the county commissioners announced that it would lease the facility to a Beaumont charter school, Evolution Academy, at a minimal cost for 35 years.
The population density was 279 people per square mile (108/km²).
There were 102,080 housing units at an average density of 113 per square mile (44/km²).
Jefferson County is located on the plains of the Texas Gulf Coast in the southeastern part of the state.
The county is bounded on the north by Pine Island Bayou, on the northeast by the Neches River, and on the east by Sabine Lake and the mouth of the Sabine River, a natural outlet called Sabine Pass.