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Does one viewer have a solution for the jail dilemma?

POSTED: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 - 5:47pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 3:37am

TYLER-The Smith County Jail has been a hot topic for many years now and still nothing as been done about the issue of overcrowding. And all along East Texans have their own opinions about what should be done.

We received an e-mail from a man who brought up an idea of what can be done to solve the dilemma. The viewer wrote us and wanted to know why Smith County can't just expand the Smith County low risk facility instead. He wants to know if the county has considered any expansion of the low risk facility or creating a wing at the low risk with higher security measures.

We spoke to Adrienne Graham with the Smith County Commissioner's Court who told us the idea of expanding the low risk facility was initially explored but ruled out for two reasons.

The first reason is that the Texas Commission of jail standards requires each county to keep a certain ratio of "individual" cells like we have at the downtown facility to dorm-style cells at the low risk facility.

Graham said when the county added the medium-risk addition to the low risk facility, it exceeded the ratio of dorm-style cells required by the state. Now, to maintain state standards, the county must expand the number of individual cells.

In addition officials say the low risk facility is surrounded by what used to be a land fill, and cannot safely be built out any further.

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I say legalize beer wine and liquor sales and let the millions of tax dollars that pour over the county line every year go toward financing the jail. If the crime rate "they" expect to increase because of those sales will not be worth the risk, let that money go towards the jail to accomodate whatever crime problems "they" think are gonna be there, so "they" can deal with it more effectivley. Smith County already pays financial and societal costs because it is dry, why not let that money we are losing go toward the new jail.

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