Smith County jail completes part two of major renovation
POSTED: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 8:53pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 2:30pm
Tyler, TX (KETK) — The $35 million Smith County jail renovation will be finished in November 2014. However for now, phase two of this three-part upgrade, is finally complete.
KETK spoke with the County Commissioner from Precinct 1, Jeff Warr, who said, "It's really the brains of the jail facility. The jail inspection happens Friday, hopefully it all passes fine and then the next week the Sheriff's department will start utilizing it and using this part of the jail".
This phase includes a brand new holding area, an in-house infirmary, and 384 additional beds. Warr said, "We've modeled some of the best practices in the nation, on a very limited budget". Officials say the infirmary alone will save tax payers $800,000 a year in inmate medical expenses. Other additions include separate holding cells for women, and video visitation units.
JoAnn Hampton, County Commissioner of Precinct 4, said, "So the main thing is to kind of save some tax payer dollars. And we can do it as long as we can treat our inmates in house, and not have to send them out to the hospitals".
The renovations not only improve safety, but also efficiency. Warr said, "The more efficient you are in booking people in and out, in the long term, there's a safety and cost savings because of the man power it takes to handle those inmates".
County commissioners say the jail will pay for itself in 12 years.