POSTED: Friday, January 31, 2014 - 8:15pm
UPDATED: Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 1:22pm
(KETK) - Tyler Tx — The Smith County downtown jail facilities are seeing major progress. Construction on the jail began in August of 2012 after voters approved a 35 million dollar bond. It took almost two decades to get the bond approved by taxpayers, but the vision is finally coming to fruition.
Phase one has already been completed at the low-risk facility, which includes video visitation installation, kitchen, and laundry. Now, the Smith County commissioners are working with the architects, contractors, and the Smith County Sheriff's Office on finishing the downtown facility.
The new jail will be able to house the Smith County inmates that are currently having to be sent to different counties.
"Smith County taxpayers have paid over 20 million dollars in housing inmates out of the county," said Smith County Commissioner, Jeff Warr Precinct 1.
At a current 33 dollars per day, per inmate, Smith County was putting money out, and seeing no money in and this new jail will change that.
"All we did was just rent spaces, that's never a good idea," Warr said. "Here we can control things like transportation costs, medical costs, housing, feeding. You're back in control of your own destiny."
This state-of-the-art, maximum security jail will be able to process inmates more efficiently, manage jail population, feed and house hundreds more inmates and treat inmates in the new infirmary.
"We'll be able to keep them here, bring the doctor here," said Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith. "We already have nurses here and doesn't subject the public to those inmates escaping from the hospital.