KETK ran a story tonight, from the Smith county jail. In an effort to convince voters to say yes to the 59.6 million dollar new jail proposal, Sheriff Smith gave his reasons. They centered around the overcrowding and shipment of prisoners to other counties. The fact is that all of those reasons will dissipate if the current trends continue. The same is true of the medical problems, the kitchen problems, and all the other problems mentioned.
Once again the supposed 12 million dollar price tag for 3 years of inmate shipping came up in the skewed manner that we have become used to. Once again, the disturbing failure to mention that we would have spent nearly as much on housing the prisoners in the Smith county facility, and a lot more if we housed them in a new Smith county facility!
The appeal included a warning that the government would force a new jail on the county if one is not built. The only way that this could happen, is if the numbers did not go down, and the fact is, they are, and will continue to do so, if the the commissioners court will allow it to be funded.
With each new retelling of the rationale for the new jail proposal, the arguments for why taxpayers should foot the bill for something they have not even been allowed to see, become more threadbare. With the retelling of every half truths coming from county officials, and the continued reluctance to be open, distrust grows in our community. Officials have reached a point where they are not only losing the argument in favor of a new facility, but losing public confidence as well!
UPDATE: Grits For Breakfast made the point better than I could. Read it here!