Smith County 2008 Jail Proposal Facts

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Smith County 2008 Jail Proposal Facts

The following list is a list of facts concerning the Smith county jail proposal.

  • Commissioners decided to build a jail and offer two separate proposals on the same ballot. Both were soundly defeated.
  • A third proposal was put before the public a year later, and is defeated even more soundly.
  • A fourth proposal for an expandable version of the same facility is placed on the ballot for November 2008.
  • During all of this time, the public has been told that the cost of housing an inmate in another county is a certain amount, when in fact, the amount only exceeded the cost of housing them in the current Smith county facility by a very small amount.
  • The figures for projected needs are so skewed as to be unintelligible. We have been given two differing sets.
  • In the years following the initial proposals, alternative programs have been so successful that a continuation of such programs will undoubtedly reduce the jails population to levels lower than the ordered mandate.
  • Commissioners have stopped funding one such program, before it had time to succeed.
  • Other programs of this type have been suggested, but not funded.
  • The need for additional courts, to speed up the terminally slow pretrial process has been ignored.
  • A state law allowing for ticketing for minor offenses has been systematically ignored.
  • The cost to build such a facility will far exceed the cost presented to the public.
  • The cost to run the facility will be an albatross around the collective necks of Smith citizens far into the future.
  • These combined costs will exceed the current cost of shipping detainees to other counties far into the future.
  • Building the jail will not solve the underlying problems.
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