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.