A Better East Texas: Smith County Jail Bond

Smith County residents will once again have the opportunity to vote yes or no on a jail bond this May. This most recent bond is valued at 30-million dollars, a whisper of what one of the original bond proposals was which totaled more than 100-million several years ago. Because of jail overcrowding, Smith County has to send inmates to other area jails which costs the county money as they are essentially renting a cell at the other jail. There are also costs associated with transporting inmates and medical care of inmates. According to the Smith County Commissioners, this new jail would save more than 2 point 5 million dollars a year in expenses associated with those items I just mentioned. Opposition to a new jail has historically fallen in 2 camps. One group doesn't want it because of the cost and the added tax burden while the other group wants the Smith County justice system to be fixed through adding courts first to speed up trials and processing. These two groups have obviously been effective in votes past. Voting against the cost is one thing but voting against this solely because it is not your preferred order for a fix is another. The bottom line is that Smith County has to start somewhere. If a new jail is not it then governing groups need to give up on it and move in a different direction – but for the right reason. Either way, it is reassuring that Smith County residents will be able to vote – again – and that will make for a Better East Texas.