State Jail Commission Wants Answers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/4/04 - Smith County

State Jail Commission Wants Answers

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards this week, requested Smith County Sheriff J.B Smith and County Judge Becky Dempsey appear at their next meeting. That meeting is set for Thursday, May 13 in Austin.

The Commission wants answers as to why the County continues to fail jail inspection because of issues involving overcrowding. For months the jail has been at or exceeding state mandate for number of prisoners.

The jail has just over 700 beds and at times has had over 900 prisoners. The commission also wants to know why the County is working with less jailers than allowed by law. State law mandates Smith County have 1 jailer for every 48 inmates. At times the jail has had up to 60 inmates for every 1 jailer.

The Commission could also recommend Smith County move some prisoners to other facilities. If that happens, the County would be responsible for paying for those prisoners. It could cost the County $4,000 dollars a day.

Chris Gibson, reporting

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