New jail could generate money for the county - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

New jail could generate money for the county

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The $35 million complex is set to be handed over to the Smith County Sheriff's Office around August 2014. The $35 million complex is set to be handed over to the Smith County Sheriff's Office around August 2014.

Commissioners opened the doors to the new Smith County Jail facility for a first look at the construction progress. The $35 million complex is set to be handed over to the Smith County Sheriff's Office around August 2014. Security is top of mind on the project with every item being double-checked.

"All the walls are filled with concrete," said Jeff Warr, Smith County Pct. 1 Commissioner.

Phase one of the jail will open in February allowing inmates to visit with their attorneys in new secure rooms.

"Even the pass-throughs for the paper or any documents can only accept one document at a time," Warr said.

Jailers at the site will see a new view with their new facility.

"When you're working here 24/7 it's a depressing place to work when you don't get to see outside," Smith County Judge Joel Baker said.

The kitchen area of the jail is also near completion and once in-use will serve nearly 2,000 meals-a-day.

Officials said one thing that will set this jail apart from others in the area is the infirmary, which will save the county money in the transfer of inmates.

"The minor medical care things will be taken care of right there on facility," Warr said. "Should help with some cost savings and manpower."

Another added source of income could come from the ability to house more federal inmates in the coming years. Those inmates are housed in Smith County to have quicker travel to the Tyler Federal Courthouse.

One point to the design of the facility is to make the building blend in and not look like a typical detention facility.

"The exterior is cast stone, a mix of stone and brick," Warr said. "Architects came in and took pictures of every building downtown and tried to make a composite so it wouldn't stand out."

Once the construction phase is completed sometime in August, the 384-bed facility must then get approval from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards before it can begin housing inmates.

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