Touring the Smith County Jail - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Touring the Smith County Jail

A view of the jail from Chopper 7 A view of the jail from Chopper 7
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Today the Smith County Commissioners and Sheriff gave the local media a sneak peak at the new jail, although pretty much all of us hope we never get a long peek at the facilities.

The first part of the jail we viewed is the first part those who might stay longer would see: book-in. Smith County Precinct 1 Commissioner Jeff Warr explains.

“If people behave they can just stand over there… DPS, Tyler PD, whoever’s doing the paperwork will sign them all in here, but if they can’t they’re going in that cell right there behind you which also happens to be a padded cell, so if they’re really showing out they get to be in there,” Warr said.

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith explains new arrivals will have their belongings logged and shrink-wrapped before they are stored, and will be scanned by a magnetometer for weapons.

“There’s instances where inmates actually get into the secure part of the facility with fire arms. This will alleviate that. I know we’re going to have a much better facility for intake and release of inmates; much more efficiently than we have now,” Smith said.

The layout of Book-in is such that jailers doing paperwork can keep an eye on inmates through windows on the holding cells. The old book-in is crowded inside and out and cells are in a hallway that you have to walk down to see what inmates are up to. The new book-in is ready.

“If it passes inspection we probably plan on moving in over the weekend or Monday. So next week we should be in it,” Sheriff Smith revealed.

The old jail and the new are connected, so moving inmates around will be quick and safe when the rest of the jail opens. And this jail comes with a small hospital.

“It will be just like a traditional clinic except that it’s in a jail. So even out nurse that’s an RN has a detention license, so she’s a certified jailer almost. That helps us with our officers; we don’t have to have so many in here. But we also want to make sure our inmates are taken care of,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner JoAnn Hampton.

There are isolation wards and even a negative pressure room for infectious diseases.

The New Jail: Saving money, efficiency and the safety of everyone concerned.

The jail’s in-house infirmary is estimated to save taxpayers $600,000 to $800,000 every year in medical expenses, and the county could even earn money by housing inmates from other counties.

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