Companies Compete To Build New Jail - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Companies Compete To Build New Jail

Four companies are vying for the chance to build a new Smith County jail.

They're competing against the proposals Sheriff J.B. Smith made a couple weeks ago.

Today, the four companies tried to convince the Commissioners Court that privatizing the new jail is better for the county. Each company touted its experience in building jails for other counties around the country. They said outsourcing to the private sector would help the county limit liabilities, like inmate lawsuits.

Judge Becky Dempsey says the court will compare the four companies to each other and to the sheriff's proposals.

"At this point, I'm not really leaning toward one or the other because there are highlights of both, based on the presentation that the sheriff gave and based on what we heard today," Dempsey said.

Dempsey says she plans to hire a consultant to help make the decision. That process should begin in the next week.

Julie Tam, reporting.


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