New Jail Plans Take Shape - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/17/05-Smith County

New Jail Plans Take Shape

The new Smith County Jail is starting to take shape, at least on paper.

The Commissioners Court met today in Tyler.

It discussed possibly closing the Smith County Office Building and moving those offices to the new detention facility. Under that plan, the new building would be more than just a jail. It would house the Sheriff's Department, J.P. and Constable's office.

They decided the new jail should be large enough to house more than 1600 beds by the year 2015 and more than 2000 beds by 2025.

No location yet for the new detention facility, but Judge Becky Dempsey says it will not be in downtown Tyler.

"We know we want to keep our downtown facility and refurbish that because we have heard from the federal courts, they need those federal bed spaces," Dempsey said. "Plus, that will allow us to manage our population, as far as those individuals who are in trial and cut down somewhat in the transportation between the two facilities."

Commissioners have yet to decide if they will hire a private company to build the new detention center or have the county do it.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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