A new program to cut down on jail overcrowding in Smith County began Thursday. The Alternative Incarceration Program, started by local judges, provides a day reporting center for non violent offenders. Thursday afternoon, Judge Cynthia Kent looked at 18 offenders to see if they would be eligible for the program. The program is being held in the basement of the Smith County Courthouse. District Attorney Matt Bingham says he can object to those offenders he feels are not safe.
"Ultimately, whether a person is included or not included in the program will rely on the judge," said Smith County District Attorney, Matt Bingham. "If we think someone is a good candidate for the program we can agree to their inclusion in the program, if not then we file a written objection. Now the judge can grant the objection or not." Bingham says seven offenders were placed in the program today. Of the seven, he says he did not object to only one of them. In an earlier interview, Judge Kent told KLTV the program could reduce the jail population by 200 inmates.