Judge Cynthia Kent joins Vote No group on jail bond proposal

The group against the proposed Smith County Jail bond has a new face. Longtime Judge Cynthia Kent joined the "What Part Of No?" committee. She's been at their fair booth, talking to citizens about why she thinks they should vote no in November.

"We keep trying to build our way out of overcrowding, we're not going to do it. Might as well build 20,000 beds. Let's think outside of the box for once in Smith County and not put this burden on the taxpayers," said Judge Kent.

Judge Kent say the answer is new district courts and more alternative incarceration programs.

"Last time a new district court was created was 1978. We have the same number of courts, and we keep building bigger and bigger jails. This is the number of courts they all have to go through - the same number that we had 30 years ago, but we have 10 times the amount of cases filed. We need more courts to move the cases quicker."

We contacted the Vote Yes committee Thursday evening for comment. When asked about the prospect of a debate with the 'No' group, the 'Yes' group said they won't debate, telling us, "There is nothing to discuss...the issues are clear to the public."

The 'No' group says they will continue to be open to debate the issue.

Danielle Capper, reporting. dcapper@kltv.com