Smith County celebrates new low risk jail expansion

Friday, December 21, 2012 - 5:38pm

The Smith County Commissioner's Court held a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday for the new low risk jail expansion project.

The 1,400 square foot building is located off of Highway 69 and Public Road in Tyler, just north of Loop 323. The building will serve as the county's jail kitchen, laundry and video visitation center.

Remarks at the ribbon cutting were made Friday morning by Sheriff J.B. Smith, County Commissioner Jeff Warr and Judge Joel Baker.

Commissioner Warr tells KETK moving the laundry and kitchen operations will free up much needed room at the downtown facility. He says the new building is designed for efficiencies, which the county believes will save a lot of money in the long run.

"Its much safer for us to have the facility like that where jailers aren't having to escort inmates back and forth to visitation, you have the risk of contraband, it will prevent that," said Warr.

This is phase one of the $35 million jail improvement project. Phase two will be the expansion of the downtown building, which should begin in April.

Judge Baker says the video visitation room still needs to be wired and installed with the computers. That, along with a few other finishing touches should be completed in the coming weeks.

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