Inside construction at the Smith County Jail - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Inside construction at the Smith County Jail

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Tyler (KYTX) -- Taxpayers are getting an inside look at how their money is being used at the Smith County jail construction site. As phase one nears completion, CBS19 got a special tour to show taxpayers the progress.

We started out seeing what used to be three conference rooms, completely remodeled.

"Got all the latest safety features for the attorney and the public," Jeff Warr, Smith County Commissioner Precinct 1, said.

The new kitchen will improve churning out 2100 meals every day. A maximum-security jail, each block that makes up these walls is filled with concrete.

"It doesn't allow anybody any potential to get out," Matt Barker, with Turner HGR Construction, said.

Smith County commissioners say a big saver is the new infirmary, with personnel on site to take care of medical issues. 

"A lot of those can be taken care of inside the jail, instead of loaded up in a sheriff's car with a deputy guarding them at a doctor's office," Warr said.

Another plus is that when all is said and done, federal inmates won't have to be shipped elsewhere.

"They pay us 45 dollars an inmate a day. When we ship someone out of county, that's 33 dollars that we pay," Sheriff Larry Smith, of Smith County, said.

Smith calculates an extra 100 federal inmates would yield one million extra dollars a year for the county.

"We can cut down on the federal taxes costing us, plus Smith County will be able to take that money and pay this facility off much sooner," Smith said.

The first phase of the overall project is going to wrap up in about two weeks. It'll then be handed over to the Smith County Sheriff's Office.

New construction is set to be finished in August.

Click on the video above to get an inside look at the new jail.

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