A Jeffersonian In East Texas

August 29, 2008

Jail Bond Comments

Filed under: Uncategorized — ajeffersonian @ 7:44 am

We would be very interested in getting comments from those on the cutting edge of this important discussion. If you are in a leadership role, on either side, don’t be afraid to be transparent! The public wants that in it’s leaders, and avoiding it, causes distrust.

Read More:

Smith Jail Bond: Open Invitation For Comments Pro and Con


1 out of 21 Adults in the “system”!?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ajeffersonian @ 7:42 am

If one out of 21 adults in Texas are “in the system,” and at any given time, another 10% of the Texas adult population is available for immediate arrest…well, do the math!

Read More:

Felonies Involving Oysters? | 1 0f 21 Adults “In the system”

Education, or Incarceration: Smith county officials force a choice.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ajeffersonian @ 7:38 am

Education, or Incarceration: Smith county officials force a choice.

It costs more than 29 thousand dollars a year to house an inmate in the TDC. That is not counting all the peripheral cost just to get him there. It costs much less to provide an education!

This aspect of criminal justice is one of the least tapped in the whole field. The fact is, that it is probably the highest common denominator in criminal justice, and gets the least attention.

Read More:

Education Now, Or Incarceration Later!

August 23, 2008

Open invitation to comment on jail proposal!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ajeffersonian @ 10:08 am

Smith Jail Bond: Open Invitation For Comments Pro and Con

Do You Dare?

August 21, 2008

Smith County Jail vs. Smith County Schools

Filed under: Uncategorized — ajeffersonian @ 9:02 pm

We should be able to make distinctions, whether they are philosophical, or economic. In this case, the philosophy and the economy both fall on the same side of the issue. School is cheaper than prison!

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Tyler Area Media | Any Serious Questions?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ajeffersonian @ 1:48 am

Why is the local media not asking any serious questions?

It’s not just a rhetorical question. I would expect that some serious discussion, would lead to some serious ratings help, and serious subscription increases!

Why give local officials a pass? Especially when a comment or statement by one of them begs for another question? For instance: When Ms. Fleming made the statement, “Bless their hearts, what they are forgetting, is that Smith county is still under a remedial order by the state of Texas.” about those opposed to the new jail bond proposal, the logical next question should be: “Does this order require the building of a new jail, or is there room for other methods?” This line of questioning could lead to some serious open discussion of the issues behind the issue.

The media is allowing this to be framed by the officials, who can thus avoid the serious why and how part of the problem, allowing this issue to become something like: “There are those who agree with us, who are in favor of truth, justice, and the American way, and those who oppose us want to let murderers, rapists, and child molesters run free on our streets!” The issue is much more complicated than that, and unless we can open the discussion beyond this point, the root of the problem will remain.

Have we sunken to a point where only questions pre-approved by politicians can be asked?

August 20, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — ajeffersonian @ 5:01 am

Take a trip over to ajeffersonian.com, and have a look at some of the new posts, like:

Don’t Ever Be The First To Stop Applauding!

There is a lot more there as well, so drop by, kick of your shoes, and sit a spell.

August 17, 2008

Smith County Jail The Critical Question

Smith County Schools or Jails | School Bond vs. Jail Bond

Vote Yes For The New Smith County Jail Proposal!

Smith Commissioner Fleming | Well Bless Her Heart…

Sometimes when doing things the same old way for a long time, a solution to a problem seems so obvious that it’s hard to see the forest for the wood. The unfortunate part, is that is rarely the best solution. Such is the case with the Smith county jail issue. I am giving commissioners and others the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe they just don’t understand that there are options other than continually increasing incarceration rates. They may be so caught up in the idea of getting a new jail of some type, that they failed to ask and answer the main question, the most important question of all.

Do we really need a new jail?

As I said, the answer to that question may seem obvious, but it is not. Based on the nature of the offenses which are causing our current jail to be overcrowded, the problem does not seem to be the number of beds, but the snail like pace of the system. There are other factors as well. Child support violators, (after writing on this subject for two years, I still haven’t received a satisfactory answer to that question.) and possession of small, misdemeanor amounts of the dreaded cannabis plant make up a huge number of the cases awaiting trial, and inflating the numbers. This is a far cry from the “murderers and rapists” for which Sheriff Smith needs the increased space. Granted, those violators are there as well, but they make up an infinitesimal part of the population.

The answer to the question posed above is “no”. We do not need a new jail, at least not yet. Solve the other problems first, then let’s talk about an upgrade.

We should also work on learning to maintain a structure of this type, and make plans for future needs in that area. What sort of maintenance staff will be needed, and how will we pay for that increase?

There are hundreds of questions that should be asked before we proceed with such a project, and thus far, none have been answered. Not even the most significant one.

A good place to start would be for the commissioners to ask the judges for their input, and this time, to take it to heart!

A Jail or A Fence For Smith County | Revisited.

Smith County Schools or Jails | School Bond vs. Jail Bond

Vote Yes For The New Smith County Jail Proposal!

Smith Commissioner Fleming | Well Bless Her Heart…

I asked in a former post, whether Smith county needed a new jail, or a fence around the county. I thought it might be time to revisit the idea. Since Smith county incarcerates it’s citizens at a rate 51% higher than the state average, and since we live in a state that incarcerates 44% more of it’s citizens than the national average, which is higher than any totalitarian regime in power today, we are obviously the scum of the earth, and should all be locked away! Add the probation figures, and delete the overlaps, and the figures are frightening! Something must be done about, well, about us! We need to be kept from mingling with the population of the civilized world, lest we infect them with our peculiar criminality!

“We are not all criminals!” The statistics seem to tell a different tale! It would seem, that if you have not been incarcerated, or put on probation, you must have been missed, but don’t worry, this over site will soon be corrected! They just haven’t gotten around to you yet. They are trying to build a new jail facility just for locking you away!

  • We either have more criminals, or
  • The Sheriff’s department is better than average at catching and incarcerating criminals, or
  • Something is wrong.

Let me make the extension for you. Something is definitely wrong!

In any case, we don’t need a new jail.

  • If something is wrong, it should be corrected.
  • If the constabulary is that efficient, all crime will soon cease.
  • If we are really that bad, we don’t need a jail, we need a fence!

August 16, 2008

Smith County Commissioners | Can We Trust Them?

Why would people, and why should people not trust the commissioners court to give them the truth about the new jail proposal? Well, for starters, it was done in a clandestine manner. The current proposal, and the last proposal were done without the presence of the “naysayers”, as some on the court have called them in the past. Sure, there was token involvement, under cover of darkness by some who were formerly opposed, but no real naysayers. The naysayers decided to have their say at the poles on the last proposal, and as I said before, it was a big horse laugh right in the face of official arrogance! Seems we haven’t moved very far since then.

You might want to add to this list, the fact that the court in it’s wisdom has constantly, consistently, arrogantly and relentlessly avoided the issue of why jail overcrowding is a problem, and the myriad of ways to deal with it before it gets to incarceration. This is important, because if you do not solve this piece of the puzzle, you will find any new jail overcrowded soon after it’s opening. It would seem to make sense to solve this, and then see what sort of new facility might be needed. In this case, the commissioners court is not the only problem. The district attorney was handed one solution on a silver platter, freshly passed by legislators, and signed by the governor, and has refused to take it seriously.

The newest proposal is precisely what I expected, a “jailzilla lite” with an open end. A few scoops of dirt removed from what will become a bottomless pit for tax dollars and the hundreds of potential inmates working and playing and living and breathing in this county.

I know it is too late to make a long story short, but the short of of is, that people will not, and should not trust the commissioners court, until they wholeheartedly use some of the other methods, and stop trying to hide their plans behind closed doors.

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