Monday, September 10, 2007

Tyler's jail alternative saves $1 million in first 9 months

Three months ahead of schedule, savings from Smith County's new jail alternative program reached the $1 million mark, I'm happy to report. Thanks to Judge Cynthia Kent in Tyler for sharing the good news in a forwarded email from the Smith County probation director Gerald Hayden, who wrote:
I was at the AIC this morning when Laura Gerick came into the office where Greg and I were talking. She excitedly reported to us the AIC has reached the $1,000,000.00 mark in savings for Smith County. This was done in actually 9 months, as we were 3 months into the fiscal year getting started. And we have several weeks left in this fiscal year. I could not be happier about this great news. The AIC is performing just as planned.

I have been contacted recently by 3 other CSCD's who want to come and study our program for inclusion purposes in their departments. I fully anticipate others will come forward to study the AIC in the near future.

Congratulations and Great Work to the AIC Unit for achieving this milestone.
Congratulations, indeed! I'm not surprised other counties want to copy the model, which was Judge Kent's brainchild. If alternatives to incarceration can work in Smith County, they can work anywhere in Texas. All reports say the program helps people succeed and stay out of jail, and now we know it saves taxpayers money, too.

Good job, Judge Kent and to all involved! Maybe now the county will pony up to implement the rest of your plans to reduce overcrowding and keep from having to build a new jail that the voters don't want.

See related Grits posts:

1 comment:

JWT (blogger in chief) said...

I sent this to a few people I thought would be interested. Got this feedback from Mike Brown, County Judge of Tom Green County.

"Jim, Tom Green County created the Alternative Incarceration Program 10 years ago. The Smith County (Tyler) Probation (CSCD) dept. officials came here for 3 days and learned all about our program. They returned to Tyler armed with their new found knowledge and our documentation and created their program. Undisputedly, our program was the first in the state. AIC program savings to Tom Green County for FY2007 (9-1-06 thru 8-31-07) $2.284 million."

Posted with his permission. There are counties out here that get it.

Jim Turner
Webmaster AT conchoinfo.org