The Smith County Jail in Tyler.

The Smith County Jail has been deemed non-compliant on two issues, nutrition guidelines and inmate exercise, after an inspection from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

On May 12 to 14, TCJS inspector William T. Phariss was at the jail and issued the report.

The jail failed to meet TCJS regulations that say meals have to be served in accordance with an approved written menu and reviewed annually for compliance with nationally recognized allowances for basic nutrition, including nutritional requirements of pregnant inmates.

Phariss said he observed inmate workers, under the supervision of contracted food service staff, using utensils that provided less than the required amount of food on the approved written menu for inmates.

Smith County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Larry Christian said the nutrition issue was a result of the sub-contracted kitchen staff using the wrong portion-sized ladles.

“These ladles are color coded,” he said. “In other words, smaller than what jail standards require for the inmate daily caloric intake because of using the wrong sized color-coded utensils.”

Phariss also noted the Smith County Central Jail staff did not offer one hour of supervised physical exercise or recreation at least three days per week for the inmates on the second and third floors of the central jail, according to inmate recreation logs and interviews.

TCJS guidelines require each jail to have a written plan for inmate exercise and recreation, and documentation of exercise and recreation must be maintained for TCJS review. Each inmate is allowed one hour of supervised exercise and recreation at least three days per week, Phariss said.

Christian said the main issue with required recreation was the inmates in individual cells, not the areas with multiple people. He said there were no excuses for having a recreation deficiency at the jail.

“We just need to do better,” Christian said.

The Smith County Sheriff’s Office will correct the deficiencies from the report prior to the next TCJS inspection in about 45 days. The jail will become compliant again in about 60 days, Christian said.


I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.

Recommended for you

Load comments