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May 29, 1981 - Image 7

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1981-05-29

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, May 29, 1981-Page 7

Overcrowding haunts
county jails in area

(Continued from Page 1)
crowding at the Washtenaw County
facility remains possible, the system of
operation is designed to remain fun-
ctional._
"WE CAN accommodate 228 inmates
at maximum, and we're at capacity
now," said Schneider. But, one officer
at the facility said that operating at
capacity is overcrowding and added,
"There's not a prison in this country
that's not overcrowded."
Schneider described the relatively
new Washtenaw facility as one of the
most innovative in the state. He said the
3-year-old institution contains single-
man cells (as opposed to the old county
facility which housed 3-4 inmates per
cell), a television set for every 16 in-
mates, and operates a variety of
rehabilitative programs-including
personal and vocational counseling,
drug and alcohol detoxification,
recreational sports, and classes leading
to the completion of a high school
equivalency diploma.
Schneider added that even though the
facility is experiencing a shortage of
staff, the shortage is not on the level of
the state prison system and that "under
the federal system, we can always cir-
cumvent and reshuffle our staff" to

meet the increased demands of over-
population.
In neighboring Macomb County,
Sheriff Bill Hackle said, "We have in-
creased our security somewhat
because we have a more serious type of
inmate now."
HE SAID THE problem was com-
pounded when the state refused to ac-
cept any more county inmates into
state institutions. .
Among other measures taken, the
sheriff said, "I have asked the local
police department to refrain from
bringing us minor offenders because we
don't have the room." He added, "I
hope this (overcrowding) is a tem-
porary thing, because county jails are
basically designed for short stays."
"We are starting to build up a 'prison'
type inmate that is potentially sym-
pathetic to the outbursts at Jackson,
Ionia, and Marquette," he said. "I'm
concerned with the Jackson situation
because that's the type of inmate that
can cause trouble, they have usually
been through the system and know the
ropes," said Hackle. According to the
sheriff, the Macomb facility can hold
354 inmates at maximum, but is now
accommodating 410 inmates by lining
the cell floors with mattresses.

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