SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – After an inspection by the Michigan Department of Correction, one of Mid-Michigan’s jails is considered one of the worst facilities in the state.
That jail is the Shiawassee County Jail and according to the Department of Corrections, it’s the 9th oldest jail in the state of Michigan which is why it’s not in the best shape.
“They had a number of issues whether it was plumbing, electrical, just the layout of the jail itself, their camera systems, their fencing systems needed improvements so there were a number of areas the report found,” said Chris Gautz; Spokesman for the Department of Corrections.
And that’s just a few issues Gautz says was found inside the Shiawassee County Jail after a regulation agent came in last month to check it out.
“Our inspector found instances of mold and water issues whether they were in the cells or just in the jail itself. There were some notable roof leaks and when the inspector looked at it they discovered that the roof had been repaired in the past but hadn’t been done correctly and so that further exacerbated some of those problems,” Gautz stated.
Gautz says the Department of Corrections does a yearly inspection, but this sweep was an additional request by Sheriff Brian BeGole who has expressed concerns about the conditions of the jail for quite some time.
“It’s exceeded its life and its dilapidating condition is not only making conditions hazardous for the people who work there, but for the problems that on a daily basis of how we operate,” said Sheriff BeGole.
Sheriff BeGole agrees that the jail is in serious disrepair and says the problems need to be addressed.
Fortunately they are now thanks to the Shiawassee Board of Commissioners who approved a proposal last week.
“We asked for a jail feasibility study which would identify the needs of the county from now until the next 30 years,” Sheriff BeGole stated.
That feasibility study will be led by Byce and Associates Incorporated, an architecture/engineering firm that will decide whether renovations will be adequate or if the county should build an entirely new jail instead.
“It’s going to look at the past trends of the sheriff’s department, how many people we book, how many people that they anticipate is going to happen in the future but it’s also going to identify the failures of this jail,” said Sheriff BeGole.
He goes on to say…
“My job is to keep the community safe and maintain the county jail and I believe it’s my duty to be transparent about these things so the public is informed as well as the county commissioners so they are able to make the decisions that need to be made in order to improve the facility,” Sheriff BeGole stated.
Right now the sheriff says the jail is working to gather all the paperwork so the firm can begin the nearly 4 month study in the next several weeks.
Sheriff BeGole also says he wants everyone to know the jail does the best it can to maintain the conditions, but because of the lack of resources and funding it makes it difficult to do so.