Work underway on new Justice Complex after voters approve millage

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MASON, MI (WLNS) – Ingham County voters approved a millage Tuesday night, that will allow for the construction of a new county jail, administrative offices, and court facilities.

It comes with a price tag of about $71 million, but its benefits could be priceless.

Officials at the sheriff’s office say they’re excited and thankful that voters approved this millage, which will allow for a more modern and efficient way for justice to be served in the county.

 And even though actual construction on the project is expected to start in the spring of 2020, the implementation and expansion of several jail programs can begin as early as January of 2019.

Sheriff’s officials say the end result will allow for a safe, secure, and effective way of doing business at the sheriff’s office, jail, and county courts.

“Having this slack now, we can have serious discussions about where we move this forward,” Major Darin Southworth said.

In the short term, some more immediate benefits of this millage will be seen from within.

“We know that we’ve secured a degree of funding to perhaps improve our technology, improve our education delivery,” Major Darin Southworth said. “We can begin the programming; we can begin the planning of better programming, who it’s going to take to deliver it, what it’s going to cost us, where it’s going to take place, so that we can hit the ground running in January once the funding is loosened.”

And even though it’ll cost taxpayers a little more out of pocket, officials say the long term effects through programming and other services could help save money by reducing recidivism rates.

“The Ingham County taxpayers in time, we are hopeful for, our best practices that we implement, the evidence based approaches that we implement will result in less crime in Ingham County,” Major Southworth said. “That we will have productive humans leaving our facility into society, better prepared for that, better educated, better job ready, better conflict resolutionists , that’s what we’re hopeful for.”

Even though the project is expected to be completed as early as 2021, the design and planning process for the building itself is still very preliminary.

In a message on Wednesday morning, Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth and 55th District Court Judges Thomas Boyd and Donald Allen thanked voters for approving the millage.  

“Serving justice in Ingham County is what we are elected to do. The voters approving the funding for a modern facility for court, law enforcement, and custody is exactly what this county needed to continue to properly serve our residents. We are excited to work with our community partners to enhance rehabilitative services, both in the jail and upon each individual’s return to the community.”

It continues: “We are committed to the expanded programing provided through the millage which promotes public safety. This will be a collaborative effort with responsible use of tax dollars. More detailed planning will begin right away. The future is bright for serving justice in Ingham County.”

6 News will be sure to keep you updated with the latest as those plans become more concrete.

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