Community leaders present new jail proposal

The new jail would house up to 88 inmates.

MACKINAC COUNTY, Mi (WPBN/WGTU) -- Some Mackinac County voters are bound to do a double take when they see a $12 million bond proposal at the polls this November.

If passed, the proposal would allow the Mackinac County Sheriff's Department to build a new and improved jail at the courthouse.

Sheriff Scott Strait invited the public to visit with his department Wednesday to see first hand how the bond numbers would impact county residents.

"It equates to about $45 per year per household for the next 20 years," said Mackinac County Sheriff Scott Strait. "It is a very small price to pay for the security and safety that we will get with this enhanced building."

The current jail, which opened more than forty years ago, has a capacity of 28 inmates with no cells set aside to hold females.

"We've been under an emergency declaration because we have been over that amount for several months now," Sheriff Strait said.

After years of researching the possibilities of a new jail, the Mackinac County Jail Committee concluded that the average number of inmates will only continue to rise.

The overcrowding makes the current jail a more dangerous place for the inmates and the deputies.

"He has maxed out this facility," said Mackinac County Commissioners Board Chairman Jim Hill. "There are filing cabinets in the shower stalls and that sort of thing. He is just trying to work with what he's got."

For now, supporters of a new jail are remaining cautiously optimistic that the proposal will be passed.

The new jail would house up to 88 inmates.

It would include larger spaces for video arraignments, medical stations and would also have a bigger area for inmate visitation.

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