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 This artist rendering shows the proposed new Macomb County Jail. Phase one of the project would be new construction, with maintained existing housing operation. Phase two calls for new construction, with existing facility demolition and final site reconfiguration.

This artist rendering shows the proposed new Macomb County Jail. Phase one of the project would be new construction, with maintained existing housing operation. Phase two calls for new construction, with existing facility demolition and final site reconfiguration.

Rendering provided by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners


Further details provided on proposed new jail in Macomb County

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published March 18, 2020

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MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb County residents will have a chance to vote on a new jail this summer.

At the March 12 Macomb County Board of Commissioners Records and Public Safety Committee meeting, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and Deputy County Executive Vicki Wolber gave a presentation about the county jail and Sheriff’s Office project, updating commissioners with information and requests regarding the two items.

Updated ballot language reads that the new jail millage would not exceed 0.64 mills per year for 20 years, until 2039. For a home worth $100,000, the 0.64 mill would cost $64 per year.

This millage proposal would appear on ballots in the Aug. 4 election.

The proposal calls for constructing, equipping and providing additional staff for a new county jail and Sheriff’s Office, and to expand correctional programming.

If approved and levied in full, the new millage would raise an estimated $18.6 million dollars or more in the first calendar year.

A master plan overview dated March 2 indicates that the proposed new jail would have a design capacity of 1,034 beds, with 162 beds designated to medical and mental health. Additional capacity is for 104 beds, utilizing double bunking. The estimated total facility cost is $303,225,772.

The current jail population is 848 people.

“Over the past two years, there’s been changes in the criminal justice system and our population has been declining,” Wickersham said.

He said the last two winters have averaged a jail population of 900 or fewer.

The new 482,189-square-foot jail facility would be 10 stories high with a basement. The Sheriff’s Office building, next to the jail, would be three stories and 50,000 square feet in size. New central intake and assessment processing areas; new infrastructure; and direct supervision, which officials say would increase safety for staff and inmate population, are listed under the plan.

Commissioner Andrey Duzyj, who represents Warren, asked if any equipment could be transferred from the current jail if a new jail is constructed.

“The only thing we’ll be able to take is our most important asset, our workers,” Wickersham said.

Contractors would subtract any funds collected from scrap metal at the old jail from the county’s cost.

Staffing for a capacity of 1,034 individuals at the proposed jail calls for 14 additional community corrections workers, 17 additional jail corrections deputy staff, and eight additional jail command staff. The estimated total first-year staff cost is over $3.9 million.

“Current facility staffing for full capacity, 1,238 inmates, is 45 positions short,” the report states. “Correctional deputy staffing needed under new design is actually more advantageous.”

The report also lists that over 50,000 hours of overtime was utilized at the current jail last year to make up for the difference in staff shortage.

Phase one of the project would be new construction with maintained existing housing operation. Phase two calls for new construction with existing facility demolition and final site reconfiguration.

“I know we need a new jail, but I look at this, and our recommendations were for direct site supervision,” Commissioner Jim Carbelli, who represents Shelby Township and Utica, said. “It’s not adding up.”

The new plan calls for direct supervision, meaning an officer is inside the unit and can monitor inmates at all times at a close proximity.

The master plan states that future maintenance of the current jail includes replacing 27 secure doors and five non-secure doors that are in critical need of replacement, with a budget estimate of $1.2 million; replacing two emergency generators for $475,000; and possibly spending $2.1 million on hardware, cabling, electrical work and maintenance of digital cameras.

At press time, final financial details for the new jail project were scheduled to be presented to the commission in April.

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