FLINT (WWJ/AP) – The Genesee County Sheriff’s Department is considering reducing sentences for more inmates in the face of a jail overcrowding emergency.

The county jail has more than 600 inmates but must drop that number to 525 to declare an end to the overcrowding emergency.

Sheriff Robert Pickell said he could be barred from accepting inmates whose charges don’t meet certain requirements if the emergency hits 42 days. Oct. 9 is the 29th day.

Pickell and Genesee County Circuit Court Chief Judge Richard Yuille worked to reduce sentences of less-serious offenders 15 days into the overcrowding emergency, but officials now have less discretion on who is released.

The result is that more-serious offenders could be released early.

“It’s tough now because we’ve released all of the people who are non-violent or we could put on tether or lower their bond,” Pickell told The Flint Journal, adding that other offenders have been sent to the state prison system and to other jails in the state.

When the jail’s inmate population is more than 580 for seven consecutive days, state law requires that an overcrowding emergency be declared —  something Pickell did on Sept. 17.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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