MT. CLEMENS (WWJ) - Macomb County is preparing to release inmates, as the sheriff reveals the jail is seriously overcrowded.
Sheriff Anthony Wickersham on Tuesday declared a County Jail Overcrowding State of Emergency, stating that the jail has been over capacity with over 1,200 prisoners for seven consecutive days — and he expects more inmates as arraignments are held.
So where is he putting them all?
“It’s just a matter of moving ‘em,” Wickersham told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Sandra McNeil. “We’ll put some in our minimum security, and our trustees may reside in the gym.”
Wickersham he now has 15 days to reduce the jail count to 1,213 — or the early release of inmates will begin.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Chief Circuit Court Judge John Foster, Chief District Court Judge Joseph Oster, Prosecutor Eric Smith, Board Chair David Flynn and County Executive Mark Hackel have been notified of the situation.
“The Judges of Macomb County have been on a bed allocation plan since 2009, Wickersham said in a media release. “We are now to the point that the temporary fix cannot be sustained into the future and we have to look at our options when it comes to housing the inmates of Macomb County.”
So why have there been so many arrests?
“It’s a couple factors. You know, times are tougher and there’s individuals out there who are committing crimes. There’s obviously drug addiction that plays in a part in that,” said Wickersham.
“Macomb County is a growing community; and as people move in and businesses move in, so does crime,” he said.
The last time the jail was overcrowded was in 2008. At that time, 68 inmates were granted an early release.