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Feds Decide Detroit Jails Are Too Awful, Move Prisoners Elsewhere

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The U.S. Marshals Service is moving about 200 federal prisoners out of two downtown Detroit jails, which have poor building conditions.

Problems including leaky roofs, high temperatures, burned-out lights, moldy bathrooms, plugged pipes and malfunctioning elevators were found before the decision to move prisoners to the county-owned William Dickerson Detention Facility in Hamtramck, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Kevin Pettit said an audit team toured the downtown jails last month and felt the conditions didn’t meet the agency’s standards. Details of the decision weren’t released.

“We do have higher standards at what they call ‘Club Fed,’ for lack of a better word,” Pettit told the newspaper. “It usually has to do with cleanliness.”

Officials say plans for the now-scrapped Wayne County Jail project — a proposed 2,000-bed facility that ended up $91 million over its $220 million construction budget — led the county to spend less on maintenance at its current downtown jails.

The county has acknowledged the problems, saying officials had hoped to resolve them with the new facility, but that won’t be happening.

Meantime, a one-person grand jury has been convened to investigate whether any criminal activity is involved in the over-budget Wayne County Jail project. Among other things, a petition says the investigation will focus on neglect of duty, conspiracy, fraud and misconduct. Read more.

County commissioners in August voted to cancel the project’s contracts after the gross misspending was discovered in June, more than a year after construction started. Since then, allegations of possible fraud in the project have emerged.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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