Millage to build a new Jackson County Jail shot down by voters

“Unfortunately, we did our best and our best just wasn’t good enough."
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 9:23 PM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department will have to make way on what they have after voters said “No” to a millage that would have raised more than $100 million to build an addition to the jail and a brand new Sheriff’s Office.

Read: 2022 Michigan election results

The millage was proposed earlier this summer, Sheriff Gary Schuette said they had three months to create a proposal and spread the word.

“Unfortunately, we did our best and our best just wasn’t good enough,” Schuette said. “We accept that and we accept the voters will. And we will continue to move forward and provide the best services for the county that we can.”

Background: Jackson County Sheriff pushes for new jail as current jail faces structural degradation

The current jail is more than 70 years old and has loose wires and outdated cameras. Schuette said it’s poor working and living conditions.

Registered Nurse Patti Faling agrees.

“It is falling down, as you can see. We got a pipe that drains water from the roof the other day, when people were in here, there was water dripping onto a patient that was sitting on this bed because it was raining that day,” said Faling. “It’s overcrowded. We have no room; this is not a sterile environment.”

Currently to ‘monitor’ the temperatures, officers use meat thermometers to check the temperature because the boiler dials do not work.

“We can’t control our heat, in here at all, as you can see it’s probably 88 degrees right now. We have to run a fan constantly,” Faling said. “If we don’t have heat, it’s 60 degrees in here cause the air conditioning is out, so we can’t get a regulated temperature at all, so we’re dying in here because of the heat.”

But in the meantime, the department said they’ll make use of what they have.

“So right now, there will not be any disruptions in our current business practices,” Schuette said. “But we will continue to explore ways to try and get a different facility, one that is more modern and something that is safer for us to operate. Safer for the deputies to utilize.”

At this moment, the department will not seek another millage in the immediate future.

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