We are writing today regarding the upcoming proposal for a new county jail. While we are concerned with the condition in which persons not yet convicted of a crime are housed, just as concerning is the cost to Shiawassee taxpayers will face should the Michigan Department of Corrections close our jail. Given the recent spate of malfunctions (burst sewage pipes, etc.), it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Shiawassee County Jail be closed by the state.
Neighboring counties which would then house our inmates, would charge $45 per day to house our inmates (100 on average). In a single year alone, this would cost us over $1.6 million; money which we would be sending out of our county.
Also, should the jail close, 20 of our deputies would then be put out of work adding the additional cost of transporting our prisoners between an out of county jail and the courthouse in Corunna. Arresting officers in our county would also be forced to take time to drive anyone arrested into another county, leaving much less time to do their jobs protecting citizens here at home.
The current jail, which was never built correctly in the first place, has lasted our county over 50 years. With many health threatening issues occurring in this building, we are concerned with the safety not just of prisoners, but of those employees who are also subject to these conditions.
Brian BeGole was elected to the office of sheriff in 2016 with roughly 70 percent of the vote. He came to office to serve as our sheriff knowing the bad condition the county jail has been in for many years. In the short time Sheriff BeGole has been in office, he has done much to restore services to the citizens of Shiawassee County, as well as restoring the trust and relationships between his department and local governments. He has opened the doors of communication, laid out the facts and led a genuine effort to treat the taxpayers as partners in his process. He has been forthcoming in the needs of the department, and has duly advised us of the negative impacts of our failure to act.
As mayors in this county, we have toured the jail with Sheriff BeGole and are convinced that our sheriff’s department deserves better. Please consider these points when voting in the May election. We hope you will join us in voting “yes.”
Christopher T. Eveleth, Mayor of Owosso
James Hugulet, Mayor of Perry
Deb Doyle, Mayor of Durand