Gov. Rick Snyder today applauded a collaborative effort between the state, city of Flint and Genesee County that provides for a new 110-bed facility to house inmates in Flint. The partnership, part of the governor's Secure Cities Initiative, enhances protection for community residents and gives law enforcement a much-needed tool to get offenders off the streets.
The ability to lodge offenders in a secure facility was the top priority expressed by local, county and state law enforcement and criminal justice partners. Working together on the program are the city of Flint, Genesee County, Flint Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Michigan Department of Corrections and Michigan State Police.
"This is problem-solving at its best," Snyder said. "We're working at the community, county and state levels to address a need so that Flint families enjoy greater safety. This is an excellent example of moving our state forward in a cooperative, positive manner. I appreciate the efforts of all who are involved and I commend our Legislature for its support by allocating critical funds."
While he commended everyone involved in the partnership, Snyder singled out Flint Emergency Manager Mike Brown, Police Chief Alvern Lock, Public Safety Administrator Barnett Jones, county Sheriff Bob Pickell, county Commissioner Patrick "Shorty" Gleason, Department of Corrections Director Dan Heyns and State Police Col. Kriste Etue for their leadership.
"I'm focused on getting good work done and saving tax dollars," said Gleason, who chairs the Genesee County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee. "Bringing these officers on board is just common sense. They know their community and do their jobs well."
The lockup facility will be within the Flint Police Department Headquarters. It can lodge offenders for up to 72 hours as they serve their sentence or await arraignment. This allows for a wide spectrum of offenders to be housed in a secure, short-term environment, enhancing the safety of area residents. Offenders arraigned on a violent offense will be transferred to the Genesee County Jail. Offenders arraigned on non-violent offenses will have the option to post bail and return for their court date.
The state, through the Department of Corrections, is providing $2.2 million for the facility's annual operation. The Genesee County Sheriff's Office will staff and operate the lockup while the Flint Police Department will monitor the performance and set admissions criteria.
Emergency Manager Brown expressed satisfaction, saying "We are most appreciative of the financial commitment of the governor and the commitment by the sheriff to manage the facility. We are encouraged by this shared service effort."
The lockup will open in about six to eight weeks once the contract has been approved by the city of Flint. During this time, additional corrections staff will be hired and trained to operate the facility. Any necessary updates to the existing facility also will be made.
While the lockup alone will not completely alleviate jail overcrowding in Genesee County, the Department of Corrections is working with the county sheriff, local prosecutors and local judges to implement a tether program that allows nonviolent offenders to wear an electronic monitoring device on their ankle prior to their trial date. This will help save jail space for the most violent offenders, allow ongoing employment opportunities for nonviolent offenders and reduce overall costs.
Since mid-June, the Department of Corrections has initiated 135 tether activations of nonviolent offenders in Genesee County, alleviating the need for those jail beds.