Budget constraints force size of new Wayne County Jail to shrink

Published On: Apr 16 2013 06:04:42 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 16 2013 06:16:23 PM EDT

The Wayne County jail is expected to open in one year, but budget constraints are forcing the county to cut backs on the size of the jail after construction has already started.

DETROIT -

The new Wayne County jail is expected to open in one year, but budget constraints are forcing the county to cutback on the size of the jail two years after construction began.

No more money is coming for the jail and now the plan of 2,200 beds for the facility will have to be cut to 1,900.

The jail was supposed to help the county close the two old jails across the street and the Hamtramck Jail that once held Kwame Kilpatrick.

It is now likely the Hamtramck facility will stay open because of the new jail getting smaller.

"It's premature to make any projections about the jail right now because Detroit is not going to enter into it. So we reduce the scope and move from there," said Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano.

Money problems in the county has prompted the County Commission to declare that no more money, above the $300 million originally asked for the jail, will be spent on the construction project.

"There's a lot about this that does concern me because maybe now we'll have to keep another facility open and if we do that, bye, bye, to the savings that this was supposed to generate," said Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen.

Another cost issue that's raising concern are the requests made by Sheriff Benny Napoleon. He made requests that included having five executive washrooms, and high tech gadgetry to operate the new facility.

"Well that's part of the reduction in scope, we're not going to build the Taj Mahal here. We going to make sure that it's a functional jail," said Ficano.

A spokesman for Sheriff Napoleon said the Sheriff had believed the new jail would streamline processes and cut tax payers costs. He said he is just now learning of the depths of the problem.

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