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Jails across the state decrease inmate population to stop the spread of Coronavirus

Photo of a person behind jail cell

The incarceration rate across the state of Michigan has drastically decreased, according to a statement by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack – and - Michigan Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Matt Saxton. This is how McCormack describes the reduction.

“Jail populations have been reduced, in some cases quite significantly, and in many cases, at least somewhat.”

In other words, jail populations across Michigan have decreased to between 25 percent and 75 percent below their maximum capacity.  According to McCormack, limiting the jail population can impact the spread of coronavirus providing law enforcement with an opportunity to be a part of the solution.

“Law enforcement in some cases have a choice about whether to take someone to jail or issue a citation when they can do that safely.”

In Kent County, Sheriff Michelle LaJoye Young is working with judges determining who could be released early from jail.

“Now some of these were people who had a sentence that was ending in the near term or perhaps that were on work release. There were some people that were there on a low bond that hadn’t been convicted of anything and we worked with them to facilitate them making bond.”

Since March 1st, the Kent County Correctional Facility inmate population has been reduced by an average of 200, according to LaJoye Young. A similar reduction in jail population has happened in Oakland and Wayne county.