Macomb Co. jail overcrowding emergency over

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Mount Clemens — The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday the recent mandated release of 104 nonviolent prisoners has eased a jail overcrowding emergency.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said that as of 2 a.m. Friday, the jail count had dropped to 1,170, below its maximum design capacity of 1,218.

Wickersham declared a county jail state of emergency June 2 after the jail exceeded 100 percent of its design capacity for seven consecutive days.

According to Wickersham, there were about 1,270 inmates housed in the jail as of Tuesday.

“We work with all the different circuit court and district court judges to see if there’s any way we can get people out early at this point,” Wickersham said in an earlier interview. “Each judge is allocated (a certain number) of beds by population, and they get a daily list of prisoners that they have in the jail. We ask them to look at their lists.”

The lists are made up of inmates who have been through each judge’s courtroom, Wickersham said.

“They’re either sentenced or are in jail pending bond,” he said.

Wickersham notified county officials, judges and local police agencies about the overcrowding earlier this month.

The Sheriff’s Office also complied a list of sentenced and unsentenced prisoners and provided the list to James M. Biernat Jr., chief judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit.

On Wednesday, Biernat approved the release of certain prisoners who had not been charged with, or convicted of, violent or assault related crimes, sex offenses, breaking or entering, drug dealing or any other major felony.

For sentenced prisoners whose names were on the list, Biernat also ordered a maximum sentence reduction of 25 percent. For other unsentenced prisoners, he allowed for their release on personal recognizance bonds.

The jail last faced an overcrowding emergency in November 2014, Wickersham said. To remedy the situation, a judge ordered a 20 percent sentence reduction for certain nonviolent offenders, releasing 71 prisoners from the jail.

This most recent overcrowding is the 15th emergency since 2003, Wickersham said.

(313) 222-2023