No heat, hot water in sections of Tuscola County Jail - WNEM TV 5

No heat, hot water in sections of Tuscola County Jail

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Sections of the Tuscola County Jail have no heat or hot water, leaving inmates and staff in the cold.

Sheriff Glen Skrent said a leak in the building’s water tank resulted in no hot water for inmates and staff in the A and B wing.

"These inmates are our responsibility and that means they're the public's responsibility too. They're sons and daughters of citizens of our county and they need to be taken care of," Skrent said.

He said no hot water is just one of the many problems with the aging jail.

"The county's put over $300,000 into it this year so far for plumbing and electrical, but it's still, we still have issues with boilers," Skrent said.

The jail was built in 1965 and Skrent said it no longer meets their needs.

"We need a better room for indigent conference rooms for attorneys. We need more cells to meet the classification needs," Skrent said.

He said just having regular holding cells won't cut it.

"We need male, female, holding cells for transgenders and we need holding cells for people going through alcohol and drug withdrawals, suicidal," Lt. Brian Harris said.

Harris said the jail needs at least five more holding cells to safely house inmates.

Skrent said meeting the needs of the inmates is a priority.

"A lot of times we have to send inmates to other jails, which costs the county a lot of money. One year it cost us a quarter million dollars just to house inmates in other jails because we didn't have the room," Skrent said.

He is hoping his concerns are not falling on deaf ears.

"We're trying to convince the commissioner and the public that they need to really put some effort into remodeling this jail," Skrent said.

The sheriff said it's up to the county commissioners to decide how they want to raise the money, but it could come down to a bond or a millage which would have to be voted on by the public.

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