Sheriff: Tuscola Co. in desperate need of new jail

Tuscola County Sheriff is pleading for new jail, citing the 60-year-old building is linear-style not pod-style and is outdated
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 7:19 PM EDT
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TUSCOLA CO., Mich. (WNEM) - The Tuscola County sheriff is making his bid to voters for a new jail.

Sheriff Glen Skrent told TV5 employees and inmates battle cramped conditions and old equipment on a daily basis at the nearly 60-year-old Tuscola County Jail.

Skrent hopes a millage to build a new jail will be passed by voters in November. The biggest hurdle is it will cost taxpayers $44 million.

“Every room is used up,” Skrent said. “There’s no more room and you can’t expand.”

After years of pushing for upgrades, they were able to get it on the ballot in this November’s general election.

“The board of commissioners realizes that something has to be done so that’s why they voted all of them in favor to put it on the ballot and let the people decide,” Skrent said.

Sheriff Skrent said, even though it’s a big price tag, it’s worth it.

“Workman’s comp says the basement is a hazard to all the employees, and inmates, and visitors because there’s no fire suppression,” Skrent said.

The sheriff said the jail doesn’t even have a fire alarm system or emergency lights so, in the event of a fire, flames can spread before anyone notices.

Skrent said, to add to the list of issues, the building’s layout is no longer feasible for today’s procedures.

“Any new jail built today is a pod style, this is a linear style jail long and inefficient,” Skrent said.

The sheriff said one of the tools he’s using is handing out flyers so that people know about the need for a new jail.

“I’m hopeful anyway of the outcome, but we’ll accept it either way it goes,” Skrent said.

If passed, the estimated millage for the first year would be 0.98 mills added to a resident’s property taxes.

The proposal will be one of many TV5 will be tracking during the election on Nov. 8.