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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Overcrowding At Jail Breaking County Budget

The problem of overcrowding at the Houghton County Jail isn’t going away anytime soon.

Sheriff Brian McLean updated the board of commissioners on the inmate population.

The jail has been at or above capacity for 6 out of the first 14 days in March.

Of those being held at the jail, only one is currently serving a sentence.

The remaining inmates are awaiting proceedings at the courthouse.

Most inmates who are sentenced to the jail have been moved to the work camp, which currently has 16 people.

County Administrator Eric Forsberg noted that the county has already exceeded its budget for the year for health care for inmates.

Forsberg explained that once an individual becomes an inmate of the jail, the cost of their health care then becomes the responsibility of the county.

Detox of inmates at the jail suffering from substance abuse can cost the county upwards of $7,000 per person to send to the hospital.

If the county had better facilities at the jail with additional nursing staff, Forsberg said the cost wouldn’t be as high.

Sheriff McLean said the county must also pay to transport inmates for mental health treatment which is also very expensive.

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