County jails transfer inmates because of overcrowding

The state's prison population problem is now a local problem. There's too many criminals and not enough room to house them.

Friday, the state moved dozens of inmates from Genesee County to Midland County.

"My issue is let's get them out of here," says Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell. He says there's simply not enough room to house these inmates in Flint.

The Genesee County jail had 643 inmates Friday. Capacity is 580.

"Genesee County's jail was maxed out to capacity. We were not. It is a win-win for both counties," says Scott Stephenson, Midland Jail manager.

The sheriff says while he's grateful for the state's help in relieving the overcrowding problem, he says it was the state that created the problem in the first place.

"They've turned the county jail into a prison. People that were going to be sentenced to prison in the past are now sentenced to the county jails because they're closing prisons down," says Pickell.

Around 50 Genesee County inmates, along with their belongings, are shipped 60-miles north to Midland bringing money for each inmate.

"We'll be reimbursed for them, $45 a day per inmate," says Stephenson.

That's quite a bit of needed cash for the facility's $25-million bond where payments are $2-million a year.

For Genesee County, it does not correct the problem. The sheriff says it could be maxed out again this weekend.

"We'll make space available for violent criminals, drunk drivers, and stalkers. We want to get those violent people off the street," says Pickell.

Both sheriffs say they had about 24-hours notice of the transfer.

They both say it went smoothly.