Overcrowding at Genesee Co. jail reason behind less severe punishment for some offenders

Some offenders are being issued appearance tickets instead of getting more severe punishments because the Genesee Co. jail is too crowded.

Some offenders in Flint are getting off with a ticket instead of a more severe punishment, because the Genesee County jail can't take them in. Flint police handed out 17 appearance tickets during the first two months of the year, while Michigan State Police handed out 55.

Police records obtained by the Flint Journal show that some of the suspects let go were ones police said were driving under suspended licenses, driving under the influence, involved in assaults or caught during a burglary.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says the lack of jail space strips police of their basic power to arrest criminals, and calls it detrimental to fighting crime.

NBC25 Facebook fans responded to the story with their thoughts on how the county should address jail overcrowding.

Holly Smith said, "Murderers, rapists and crimes against children should be priority. People in but qualify for work release should be released and put on a tether program."

Nora Greenacre Stevens said, "There is a failure of the mental health system. If we were to address the mental health issue, the issue of overcrowding in jails and prisons would no longer be a problem."