MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. -- A brand new jail costing nearly $45 million is almost ready to open, a facility that is long overdue, according to Lt. Mark Burns of the Muskegon County Sheriff's Department.
The 100,000 square-foot facility is full if new amenities. An electronic kiosk and video visitation device allow a new line of communication between the inmates and their visitors. A new booking unit accompanied by a area of holding cells allows more space for individuals who are only staying for the weekend.
The facility was built with maximum efficiency in mind. "This operational efficiency is going to allow us to run this facility with the same amount of staff," said Lt. Burns.
An electronic control pad controls doors, intercoms, cameras, utilities, telephones, elevators, even hot and cold water supplied to inmates, which will will help limit the amount of hands-on operations inmates will receive. "This will be safer for the staff and community overall," said Lt. Burns.
Other additions include a brand new kitchen and laundry room. Television screens inform and set behavioral expectations for inmates. An activities room allows lower-risk inmates to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings or pursue their education in an online GED program.
Officers are currently testing and training in the new facility before they move in the inmates, a transition with multiple stages. Once the new jail is open, the old jail will be used for administrative purposes.
The total project cost for the new jail is around $45 Million, about $40 million financed through a public bond sale that will have to be repaid down the line.