A proposal to house federal detainees at the Ingham County Jail is being considered by the County Board of Commissioners. If approved, it could net the county nearly $500,000 dollars in revenue.
Since last September, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan has held criminal trials at its Lansing courthouse. This has forced the U.S. Marshals Service to drive detainees back and forth over long distances multiple times a week. A new agreement would make coordination easier for the U.S. Marshals Services.
Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth said they would house up to 25 detainees for a fee generating nearly $500,000 dollars per year in revenue for the jail.
“They would rather enter into a contract with the sheriff in the county where the court said, as opposed to having a drive from three, four or five counties over," he said.
Wriggelsworth explains that the proposal would have little impact on the jail's operational costs.
"Over the last year we have been operating at 65% capacity and I don't expect those numbers to go up."
Regardless of whether the jail is operating at half or full capacity, Wriggelsworth said they are required to have the same number of deputies working every day.
"If we have spare beds or cells in the posts that we have open, it would just make sense for us to house these federal detaineeds and we can do this safely even in the midst of COVID," he said.
The Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on the proposal next Tuesday.
Editor's note 03/05/21: This story has been updated to reflect the correct potential revenue of the agreement.