Jail space is a limited and expensive resource, and while the Sheriff is responsible for managing the detention facility, overall jail usage is dictated by decisions largely outside his control. This Report is premised on the assumption that Jail planning requires an understanding of the system in which it operates. Available beds in any correctional facility tend to become filled — regardless the number added. ‘Build it and they will come.’ The only way to manage limited, and expensive, jail capacity is to understand the system policies and practices that are driving it.
Macomb County will need to take a ‘Systems Approach’ to successfully address jail overcrowding. Macomb County needs more jail capacity; but without improvements in local system efficiency and effectiveness any new beds will soon be filled. The solution is to implement a System Master Plan.
Criminal justice system policies and practices drive jail populations. As such, planning for future jail capacity requires identifying the factors that impact the jail and then asking: What measures might be taken to mitigate jail capacity/ growth without compromising community safety? Does the Jail operate within a criminal justice system that can ensure fair and consistent treatment? Does the Jail benefit from a coordinated and efficient adjudication process that can deliver swift justice? Finally, what innovative approaches might be considered to improve outcomes and lower costs?