Any law enforcement agency in the U.P. would say jail overcrowding is a serious problem for them.
But Marquette County has some help at hand.
The former state prison farm complex in Harvey has sat in mothballs for 5 years.
But today, Mangum Farm begins its new life as a new county jail.
The long-awaited renovations to the facility in Harvey are finished.
It’s now the Marquette County Community Corrections Detention Center, and it hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house this afternoon.
The center will house minimum-security inmates.
Several programs and services for them will also be restarted after jail overcrowding forced the county to pull the plug.
County Sheriff Mike Lovelace says those include substance abuse programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, GED training and vocational programs.
The renovations cost more than $300,000.
But the Marquette County Board set aside the money in this year’s regular operating budget.
That means no one will have to ask taxpayers for a millage, an important thing in tight times.
Michigan Department of Corrections head Pat Caruso says it was a win-win situation to identify a piece of property MDOC would never need again and provide it to the county on a $1-a-year lease.
The new center effectively doubles the amount of jail beds the county has from 80 to 160.
Higher-security inmates will stay at the existing jail in Marquette.