Archived Story

Crowded jail releases inmates early

Published 4:42pm Sunday, June 10, 2012

ST. JOSEPH — Prisoners had to be released early three times during May from the bulging Berrien County Jail.

On May 3, the sentences of 31 individuals were suspended due to overcrowding.

May 9 suspended sentences went to 32 inmates.

Another 29 sentences were set aside May 24, according to Sheriff L. Paul Bailey’s monthly report June 7 to the Board of Commissioners Administrative Committee.

Kitchen staff prepared 37,588 meals, 1,586 more than April.

There were 179 females booked into jail, including nine believed to be pregnant. Nineteen enrolled in the Fresh Start program provided for incarcerated men and women to encourage leading healthy physical and emotional lives.

Emphasis is placed on healthy choices regarding substance abuse with the goal of emotional well-being and healthy family relationships.

Fresh Start is built on the belief alcoholics and drug addicts can be taught to live sober, responsible lives characterized by permanent sobriety, self-respect and authenticity.

Participants learn to speak with integrity, not to take anything personally, not to make assumptions and to always do their best.

There have been 695 sessions held at the jail for 325 men and women; 75 have been assisted after release from custody, including housing support (first month’s rent), clothing, job assistance, financial assistance, food assistance and transportation from jail home.

Approximately 45 to 50 male inmates attend a literacy program which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Medical staff saw 488 inmates at daily sick call.

Thirty-three inmates were transported to prison.

A General Education Diploma (GED) program is available to sentenced inmates who are not disciplinary problems and display interest by daily attendance.

Completion slices 30 days off their sentence.

During the fiscal year April 1, 2011-March 31, 2012, Niles Community Schools’ adult education program served 80 students at the jail.

There were 59 males and 21 females, with 32 earning the GED — 25 males and seven females.

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