SAGINAW (WJRT) - (01/14/2020) - Inmates should be moved into the new Saginaw County jail sometime in March.
On Tuesday, Sheriff Bill Federspiel gave a tour of the new facility, officially called the Saginaw County Adult Detention Center.
The $37 million building sits directly across the street from the current facility.
The current jail can house 513 inmates, while the new facility will hold 511. They are similar capacity, but not function.
"As you can see we're in a cell, there's a shower, a little table to maybe sit at and read a book, and four bunks," Federspiel said.
Cells have one, two or four bunks depending on the inmate's security level. Directly outside the sleeping area is a common area, but access to that area will be controlled.
"We're going to use technology to our advantage to make sure that we keep the number of inmates out of their cells to an amount that we can handle should an issue arise," Federspiel said.
He said there will be less staff to inmate contact with the new layout as deputies will have a control tower.
"They'll be able to see through and make sure they can monitor. We'll be utilizing communications like the comm system within the cells to direct the movement of the inmates," he said.
Outside community members will see several windows, but those windows don't directly go into inmate cells.
"We must have their be availability for them to see light. An inmate by law must know whether it's daytime or nighttime," Federspiel said. "So, on the other side of that glass is a utility or hallway for maintenance, a maintenance corridor."
In addition, the inmate's opaque window is offset from the outside windows, and there is about five feet of space in the maintenance corridor.
Federspiel added that while the jail will be new, it's still a jail.
"For anybody who thinks that having a new jail isn't going to scare people away, it's not how nice it is or if it's painted a certain color or not, it's restricting people's freedoms," he said.
Federspiel hopes to have administrative personnel moving in around Valentine's Day. Then after some training he hopes to have the jail up and running some time in March.
After the new jail is functioning, the old jail will be torn down. However, the building which currently houses the Saginaw County Sheriff's Office and Saginaw County Central Dispatch will remain.
The 911 team on the second floor will stay in place, while it's undecided which offices will move into the lower level.