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      Schoolcraft County in desperate need of a new jail

      The Schoolcraft County Jail was built in 1956. It's in desperate need of repairs--both roofs need to be replaced--but the sheriff says the best solution would be to build a new jail.

      Two years ago, Schoolcraft County voters rejected the idea of using their tax money to pay for a new jail to be built. According to a county commissioner, there's simply no money to build a new jail.

      But according to Sheriff Grant Harris, the current jail is not a safe environment for the staff or the inmates. It's too small, there's a growing risk of overcrowding, and there are a multitude of problems.

      Two of those problems are the roofs. The lower roof, which was more leaky, has already been resurfaced. That project cost around $16,000. Now the county commissioners are budgeting for repairs of the upper roof.

      County officials say the Michigan Department of Corrections is happy with the work they've done. But there's always room for improvement.

      â??Obviously, do we need a new jail?â?? says County Commissioner Craig Reiter. â??I say yes. Can we make do with what we have? Yes. The voters of Schoolcraft County didn't want us, at that time, to do a new jail. And we don't feel we need to submit another millage or proposal because we're making do with what we have."

      The sheriff says it's been an ongoing battle over money.

      â??We sat down, we prioritized, and they didn't act,â?? says Sheriff Harris. Harris says the county board is well aware of the issues with the jail.

      But the commissioner says when times are better, they may look at it again. But for now, theyâ??re going to use what they have and use it the best way that they can.

      As for the sheriff who lost his reelection bid, he says he hopes the new sheriff will have a better relationship with the board and better luck with improving the jail.