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Montmorency County Jail closes

News File Photo The exterior of the Montmorency County Sheriff’s Office is shown in this February 2021 News file photo.

ATLANTA — The Montmorency County Jail no longer houses inmates, a county official said on Tuesday.

On July 2, corrections staff moved eight inmates to Alpena as part of a contract with the Alpena County Jail to house Montmorency County inmates for $250,000 per year, according to Montmorency County Undersheriff Brian Crane.

With a budget of $797,000 and an average inmate population of 15 or fewer, the Montmorency County Jail was paying $145 or more per day per inmate. The going rate for housing inmates at other jails is $35 to $45 per day, Crane said.

Montmorency County commissioners approved using some of the money the county will save through the closure to hire three extra officers to absorb the extra transport of inmates that will take a deputy — or two, in the case of an inmate with a history of violence — off of the road during transfers.

Inmates can attend the majority of court hearings remotely using technology and expertise in remote communication gained by courts and jails in 2020, Crane said.

The decision to close the jail — an idea discussed at a May commissioners meeting in conjunction with opportunities offered by the construction of the new Alpena jail — came quickly after several corrections officers left the Atlanta jail to seek positions elsewhere, making staffing the jail difficult, Crane said.

The closure impacted the jobs of nine full-time and several part-time jail staff members, according to Crane.

The Alpena County Jail, in need of more corrections officers before it moves into its new jail building completed earlier this year, invited Montmorency County Jail staff to apply in Alpena. One Montmorency County officer has submitted an application to the Alpena jail, which is now conducting a background investigation of the applicant, according to Alpena County Sheriff Steven Kieliszewski.

The Michigan Department of Corrections said the Atlanta jail should be able to reopen if the county decides to do so in the future, Crane said.

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