Barry Co. jail overcrowding sparks emergency declaration

HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — A few inmates of the Barry County Jail are going to be able to spend Thanksgiving at home because of inmate overcrowding.

While the inmates may be thankful, Sheriff Dar Leaf says it’s a problem that could impact public safety.

Inmates there are sleeping on the floor because there just aren’t enough beds available and it got so bad, the county had to declare a state of emergency.

“This is definitely a public safety issue,” Leaf said.

It is an issue that Leaf has had to struggle with for years but now it is coming to a head.

“The maximum amount of beds we have is 98, when we reach 85 percent which is right around 93, and we’re there for five days in a row, we have to declare a state of emergency,” Leaf said.

A state of emergency means the population has to be reduced.

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