Ingham officials plan for smaller jail in '11

Mason, MI –

The Ingham county jail will likely be downsized next year.

As the county continues cutting its 2010 budget, it's looking ahead to a five or six-million dollar shortfall next year. Tuesday night, the board of commissioners ordered planners to budget about $700,000 less for the Sheriff's department in 2011. Officials are looking at closing a section of the jail and freeing between 60 and 70 prisoners. Republican commissioner Steve Dougan voted against the measure.

"You know, I think the people that are there tonight are there for a reason," he says. "I think the people who will be there six months from now will be there for a reason. And I don't foresee an ability to come up with reasons that 65 of those folks just don't belong there."

Commissioners considered the cuts for July 1. Instead they chose to spend some $300,000 in savings and delay them. Officials say the cuts will mean more prisoners will be released early.