COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The problem more or less solved itself this time around and as a result, there was no need for the courts in Branch County to order sentence reductions to ease an overcrowding emergency at the county jail. For the first quarter of 2014, it seemed like it was the new norm to have the lockup holding more prisoners than the rated capacity of 142 inmates. In February, 13 inmates were granted early release to get the jail population reduced to 90% of capacity which is required when there’s an emergency declaration.
The courts have two weeks to take action after being notified by the Sheriff that the jail has housed more than 142 prisoners for seven straight days. That was the case as of April 1st when there were 151 inmates. However, by the middle of the month, the jail was less crowded with fewer arrests happening in April and the 90% rule had taken care of itself with a reduced population. This week began with 129 prisoners behind bars on Easter Sunday.