New jail has space for rehabilitation programs

ESCANABA — Delta County Sheriff Ed Oswald is making strides to bring rehabilitation programs for inmates to the new Delta County Correctional Facility.

The new facility has the space to conduct the programs and Oswald said he wants to see inmates that leave the facility in a better position to return to society and not recidivate.

“We have no program space here. We have no way to offer programs at this facility,” said Oswald about the current jail. “We know locking them up in a small confined area for long periods of time has not been working.”

The new facility has three classrooms, all of different sizes and different layouts.

Some of the programs Oswald said he has looked into for the new facility are ways to work more closely with the Drug Court program, a recovery program, a GED program, and parent classes.

“We have highly addictive personalities in inmates that are in need of help and that’s why we’re really looking into the programs,” he said.

Oswald said he is pursuing grants to fund programs and finding experts to explain how to go about facilitating the programs.

“I know we need it, I’m just not an expert on how to administer the programs,” he said.

Sgt. Jeff Hansen, a supervisor in the jail, said the new facility opens up new opportunities for the officers, court personnel and inmates alike to put a dent in some of the criminal activity in the community.

“You have to see it as an opportunity because that is what it is. We are lucky in this community. We are going to have a state of the art jail, which is something that most counties in this state can’t make that claim. We actually have the ability to try to affect the next generation positively with that,” he said.

Once inmates are moved to the new facility and the programs established, Oswald said he sees a future where the facility is able to provide a work detail.

“Where we are getting inmates jobs and supervising them. Basically guiding them to be successful. We want them to return to society better than they came,” he said.

When it comes to labeling the different facilities, Oswald differentiates them through the stark contrast in opportunities the buildings can provide to inmates.

He said they’re moving to a correctional facility — the current building is a jail.

Another opportunity the new facility provides as an incentive for inmates to behave is an indoor recreation room.

“We are really working towards inmate management,” Oswald said. “So we’re going to dangle carrots but also crack down if they misbehave.”