Delta County Study

Delta County Jail Delta County Jail
Jail Feasibility Study & Master Planning

Delta County occupied a jail that was over 50 years old located on the County Square and the Lake Michigan lakefront. The physical plant was in poor condition and maintenance costs were increasing. The layout of the building was very staff intensive and extremely difficult to monitor inmate activities. Increasing overcrowding and constant housing of prisoners out of county, required the County to take action to determine the feasibility of a new jail.

Project Approach:

  • A four phase project approach was developed for the study (pre-project, strategic planning, staff and space programming, and conceptual design and estimating).
  • A committee of County Commissioners, Sheriff’s Office staff, building users, and County personnel was created to contribute to the study effort.
  • A 20-year strategic plan of the County’s Justice System needs was projected through the use of 10-year historical data and interviews with Justice System personnel and Sheriff’s Office personnel.
  • It was determined that the County needed a jail facility of approximately 200 beds to meet projected 20-year growth.
  • An architectural program and staffing profile was developed for a 200 bed jail facility.
  • Four different design concepts were developed in the following categories:
    • Renovation and addition to the existing County Services Building, new jail at a new site location, and two options for renovating the Courthouse to receive remote prisoner transports and holding.


  • The renovation and addition to the County Services Building proved to be the most feasible option, saving approximately $2.5 Million in construction cost, re-purposing a currently under-utilized county asset, and proved to be more acceptable to the public.
  • The study created an effective baseline of information that allowed a fully informed decision by the County Board and information to present to the Community at large to proceed with a millage question to fund the proposed project.

Key Accomplishments: 

Determined the County’s 20-year Justice and Corrections needs and developed four options for a jail facility and Courthouse addition that met the County’s long-term goals. The project resulted in a plan of action to solve Delta County’s jail facility needs.