What's behind the population boom in rural Michigan jails?

Bridgemi.com photo“There are times when up to half of the individuals who are incarcerated have mental health issues," said Alpena County Sheriff Steven Kieliszewski. 

In the northeast corner of the Lower Peninsula, the Alpena County Jail tells a story familiar to much of rural Michigan.

Its inmate population is rising, the cost to the cash-strapped county government is climbing. The jail is filled with the mentally ill and misdemeanor defendants who fail to post bail while awaiting trial or sentencing for failing to pay fines or child support infractions.

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