Wayne County executive declares public health emergency due to overcrowding at juvenile jail

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said Tuesday that he has declared a public health emergency at the juvenile jail due to overcrowding.

More than 140 children are in the jail, which only has room for 80.

According to Evans, this overcrowding is due to a lack of long-term care facilities for children who are supposed to get out of the jail, meaning that they stay at the detention center even when their cases are done.

"Many of those kids who had been adjudicated have spent more than 100 additional days in detention instead of the treatment facilities that they deserve," he said. "One juvenile was forced to languish in the facility for over 800 days.

Evans said the public health emergency will speed up the process get adequate staff and therapy services at the jail, but the state must step up, too. 

"We do need the state to put some more beds online," Evans said during the State of the County, adding that the state has been a good partner but the county needs help.