Unused jail cell pods could cost Wayne County $5 million

24-ton jail pods sit at River Rouge yard after Wayne County jail project failed

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

RIVER ROUGE, Mich. - Inside a storage lot across from River Rouge High School sit 100 dual cell jail pods which were meant for the new Wayne County jail project.

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The entire collection of jail pods cost just more than $5 million, and they have a built-in cost of $600,000 to move them to the jail site.

There's a problem: Each pod weighs a staggering 24 tons and requires wide load trucks in off hours to transport them.

There are two kinds: one with a single swinging door and another with a sliding door which were built by the Old Castle Prefabrication Company of Pennsylvania.

The company sent work crews to Michigan to build these pods, toilets, beds and sinks which all sit underneath a white tent in the River Rouge prefab concrete yard. The work crews have all been pulled out of Michigan.

The company now is renting the space where the cells sit out in the elements. However, the company wants a couple of things: its money and the pods off of the rented spaces.

Wayne County Chief of Staff June Lee says he is trying to figure out what do with the pods.

"So, the question is going to be are we going to reuse them at a potential Mound Road construction or, if not, do we need to deconstruct them and and try to salvage what we can. So, these things are under consideration," Lee said.

Yes, you read that correctly. Wayne County will have to demolish the 47,000-pound structures and sell them for scrap if they won't work in a future jail site. In that instance it's a roughly $5 million loss.

One of the other problems for the county is where to put them. At their hefty weight the county can't put them on soft ground and they don't want them to become an eyesore. It will cost money to move them, too -- whether it's once or twice or if they are demolished.

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