Michigan law authorizes jails to charge inmates up to $60 per night for the costs of housing them. Many misdemeanors carry a maximum incarceration penalty of 93 days. As a result, inmates could be released into the community owing as much as $5,580 to the county for housing – in addition to any criminal fines, legal fees, or restitution ordered by the judge.

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As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

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