Michigan County Seeks to Prevent Shouting at Inmates
November 3, 2009A new law takes effect in early December making it illegal to give a shout-out to an inmate at the Van Buren County Jail. A century-old section of the jail in the heart of Paw Paw has no air conditioning, so its barred windows are opened in warm weather. The wing stands only a few feet from the sidewalk, separated from it by a tall chain-link fence crowned by spirals of razor wire.
The open windows serve as an open invitation for some people to stand outside and yell for their friends and loved ones inside. Sometimes they hold entire conversations together.
Sheriff Dale Gribler asked county commissioners for help. They adopted an ordinance in September that makes shouting at inmates a misdemeanor - punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
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